Home Theatre PC (Components)

Written on May 29, 2008

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about building my own Home Theatre PC (HTPC). I’ve got an unused Vista Ultimate license that I’d like to put to good use, and using it for a Media Centre fits the bill. While you can buy a prebuilt HTPC, but I thought it would be both fun and educational to build one from scratch. There are a number of good resources when planning to build a HTPC, but I’ve found the most useful are:

After throwing around various combinations of parts I’ve come up with the following list:

CPUAMD Athlon X2 4850e
CaseAntec Fusion 430 Silver (includes power supply)
TunerHauppauge HVR-2200
FanNoctua NH-U9B Quad Heatpipe
MotherboardGA-MA78GM-S2H
RAM   Kingston (2x1G 800) KVR800D2N5K2/2G
Drive 13.5" HDD SATA-300 250GB 16MB Seagate
Drive 2Western Digital 1TB (WD10EACS)
KeyboardShintaro wireless
RemoteMicrosoft MCE Remote Control
DVDLG GGC-H20N/L Blu-ray/HD reader, DVD & CD writer

I posted this list to the forum (like a lot of others do) just to check it was reasonable. The main criteria I’ve worked from are quiet operation (and hence 45W CPU) and provision for the future (high definition). I made use of the Static Ice price comparisons to gauge what were good prices. If I lived in Sydney I’d probably buy most of the bits from IT Estate, however once you factor in shipping, the local retailers MATS Systems and MSY are pretty competitive. I was originally planning to get the Pioneer BDC-S02, but opted for the cheaper (and in-stock) LG instead. The other curious thing is that we’ve got a very old TV that used to belong to my parents - an early 1980’s Philips model that only has an RF (aerial) socket. Not exactly what most home theatre systems are made of, but it works, and I’d prefer not to have to replace it before it completely dies! So my plan is to use a cheap video card (a Gigabyte 8400GS 256MB GV-NX84G256HE) that unlike the onboard video has a TV-OUT socket, and use an RF Modulator to convert that to something the TV should like. If that fails, then maybe we’ll just have to buy a new TV. Once I’ve purchased all the components, I’ll post an update on the build progress.

Categories: Vista, HTPC