HTPC System Guide: High End

It’s been quite a while since we released a system guide with our recommendations and price analysis on building your very own Home Theater PC, so we figured now is as good a time as any. We’ll start with the high end and next week will release the low end system. While some websites or magazines go pretty absorbant with the high end systems, we wanted to be a bit realistic here, so what you see is a combination of parts aimed at getting you a pretty beefy system all for under $2000. It’s funny when I think back to my very first PC, an Austin PC with a 486 chip which cost well over $2,000….that same money buys you a lot more system these days.


CPU, Motherboard and Ram

Board: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 P45 (Link) – $134.99
CPU: Intel E8400 Wolfdale 3.0Ghz (Link) – $167.99
Memory: Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 800 4GB (Link) – $63.99

 The Gigabyte board has been out for awhile now so it’s very robust. It has eight usb port, one firewire, and two gigabit port. The board has eight sata and it also has an adapter for converting sata to esata. The Intel E8400 is a solid processor that can handle multiple tasks while you are encoding/decoding your movies. Having extra memory is great since the price has dramatically decreased; therefore, four gigabyte will be more than sufficient.



Video and Audio


Graphic: Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 (Link) – $109.99

Sound: Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe (Link) – $239.99
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1800 (Link) – $105.99

Even though the Sapphire Radeon 4830 has a fan, it is relatively quiet. It will provide great support for hardware acceleration when playing back Blu-ray. As far as sound is concern, you have either the Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 or the Auzentech HomeTheater HD. Unfortunately, the Auzentech sound card isnt available yet. The Asus Xonar card support all the high res audio codec and bistream to your receiver. Even though this is a bad-ass sound card, it is the world first audio card to support bistreaming so there will be kinks here and there.  Hauppauge has been a known brand for tv tuners. This tuner will support FM Radio, NTSC, and ATSC/clear QAM.



Storage and Optical Drive

Hard Drive: Western Digital 2TB (Link) – $329.99
Hard Drive: Intel X25-M Solid State Hard Drive
Optical Drive: LITE-ON 8X BD-Rom (Link) – $109.99

 The biggest storage available is the Western Digital 2TB Green Drive. When the system is idle, the drive will spin at a lower rpm. For Blu-ray playback, the Lite-On drive will do the job. Even though it doesn’t burn blu-ray, it has an impressive 8x read speed for backing up your movies.



Chassis, PSU, Accessories and Software

PSU: Corsair 450w (Link) – $74.99

Case: Antec Black Fusion Remote Max (Link) – $179.99

Accessory: Logitech diNovo Mini (Link) – $149.99

OS: Windows 7 – $0


 The Corsair is a standard 450 watt power supply and it will run your home theater pc all day long. The Antec Fusion Remote Max has adequate room for installation. The Antec has one 120mm fan for the rear and 140mm fan for the side; these bigger size fans will push/pull more air and will be quieter than the 80mm. Windows 7 will provide a better experience and a slight performance increase compare to Windows Vista; it is due for release later this year. What’s there to say about the diNovo Mini? Nothing, it’s just pure awesome. Everyone using a home theater pc should get one!


Roundup Summary


   Item  Price
Motherboard  Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 P45  $134.99
 CPU  Intel E8400 Wolfdale 3.0Ghz  $167.99
 RAM  Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 800 4GB  $63.99
 Hard Drive  Western Digital RE4-GP WD2002FYPS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"  $329.99
 Hard Drive  Intel X25-M Solid State Drive  $239.99
 Video Card  Sapphire Radeon HD 4830  $109.99
 Sound Card  Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe  $239.99
 Optical Drive   LITE-ON 8X BD-Rom  $109.99
 Tuners  2 x ATI Digital Cable Tuner Internal  $400
 Tuners  SiliconDust HDHomeRun  $148.99
 Power Supply  Corsair 450w  $74.99
 Chassis  Antec Black Fusion Remote Max  $179.99
 Accessories   Logitech diNovo Mini  $149.99
 Operating System  Windows 7  $299.99
   TOTAL      $2650.87