Unless your HTPC is going to double up as a full-blown gaming rig, it is not necessary to go in for more than a 450W power supply, and you can certainly go for less. Users concerned with noise might want to buy a fanless model, although, with 65W and 100W processors that may simply result in your CPU fan being noisier CPU fan.

  • SeaSonic X series SS-400FL 400W 80PLUS GOLD PSU: Coming in at $130, the PSU is a bit costly but that is the price you'll have to pay for silence. It also comes with fully modular cables, which can be helpful when you're building in a smaller mini-ITX or micro-ATX chassis.
  • Antec VP-450 450W PSU: At $38, this is a no-frills PSU with only moderate (up to 75%) efficiency, but for budget users with low-power rigs it represents a decent value. At this price, one can't expect modular cables and other such niceties. The goal here is decent reliability, low noise, and low cost.

The choice of the chassis depends on the form factor of the chosen motherboard, as well as the usage scenario.

  • mini-ITX: SilverStone's FT03 Mini is currently on Newegg for $132.99 and also on Amazon for $129.50 (but temporarily out of stock at the time of this article going live). Dustin liked the case a lot and even considered it worthy of an award. The design also makes it stand out (hopefully in a good way, though opinions vary) in a home theater setup.

  • micro-ATX and ATX: I am going to take this opportunity to suggest nMEDIAPC's wooden case currently available on Newegg for $90. This unique case is bound to steal the show even in the most fancy of home theater setups, thanks to its unique construction and industrial design. If you are in search of something mainstream that also includes a MCE remote, the Antec Fusion VERIS Remote Max is an excellent choice I can recommend from personal experience. It is currently on Amazon at $214.

Memory and Storage Options Concluding Remarks


View All Comments

  • BPB - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I was hoping to see mention of the newer AMD APU's. As for me I am going to mount the Foxconn unit below to my TV and use it for my HTPC. It's $175 and for not much more I can plop memory, HDD, and OS in it.

  • geniekid - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I built a Llano-based HTPC about 8 months ago using many of the parts listed in this guide. One thing I will point out is I ended up buying a third party CPU cooler since the retail fan was a bit loud for me. Other than that, the Seasonic SS-400FL is fanless so the only other source of noise for me was the case fans that came with the Grandia 05, which were good enough for me. Reply
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    The problem is AMD's Llano can't run Netflix HD well because Silverlight doesn't have GPU acceleration enabled for the chip. It's a shame, as otherwise it's a GREAT CPU for HTPCs and cheap! Until MS either gets GPU acceleration working, or Netflix moves from Silverlight one still needs a more powerful CPU to be able to do everything with their HTPC Reply
  • BPB - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    This is a good point. As a matter of fact, it has me reconsidering getting the little system I mentioned above. Of course I can do Netflix HD via my TV's app, but still, do I want to get an APU that can't even run Netflix? Hmmm.... Reply
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I was about to purchase an e-350 based system, until I saw the lack of Netflix HD acceleration. No point buying something new which doesn't cover all the usage needs when my old HTPC can... Reply
  • burntham77 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I have the exact same hardware, and Netflix in WMC stutters with HD video. If I set my Netflix account quality settings to the middle or low setting, it works fine, but obviously things don't look as nice.

    Luckily I have a PS3 and 360 hooked up to the same TV, but it is a shame that Microsoft dropped the ball on Silverlight in this regard.
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    THe problem isn't the LIano, any other pentium, celeron i3 ULV or wathever (even latest macs) will have an issue, it's just the Silverlight piece of crap. BTW it's only HD streaming that provides issues.

    many have already reported that it run's better in different browsers (chrome-safari)
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Yes, and those CPUs have the power to run Netflix HD without the GPU acceleration :) Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    nope, on forums they report the same issues with that type of cpu i mentioned. Reply
  • knutjb - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I have an A8-3850 w/hardware acceleration set. I have not experienced any issues with Netflix. Does someone have a current list of gpu support in Silverlight 5? I couldn't find any list in a quick search.

    I have had no problems. Sits next to my reveiver behind pictures with audio through toslink, 1080 video through HDMI. All fans connected to MB, cannot hear from couch when set to 100% with sound off. Plays music too set @ 24bit 96k. Surprisingly good sound from older Denon receiver. Can hear the difference between 16 & 24 bit with better recordings.

    Caught sales for everything.

    Lian Li PC-351 with side vent holes taped off to force air through power supply.
    G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB 1866 oc'd in bios.
    SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC064D
    Seasonic SS-460FL
    Seagate 1TB HD

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