The following parts where used for my HTPC build. Except where noted, most parts were bought from Scan as I got free delivery due to being part of the AVForums, with the other parts taken from my existing PC, as I upgraded that at the same time as the HTPC build.

Component Parts

  • Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E6600*
  • PSU - Tagen silent 480w*
  • RAM - 2Gb Kingston (4 x 512Mb 533hz)*
  • Motherboard - Asus P5B-Deluxe*
  • Case - Zalman HD160+
  • Heatsink - Sythe Mini Ninja
  • Case Fans - 3 x Shakroon 8cm low noise (<9db)
  • Optical Drive - LG Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Combo
  • Graphics Card - 512Mb 4670 ATi (Passive)
  • Hard Drives - 1x 750Gb ; 1 x 1TB, both are Samsung Spinpoint F1's (32mb Cache)
  • OS - Vista Home Premium
  • Netgear G+ MIMO network card

Cost to date

Estimated total at around £900 [Built in March 2008].

£650 in the above listed parts, with another £250 if I had to buy PSU, CPU, mobo and RAM.

* - Used from existing PC

Detailed List of Parts

Zalman Case Cost - £180

I went through many choices and stages of choosing a case for my HTPC. I had long ago decided on the excellent looking Antec Fusion, and had pretty much resigned myself to buying it. Then I read that more and more people where having problems with the display, and to top it off, I had the potential to upgrade my PC, meaning I could use all my old (but still excellent) kit - but the Fusion would not take a full ATX board.

I then looked at the following cases- Silverstone LC16, the Origen AE H6 and the Silverstone LC20. All are very nice cases, as they get good reviews, plus they can take ATX boards. The OriginAE was lovely, but no stock (and still has no stock as I write this some three months later) before I settled (after tons of research) on the lovely looking Zalman HD160+.

HD/Blu Ray DVD Player - £135

I went for the LG HD-DVD/Blu-Ray combination unit. HD was officially declared dead a few days before I actually bought the unit, but I had bought a few HD-DVDs from firesales on ebay and AVForums, and accepted that if the combi drive dies, the Blu-Ray versions of the films I own on HD will be back to a reasonable price rather than £20+.

Graphics Card - £53

[Upgrade July 09] The Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate Edition 512MB. Passive, and a steal at £53. I was going to get a 4550 from Scan, at £38 or so quid, but with postage, this would have been closer to £45. For £8 more (and free postage), I could get a card that not only would give me the 7.1 Sound, but the ability for some gaming should I want it.

Processor - No cost

I used the Core 2 E6600 from my PC, and upgraded my existing Games machine to a Q6600. A higher CPU speed is needed to play HD avi or mkv files, and some people are taking lower spec'd Intel Core2's and OC'ing them. For more info on CPU specs, and to see whether your choice of CPU (through budget or re-using old kit) is good enough for the files you want to play, check Mickwalls excellent thread on AVForums.

Mini Sythe Ninja Heatsink - £25

One of the most potential extra noise generating items within a HTPC, and so always best to replace the stock one that comes with a CPU. I went for the Sythe Ninja, not just because Ninja = good, but because it got loads of mentions in many different HTPC builds. Some people are using it without a fan altogether as its that good, but I always prefer some cooling, which is why I went for the Golf Ball fans.

Case Fans - £12

I went for three Sharkoon GolfBall fans (9db versions) to keep things really low in the noise department. Two for the case replacing the ones already inside, and one for the Ninja heatsink. They came with rubber grommet fixings as well, to lessen case vibration.

Mobo - No Cost

P5B-Deluxe, taken from my PC. A Damm fine board, in full ATX size.

RAM - no Cost

I used the RAM from my PC, as I upgraded my Games PC. Its 2Gb of Kingston DDR2 533mhz (4 x 512mb)

Hard Drives - £180

750Gb Samsung Spinpoint Hard Drive - If you look through other peoples component lists, 90% of them will have a Samsung Spinpoint listed. The other 10% will have 2..... For quietness and speed they seem to be unmatched, and I will probably end up with a pair myself.

[Upgrade Jan 09] 1Tb Samsung Spinpoint Hard Drive - And soon I did.

Keysonic Wireless Keyboard - £25

A wireless keyboard, which also turns up a few times on other peoples kit list. This one is more like a laptop keyboard and touchpad without the screen, so handy as you do not have a seperate mouse.

Windows Vista Home Premium Operating System - £60 OEM

Having tried it on my laptop, its a nice bit of software - although not sure I would put it on my games machine yet, for a media PC, all its extra flashiness makes it look good. I also believe certain codecs and software requires Vista to run correctly (without anymore hassle than it already has been to set things up.)

Older part information

ATi 3470 256Mb Graphics Card - £45

The GPU is used in conjunction with PowerHDDVD to play original HD/Blu Ray DVDs, helping to relieve pressure from the CPU. You need a HDCP compliant card to play DVDs, and although I am a big NVidia fanboi, the ATi cards are the most recomended amongst HTPC users.

Quote from Mickwall on AVForums (paraphrased) "....I assumed that you need a fancy graphics card for playback of HD material. But after much reading up on the subject, it turns out you don't really need a fancy graphics card, its more CPU power. Its only when you play back Blu-Ray and HD-DVD original material that your fancy graphic card comes into the equation and you benefit from hardware acceleration.

So the advice is this, get a decent processor for your HTPC and you'll be fine to playback ALL filetypes. You'll only need a decent graphics card for playing back Blu-Ray and HD-DVD orignals. And by decent, i only mean something like a ATI 2400 XT or 2600 Pro.... no need to spend £100+ (unless you plan on gaming too)

My HTPC web pages were hobbled together by me.