Home Theatre PC

Published on 27 February 2014

Following an post from Jeff Atwood about his Home Theatre PC, I decided to look up the current prices of the mentioned components. Or at least the price I would have to pay, if I would like to update my, how to put it... ancient HTPC.

The old lady I call HTPC is a somewhat oldish Acer Aspire Idea 500 (no chance to find a link on the Acer pages, though) with a stunning amount of one gigabyte of Ram and an Intel Core Duo with 1666 Mhz.

This beast of a machine was state of the art when I bought it (that's a lie) and fitted very well in my setup at the time I bought it. I could hook it up to my TV and my Logitech surround system. Everything was good.

But that all changed when the Fire-Nation attac... when the progression of media and bandwith hit in. Today my HTPC struggles with the evermore demanding tasks like Youtube above 480p or watching a stream via Watchever. Not to mention the impossible task to play a game on this thing (notable exception: Blobby Volley ).

Besides the old age of my HTPC there is a more pressing problem with this pc: It still runs Windows XP Sp3 Media Center Edition. Yes, that is a 13 Year old operating system.  Holy Crap. Five years ago the support went in the extended phase, which means from that point on, there were only security patches distributed. Not something you would expect in the household of an IT-Guy..

Anyway, with all these urgent needs to update my system I looked up the price of the Jeff Atwood HTPC (or at least my interpretation of that). And it's quite cheap!

For around 400€ I could have a fully functioning multimedia PC with considerably more power (considerably as in: everything better) than my current HTPC. Also, in the price of 400€ is a 120Gb SSD included, which is 20Gb more of storage than the HTPC has now. And It would consume less power and probably be more silent than my current machine.

Because of the small footprint of the case and the mini-ITX board I won't be able to extend the HTPC as easy as a Desktop PC, but that's the case now too. But it woud fit nicely in our media rack.

So what components did I choose (based on Jeffs post)?

  • Case (Antec ISK 310-150): Would fit perfect in my media rack. A must buy. ~80€
  • MoBo (ASRock,B85M Pro4): Haswell, USB 3, HDMI... nice Choice. ~60 €
  • Ram (Two 4Gb blocks): Yeah. You need RAM. More is better, but 8Gb is enough. ~75€
  • CPU (Intel Core i3-4130): Here is my first different choice. Jeff choosed the energy saving version of this CPU, cause hsi HTPC is alway on. Mine isn't, therefore I can save some money now (around 10€) and get more power. Which is always better. ~100€
  • SSD (Some 120Gb thingi): The HTPC has to boot fast. Therefore no HDD. Also I do have a network storage, so no need to attach tons of storage to the HTPC. ~75€ And that's it. Jeff included the aforementioned tons of storage and another engergy saving power adapter. No need to, so we can save that.

The summed up cost for this pc is around 390€. Affordable, I would say. Let the saving begin!