Awesome HTPC

I recently built an HTPC, media PC, media center, or what ever you want to call it. For a fairly low price I was able to put together a system that has been able to handle all my “under the TV” needs.
Around the holidays quite a few friends and family inevitably ask “What do you want for the holidays?” i.e. “What should I buy you?” This year I decided to put the parts list for my HTPC on Kaboodle and send the list around. Kaboodle works like your own personal wedding registry (replacing your spouse-to-be with that little voice that says “you NEED this”).

In coming up with the parts list I consulted several sites that specialize in media PC junk: We got served, HDTunerInfo, AVS forum, Channel8, and DesktopReview. The system I came up with actually ended up being fairly close to one that later won an award in some NewEgg competition.

AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor $60

ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $65

Western Digital Caviar SE16  500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s  $60

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $35 w/ rebate

Antec New Solution Series NSK2480 Chassis $90 w/ free shipping (Splurge)

LG Black LG Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model $90

TV TUNER SILICONDUST|HDHOMERUN NET $135

VGA SAPPHIRE 100255L HD4670 512M RT $82

That comes to a grand total of $617. Some of the parts were not strictly necessary but I had the benefit of acquiring many of them as gifts. The ATI HD4670 was not needed since the ASUS had an onboard ATI card, but the performance gain is tremendous over an integrated card and I have since learned that I can connect FOUR monitors to the machine using ATI’s SurroundView (using both mobo and discrete ports). The Antec case ended up being a bit bigger than I had imagined (yes the dimensions were posted). I didn’t take into account the room required to connect a butt load of cables to the back. The HDHomeRun tuner has worked well. The only hiccup I have had with it so far is that I can’t record a show if my router is “taking a break.” This has only happened once and I think it is neat to be able to watch TV on any computer via the network (though I haven’t used this yet). The HDHomeRun also has good support and compatibility with several Linux distros. I really like the way this computer ended up. If you use an old case, and cut out the Blu-Ray and extra video card, the core build of this computer ends up being alot of bang for the buck.

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