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Cheap and dirty htpc

by scuryvsailor



Date Published

July 24, 2014

Date Built

July 11, 2014

CPU Clock Rate

2.7 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

32.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

45.0° C


Processor: Bought open box from micro center. Pleasantly surprised when it worked without any problems and runs fairly cool to boot.

Mobo: Looked around for a bit for the cheapest mini-itx w/hdmi board I could find.

Memory: Bought the cheapest 4gig stick at the time. I plan on eventually putting in another stick.

HD: it spins

SSD: I realize these are not the highest performing ssds but for 40 bucks I couldn't pass it up. Definitely makes a huge difference in boot time and general os "snappiness"

Case: Also bought this open box from microcenter. One of the side panels was a little dinged up and there is leftover tape goo from being wrapped up in a warehouse that I need to work on to remove, but other than that in good condition and no missing parts or screws. I'm on the fence about my decision to use this case. Fantastic build quality and incredible ease of use. Honestly makes me never want to build in a cheap case again. But on the flip side it is a little large for an htpc and the handles make it even bulkier than it needs to be. tl;dr awesome case not sure I should have used it for an htpc.

Power supply: this is the actual power supply (http://www.microcenter.com/product/399332/600W_Modular_Extreme_Power_Supply_-_Refurbished) that I bought but it was not in pcpartpicker's database so I just put in the other one as a filler. Been awesome so far. Definitely enjoy the modular aspect although it was a but of a squeeze into the prodigy. Obviously major overkill for what it's currently running.

Wireless adapter: works perfectly. Got the cheapest one I could find because I will be getting google fiber in the next couple months so I definitely plan on running some ethernet to it after that.

Keyboard: A great deal for 25 bucks. Does exactly what I needed it to do.

OS: Got a free copy of windows 8.1 as a student.

Software: currently running xbmc with couchpotato, sickrage, and maraschino. XBMC is great because it is completely controllable through an ios app which makes it simple and easy for my wife. Setting up the software side of things was pretty dang frustrating, especially with minimal experience with sickrage/sickbeard which is not at all intuitive. Although now that it is actually running smoothly it is really satisfying.

I've thought about eventually putting an i3/5 in it paired with a 270x/280 to run a little steam bpm. But really I have no need to use it for gaming other than to be able to game from the couch. And as I have not yet built a nas/mediaserver (next project) I currently run this 24/7 so those components would add quite a bit to my tdp and increase the cost of running it.

Comments Sorted by:

CanadianPenguin 3 Builds 6 points 52 months ago

Fellow Prodigy brother!

SothothFatalis 1 Build 4 points 52 months ago

I'd imagine a GTX 750 and that same Celeron G1620 would handle anything well enough from couch range (probably 720p/900p/1080p, 30/40fps, high/ultra settings depending on the game) without bringing the TDP up much. It'd end up being overall a bit stronger than an Xbox One, at least.

scuryvsailor submitter 1 Build 2 points 52 months ago

Good call, I'll have to keep my out for a sale on one of those. The reason I was initially leaning towards a 270x is because I have seen them on ebay for about 110 which is about the same as the 750 but at the expense of increased power and heat.

SneakyBastardSword 3 points 52 months ago

good buld +1.

If i ever get a media center PC itl be my raspberry pi lol

scuryvsailor submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

I wanted something that was a little more responsive and with the ability to maybe run some games in the future. This build was actually an upgrade from an old jailbroken apple tv 2 which served as my previous media hub.

SneakyBastardSword 2 points 52 months ago

Yeah, I was just saying that I would probably just load my Pi with some linux-based media center-type OS, not that you should have done that too. If you want the ability to run games later, this is just fine.

coolguy562 2 Builds 3 points 52 months ago

Does the wireless adapter work well? I'm looking for the cheapest one I can get while still getting good performance. How is the range on it?

scuryvsailor submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

It works great so far. I'm using it at a range of about 50 ft through a wall with excellent reception.

coolguy562 2 Builds 1 point 52 months ago


malcar11 3 Builds 2 points 52 months ago

BitFenix fellow! Congrats.


Zedzer 2 Builds 2 points 52 months ago

I honestly never knew a processor could cost 12 dollars. XD +1 for a great build over here. Just add in a video card and you are set.

scuryvsailor submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

these lower end celerons can be found pretty easily for 20-30 and then buying it open box knocked off another 10 or so

samsoundar16 1 point 52 months ago

Where did you get that G.Skill RAM for $31? I can't find it anywhere for that price.

scuryvsailor submitter 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

I bought the ram and wd blue from newegg using the 15 off 50 iphone coupon. So basically saved my 7 bucks on each item. And when i bought the ram it was already on promo for 38 bucks.

xBajamonsteRx 2 Builds 1 point 52 months ago

+1 Nice!

reoper6 1 point 52 months ago

Thats a nice pc actually gj and the dog dirtied it <.<

Super_Kami_Guru 1 point 43 months ago

This is a few months old now, how's that cpu holding up?

scuryvsailor submitter 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Great! Runs windows 8.1 and kodi buttery smooth. 1080p video has been pefect. Haven't seen temps above 39 in an enclosed cabinet. For an htpc if you can get it for a good price it's a great choice.

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