Description

Here is my HTPC Build.

Some of the parts are not on the list as they don't exist on the site.

2X 2GB HP ECC Ram - Donor parts from my workstation that I no longer use 1X 128GB SSD drive as boot and for apps/software - also a donor from my workstation.

Running Windows 8.1. I bought the license a while ago, just never installed it on any of my other PCs.

After a long time debating whether to use AMD or Intel chip, the benchmarks online convinced me to go for an i3 intel chip. I got it for a good deal since I had a $20 off coupon at TD. I was comparing with A8 and A10 chips. But for the same price as the A10 chip, the i3 performs way better. Since I won't be gaming on this PC, graphics really don't matter to me. The processing is much more important as the system may be decoding for multiple devices streaming from the Plex server.

I've set up the system to connect directly to my TV and it also runs as my media server. I've loaded all my videos, photos and music so I can stream and access this content from anywhere. The software to run this server is Plex. Plex is a powerful software that runs my media flawlessly. I also love the look of the apps, and the home theatre app on the pc itself rocks.

I didn't purchase a dvd or bluray drive for it. However, I will consider putting a bluray drive once the slim ones go down in price. If you do choose this case, just remember that the slot for the drive is for slim drives. These drives currently cost significantly more. For now, if I need a drive, I have an external USB one to use. For my blurays, I have my Xbox One.

For graphics/processing, the intel chip works great for 1080p and maybe even 4K content. I haven't tried 4K content yet, but it should play it fine at 30p. I think when 4K becomes more main stream, there will be more graphics cards that can play 4K at 60p to get that reality TV like smooth video. For now, I'll wait for the price to drop on the video card and for 4K content to be more main stream before I upgrade.

The case is quite solid and though it's small, I can still add a couple more drives. The ITX case utilizes space very well and looks clean on the outside. I also love the front blue LED lights. However, there are two things that bug me. 1) The power supply mounts at the front of the case, therefore, you have connect their extension that runs to the back. Because of where the plug is on the PSU iteself, when you plug in the extension, the wire get's jammed into the bottom of the case. I hope this wire doesn't deteriorate over time, because right now, it's bending quite a bit, and there's a lot of pressure on the connector at the PSU end. 2) Cable management isn't great. Especially running this PSU, I have a lot of unused wires that I have to just jam into the side of the case. Maybe It's an ITX thing, but it's really hard to do cable management. Oh well, there's no window on the case, so once you close it up, everything is under the rug.

At the end of the day, I'm very satisfied with this build. It's low wattage (about 110W), runs silent and performs great. It's not exactly a budget build, but I do want this system to last longer and be able to handle 4K content in the near future.

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