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Budget HTPC - First Build

by sparkygman



CPU Clock Rate

3.4 GHz


Built this to use as a Home Theater PC in my living room. Use it to watch ripped movies, TV shows, Blu-rays, surf the web, watch live TV, and DVR. This is my first build, so decided to keep it cheap (just in case I screwed it up!). The AMD A-4 APU works great for this machine, but kinda wish I went with at least the A-6 (if not the A-8 or A-10). I'm also not a huge fan of the case, just because I'm not a fan of the front door (thought I'd like it when I bought it, but it just gets in the way). Still need to work on my cable management too! The case is a lil tight. This build works great with my HD Homerun Prime for live TV and DVR with Windows Media Center. Maybe I'll upgrade the APU and add an SSD for the OS in the future, but for now I love it!

Comments Sorted by:

skemble 24 Builds 4 points 68 months ago

This is an awesome build. Perfect for what it does!

edman545 10 Builds 3 points 68 months ago

I <3 HDHR Prime. It can do uPNP streaming now to of "copy once" channels if you have the latest firmware.

Djangosp2 1 Build 2 points 68 months ago


18hockey 1 Build 2 points 68 months ago

How does everything fit? Would you recommend the case? I'm interested in building one, and that case looks perfect!

sparkygman submitter 1 Build 1 point 68 months ago

Everything fits pretty well. I've still got to work on cable management of the PSU cables a lil bit. It has a removable cage for drive bays/hdd so it makes it really easy to install everything.

mhs0mhs0 2 points 68 months ago

Great build. I'm thinking of doing something similar. Why do you wish you went with an A6 or higher?

sparkygman submitter 1 Build 1 point 68 months ago

If I wanted to do any sort of gaming, the A4 couldn't handle any newer games. But I'm probably building a gaming PC soon, so the A4 is perfect for this type of build.

ryan445678 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

Would the A4 handle N64 and PS2 emulators?

sparkygman submitter 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

Yeah it should be able to handle that pretty well. I was running Skyrim on this PC without issue, with the settings on Low of course.

omni72 5 Builds 1 point 68 months ago

Nicely done! When I saw the first pic I thought we'd get to see another Rosewill R379-M build. Apparently it and the Apex DM-387 are VERY close relatives :D

Sounds like everything is working as desired, plus you have the option to upgrade things as your needs grow. Kudos on a job well done, and enjoy! :)

Sprocket30 2 Builds 1 point 64 months ago

Is the "Logitech K400 w/Touchpad " worth it . I've been looking at that model for awhile .

sparkygman submitter 1 Build 1 point 64 months ago

Yeah, it's really nice for an HTPC setup.

EclipseHD 1 Build 1 point 49 months ago

I like the cables.

therevenga 1 point 36 months ago

aye fellow white 360 owner :D

Destrokk 2 Builds 0 points 68 months ago

Not a bad build for a TV box. However, if you have the media on another PC already, I would have considered http://www.amazon.com/Rikomagic-Android-Rockchip-RK3066-1-6Ghz/dp/B00A0I4YJK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_7#productDetails for a cheaper solution.

PickItApart 0 points 68 months ago

Great build. But I'm left thinking if it's just for media, can't you build something in the $300 price range? (guess the OS adds a big cost to the build if you don't have extra licenses of OS) Your choices are great for the price.

What don't you like about the A4?

omni72 5 Builds 1 point 68 months ago

Plus the Blu-Ray player added another $30-35. Without OS and Blu-Ray it actually comes in right around $300.

sparkygman submitter 1 Build 1 point 68 months ago

Yeah I didn't have an extra license so buying Windows 7 definitely added some cost. I thought about going with Linux, but to use the HDHomerun Prime with my cable company (damn Time Warner!) I have to use Windows Media Center to un-encrypt the channels. So without the OS it would've been $345, so not too bad.

I do like the A4, but if I wanted to do any sort of gaming on this at some point, the A4 couldn't handle it at all. Also, if I'm watching TV and want to rip a DVD or Blu-ray in the background, I do notice a lil bit of a slow down in performance.

PickItApart 0 points 68 months ago

Gotcha. So the A4 struggles with running tv through your HTPC and ripping a DVD? strange, I thought it would be ok for that. Maybe it's a RAM limitation.

sparkygman submitter 1 Build 3 points 68 months ago

I don't know if I would say it struggles, I just notice a little lag in Windows Media Center sometimes.

Probably the only reason I want to upgrade it is because I think I've caught the computer building bug and can't stop looking at computer parts/builds... Lol

PickItApart 0 points 68 months ago

It happens. Why else would I reply? I've got a great build but would love to build another one but have no real use as of yet.

Spacemarine288 -1 points 64 months ago

lol paying for software