Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Part 1
1. Why are you called “Assassin HTPC” ?
“Assassin” is the screen name and alias of one of the founders of Assassin HTPC whose expertise and knowledge is well respected in the HTPC world. Over the past 10 years, he has helped many people build their HTPC and now is making it even easier for you by providing high quality HTPCs to customers, which are ready to use right out of the box.
2. What is a Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC)?
This is open to debate, but in our opinion, any computer that is simply connected to a home theater or HDTV is NOT necessarily a HTPC. To us, a HTPC is a specific computer whose very creation was meant to act as a central hub for entertainment. This goal is echoed in hardware choices for appropriate performance, minimizing heat and decreasing noise. It should be able to handle all HD video and audio without issues, without overspending on performance that you will never use in the HTPC platform. It also should have enough storage (or be attached via a network to enough storage) to playback various HD file types, regardless of size. It also should be able to handle 3D video, music, act as a TV tuner and DVR if needed, surf the internet, stream online content such as netflix and amazon prime, play classic games as an emulator, download and playback torrent files, view family pictures and movies, be capable of playing modern games with an added gaming card, as well as acting as a general PC if necessary.
3. What is involved in making and setting up a HTPC?
To have a HTPC, you not only need to be proficient at building a PC, but even more importantly you must have a great deal of expertise in setting up the software and compressor-decompressors (codecs). For the novice HTPC user this will take literally dozens of hours spent in building, troubleshooting, installing and configuring your HTPC. We have the expertise, experience and knowledge to do all of this for you.
4. Why is an Assassin HTPC better than a PC at one of the big box stores like Best Buy or online giants like Dell?
Put yourself in the mind of the CEO at a large PC company. Your customers want to buy stats — specific CPU, “x” amount of RAM and hard drive space, etc. These companies take the lowest bid to attain these stats without customers knowing the difference. We have the exact opposite philosophy. We believe a computer should be much more than just stats. We build HTPCs with only the best consumer grade components. Each piece of hardware is researched and chosen individually. We have a “no cut corners” approach to our hardware selection, which results in a HTPC with impeccable quality both inside and out.
The large PC companies also often use proprietary connections on many of their components. That means that in 3 years if your power supply decides to quit, you have to either buy a new one from the large PC company (assuming they have any) or buy a completely new PC, as these parts are not always readily available.
Another thing that many of the large PC companies do is hinder some of the options in bios, resulting in decreased performance or flexibility in options. This will never be the case with an Assassin HTPC.
Also if you have ever bought a PC from a large company, you undoubtedly noticed the boatload of bloatware that comes preloaded on your PC. This is software that the large PC company was paid to include on your PC by other companies. These programs usually run at startup automatically and are very difficult to remove. Even if you took the time to remove all of the programs manually, you are still left with numerous changes to your Windows installation, which slows down your computer. We install only the absolute minimum to ensure your HTPC operates properly, without including any bloatware.
Finally, you will notice that our HTPCs are usually about the same price or even less than one from the large PC companies. This is all accomplished while having better quality parts, having a fully operational and unlocked bios, and including absolutely no bloatware.
5. How is an Assassin HTPC better than one I can build myself?
Our parts selection is heavily researched and our HTPCs are professionally built. The factor that sets us apart is our expertise in building Home Theater PCs. Your Assassin HTPC will come pre-assembled with Windows 7 installed and your bios optimized for the components in your machine. The heart and soul of the HTPC is the user interface and media playback, which will also be setup and ready for you to use when you receive your HTPC. After viewing a few short tutorials included on your Assassin HTPC, you will be ready to begin adding and enjoying media within minutes. Compare our systems to the dozens of hours that it would take you to build, troubleshoot, install and configure software on a HTPC that you attempted to build.
6. What software is included on an Assassin HTPC?
Our HTPCs are available fully loaded with all the software necessary to begin using your HTPC within minutes of removing it from box. Through our experience and research, we have not only installed and optimized Windows 7 based on your hardware, but also have installed and configured the core programs that you will need to enjoy your HTPC. Your HTPC will come with all necessary software required to begin enjoying any media format within minutes. We have made it easy for you to “drop” your media into the appropriate folders to begin enjoying it almost immediately. We’ve also included our guide to show you step-by-step how to use your new HTPC.
In short, we have taken out most of the guess work on how to operate your new HTPC, which will save you many frustrating hours of setup. Owning a HTPC has never been easier. If you decide that you would like the machine without the software so you can load your own, we can do that too!
7. Would this make a good “regular” PC?
Absolutely. These HTPCs use the most current technology available and would make an outstanding “regular” PC as well. Currently PCs with SSDs are very limited for purchase and often cost well over $1,500. We have one for less than $1,000.
8. Does a HTPC make a good present?
Of course! A HTPC really is the ultimate gadget. A HTPC makes an excellent present, especially to the man/woman that believes they have everything. We’ve built them as presents for all genders and ages. Gifts for men, women, families, college students, service members, grandparents….literally everyone.
9. How can a HTPC save me money?
Because of all the capabilities of a HTPC, many users end up either cancelling or lessening their subscription to other services (cable subscriptions, online movie rentals, movie ticket purchases, bluray purchases, etc). In our experience, most customers are able to cut at least $20 and $50 from their lives each month from subscription and entertainment services they no longer need. Here is an example of one HTPC user’s monthly bill before and after buying a HTPC from us!
10. How much information can I store on an Assassin HTPC?
Each HTPC comes with a 2TB hard drive (that’s 2000 gigabytes) standard. The average mp3 is 4MB, which would allow storage of 500,000 songs. The average HD movie is 2-4GB, which would allow storage of 500-1000 HD movies. If you run out of space on the hard drive, internal (depending on case) or external hard drive(s) could be easily added to double, triple or even quadruple the amount of available storage.
11. What other accessories should I consider purchasing initially?
Depending on how much functionality you want from your HTPC and what components you may already own, the minimum recommended system is: the HTPC system, a keyboard/mouse combo, a HDMI cable, and a wireless internet card/adapter if you are unable to run a wired internet connection to your system. If you do not have these items, check out our optional parts for a list of recommended parts that have been tested to be compatible with our systems. As always, if you have any questions please contact us!
12. Why don’t you just include all accessories in your pricing?
Our HTPCs are all custom built. One way we keep costs down for you is by not included extra options you may never use. For example, if you don’t ever plan on using your HTPC to watch live HDTV, then you shouldn’t have to pay to have a HDTV tuner card installed. This ensures you only get exactly what you need and you only pay for what you use. Don’t worry though, if you’d like to add features to your system after you’ve already received it, you always have that option with us.
13. Can my Assassin HTPC replace my TiVo or DVR?
Absolutely. By using an antenna, you can capture free HD TV channels. Your new HTPC has built in DVR software if you add a tuner device. Cable card device tuners are available for purchase as well. Most consider the uncompressed, over the air HD signal to be the highest quality HD signal you can get. Contact us for additional details.
14. How long will it take to get my Assassin HTPC once I order?
Because each Assassin HTPC is custom built for our customers, please allow up to 21 business days to receive your finished computer from the time the order is placed. Often times it may arrive sooner, but customization takes time and each Assassin HTPC is custom built to order.
15. What is a SSD and why should I get one?
A SSD (solid state device) is a storage device with no moving parts, no heat production and blazing fast transfer times. These devices are many times faster than the typical hard drives found in the majority of computers today. Utilizing a SSD results in blistering startup times and quick Windows response times. SSDs represent the most cutting edge technology at this time, and in a few years will be standard on most machines. Our machines offer this amazing technology, today, for a fraction of what the others charge — if they even offer this technology at all.
16. Are you a licensed Media Browser installer and what does that mean?
Yes. Being a licensed installer means that we have paid Media Browser a licensing fee to be able to use their excellent software. It also means that you as an Assassin HTPC customer will get a version with all plug-ins unlocked, free of charge. We take care of all of this for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Part 2
1. Is there some sort of step-by-step guide on how to set all of this up?
There is now! Browse thru our blog, where you’ll find all of our illustrated guides on how to set everything up to get started.
2. I have never built a PC. Can I do this?
You can do it. However, there are also companies such as ours that specialize in custom built HTPCs.
Here is an excellent step-by-step guide to help with building a PC
3. I can’t get this thing to post or get to the bios screen. What do I do next?
You need to do a few tests of your motherboard to help diagnose or rule-out any problems. The links below are great places to start troubleshooting before posting your problem for others to help solve.
POST test a motherboard
Motherboard does NOT post troubleshooting
4. What’s the best way to get started with picking my pieces?
First, measure the space where you are putting your HTPC so you know your size constraints. Then, find a case that will fit, making sure to leave at least 2-3” behind the case for cabling. Next, find the size motherboard that fits into your case and set a budget. Finally, select parts that will suit your needs and fit into your budget.
5. What’s the difference between ATX, micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards?
The main differences are the size and number of expansion slots each can offer, but the performance is roughly identical over a given platform. Builders that want to match the size of their other AV equipment may be interested in the micro-ATX form factor, as the size of the case for those motherboards is very similar to the average width and depth of your AV receiver. Unless you are using a tower case, the ATX is likely too large to blend in with your other AV gear (although this is perfectly fine and in fact often desired if you are hiding your HTPC in a cabinet or AV media closet). Finally, the mini-ITX is a great option if you want a very small HTPC for your main area, bedroom, kitchen, RV, etc. It’s counter-intuitive, but usually the smaller the motherboard the higher the price.
6. Should I buy 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of RAM?
You will need at least 4GB. We recommend 8GB because you can usually get 8GB for $20-$30 more than 4GB, which we find to be well worth the extra cash. If using multiple extenders to play media on other HDTVs, you should definitely consider upgrading to 8GB or 16GB for optimum performance.
7. Why do you recommend Windows 7 64 bit instead of 32 bit?
Previously, there was concern that 64 bit systems would have compatibility issues. However, today the mainstream PC world is 64 bit and will be in the foreseeable future. We posted on AVS Forum, asking bluntly for anyone to post ANY compatibility issues they had with using a 64 bit OS on their HTPC. We never received any posts of a single example of incompatibility. If you are going with all new parts, then go 64 bit. If you are using an older TV tuner card, software, etc, then you may consider 32 bit or be sure all your hardware and software will work with 64 bit.
8. What is the single best upgrade I can make to my HTPC for performance?
Easy! Installing a SSD, followed (not so closely) by additional RAM. SSD is absolutely NOT a necessity, but is very nice to have due to its ability to store the OS for fast boot and response. However, a Green hard drive is fast enough to run your OS.
9. Should I overclock my HTPC?
No. There is simply no reason. The i3 has PLENTY of power and overclocking will add heat and noise with no noticeable benefit.
10. Why won’t I need a bigger PSU? 300-400 watts seems awfully small, doesn’t it?
No. Your HTPC will draw only 40-60 watts even at load. Spending money on a larger PSU is a waste, in our opinion. Many people on AVS use a PICO system, which provides 120 watts or so without any difficulty.
11. Is there an online power calculator that you like so that I can calculate my needs?
This calculator seems to be pretty accurate. Set your CPU usage at 50% for this calculation, as your HTPC will likely not use much more than that – especially if building an i3 HTPC.
12. Can these builds bitstream HD audio over the HDMI cable?
Yes. All of our builds are capable of this with no additional sound or video card required.
13. What’s the best way to add (or not add) thermal paste/compound to the CPU and CPU fan?
Our builds run very cool. There are 3 options and all are acceptable: 1) Don’t add any paste. 2) Scrape off factory compound and add your own, such as Arctic Silver. 3) Add your own to the stock compound.
14. Do I need USB 3.0?
No, not really, but it will probably be nice to have in the future as it will become more popular.
15. I don’t want to buy an optical drive. How can I install Windows from a USB flash drive?
This software has been tested and is proven to work.
16. If I use one large hard drive, why should I make a partition for the OS?
We think Wikipedia says it best…
Creating more than one partition has the following advantages:
– Separation of the operating system (OS) and program files from user files. This allows image backups (or clones) to be made of only the operating system and installed software.
– Having an area for operating system virtual memory swapping/paging.
– Keeping frequently used programs and data near each other.
– Having cache and log files separate from other files. These can change size dynamically and rapidly, potentially making a file system full.
– Use of multi-boot setups, which allow users to have more than one operating system on a single computer. For example, one could install GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows or others on different partitions of the same hard disk and have a choice of booting into any compatible operating system at power-up.
– Protecting or isolating files, to make it easier to recover a corrupted file system or operating system installation. If one partition is corrupted, none of the other file systems are affected, and the drive’s data may still be salvageable. Having a separate partition for read-only data also reduces the chances of the file system on this partition becoming corrupted.
– Raising overall computer performance on systems where smaller file systems are more efficient. For instance, large hard drives with only oneNTFS file system typically have a very large sequentially accessed Master File Table (MFT) and it generally takes more time to read this MFT than the smaller MFTs of smaller partitions.
– “Short Stroking”, which aims to minimize performance-eating head repositioning delays by reducing the number of tracks used per hard drive.The basic idea is that you make one partition approx. 20-25% of the total size of the drive. This partition is expected to: occupy the outer tracks of the hard drive, and offer more than double the throughput — less than half the access time. If you limit capacity with short stroking, the minimum throughput stays much closer to the maximum.
For example a 1 TB disk might have an access time of 12 ms at 200IOPS (at a limited queue depth) with an average throughput of 100 MB/s. When it is partitioned to 100 GB (and the rest left unallocated) you might end up with an access time of 6 ms at 300 IOPS (with a bigger queue depth) with an average throughput of 200 MB/s..
17. Okay. You’ve sold me on the partition. How do I do it?
It’s a good idea to perform a windows install with ONLY your OS drive connected in order to keep from accidentally installing it on the wrong drive. If you have a SSD and a storage drive (like the 2TB Green), only connect the SSD or OS drive. If you only have a SSD, there is no reason to partition anything. If you only have a large drive (like the 2TB Green), then this is how to partition your drive for the OS.
***This is just a generic example. Screen shot specifics (like size of the drive) will vary.***
Choose custom install.
You should see your hard drive. Select Drive options advanced.
For the size select 50000 (roughly 50GB).
Windows will tell you that it is going to make a partition. Tell it ok.
Now you should see your “original” hard drive minus the 50GB partition and a “new” hard drive which is the 50GB partition that you just made. There will also be a 100-200MB reserved partition there for windows. Ignore that and leave it alone. Select your 50GB partition and install windows there.
18. I’ve completed the partition and install but I don’t see the rest of my hard drive. Why is this?
You need to tell windows to make it an active hard drive. To do this:
– Right click on My Computer
– Click on Manage
– Under Storage click Disk Management
– Right-click the unallocated volume that you want to format and then click Format (located in the bottom right area) or Simple Volume
– There may be a “wizard” that pops up. Follow the instructions to make a quick format of your simple volume.
– Your drive should now show up under My Computer
19. My mediabrowser doesn’t look as good as yours. What are your settings?
We use the pearl theme with the coverart plug in. Unfortunately to use these requires a $10 donation to mediabrowser. See the bottom of the faq for a more detailed guide.
20. Is there a list of free plug-ins and other HTPC software that I can use?
Absolutely. Take a look here.
21. Is there some sort of guide that can help me setup windows media center?
Absolutely. Look at this option right here at AVS.
22. How do I add all my files to mediabrowser so they show up?
23. Are there sample HD Audio/Video files that I can download to check all the various different HD formats?
24. What’s this whole 24p issue?
Movies are shot at just under 24 frames per second — 23.976 fps to be exact. Many HTPC options, including the Intel SB and Clarkdale, can only output at 24.000 fps. The result a dropped frame every few minutes while watching a movie. Personally we, nor anyone we have ever built a HTPC for, has ever noticed or complained about this effect. So to us, it is simply not an issue and is way overblown. However, if you are a purist you may want to add a discrete video card such as the inexpensive ATI 5450 (about $30) to your build which can output 23.976 natively. What is even better is to try the i3, and if you do notice this effect add the $30 card at a later date. Chances are you won’t notice it at all.
25. What’s IDE and AHCI and which one should I use for my hard drive?
In most cases you should use AHCI. Here’s a pretty good summary.
26. My PSU cable only has a 8 pin connector and my motherboard needs the large power connector and a 4 pin connector. What do I do?
The 8 pin connector will separate into 2 four pin connectors. Separate them and use the appropriate one in the 4 pin slot.
27. Where do all of these cables connect to the motherboard to the Header and how do I know which ones are positive and negative?
This is how your motherboard communicates with your case. The power switch, reset button (if available), hard drive light (if available), speaker (if available) etc are all here to be connected. It is IMPERATIVE that you look at your motherboard manual to determine which cable connect where.
This is how to determine which cables are positive and negative:
Black or white is negative.
Colors are positive.
Triangle usually is negative.
28. My case fans are a little loud. How can I slow them down and make them quieter?
The is pretty easy to do but requires you to reduce the voltage to your fan. Most stock case fans run at 12 volts but can run easily at lower voltages. For instance a1200rpm fan at 12v will run at 700rpm on 7v. This can be done by powering the fan off a different rail (cable) than normal. Here’s how…
Locate a molex connector that is not being used by any of your other hardware:
This is how it normally connects to your case fans:
Summary of possible options:
Alternatively there are other options like adjustable fans, thermal sensing fans and PWM (pulse width modulation) fans – of course these come at an additional expense and the above solution may fix your fan issue for free.
29. I have all of these connectors coming off the power supply. Where do they go?
PSU manufacturers often try to do there best to build a “one size fits all” PSU. What that means is that most PSUs will have left over connectors that may not apply to your board or that there may be extra. Consult your motherboard and case owner’s manuals closely for what connections need to be made. Then take all the remaining connectors and tuck them safely out of the way wherever you can inside the case.
30. Will I have enough of those connectors for everything?
In most cases – yes. However some of the smaller mini-ITX cases have only 2 SATA power supply connectors so take a close look and plan accordingly. There are molex to SATA adapters that you can use to turn an unused molex plug into a SATA plug. You also can buy an adapter to split 1 molex/SATA connection into 2. Again, plan accordingly — especially if you have a hard drive, optical drive and SSD in a mini-ITX case to make sure you have the connections you need.
31. Okay my HTPC is built but its not filling the entire screen. What do I do?
If you have an older TV, this may be especially true as they were not built to work with a PC attached. These are the steps to try to get the best picture for your screen.
1. Read your manual. Find out your TVs native resolution. Set this as your resolution.
2. Set your TV to “just scan” or equivalent to enable 1:1 pixel mapping.
3. Some TVs need the PC to be connected to a specific HDMI connection (like HDMI1) to work properly. See if this is in your manual and if not try the different HDMI connections on your TV.
4. Some TVs need to have the HTPC HDMI input labeled as “PC”. So for instance, you will need to change “HDMI1” to “PC” if your TV supports this feature.
5. If all the above steps fail to give you the perfect picture, then it is very acceptable to use Intel’s built-in over/underscan tool. Right click on the desktop and go into the Intel Graphics settings and this is how you adjust your screen:
32. Is there a way to clone my OS to another hard drive?
Yes, and you can do this for free using Windows 7 “Backup and Restore” feature in about 30 minutes as long as the target drive is equal to or larger than the original OS drive.
Go to Start, then All Programs, then Maintenance, then Backup and Restore. On the left select “Create a System Image”. Use an external drive to backup the image file. At the end of this process it will ask you to make a Start-Up Boot disc. Insert a DVD and burn the files onto the disc. Then turn off your HTPC and disconnect the previous OS drive and connect your SSD drive. Boot up your HTPC with the new Start-Up Boot disc in the DVD drive — keep the external hard drive connected during this whole process. Windows repair should now boot from the disc and search for image files. Now the image will be moved (cloned) onto your new OS drive. Everything will be the exact same as your old drive.
33. I want to install a SSD later. Is there a way to clone my OS partition and install it on a SSD later?
Yes, although the system image technique above cannot be used to do this due to technical problems. These are some programs to accomplish this task:
Paragon (used and approved by us, but costs $20)
Acronis True Image (free for WD drives)
34. Okay I have a SSD. Any tips on how to make it even faster?
Follow these tips to make your SSD even faster…
|Increase System Speed
Description: Indexing creates and maintains a database of file attributes. This can lead to multiple small writes when creating/deleting/modifying files. Searching for files will still work.
Instructions: Start Menu -> Right-Click Computer -> Manage -> Services and Applications -> Services – > Right-Click Windows Search -> Startup type: Disabled -> OKDisable defragmentation
Description: Defragmenting a hard disk’s used space is only useful on mechanical disks with multi-millisecond latencies. Free-space defragmentation may be useful to SSDs, but this feature is not available in the default Windows Defragmenter.
Instructions: Start Menu -> Right-Click Computer -> Manage -> Services and Applications -> Services – > Right-Click Disk Defragmenter -> Startup type: Disabled -> OKDisable Write Caching
Description: There is no cache on the SSD, so there are no benefits to write caching. There are conflicting reports on whether this gains speed or not.
Instructions: Start Menu -> Right-Click Computer -> Manage -> Device Manager -> Disk drives -> Right-Click STEC PATA -> Properties -> Policies Tab -> Uncheck Enable write caching -> OKConfigure Superfetch
Description: Frees up RAM by not preloading program files.
Instructions: On second glance, I would recommend leaving this one alone. However, there are some customizations that you can follow in the post below.Firefox – Use memory cache instead of disk cache
Description: If you use Firefox, there’s a way to write cached files to RAM instead of the hard disk. This is not only faster, but will significantly reduce writes to the SSD while using the browser.
Instructions: Open Firefox -> Type about:config into the address bar -> Enter -> double-click browser.cache.disk.enable to set the value to False -> Right-Click anywhere -> New -> Integer -> Preference Name “disk.cache.memory.capacity” -> value memory size in KB. Enter 32768 for 32MB, 65536 for 64MB, 131072 for 128MB, etc. -> restart FirefoxFree up extra drive space
Disable the Page File
Description: Eliminate writing memory to the SSD, free over 2GB of disk space. Warning – If you run out of memory the program you’re using will crash.
Instructions: Start Menu -> Right-Click Computer -> Properties -> Advanced System Settings -> Settings (Performance) -> Advanced Tab -> Change -> Uncheck Automatically manage -> No paging file -> Set -> OK -> Restart your computer
Alternatively, if you want to play it safer, you can set a custom size of 200MB min and max.Disable System Restore
Description: Don’t write backup copies of files when installing new programs or making system changes. Can free up between a few hundred MB to a couple GB. Warning – Although unlikely, if a driver installation corrupts your system, there won’t be an automatic way to recover.
Instructions: Start Menu -> Right-Click Computer -> Properties -> Advanced System Settings -> System Protection Tab -> Configure -> Turn off system protection -> Delete -> OKDisable Hibernate
Description: You may free up 1GB of space on the SSD if you have 1GB of memory, 2GB of space if you have 2GB memory. You will lose the hibernation feature which allows the equivalent of quick boots and shutdowns.
Instructions: Start Menu -> Type cmd -> Right-Click the cmd Icon -> Run as Administrator -> Type powercfg -h off -> Hit Enter -> Type exit -> Hit Enter
35. Can I control WMC from my iPhone or iPad?
You can with iRule. Here is a link to a step by step tutorial.
36. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to just buy a Dell?
Cheaper? Yes — in both dollars and especially in quality. Build your own. You really do get what you pay for. That’s why you are here? Right?
37. Where did you mediabrowser appearance guide go?
The AVS servers were giving us errors as we had way too much data on our first page of this thread so we have moved them over to our blog.
38. I accidentally installed my SSD in IDE mode. How do I change this to AHCI without a complete re-install of Windows?
There’s actually a Microsoft “Fix-It” to solve this issue. You don’t need to reinstall. With the PC still in IDE mode and booted into Windows 7, run this, then reboot, enter the BIOS and change it to AHCI. Save BIOS settings and restart. Windows will load, you’ll get a message about a driver being installed (for your SSD) and then told to reboot. Reboot and now you’re good to go.
39. I put my HTPC to sleep and it wakes up a few minutes later. What gives?
The first step is to see what is waking your HTPC and try to change it. Open Command Prompt (Start Menu->All Programs->Accessories->Command Prompt).
40. Assassin, you’ve built a lot of HTPCs. You must be constantly upgrading your own to the “best”, right?
Nope. I built my HTPC in 12/2009 and it is still going strong. It does everything that I need and want it to and it is quiet and efficient. I don’t do 3D, so there is no need for me to upgrade. My HTPC consists of an Intel e5200 Core2Duo CPU, Gigabyte LGA775 motherboard, ATI Sapphire 5450 fanless video card, Corsair 4GB DDR2 RAM, WD Green 640GB Hard drive (OS and some storage), WD Green 2TB Hard drive (storage), DVD drive, Antec NSK2480 case with 380 Greenwatts PSU, Rosewill keyboard/mouse combo, and Geminii S CPU cooler/fan. If you spend your time picking your components you should be able to build a HTPC that will last you many years as well.
Edit (07/2011): Finally upgraded my HTPC from 2008. Now I am using a Mini-ITX case, 2x2TB HD, 64GB SSD, i3 2100, 4GB G.Skill DDR3 RAM and a Bluray player.
PICS & SCREENSHOTS
Mid tower custom build completed for Leon in New York complete with software installation and configuration.
Sandy Bridge i3 CPU, 4GB DDR3 1600 RAM, 64 GB SSD SATAIII, 2TB Green Drive, Modular PSU, Bluray
Example of Assassin HTPC screen
Wall E 1080p DTS-HD
Here are the first pictures of our first line of HTPCs – The Assassin Mini-ITX.
This model has the following specs. This is another one of our “no cut corners” builds:
- Intel 2100t Sandy Bridge i3 CPU
- Mini-ITX Motherboard with USB 3.0, SATAIII, eSATA, AHCI capable, Digital Audio Optic Output
- 40 GB SSD
- 2TB Hard Drive
- Bluray Drive
- 4GB DDR3 1333 RAM
- Case and PSU
- Windows 7 OS installed
- Bios Configured
- HTPC software setup and configured to be used out of the box
Assassin Mini-ITX and 32″ Samsung test HDTV
Kill-a-Watt Meter at Idle: 30-35 watts
Kill-a-Watt Meter while playing Avatar 1080p
Avatar 1080p playing on test HDTV
These are some screenshots that I took on an actual Assassin HTPC once it was setup and loaded with some of the owner’s media. All Assassin HTPCs come configured with very simple instructions. All you have to do is add your media to a few folders (which we create for you as well) and then follow a few steps in our included guide. The HTPC does the rest.
HTPC made much much easier!