Super Cheap HTPC Build (under $300)

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I finally got to test my future HTPC, future because I don’t have a case and some other components to finish it. But still I wanted to test how good or bad it was. Take a look at the current build. Firing it up was quite fun, and I also got a chance to try my hand at over clocking, more on that later.

HTPC Test Build

HTPC Test Build

The components which are going to go in to my HTPC build are:

GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2H LGA 775 Intel G41 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail: $57.99

Intel Celeron E3200 Wolfdale 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E3200 – Retail: $52.99

I borrowed DVD drive, hard drive and power supply (250 Watts) from my old PC which I have been trying to sell off, and 2 GB RAM from my Shuttle Build. In future I plan on getting a Blue Ray burner, and 2 TB hard drive for it.  Lets get back to our Super Cheap HTPC build.

Before I get into the remaining components for the build let me tell you a bit about the MOBO (Motherboard) and CPU. MOBO is a champ it support pretty much every LGA 775 CPU out there. Has decent expansion capability. Only downsides are that it doesn’t have firewire, and the PCI Express x16 is 1.0 and not 2.0. But it has good over clocking capabilities. Onboard video is 256 MB and it runs Windows 7 Aero as a champ.

Now a word about the CPU, it is quite an amazing CPU, don’t let the name Celeron and its 1 Mb L2 cache fool you. It clocks a score of 5.9 out of the box on Windows 7 rating scale. I over clocked it to 2.82 GHz  and it clocks a 6.3. I tested it for the regular HTPC work (playing/recording high def video/TV) and both the MOBO and the CPU came out with flying colors. To top it, the CPU/MOBO combo has very low power consumption too, as reported by some Newegg buyers. So if you just need to build a real cheap HTPC that does its job, go for it.

To complete the build I would recommend the following:
LG 22X DVD Burner: $30.99

Corsair DDR2 800 (PC6400) 2 x 2 GB (4 GB): $46

IN WIN IW-BT610T.300BL Black Steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 300W Power Supply: $49.00

Get a hard drive of your choice and you have a good looking HTPC  for $237+hard drive cost (under $300). These days RAM prices are very high so you are better off buying 2GB RAM for now. It would serve the purpose well, you can later on add 2 more GBs when the price is right or if the need be.

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has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

One Comment on “Super Cheap HTPC Build (under $300)”

  • Villain wrote on 4 May, 2011, 2:46

    I’ve been using a similar setup for my HTPC for almost 2 years now. Even then I built it for under $400:

    Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2H
    Intel E6600
    4GB (2 x 2GB) G.Skill Memory
    640GB WD Caviar Black
    Rosewill case w/ 350W PSU included

    I run 1080p videos on it to my 46″ TV without issues. I’ve thrown .mkv files, .mp4 files, .avi files, and pretty much anything else at it in a Windows 7 x64 build and it hasn’t had any issues yet.

    I haven’t had any problems with the PCI Express being 1.0, and actually have even had my GeForce 430 running on it at different times, just to see if I can eek a little more performance out of it and play some games that the Intel 4500 can’t handle.

    It’s a great setup and well worth the cost for an HTPC.

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