Best $1000 high-end HTPC Build

If you want to build the best home theater PC (HTPC) for under $1,000, this is the system for you! The $1,000 High-End 4K Home Theater PC Build may be sleek and compact, but it packs in plenty of impressive gear. It features a stylish design that will blend in perfectly with the rest of your AV components, which is great for keeping other members of your household happy. Behind that unimposing facade, however, lies the power of a seriously tricked-out PC!

For December 2020, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build features the Intel Core i5-10400, a six-core, 12-thread CPU that offers fantastic processing power for the price. To keep things cool and quiet, we recommend an excellent upgraded low-profile CPU cooler. On graphics duty, we suggest the GeForce GTX 1650 4GB video card, the perfect pick for connecting the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build to a 4K TV. It's also great for gaming at 1080p, or accelerating media encoding, should you be doing that on your HTPC. In terms of RAM, we recommend a full 16GB, which will provide plenty of breathing room for any high-end task, including video production.

On the storage side, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build goes with a 512GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, which offers amazing responsiveness for your operating system and applications, along with a 1TB hard drive for media storage. You can also add an optional Blu-Ray burner for optical media access. Need more space? No problem - you can always add up to three high capacity hard drives for media storage. The $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build is powered by a quiet and ultra-efficient power supply and runs in the stylish SilverStone GD09 case, the most compact ATX-class HTPC chassis on the market. Simply put, the $1,000 High-End 4K Home Theater PC Build is a dream HTPC at an affordable price! By the way, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build has plenty of expansion potential, so be sure to check out the optional components we recommend at the end of this guide!

To have a look back at previous versions of this build, check out The $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build Archive. And for extra help getting up to speed on what it's like working with AMD's Ryzen platform, definitely check out our hands-on Ryzen Assembly Guide.

The $1,000 High-End Home Theater PC - December 2020

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i5-10400

    For the $1,000 High-End HTPC, you want great processing power combined with amazing efficiency, and there's no better chip to give you that than Intel Core i5-10400. With six high-speed cores and twelve total threads that boost to over 4GHz, it can cut through the toughest of home theater tasks. All that and it's still incredibly efficient, pulling under 65W.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU includes a cooler, but we suggest an upgraded model later in this guide to give you much lower noise levels.

  • Motherboard:

    ASUS Prime H470-PLUS/CSM

    This feature-packed board gives you everything you need for a PC build at a great price. Dual M.2 slots for high-speed SSDs, six USB ports, and six expansion slots.

    The Guru's Tip:

    B550 boards have been in short supply for a while, and at this point, the best place to find them in stock is Newegg, which is where we link to here.

  • Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1650 D6 4GB Ventus @Newegg

    HTPC enthusiasts looking for the holy grail of 4K output, nearly-silent operation, and serious gaming performance need look no further than the GTX 1650. It will run cool and quiet in the $1,000 High-End HTPC, while easily driving any gaming title to a 1080p resolution at maximum settings! And of course this card's HDMI 2.0b port will output 4:4:4/60Hz/4K video perfectly!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Take note: this is one of the very few 1650 Super models that will fit in the $1,000 High-End HTPC. Many are too tall!

  • Memory:

    Patriot 2x8GB Viper Elite DDR4-2666 Grey @Newegg

    This 16GB kit will allow the Ryzen processor your $1,000 High-End HTPC to achieve great performance, thanks to its DDR4-2666 speed rating and large capacity.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This kit's frequency is the highest supported by this system's CPU.

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVMe

    The SSD market has seen a lot of new entries lately, and the most notable is the XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB, by far the best drive at its pricepoint. It features TLC NAND and the ultra-fast PCIe interface, allowing it to blow past more expensive SATA drives! We go with a 512GB model here, which is plenty for the OS and all the apps you're likely to load onto an HTPC.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Just note that you'll need a jeweler's type screwdriver to secure this drive to the motherboard.

  • Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 2TB

    For bulk media storage in $1,000 High-End HTPC, we recommend you start off with WD's Blue 2TB drive. Quiet, affordable, and very reliable, it's the perfect hard drive for a home theater build.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Need more space? Just jump up to WD's 4TB drive, which offers even better value! This system can actually hold three 3.5" hard drives, meaning your total storage capacity is nearly limitless, with NAS-focused models now available in sizes up to 14TB!

  • Case:

    SilverStone GD09 ATX Case

    This case is the perfect choice for $1,000 High-End HTPC. At just under 27 liters, it's the smallest ATX-class HTPC case on the market, and allows you to use powerful video cards or other expansion cards, plus up to two 3.5" hard drives and an optical drive. For cooling, it includes one pre-installed 120mm low-noise fan, with room for two more.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more about this study in compact design in our full review.

  • Power Supply:

    SilverStone PS-ST55F-PT

    This compact PSU will easily fit in the $1,000 High-End HTPC, while providing virtually silent operation thanks to its Platinum-rated efficiency and zero-fan mode, while its fully-modular cables will keep things neat.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While you don't need 550W for this build, that's really the starting point for a quality PSU, and this one offers all the full range of premium features that you can actually take advantage of in an HTPC!

  • CPU Cooler:

    Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Low Profile

    The excellent low-profile cooler will fit easily in this system while providing a huge upgrade in terms of noise and temperatures versus the stock Intel cooler.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We specifically suggest this cooler not only due to the reasonable price, but because it does not obstruct the RAM slots, unlike most low-profile models.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 on USB @Newegg

    Win 10 is a great OS that keeps getting better, as Microsoft releases a major update every Fall and Spring to add features and security. We highly recommend it for the $1,000 High-End HTPC, although we know that daring users will explore the Linux-based options.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This USB 3.0 version of W10 will install in under 5 minutes!

Optional Components

  • Wireless Card:

    TP-Link Archer T5E AC1200/Bluetooth 4.2

    Need to access a wireless network? No problem - this card will add 802.11ac wireless networking to your system. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is one of the rare WiFi cards that also has Bluetooth onboard, which allows you to use Bluetooth wireless peripherals, including headphones!

  • Optical Drive:

    LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner

    If you want access to both DVD and Blu-Ray physical media in your $1,000 High-End HTPC, you can't go wrong adding this well-priced Blu-Ray burner from LG.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To watch Blu-Ray movies, you'll actually need dedicated playback software. We recommend Cyberlink's PowerDVD 19 Ultra.

  • The Home Theater Keyboard/Trackpad Combo:

    Logitech K830 Illuminated Wireless Keyboard

    If you'll be using your $1,000 High-End HTPC from the couch, you definitely need to invest in a wireless input device, and there's no better option than Logitech's K830 keyboard with integrated trackpad! Featuring professional styling and functional backlighting, it looks as great as it works.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Logitech has proven time and time again that it makes the best wireless peripherals on the market, bar none!

  • Sound Card:

    Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

    If you're serious about audio production and playback, you'll want add a dedicated sound card to your $1,000 High-End HTPC. The AE-7 from Sound Blaster features an astounding 127db signal-to-noise ratio, an ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC,along with an Audio Control Module (ACM) that incorporates a built-in microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections, plus a control know to adjust the headphone levels.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You also get a digital audio output on this card.

  • Video Capture Card:

    Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2-4K60 HDR10 PCIe Capture Card

    As the uses of Home Theater PCs evolve, so do the components that go in them. While we used to recommend TV tuner cards and DVR cards, we think these products are now almost entirely obsolete. Rather than ripping content, most high-end PC users are now creating their own! And there's no better add-in card than the Elgato 4K60 Pro to record 4K video directly to your PC, whether from a game console, a 4K video camera, or the PC itself!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need to use the motherboard's PCIe x4 slot for this card, rather than a PCIe x1 slot.