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 gear, which is great for keeping other members of your household happy. Behind that unimposing facade, however, lurks the power of a seriously tricked-out PC!

For March 2020, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build features the awesome AMD Ryzen 5 3600 six-core CPU, which offers six next-gen Zen 2 cores and a total of 12 threads, translating to fantastic processing power. It will easily beat last-gen 8-core CPUs, while using a whole lot less power. We also recommend a B450-based motherboard specifically updated for the latest Ryzen processors. On graphics duty, we go with the GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB video card, which improves upon the original GTX 1650 by nearly doubling memory bandwidth at the same pricepoint. It's a 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 of DDR4-3200, 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 breathtaking operating system and application responsiveness. It's paired with a 2TB hard drive for media storage, plus 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 Gold-rated 550W 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 - March 2020

  • CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 5 3600

    For the $1,000 High-End HTPC, you want amazing processing power combined with amazing efficiency, and there's no better chip to give you that than AMD's Ryzen 5 3600. With six ultra-high-speed Zen 2 cores and twelve total threads that boost to 3.9GHz in multi-threaded tasks and even faster in lightly-threaded tasks, it can cut through the toughest of home theater tasks. All that and it's still incredibly efficient, pulling under 65W. Learn more about this awesome CPU in our full review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU includes a great cooler, so good in fact that you simply do not need to upgrade. Learn exactly how quiet it is in our recent low-profile CPU cooler shootout!

  • Motherboard:

    MSI B450-A Pro Max

    This board is a great pick for the $1,000 High-End HTPC. It provides tons of functionality at a great price, including six USB ports, six PCIe expansion slots, an M.2 SSD slot, and six SATA ports.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that MSI's "MAX" lineup of B450 boards are the only B450 guaranteed to boot up a Ryzen 5 3000-series processor. Use any other B450 board and you may have old firmware on board that won't boot!

  • Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super Windforce OC 4G

    HTPC enthusiasts looking for the holy grail of 4K output, nearly-silent operation, and serious gaming performance need look no further than the new GTX 1650 Super. 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, thanks to its "super-fied" memory subsystem, which offers nearly double the bandwidth of the original 1650 at the same pricepoint! 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! Also be forewarned that the older, obsolete GTX 1650 still sells for the same price as the 1650 Super - don't get fooled into buying one!

  • Memory:

    Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black

    This 16GB kit will allow the Ryzen processor your $1,000 High-End HTPC to achieve maximum performance, thanks to its high speed DDR4-3200 rating. It also offers unbeatable compatibility thanks to its single-rank design, which is easier to drive at high speeds than dual-rank kits.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To get this to run at its rated speed, enable the AMP profile in the motherboard's UEFI interface.

  • Solid-State Drive:

    Sabrent 512GB Rocket NVMe

    The SSD market has seen a lot of new entries lately, and the most notable is the Sabrent Rocket, 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:

    Seasonic Focus GX-550

    Measuring just 140mm deep, this ultra-compact power supply will easily fit in the $1,000 High-End HTPC, while providing virtually silent operation thanks to its excellent Gold-rated efficiency. And its modular cables mean you'll only have the cables that you need in the system, eliminating unnecessary clutter!

    The Guru's Tip:

    While you don't need 550W for this build, it's impossible to find a Gold-rated unit with lower wattage.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    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

  • 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 802.11ax/Bluetooth PCIe Adapter:

    TP-Link Archer TX3000E WiFi 6 / Bluetooth 5 PCIe Adapter

    Need wireless? There's simply no better adapter to buy than the brand-new TX3000E from TP-Link. Packing in blazing-fast next-gen 802.11ax (WiFi 6), it will set you up to take advantage of 4K streaming over gigabit Internet. And as a bonus, it provides Bluetooth 5 as well!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To take full advantage of this card, you'll need a WiFi 6 router, but don't let that stop you. In fact, it's a great way to build out your next-gen system. You do not want to buy a last-gen card for a PC being built in 2020!

  • 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.