GD09

If you want the most powerful home theater PC on the planet, this is the system for you! This system 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, great for keeping other members of your household happy. But behind that unimposing facade lurks the power of a seriously tricked-out PC!

For September 2017, this build sticks with the powerful AMD Ryzen 5 1600 six-core CPU, which is incredibly efficient, despite offering the ability to process 12 threads simultaneously, making it ideal for any video task, including streaming or video conversion. And it's more than powerful enough for just about any mainstream gaming scenario, working in tandem with this system's potent GeForce GTX 1050 video card, which also happens to feature the HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 connector you need for proper 4K video output (critical for any true HTPC). Backed up by 16GB of RAM, a 525GB solid-state drive, 1TB of hard drive storage, and a Gold-rated 550W power supply, this is truly a dream HTPC! New this month is an optional components section, which includes a drop-in sound card for serious audiophiles, along with our favorite HTPC keyboard!

To learn how to build up a system in the SilverStone GD09 case we're recommending, simply check out our in-depth review! And for extra help getting up to speed on what it's like working with AMD's Ryzen platform, check out our hands-on Assembly Guide. If you still have questions after reviewing this guide, stop by our Reader Forum. To see what this system can do when pushed to the limits, check out the insane reader build in The TBG Gallery using our recommended case along with high-end liquid cooling! To have a look back at previous versions of this build, check out The Archive.

The $1,100 High-End Home Theater PC - September 2017

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 5 1600

    For a high-end HTPC, you want extreme processing power, and there's no better chip on the market to give you that at a great price than AMD's Ryzen 5 1600. With six cores and twelve threads pumping away at every task, there's no challenge too great for this efficient CPU. It can even be overclocked by about 20% if you really need to push the limits!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU includes a great cooler right in the box, so there's no need to upgrade to an aftermarket model. But if you insist, the Noctua NH-L9x65 AM4 edition is your best bet for this system.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 AM4

    This board provides tons of functionality at a low price. It has seven USB ports, ultra-high-end Realtek ALC1220 audio (perfect for an HTPC!), a great assortment of expansion slots, and an M.2 SSD slot, which you'll be using for this build's solid-state drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the DVI and HDMI outputs on this board will not be functional when used with a Ryzen processor, so make sure to add the video card we recommend below (and attach your monitor or TV to it, not the motherboard!).

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB

    HTPC enthusiasts looking for the holy grail of HDMI 2.0, 1080p gaming capability, and nearly-silent operation need look no further than this GTX 1050 model. Due to its efficiency, it's able to run in passive mode under almost all loads, and even when the fans spin up, they are very quiet. And of course, its HDMI 2.0b port will output 4:4:4/60Hz/4K video perfectly!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, AMD's Ryzen CPU does not have built-in graphics, so you really do need to add a separate video card to run this system!

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 Black

    With AMD's AM4 platfrom, you have to pay close attention to the RAM you use to guarantee compatibility. That's why we recommend this Corsair kit, which is guaranteed to run on the motherboard we've selected for this build. Note that RAM prices have jumped dramatically in the past few months due to an accelerating memory chip shortage. Right now, DDR4-3000 offers the very best price/performance of any type of RAM. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    This kit will run at 2933MHz when the 3000MHz profile is enabled, due to the available multipliers in the AMD memory controller.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 525GB M.2

    This cost-effective 525GB SSD from Crucial is the best mid-range M.2 drive on the market. It's the perfect match for a compact, high-performance system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Going with an M.2 drive means no cables are required to install your SSD. Just note that you'll need a jeweler's type screwdriver to secure it to the motherboard.

    Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 1TB

    Need more space for media storage? No problem! Just add this affordable 1TB drive from Western Digital!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that we're going with a 3.5" desktop drive here due to its low cost, but for an even sleeker build, you could go with a laptop-style 2.5" drive like the Seagate 2TB drive.

    Case:

    SilverStone GD09 ATX Case

    This case is truly one-of-a-kind. It's the smallest ATX model on the market, allowing you to use full-featured, full-sized motherboards, video cards, and power supplies, yet taking up less space than the average micro ATX case. Learn much more about this great case, including tips on how to build it up, in our hands-on review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case comes with a single quiet 120mm fan, although you always have the option to add two more if you so choose. We recommend the Arctic F12 PWM.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova G3 550W

    Measuring just 150mm deep, this ultra-compact power supply will easily fit in the case we recommend, while providing virtually silent operation thanks to its zero-RPM fan mode and ultra-high Gold-rated efficiency.

    The Guru's Tip:

    EVGA has the best customer service in the PSU industry.

    Optical Drive:

    LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner

    If you want access to physical media, 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 to add software support. We recommend Cyberlink's PowerDVD 16 Ultra.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Win 10 is better than Windows 8.1 in every conceivable way. Thank goodness Microsoft listened to critics and came up with an OS that's actually easy to use!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to a price increase on the DVD version of Windows, we now recommend the superior USB flash drive version to all builders. It installs in just a few minutes!

Optional Components

    Sound Card (Optional):

    Creative Sound Blaster Zx (Opt.)

    If you're serious about audio production and playback, you'll want an add-in soudn card. The Zx from Sound Blaster features a 116db signal-to-noise ratio, 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 digital audio connections on this card (both input and output!).

    The Home Theater Keyboard/Trackpad Combo:

    Logitech K830 Illuminated Wireless Keyboard

    If you'll be using your PC 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!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This keyboard is even illuminated, perfect for use in a darkened media room!