ML09

Want to build a sleek 4K-capable home theater PC (HTPC) that will look as good as the 4K UHD TV it's hooked up to? No problem - this guide will set you up with the perfect ultra-quiet, ultra-capable, ultra-modern HTPC! 

For July 2019, we bring our personal favorite HTPC case to this build, the SilverStone ML09. It's incredibly small, yet still has the capacity for some serious gear. continue to believe that in the modern era of streaming media, an inexpensive HTPC should be quiet, capable, and most importantly, compact. Put another way, it's time to say "honey, I shrunk the HTPC!" Trust us - this is going to be a win not just for you, but for everyone else in your household! And thanks to falling prices on every category of PC component, this PC isn't just extraordinarily powerful for its size, it's also a fantastic bargain. It starts with AMD's awesome the Ryzen 5 2400G, a quad-core, eight-thread powerhouse that can boost up to 3.9GHz. It has built-in RX Vega 11 graphics, which is vastly superior to anything available from Intel CPUs, and is on par with a stand-alone $100 GPU. Paired with an advanced B450-based motherboard, it will output the 4K/60Hz deep-color video via HDMI 2.0 that you need to properly drive a 4K UHD TV. And thanks to those price drops we mentioned, we can also equip this system with 16GB of blazing-fast DDR4-3200 RAM, plus the combination of a 500GB PCIe-based solid-state drive and a 2TB hard drive. Even better, you can add three more 2TB hard drives to this system, bringing the total capacity to a whopping 8.5TB.

With all of that said, we know there a lot of HTPC users out there who still want to use add-in graphics cards for gaming, video capture cards for media, and a rack of hard drives for storage. For all those folks, we have our much larger $1,250 High-End HTPC Buyer's Guide, which is based on the SilverStone GD05 case, shown below. It uses a micro-ATX motherboard and provides space for up to three 3.5" hard drives and plenty of full-size expansion cards, all without approaching the size of typical ATX cases!

gd05

To see previous versions of this build, simply flip to the Home Theater PC Archive. By the way, any HTPC needs a good set of peripherals to get the most out of it, so definitely scroll down to the end of this guide to see our favorite multifunction accessories, including wireless keyboards and universal remotes.

We use Amazon's real-time pricing engine, so prices in this guide are always up-to-date. We also include local Amazon links for our readers in the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and Deutschland (Germany), making regional substitutions as necessary. If you decide to purchase any of the products listed below, please use the links provided, which helps support continued development of this guide.

The $750 Home Theater PC - July 2019

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

    The Ryzen 5 2400G APU is by far the best solution for a budget-friendly home theater PC. It has four cores and 8 total processing threads, runs at 3.6GHz with boost to 3.9GHz, and being an "APU" rather than a CPU, includes the powerful RX Vega 11 graphics chip for true gaming and video decompression capability. The Vega 11 is actually equivalent to a $100 GPU on its own!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This APU's 55mm-tall Wraith Stealth cooler is very good, and will fit perfectly in this system.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte B450 I Aorus Pro WiFi

    You get a lot for your money with this B450-based board. It boasts built-in 802.11ac 5GHz networking, Bluetooth, six USB ports, high-end audio, and an M.2 slot for a solid-state drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The best part of this board is that it includes an HDMI 2.0 port, allowing for true 4K/60Hz output.

    Memory:

    Ballistix 2x8GB Sport LT DDR4-3200 CL16

    For this build, we're going with 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, which will ensure you never run out of memory, while maximizing the performance of the Ryzen platform. The 3200MHz speed of this kit is 50% faster than standard DDR4-2133 kits, despite a price that's just a few dollas more.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To attain this kit's rated speed, remember to select the AMP profile in the motherboard's UEFI BIOS.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial P1 500GB NVMe

    Given how quickly solid-state drive prices have dropped recently, you can now get an ultra-fast PCIe-based M.2 drive for not much more than a hard drive! The 500GB version of the Crucial P1 will get your OS and apps running smoothly at a cost per gigabyte that's truly amazing.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive will fit right into the M.2 slot on the motherboard we recommend, and to make installation easy, you'll want a jeweler's-type screwdriver.

Optional Components

    Memory:

    WD Blue WD20SPZX 2TB 2.5"

    If you have a large media storage, you'll want a high-capacity hard drive, and we recommend the latest version of WD's Blue 2TB 5400RPM drive. It's quiet and reliable. You can add up to four of these drives to this system, for a total of 8TB of storage!

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you don't need this extra capacity, simply use some of the money you'll save to upgrade to the 1TB version of the SSD listed above!

    Case:

    SilverStone ML09B

    Silverstone has done some serious engineering work here, and there's simply nothing else like it on the market today. Despite its compact dimensions, the ML09 can fit a mini-ITX motherboard, a low-profile dual-slot video card, four 2.5" drives, and an SFX power supply.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you'll need to remove the included 120mm fan from this case to fit the CPU cooler. The case has just 47mm of CPU cooler clearance when using either an optical drive or slim fan, and 70mm with nothing above To get more tips on how to build it up, check out our hands-on review.

    Power Supply:

    SilverStone ST45SF-V3

    This Bronze-rated SFX PSU is equipped with a 92mm fan, which has the power to push a lot of air at load, while being very quiet at idle.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While you can theoretically fit a longer SFX-L unit in this build, it would require removing the 2.5" drive cage.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Win 10 is by far the best OS Microsoft has ever produced, and it's updated ever Spring and Fall with major new feature releases and security enhancements.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This USB 3.0 version of W10 loads in under 5 minutes!

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti OC LP 4GB

    This dual-slot, low-profile video card is the largest card that will fit in this system, and will max out your video processing capabilities. In addition to offering the full HDMI 2.0 spec, including HDCP 2.2 and 4K/60Hz, its 4GB of VRAM and can easily drive most modern games at 1080p.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is the fastest low-profile GPU ever released!

    Optical Drive:

    Panasonic 12.7mm UJ260 Blu-Ray Burner

    Tap into your catalog of DVD and Blu-Ray discs with this slimline Blu-Ray burner, which can read CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, and can write to all of them as well. Note that to use this drive in the slim case we recommend, you have to add two additional components, an adapter and slim cooler, listed below.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To play commercial movies, you'll need licensed software, and we recommend Cyberlink PowerDVD 18 Ultra.

    Cable:

    Startech Slim-Line SATA Adapter

    To connect the Blu-Ray drive, or any slim optical drive, you'll need this adapter, which converts the drive's laptop-style power connector for use with a desktop-class power supply.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've also tried Startech's all-in-one adapter, but find that it can cause clearance problems.

    CPU Cooler:

    ARCTIC Alpine AM4 LP

    While the AMD processor includes a fine 55mm cooler, this slimmer 42mm cooler is required if you want to use an optical drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more about this great cooler in our full hands-on review.