Barry's Feedback:  

The Tech Buyer's Guru was most helpful from inception to completion with the construction of my new HTPC. The last one I built was in 2007 so needless to say much has changed. [TBG] provided tips and suggestions ranging from hardware and software selections to clearing frustrating final setup bugs.

Built: March 2014; Upgraded: April 2014

Inside View

Component List:

  1. Processor: Intel Core i5-4670
  2. Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H87M-D3H
  3. Video Card (upgraded): XFX Radeon R7 250 1GB
  4. Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB
  5. Solid-State Drive: Samsung 840 Evo 120GB
  6. Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB
  7. Case: Silverstone GD05
  8. Power Supply: Seasonic SS-400FL2
  9. Optical Drive: LG 24x DVD Burner
  10. TV Tuner Card: Hauppauge 1213 Dual TV Tuner
  11. CPU Cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken Rev. B
  12. Case Fans: 3x Noctua NF-P12 120mm
  13. Operating System: Windows 7

Look closely at the inside view of Barry's PC and you'll see that the sleek Scythe cooler just barely fits under the optical drive in this build. These are the tight tolerances that PC builders must consider when building compact PCs. Also note that after initially using the motherboard's onboard audio-video processing, Barry upgraded to the dual-slot fanless XFX R7 250 video card, which delivers both audio and video signals via its HDMI output. And a word to the wise - Barry wasn't willing to mess around when it came to noise generated by this system! In addition to his high-end CPU cooler and fanless video card and power supply, he equipped his case with three top-quality Noctua fans, identifiable by their signature beige frames.

The Setup

Barry had an existing silent AV cabinet that he wanted to use for his new HTPC. Note how neatly the micro ATX-based Silverstone GD05 fits - nicely mirroring the size of his new Yamaha RX-A830 Home Theater Receiver. He added a Logitech K400 keyboard to allow easy control of his PC from the couch. The Logitech Harmony One he is displaying here is now discontinued, having been replaced by the Logitech Harmony Ultimate One.