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 March 2019, we continue to recommend the awesome AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, the best multi-tasking CPU available at anywhere near its pricepoint. It's able to process 16 threads simultaneously, making the 2700X ideal for any video task, including streaming or video conversion. Paired with the GeForce GTX 1050 2GB video card, this system can also do double-duty as a gaming PC, and perhaps more importantly for 4K enthusiasts, the GTX 1050 card features the HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 connector you need for proper 4K/60Hz video output. For serious gamers, we now recommend an upgrade to the new ultra-fast GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. In terms of RAM, we recommend 16GB, which will provide plenty of breathing room for any high-end task, including video production. On the storage side, we go with a 500GB solid-state drive for fast operating system and application responsiveness, paired with a high-capacity 4TB hard drive for media storage plus a Blu-Ray burner for optical media access. The system is powered by a silent Gold-rated 550W power supply, cooled by an ultra-quiet Noctua cooler, and runs in the stylish but moderately-priced SilverStone GD09 chassis. Simply put, this is a dream HTPC at an affordable price! By the way, being a full-size ATX PC, this system has nearly limitless 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 Archive. 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, definitely check out our hands-on Ryzen Assembly Guide.

The $1,250 High-End Home Theater PC - March 2019

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 7 2700X

    For a high-end HTPC, you want extreme processing power, and there's no better chip on the market to give you that than AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X. With eight cores and sixteen threads that boost to 4GHz in multi-threaded tasks and even faster in lightly-threaded tasks thanks to its intelligent Turbo mode, it can cut through the toughest of home theater tasks.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU includes a great cooler, but we suggest a quieter one later in this guide.

    Motherboard:

    Asus ROG Strix B450-F Gaming

    This board provides tons of functionality at a great price. It has eight USB ports (including a Type-C port), ultra-high-end Realtek ALC1220 audio (perfect for an HTPC!), a great assortment of expansion slots, and two M.2 SSD slots.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the video outputs on this board will not be functional when used with a Ryzen CPU, so make sure to add the video card we recommend below (and attach your monitor or TV to it, not the motherboard!). The outputs are only supported when using a quad-core Ryzen 5 2400G or Ryzen 3 2200G APU.

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 2GB

    HTPC enthusiasts looking for the holy grail of 4K output, 1080p gaming capability, and nearly-silent operation need look no further than this GTX 1050 model. Due to its efficiency, it requires no power supply connection, while running cool and 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 (the motherboard's ports are non-functional), so you really do need to add a separate video card to run this system!

    Memory:

    Ballistix 2x8GB Sport LT DDR4-2666 SR

    This kit will allow your Ryzen processor to achieve maximum performance. And being a single-rank design, rather than dual-rank like most RAM sticks, it offers better compatibility with the Ryzen platform, meaning you can add two additional sticks down the line without issues.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We now recommend 16GB for any high-end PC.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 3D 500GB M.2

    This 500GB SSD hits the sweet spot in terms of price, capacity, and performance. Harnessing the power of 3D TLC V-NAND, it offers tremendous performance, yet costs less than any other drive on the market. And since it uses the M.2 form factor, it slots right into the motherboard, requiring no cables or brackets. It's the perfect match for a compact, high-performance system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Just note that you'll need a jeweler's type screwdriver to secure this drive to the motherboard. And make sure to install it in the motherboard's upper slot, as the lower slot is only for PCIe drives. This one is SATA.

    Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 4TB

    Hard drive prices keep drop, drop, dropping, and that means 4TB models are now the sweetspot for capacity per dollar. So to store all your media, we suggest the well-regarded WD Blue 4TB, which offers exceptional capacity per dollar and unmatched reliability. With its 5400RPM rotational speed, it offers the ideal blend of speed and low-noise operation, perfect for a media center PC.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Fun fact: a few years back, WD marketed its 5400RPM drives under the "Green" label, which indicated "efficiency." Well, now all low-noise WD drives come under the Blue label, and the Green label has been discontinued.

    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:

    Seasonic SSR-550FX

    Measuring just 140mm deep, this ultra-compact, fully-modular power supply will easily fit in the case we recommend, while providing virtually silent operation thanks to its zero-RPM fan mode and excellent Gold-rated efficiency.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model is even backed by an unmatched 10-year warranty!

    Optical Drive:

    LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner

    If you want access to both DVD and Blu-Ray 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 18 Ultra.

    CPU Cooler:

    Noctua NH-L9X65 SE-AM4

    While the CPU recommend in this guide comes with a very capable cooler, it isn't particularly quiet. So we recommend you go with the AM4 edition of the unrivaled NH-L9x65, which is extraordinarily quiet, while providing ample cooling capacity.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You have to be very careful choosing coolers for the GD09 case listed in this guide. Most tower coolers cannot be installed, and even many downdraft coolers with fans larger than 92mm will be too large, as they'll hit the hard drive caddy. Trust us, we've tried!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10

    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.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Because this build includes an optical drive, we go with the DVD version of Windows 10 to save some money.

Optional Components

    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!

    The Ultimate Universal Remote:

    Azulle Lynk Multifunctional Remote Control

    A lot of readers are interested in controlling their PCs via remote control. Because no modern cases have IR receivers built in, you need something way more advanced - and the Lynk from Azulle is it! Featuring a six-axis gyro, it allows you to "point" at your screen to navigate, and even has a compact keyboard on the back!

    The Guru's Tip:

    See our full review right here!

    The 802.11ac PCIe Adapter:

    TP-Link Archer T9E AC1900

    Add blazing-fast triple-stream 802.11ac wireless networking to your HTPC with this fantastic add-in card.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You could actually equip this system with this card and all the optional cards listed below and still have free slots left over!

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 Windforce OC 6G

    Turn this system into an absolute gaming powerhouse by upgrading it with the new GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GPU. It's a mind-blowing 3x faster than the GTX 1050 listed earlier in this guide, and can easily handle any modern game at resolutions up to 1440p with maximum settings, or even 4K with some reduced settings.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, this is an upgrade to the GTX 1050 listed earlier in this guide - don't buy both!

    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!).

    DVR (Optional):

    Hauppauge Colossus 2 PCIe 1080p HD-PVR (Opt.)

    This video capture card will cater to both TV/movie fans and gamers. You can record TV programs in HD from a cable TV, DVR or satellite TV box, you can grab Xbox , PlayStation or PC game play in 1080p, and you can even set it up for live streaming on Twitch, YouTube or Upstream.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This card will fit in one of the free PCIe slots on the motherboard.