Gene's Feedback:

Listen to Ari, purchase what he recommends using his links, unbox, keep all static electricity under control during the build, be sure to download all drivers (which took me a while to figure out, duh), attach to the system of your choice and enjoy! My son and I built this together and with a couple of YouTube videos we finished things in under 2 hours and we were extremely fortunate that all components worked out of the box. Let me repeat, please purchase your parts using the provided links.

Built: November 2017 

The Box

Well, hey, Gene, thanks so much for the positive feedback! It's loyal readers like you that keep this site up and running. Taking a look at the photos you provided, you and your son definitely did a great job, and we're proud to be able to feature your build in The Gallery!

Gene and his son started with TBG's $1,100 High-End Home Theater PC Buyer's Guide as of November 2017, and then added practically every optional component suggested in the guide to make this system as capable as can be. That included a TV tuner card, an upgraded sound card, a bigger solid-state drive and a huge hard drive for media storage, as well as a very cool keyboard.

Gene was kind enough to pass along a box shot of all the gear that went into his system. It's pretty amazing all of this stuff can fit in the case!

parts

For everyone following along at home, here is a complete parts list including all of the components shown:

Install

And we're pretty serious about how amazing it is that all this gear fit in the SilverStone GD09 case. It is, after all, the smallest ATX case on the market, which makes it the perfect case for a high-end HTPC. You can see that Gene is making very good use out of the additional expansion slots that the ATX format provides. He's got a dual-slot video card, a sound card, and a TV tuner card, and he still has a couple of slots left over in case he wants to add something else, like a WiFi card. Installing this much gear in a micro ATX-based system would mean blocking the video card's fans with another expansion card. In Gene's build, that video card has plenty of space to breath. 

Setup

By the way, you might be wondering where Gene's SSD is. Well, it's hiding under that video card, actually! Yes, indeed, we're a big fan of the M.2 form facor for solid-state drives, as they allow the drive to basically take no space at all in a system, which is pretty amazing.

Another thing we want to point out about this build is that Gene was able to equip it with two additional case fans (the GD09 comes with one fan out of the box). Note not only how good they look (gotta love the white blades on the Arctic fans!), but also that you really do need to use a compact power supply if you want to mount a fan on the left-hand side of the case (the EVGA Supernova 550 G3 is just 150mm long). And whatever you do, please use a modular supply! One last note: we really love the look of AMD's beefy stock cooler that comes with the Ryzen 5 processor. AMD is doing great things to shake up the CPU market, and shipping its CPUs with excellent coolers (ahem, Intel, are you listening) is one of its biggest contributions!

Now, clearly, Gene and his son weren't just building this system up for fun. They had some serious HTPC aspirations, and as can be seen on their AV rack, they have a lot of gear to go along with their new HTPC.  

Thanks again, Gene, for passing along these photos and your positive feedback. We hope you and your son continue to enjoy this HTPC for many years to come!