The Best $1,000 High-End Home Theater PC Build – July 2021
If you want to build the best home theater PC (HTPC) for under $1,000, this is the system for you! The $1,000 High-End 4K Home Theater PC Build 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 components, which is great for keeping other members of your household happy. Behind that unimposing façade, however, lies the power of a seriously tricked-out PC!
For July 2021, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build features the awesome Intel Core i5-11600K, a six-core, 12-thread CPU that offers fantastic processing power, and more importantly, great onboard graphics, 50% faster than previous-gen Intel graphics. The best part: HDMI 2.0 is now enabled via the 500-series motherboard we recommend, which is a huge benefit to HTPC users, as it allows full 4K/60Hz output to a TV. To keep the Core i5 processor cool and quiet, we recommend an excellent low-profile CPU cooler. In terms of RAM, we recommend a full 16GB of DDR4-3200, which will provide plenty of breathing room for any high-end task, including video production.
On the storage side, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build goes with a 500GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, which offers amazing responsiveness for your operating system and applications. Need more space? No problem – you can always add up to three high capacity hard drives for media storage. You can also add an optional Blu-Ray burner for optical media access. The $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build is powered by a quiet and ultra-efficient power supply and runs in the stylish SilverStone GD09 case, the most compact ATX-class HTPC chassis on the market, which we reviewed right here. Also included in the price is next-gen 802.11ax wireless networking, built into the motherboard. Simply put, the $1,000 High-End 4K Home Theater PC Build is a dream HTPC at an affordable price! By the way, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build has plenty of expansion potential, so be sure to check out the optional components we recommend at the end of this guide!
Throughout this guide, we list product links to Amazon, Newegg, or B&H for our US readers, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU. As always, we’d appreciate if you’d use our product links, which helps support continued development of this and all of our buyer’s guides.
Intel Core i5-11600K @Newegg$270Intel’s Core i5-11600K offers 6 cores and 12 threads that boost up to an amazing 4.9GHz out of the box! It’s built on the Rocket Lake architecture, Intel’s first ground-up redesign since 2015. The 11600K catches up to AMD’s impressive Zen 3-based Ryzen 5 5600X, and yet comes in at a much lower price. Even more important these days is that it has very respectable built-in graphics thanks to the new Intel 750 onboard chip, which makes it infinitely more useful if you don’t want an expensive gaming-specific video card!
This CPU does not include a cooler, so make sure to pick up the one we recommend later in this guide! And one more quick note: while this model is unlocked for overclocking, we are not recommending an overclocking motherboard for this build, but rather a feature-rich board that offers much more for the HTPC enthusiast for the price.
Gigabyte B560 AORUS Pro AX$200
This feature-packed board gives you everything you need for a PC build at a great price. Triple M.2 slots for a high-speed SSDs, eight USB ports (including a Type-C port), three expansion slots, and built-in 802.11ax (WiFi 6) wireless networking plus Bluetooth 5.2.The Guru’s Tip
This board has both HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.4, meaning you can easily run any monitor or TV using the CPU we recommend without a video card in your system!
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black$88Thanks to great price on mainstream RAM, we can now squeeze a whole lot of performance and capacity into your system by going with a 16GB DDR4-3200 kit. It will help you make the most of your snazzy new system, which fully supports this ultra-high RAM speed!
A new feature enabled on B560 and H570 motherboards is official support for DDR4-3200 on Core i5 processors. Previously you would have been limited to DDR4-2666!
Solid-State Drive –
Samsung 980 500GB$65
There’s lots of competition in the SSD market, but SSD pioneer Samsung has put all the other mid-priced offerings to shame with its 980 500GB, launched in early 2021. You simply can’t do better than this awesome SSD, which uses the speedy PCIe 3.0 interface and Samsung’s superior TLC NAND to vastly outperform every other PCIe 3.0 drive! Note that to install this drive, you’ll affix it in an M.2 slot on your motherboard using a jeweler’s-type screwdriver.The Guru’s Tip
We go with a 500GB model here, which is plenty for the OS and all the apps you're likely to load onto an HTPC. If you have serious media storage needs, pick up the hard drive we list in the optional products section below.
SilverStone GD09B-C ATX Case$115This case is the perfect choice for a high-end HTPC. At just under 27 liters, it’s the smallest ATX-class HTPC case on the market, and allows you to use powerful video cards or other expansion cards, plus up to two 3.5″ hard drives and an optical drive. For cooling, it includes one pre-installed 120mm low-noise fan, with room for two more. One more note: this is the newest version, which includes both a USB Type-A port and a USB Type-C port on the front panel, and we’ve made sure to select a motherboard that has the necessary Type-C header.
At 17.32" wide, this case is designed to blend in perfectly with an AV system.
Power Supply –
SilverStone PS-ST55F-PT$110This compact PSU will easily fit in this build, while providing virtually silent operation thanks to its Platinum-rated efficiency and zero-fan mode, which means it’s silent at up to 20% load. Another nice perk are its fully-modular cables, which means you just use the cables you need, keeping things neat in your system.
While you don't need 550W for this build, that's really the starting point for a quality PSU, and this one offers all the full range of premium features that you can actually take advantage of in an HTPC!
CPU Cooler –
Scythe Big Shuriken 3$45The excellent low-profile cooler will fit easily in this system while providing a huge upgrade in terms of noise and temperatures versus most other low-profile coolers. It’s also one of the very few high-performance low-profile coolers that does not obstruct the RAM slots.
The CPU in this system does not include a cooler, so this model isn't optional, it's required! And it's the perfect match for an HTPC thanks to its low noise levels.
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
This USB 3.0 version of W10 will install in under 5 minutes! Just note that it sells out regularly, but you can always go for the downloadable version if you have a free 8GB+ USB drive available.
Hard Drive –
WD Blue 4TB$90 The Guru’s Tip
There's been a bit of a run on hard drives worldwide due to "Chia" cryptocurrency mining, so don't be surprised if this drive is suddenly sold out!
Optical Drive –
LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner$60 The Guru’s Tip
The cable required to connect this to drive are included with the motherboard.
Video Capture Card –
Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2-4K60 HDR10$246 The Guru’s Tip
Note that you'll need to use the motherboard's lower PCIe x8 slot for this card, rather than one of the short PCIe x1 slots.
Sound Card –
Creative Sound Blaster AE-7$220 The Guru’s Tip
You also get a digital audio output on this card, perfect for outputting to an AV receiver.
The Deluxe Home Theater Keyboard –
Logitech K600 TV Keyboard$57 The Guru’s Tip
This combo device will be a lifesaver if you're using your system from the couch!
Total Cost: $1018
- CPU – Intel Core i5-11600K @Newegg ($270)
- Motherboard – Gigabyte B560 AORUS Pro AX ($200)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black ($88)
- Solid-State Drive – Samsung 980 500GB ($65)
- Case – SilverStone GD09B-C ATX Case ($115)
- Power Supply – SilverStone PS-ST55F-PT ($110)
- CPU Cooler – Scythe Big Shuriken 3 ($45)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)