The Best $1,000 High-End Home Theater PC Build – May 2022

By Ari Altman | Published May 3, 2022 | Updated May 4, 2022

SilverStone GD09A True Home Theater Powerhouse!

If you want to build the best home theater PC (HTPC) for $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, plus a lot of room for expansion. 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!

This Month’s Build, Featuring Intel!

For May 2022, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build gets upgrades galore thanks to price drops on a number of key components. That includes the awesome Intel Core i5-12400, a six-core, 12-thread CPU that offers fantastic processing power and great efficiency, along with a shockingly-low price. Just as important is its onboard graphics, which means you can avoid having to pay top dollar for an add-in video card. The best part: HDMI 2.1 is provided on the motherboard we recommend, which is a huge benefit to HTPC users, as it allows beyond full 4K/60Hz output to a TV. And while this system isn’t set up for gaming by default, we list an optional drop-in video card that will turn it into a serious gaming powerhouse!

On the storage side, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build goes with a 1TB PCIe-based M.2 solid-state drive, which will provide amazing responsiveness for your operating system and applications. Need more space? No problem – you can add up to two more M.2 solid-state drives and up to three high capacity hard drives for media storage. You can also add an optional Blu-Ray burner for optical media access. In terms of memory, we recommend a full 32GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, which will provide plenty of breathing room for any high-end task, including video production.

The 4K HTPC Build is housed in the stylish SilverStone GD09 case, the most compact ATX-class HTPC chassis on the market, which we reviewed right here. To keep the CPU cool and quiet, we recommend an excellent compact CPU cooler from Noctua, and for power, we go with an ultra-efficient 550W power supply. Also included in the price is next-gen 802.11ax (WiFi 6) 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!

Parting Thoughts

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, as well as our favorite accessories! Throughout this guide, we list product links to Amazon or Newegg, 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.

Required Components

  • CPU

    Intel Core i5-12400

    $194

    The 12th-Gen “Alder Lake” CPUs are Intel’s most impressive release in a decade, and the Core i5-12400 offers the best value not only among Alder Lake CPUs, but among any CPU ever released! Packing in 6 performance cores and 6 additional threads, it can easily beat any CPU at its pricepoint, and competes with AMD (and older Intel) CPUs that cost 25-50% more.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU comes with a cooler, but we recommend a much quieter one later in this guide.

  • Motherboard

    Gigabyte B660 AORUS Master DDR4

    $190

    This feature-packed Socket 1700 board from Gigabyte is a perfect match for Intel’s latest CPUs. It offers a potent 16+1+1-phase VRM design with 60A power stage, three PCIe Gen 4 M.2 slots, a PCIe Gen 4 video card slot, ten USB ports (including a Type-C port), and integrated WiFi 6 plus 2.5Gbs LAN. It also has high-end audio using the Realtek ALC1220 codec. Note that it conforms to the DDR4 RAM standard, allowing the use of less expensive memory while maintaining similar performance to DDR5-based systems.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This board has both HDMI 2.1 and Displayport 1.2, meaning you can easily run any monitor or TV using the built-in graphics on the CPU we recommend without a video card in your system!

  • Memory

    Patriot 2x16GB Viper Steel DDR4-3600 C18

    $125

    Patriot offers the best performance per dollar of any major RAM manufacturer, and its 32GB kit of DDR4-3600 is proof positive of that. Featuring a fast 3600MHz speed and tight 18-20-20 timings, there is no better option anywhere near the price!

    The Guru’s Tip

    The high speed of this RAM will help not only the CPU, but the built-in graphics too, as it borrows system RAM for its image processing. Just make sure to enable the faster speed in the motherboard's UEFI to take advantage of it!

  • Solid-State Drive

    WD Blue SN570 1TB NVMe

    $90

    WD knocked it out of the park with its high-performance yet bargain-priced SN570. Optimized for excellent real-world performance thanks to WD’s years of SSD development, it easily keeps up with much more expensive drives. This 1TB model can provide sequential read speeds of 3500MB/s and write speeds of 3500MB/s. Note that you’ll need a jeweler’s-type screwdriver to affix it.

    The Guru’s Tip

    With 1TB of capacity, you probably won't need any additional storage, but if you have a huge media collection, see the hard drive recommended in the optional components section later in this guide.

  • Case

    SilverStone GD09-C

    $115

    This 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. And this updated version of the GD09 includes a USB Type-C connector up front that interfaces with modern peripherals.

    The Guru’s Tip

    At 17.32" wide, this case is designed to stack neatly into an AV system.

  • Power Supply

    SilverStone ST55F-GS

    $103

    SilverStone’s Strider series offers exceptional performance at a great price. This model is a perfect example of that, offering up 550W of Gold-rated power, fully-modular cables, a low-noise fan design, and an ultra-compact form factor at just 140mm deep.

    The Guru’s Tip

    While you don't need 550W for this build, that's really the starting point for a quality PSU, and this one offers the full range of premium features that you can actually take advantage of in an HTPC!

  • Low-Profile CPU Cooler

    Noctua NH-L12S

    $60
    If your PC requires a low-profile cooler and has at least 70mm of clearance, you simply can’t do better than Noctua’s NH-L12S. It’s ultra-quiet, incredibly easy to install, and unbeaten in its size class with regards to performance. Note that in the default low-profile mode, it has about 35mm of RAM clearance, but in the taller 85mm mode (with the fan on top), it has about 50mm of RAM clearance.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The default low-profile configuration of this cooler will interfere with the RAM we recommend, so simply mount the fan on the top of the heatsink. The case has plenty of space for it! Note that the optimal setup is for the fan's spinning hub to be visible on top so it's blowing down through the heatsink, rather than pulling up through it.

  • Operating System

    Windows 11 Home USB

    $139

    Windows 11 take everything people loved about Windows 10, and then takes it to 11! It adds significant under-the-hood changes to make it faster and more secure, and of course, the interface is sleek too!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 11 took a while to arrive at retail, but now that it's here, it's what you want on your new system!

Optional Products

  • Hard Drive

    WD Blue 4TB

    $60

    Need a lot of storage at a great price? Then head straight for WD’s Blue series of hard drives. WD Blue drives run cool, quiet, and consume very little energy, making them great for long-term storage of media and other files.

    The Guru’s Tip

    While this drive spins at just 5400RPM, that's a benefit for HTPC use, because it's much quieter than a standard 7200RPM drive, and frankly, that extra "speed" doesn't do anything for reading media files.

  • Optical Drive

    LG 16x Blu-Ray Burner

    $65
    If you want access to both DVD and Blu-Ray physical media in your system, you can’t go wrong adding this well-priced Blu-Ray burner from LG. To watch Blu-Ray movies, you’ll actually need dedicated playback software. We recommend Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 21 Ultra.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that while LG does make an Ultra HD 4K Blu Ray drive, unfortunately neither Intel's latest CPUs nor Windows 11 will allow such discs to play regardless of software used, as the licensing extensions have been deprecated due to security concerns. Essentially, if you want 4K Blu-Ray playback, you need a dedicated player.

  • Video Card

    XFX Radeon RX 6600 XT Speedster 8GB

    $400

    Get into serious PC gaming today with the Radeon RX 6600 XT 8GB. It has plenty of power to tackle any modern game, easily beating every Nvidia GeForce GPU anywhere near its pricepoint!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Turn your HTPC into a gaming hot rod with this drop-in GPU, which is a perfect fit for the case!

  • Sound Card

    Creative Sound Blaster AE-7

    $191
    If you’re serious about audio, you’ll want to add a dedicated sound card to your system. The AE-7 from Sound Blaster features an astounding 127db signal-to-noise ratio, an ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC, along with an Audio Control Module (ACM) that incorporates a built-in microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections, plus a control knob to adjust the headphone levels.
    The Guru’s Tip

    You also get a digital audio output on this card, perfect for outputting to an AV receiver.

  • Video Capture Card

    Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2-4K60 HDR10

    $242
    As the uses of PCs evolve, so do the components that go in them. While we used to recommend TV tuner cards and DVR cards, we think these products are now almost entirely obsolete. Rather than ripping content, most high-end PC users are now creating their own! And there’s no better add-in card than the Elgato 4K60 Pro to record 4K video directly to your PC, whether from a game console, a 4K video camera, or the PC itself!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that to support this card, you'll need to use the motherboard's longer PCIe slots, rather than one of the short PCIe x1 slots.

  • The Home Theater Keyboard/Trackpad Combo

    Microsoft Wireless Media Keyboard

    $27
    Want to use your PC from the couch? Then pick up the wireless media keyboard from Microsoft, with integrated trackpad, because mice are no fun to use on your lap!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This keyboard will even work with some Smart TVs and gaming consoles.

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