The Best $1,000 High-End Home Theater PC Build – June 2023

By Ari Altman | Published June 1, 2023 | Updated June 1, 2023

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 June 2023, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build offers tremendous performance, thanks to Intel’s Core i5-13500, a 14-core, 20-thread CPU based on the latest Raptor Lake hybrid architecture. It features a potent combination of performance and efficiency cores, allowing it to significantly outperform AMD’s offerings in multi-tasking and content creation. Just as important is its onboard graphics chip, which means you can avoid paying 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 Gen 4 solid-state drive, which will provide incredible responsiveness for your operating system and applications. Need more space? No problem – you can add 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 ultra-fast DDR5-6400 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 low-profile CPU cooler from Thermalright, and for power, we go with an efficient 550W power supply. Also included in the price is next-gen 802.11ax (WiFi 6E) 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 provide product links to Amazon, which 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 i5-13500

    $248
    The 13th-Gen “Raptor Lake” CPUs build upon the breakout success of the 12th-Gen models, Intel’s most impressive release in a decade. The Core i5-13500 is an absolutely productivity powerhouse, thanks to packing in 6 performance cores and an additional 8 efficiency cores, for 14 in total. It can easily beat any AMD CPU anywhere near its pricepoint in productivity and content creation.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU comes with a cooler, but to get the low noise levels HTPC enthusiasts crave, we recommend an aftermarket model later in this guide.

  • Motherboard

    MSI B760 Tomahawk WiFi

    $200
    This B760 board from MSI allows you to tap into the potential of Intel’s latest CPUs a great price. You get a potent a 12+1+1 power design, a PCIe Gen 5 video card slot, three PCIe Gen 5 M.2 slots, 9 USB ports (including a Type-C), plus built-in WiFi 6E.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This board has both HDMI 2.1 and Displayport 1.4, 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

    G.Skill 2x16GB Trident Z5 DDR5-6400 CL32

    $125
    For the ultimate in speed, you must go with DDR5 RAM, but not just any DDR5 RAM, because you need high-frequency DDR5 to blow past DDR4 RAM performance. And that’s what you get with G.Skill’s Trident Z5 kit running at DDR5-6400 with timings of 32-39-39-102 at 1.40V. This is the real deal when it comes to DDR5 performance!

    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_BLACK SN770 1TB NVMe

    $51
    WD knocked it out of the park with its ultra-high-performance, bargain-priced SN770 PCIe Gen 4 drive. 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 5150MB/s and write speeds of 4900MB/s.

    The Guru’s Tip

    With 1TB of ultra-high speed 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 rack.

  • Power Supply

    SilverStone ET550-HG

    $82
    This unit offers Gold-rated efficiency (that’s 90% at 50% load) and plenty of power (550W) in a short chassis, which makes it very easy to install. The best part: with the wattage this system will pull, the power supply will never need to run its fan at high speed, meaning it will operate in silence!

    The Guru’s Tip

    While you don't need 550W for this build, this one offers the full range of premium features that you can actually take advantage of in an HTPC, and sells for an amazing price!

  • CPU Cooler

    Thermalright AXP120-X67 White

    $32
    The 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 can be mounted so it does not obstruct the RAM slots. While the white color scheme of this cooler is very eye-catching, it is also available in a black color scheme.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This cooler includes the necessary mounting hardware to use it with the cutting-edge Intel Socket 1700 platform we recommend.

  • Operating System

    Windows 11 Home (USB)

    $136
    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! This version ships on a convenient USB stick, allowing it to be easily installed by just plugging it in.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 11 is what you want on to take advantage of the advanced hybrid Intel Core architecture!

Optional Products

  • Hard Drive

    WD Blue 4TB

    $68
    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

    $60
    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 Windows 11 doesn't 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

    PowerColor Radeon RX 6650 XT Fighter 8GB

    $280
    Get into your serious PC gaming today with the Radeon RX 6650 XT 8GB. It has plenty of power to tackle any modern game, easily beating every Nvidia GeForce GPU in its price range. And this model has a  powerful yet quiet dual-fan cooler to keep the GPU running at maximum boost!

    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

    $203
    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

    $243
    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 the short PCIe x1 slot.

  • The Home Theater Keyboard/Trackpad Combo

    Macally Bluetooth Keyboard with Touchpad

    $30
    Want to use your PC from the couch? Then pick up this Bluetooth wireless media keyboard 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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