The Best $1,000 High-End Home Theater PC Build – February 2023
A 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 February 2023, the $1,000 High-End 4K HTPC Build gets a huge shot of performance in the form of the Intel Core i5-12600K, a ten-core, 16-thread CPU, which offers fantastic processing power, along with a new low price. 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 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 low-profile CPU cooler from Scythe, and for power, we go with an ultra-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!
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.
Intel Core i5-12600K$238The 12th-Gen “Alder Lake” CPUs are Intel’s most impressive release in a decade, and the Core i5-12600K offers the best value of the bunch. Packing in a total of 10 cores (6 performance and 4 efficiency), plus an additional 6 threads, it’s the best of both worlds: enough fast cores for light-threaded apps to shine, plus additional cores for serious multi-threaded work.
This CPU does not come with a cooler, so make sure to pick up the one we recommend in this guide. Also, do not buy the 12600KF - it doesn't have built-in graphics and will not work in this system!
MSI MAG B660 Tomahawk WiFi DDR4$185This value-packed Socket 1700 board from MSI is a perfect match for Intel’s latest CPUs. It features a potent 12-phase VRM design with 60A power stage, three PCIe M.2 slots (two being full-speed PCIe Gen 4×4), a PCIe Gen 4 video card slot, nine USB ports (including a Type-C port), and integrated WiFi 6 plus 2.5Gbs LAN. Note that it conforms to the DDR4 RAM standard, allowing the use of less expensive memory while maintaining similar performance to DDR5-based systems.
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!
Corsair 2x16GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3600$83This Vengeance LPX kit from Corsair provides plenty of 32GB capacity, thanks to its dual 16GB sticks. Plus, they are running at a fast 3600MHz with impressive 18-22-22 timings for excellent all-around performance on any platform!
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$90WD 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.
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.
SilverStone GD09-C$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. And this updated version of the GD09 includes a USB Type-C connector up front that interfaces with modern peripherals.
At 17.32" wide, this case is designed to stack neatly into an AV rack.
Power Supply –
SilverStone ST55F-GS$96SilverStone’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.
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 –
Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Rev. B$50The 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. The Rev. B version of this cooler uses the enhanced Kaze Flex II fan, spinning at up to 1800RPM, plus a socket 1700 bracket in the box for Intel systems.
This cooler can be positioned several ways, and in this system, you want it to overhang the motherboard I/O shroud, rather than the RAM slots, as the case's hard drive cage sits right over the RAM.
Operating System –
Windows 11 Home USB$139Windows 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!
Windows 11 took a while to arrive at retail, but now that it's here, it's what you want on your new system!
Hard Drive –
WD Blue 4TB$65 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$55 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 –
PowerColor Radeon RX 6650 XT Fighter 8GB$300 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$210 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$231 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 The Guru’s Tip
This keyboard will even work with some Smart TVs and gaming consoles.
Total Cost: $996
- CPU – Intel Core i5-12600K ($238)
- Motherboard – MSI MAG B660 Tomahawk WiFi DDR4 ($185)
- Memory – Corsair 2x16GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3600 ($83)
- Solid-State Drive – WD_BLACK SN770 1TB NVMe ($90)
- Case – SilverStone GD09-C ($115)
- Power Supply – SilverStone ST55F-GS ($96)
- CPU Cooler – Scythe Big Shuriken 3 Rev. B ($50)
- Operating System – Windows 11 Home USB ($139)
- Hard Drive – WD Blue 4TB ($65)
- Optical Drive – LG 16x Blu-Ray Burner ($55)
- Video Card – PowerColor Radeon RX 6650 XT Fighter 8GB ($300)
- Sound Card – Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 ($210)
- Video Capture Card – Elgato 4K60 Pro MK.2-4K60 HDR10 ($231)
- The Home Theater Keyboard/Trackpad Combo – Macally Bluetooth Keyboard with Touchpad ($30)