A small project to start new year 2010, setting up my first HTPC or Media Center PC. This will be an ongoing projects as I will keep on improving the setup as time goes. Anyway lets start with my basic setup first.

First I bought a new LCD TV (to replace our old 14-inch Panasonic TV), we choose Panasonic Viera TH-L37X15K model, just nice for our requirement. Then I started looking for a computer motherboard that have a HDMI port. At first I was tempted to get the Zotac ION, but due to the price factor which is quite high for such a small motherboard (plus processor), I choose a normal mini-ATX motherboard.

Below are the specification of the HTPC:

  • Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H motherboard
  • Intel Core i3 530 Processor
  • 4GB RAM – 2X 2GB Corsair DDR3 1333
  • A small form factor casing (for now)
  • A used Seagate 400GB SATA Harddisk (extra unit at home)
  • A used DVD-RW drive (extra unit at home)

I also bought a used Genius Luxemate 810 wireless keyboard with joystick and media center buttons as the input device, and I’m still looking for another device that is more friendly and have better options.

Genius Luxemate 810 wireless keyboard

Besides serves as a Media Center, this PC will also be used as a normal PC for browsing and some normal works, so to make it connected to my existing wireless network at home (Belkin Wireless N+ router) I use a USB Wireless N.

There are 2 choices for the operating system+HTPC application that I plan to try, first will be Microsoft Windows 7 ultimate that comes with Microsoft Windows Media Center – which is quite good and the resources to customize the appearances are available on the net. and the second will be XMBC which will run on top of Ubuntu linux (and also a version for Windows too). At this moment I have both application running on Windows 7.

The final basic setup will looks like this:

The final basic HTPC setup

On the PC, the only cables attached are: the power cable and the HDMI cable (to the LCD TV), and 2 USB devices: the Wireless N USB and the Wireless keyboard (genius Luxemate 810).

The main reason I choose the Intel over the AMD setup (although I have been a HUGE fan of AMD – and I’m using AMD for my work PC), is because I want it to be as quiet and less heat as possible. At this moment I’m using the “stock” processor heatsink+fan and 1 side fan in the casing, and I can say it’s so far quite quiet and not much heat from the PC.


The application:

The Application customization resources:

The Casing:

The Gadgets:

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One Response to “Building a Home Theater PC (HTPC) / Media Center PC”

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