- CPU: Core i5-4590 3.3GHz-3.7GHz, $199, is a good choice if you think i7 is overkill. Or go for the upscoming (June 20th) Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz-3.9GHz, $240, or Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz-4.4GHz, $340, if you want the best processor available today.
- SSD: 840 Pro 256GB $200 for a HTPC is a waste of money, IMO. I recommend Crucial MX100 256GB, $108, or 128GB, $75 (128GB is enough for HTPC) instead, the latest greatest budget SSD.
- OS: Windows 8.1 (Pro) System Builder OEM 64-bit, $95 ($133) (with StartIsBack, $3, or Start8, $5, and possibly with WMC, $10). Pro version is required if you are going to use WMC.
- MB: GIGABYTE GA-H97N-WIFI, $112 or GA-Z97N-WIFI, $121 (mini-ITX; 1 slot), MSI, H97M-G43, $111, or Z97M-G43, $119 (microATX; 4 slot), ASRock Z97 Pro4, $119 (ATX; 7 slot). If you buy a Haswell K processor and are interested in overclocking, you need to buy a Z97 mb. If you want to spend more money (more features and/or better OC), then check ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac or ASUS Z97I-PLUS (mini-ITX), ASUS GRYPHON Z97 (microATX), ASUS Z97-PRO (ATX).
- GPU: Try iGPU first. If you want a discrete card for better upscaling (e.g. DVD in a 1080p display), then ASUS or XFX R7 260X (dual fan) is a good choice.
- Case: Fractal Design Node 605 is little bit expensive, but great. Only slim ODD is supported (e.g. Panasonic UJ-240, $55), and microATX (with ODD) / ATX (without ODD) motherboard. Noctual NH-L12 CPU cooler, $62, fits in the case nicely. Or SilverStone SG08-LITE / Fractal Design Node 304 mini-ITX case (with a SFX PSU such as SiverStone ST45SF-G 450W Gold) if you don't need expansion card except for a graphics card.
Last edited by renethx; 06-14-2014 at 06:37 AM.