Hi everyone! As anyone who listens to the podcast might know, I’d been wanting to build a home theater PC for a long time. About two months ago, I finally pulled the trigger and bought the parts I needed to assemble it. With today’s blog post, I’ll be showing the building process from beginning to end, and my thoughts on the parts I used.
First, the list of the parts I chose for this build.
CPU: Intel Pentium G3258 Haswell Dual-Core 3.2GHz
Motherboard: ASRock B85M-ITX LGA 1150
Memory: HyperX Fury Black Series 4GB
Storage: 500GB Seagate HDD
Video Card: PowerColor Go! Green AX5450 Radeon
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 120mm
Power Supply: Corsair CX500
Case: Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX Chassis
I went with the ITX form factor because I wanted to build a computer that would fit on my TV stand. The parts themselves are pretty modest. Obviously I’m not going to be playing the latest games on this thing. But for watching movies, anime, and playing old video games, this is perfect for what I need it for. With rebates of the parts I purchased, as well as factoring in the current cost of the parts I already had, the grand total was somewhere around $350.
Obligatory picture of the parts. The video card, power supply, and hard drive are all unpackaged because I they were parts I had from a previous build.
Where do I start with this case? I really like the Core V1. One of the interesting features of this case is that the top, bottom, and side panels are interchangeable. I also like that despite it’s small size, I can install a radiator on the front if I choose to. It also supports video cards up to 260mm in length, so I’m not too terribly limited on options when it comes to upgrading the video card.
It also helps that I really like the way it looks, and it was pretty inexpensive for what I got.
Here’s the case with all the panels pulled off except the bottom one. Made installing everything pretty easy considering the small form factor.
I replaced the 200mm fan that came with the case with a 120mm purple fan. I’m not too worried about the smaller fan size, since I don’t expect it to generate excessive amounts of heat I’ll probably reinstall the 200mm when I upgrade the video card or processor. I wish I could have found a 200mm purple LED fan though. Color options for 200mm LED fans seem to be somewhat limited.
Here’s the bottom of the case after I removed the panel to install the power supply. I could have gone with a power supply with a lower wattage, but I already had the 500w laying around. If I had to buy one specifically for this build, I definitely would have spent a bit extra for a modular power supply. However, the case provides enough room for cable management, which amounts to just stuffing all the cables in the bottom half of the case.
I used a 500GB Seagate hard drive as my only storage in this build. Again, this is something I just had laying around. I plan on accessing all of my media from my main computer through file sharing, so I didn’t need anything bigger. Adding a solid state will probably be one of my first upgrades.
Not much to say about the motherboard. It has plenty of USB ports and enough SATA ports for what I’m using it for. This is one of the cheaper boards that I could get that has a USB 3.0 header. The only thing with this board is the lack of on-board wifi. While it would have been nice, I figured I could just buy a wifi adapter later if I decided I needed the functionality.
The Intel G3258 is pretty good for what I’m using it for. It’s a cheap dual core processor that’s unlocked. Initially, I was going to use the Intel G3220, Since I hadn’t planned on overclocking, but I managed to get the G3258 on sale, and it was less than $10 more than the G3220. It’s nice having the option to try overclocking later on.
I usually prefer Gskill memory, my main computer has been rocking it for years without issue. However, aesthetics were an important part of this build for me, and the black heat spreader looks pretty sexy. I only used one 4GB stick because that’s all I need right now.
Here’s what it looks like after putting the motherboard in. I had to remove the hard drive cage I had already installed so I could screw in the motherboard mounts and do cable management.
Here it is with everything plugged in. As a side note, It’s usually not a good idea to do cable management before you’re sure everything works right. I’m just lazy and decided to take a chance on it. After all, I knew the power supply worked. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Remember how I mentioned aesthetics earlier? This red Radeon 5450 sticks out like a sore thumb. I would have preferred a video card with a black PCB, unfortunately I already had it laying around, and I wasn’t ready to spend $40 or so just to replace a card with nothing wrong with it other than it’s color. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I put the case back together and powered it on. Fortunately, everything worked!
Just a picture I snapped with the lights off. The fan looks a lot more purple in person, but there’s not a good way to show that in images.
All in all, I had a lot of fun building this. It took me about two hours total to put everything together, but I was being really cautious so I wouldn’t have to redo anything.
I plan on doing upgrades in the near future, but right now I’m just happy with what I built. I’ll just imagine my entire HTPC saga as a movie, with a “To Be Continued?” at the end just before the credits roll.