Best HTPC Configuration - opinions please!


Active Member
Hi Guys

Looking to build my first HTPC but experienced builder of general PC's.

Done a lot of lookin and searching on here and whilst some v good stuff around specs it is rather fragmented, sometimes a bit biased, and generally seeks a value compromise (not my concern).

So here's your chance for some creative juices!

Basically I want to build the best performance HTPC to be used for:

a) Storage and playback of DVD (full quality), High Def (downloaded), and DIVX movies.
b) Storage and playback of CD's, both full quality WAV and MP3
c) General Internet Browsing
d) MSN Messenger with webcam
e) Gaming (but lesser extent)
f) TV tuner recording etc irrelevent


Quiet is important obviously.

Front ends I am struggling with too. Have looked at a lot but just get confused. Rod at Stands Unique had a great looking front end on their system at the Bristol show which I understood to be Theatertek but having trialled Theatertek looks like its just the player that sits behind.

Looks on front end is important - want CD covers and DVD covers and needs be be wife and kidproof.

Look forward to your ideas guys!



Active Member
I'd go for a separate PC in another room as the server/storage box. You can have as many hard disks as you like in there without worrying about the noise/heat. By contrast, a nice-looking htpc won't have much space for expandibility, and you'll have real trouble coping with noise issues if you add several disks. With this setup, you could go for a much smaller/quieter/lower temperature disks in the htpc, perhaps even a notebook 60GB disk. The storage box can be a cheap piece of crap, because it needs no graphics/cpu power whatsoever, and you could get a truly giant case for it.

On general usability, the best purchase I made was a mini bluetooth mouse - makes the whole system so much easier to use. For wife-compatibility, things like Theatertek will work with standard PC remote controls.

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