10 Easy steps to Build a Media Center Computer And Save Money!

Need to build a Media center computer?

Or need some help with how to choose computer components for your HTPC or home theater computer?

Start by choosing the CPU that you wish to use on your PC. The CPU will determine other parts of the HTPC so this decision is the first one you should make.

High power CPU’s will provide higher power easier than low power processors. If heat is a problem, get a large CPU cooler with a large and slow fan to keep RPM’s and air velocity down. Keebuild a media center computer easierping a PC cool and quite is much easier than others may lead you to believe. Just use large slow moving fans and a lot of them.

1. If you have decided to get an Intel CPU, buy the latest and highest performance socket type processor. This will give you the most up to date options in processors and be the most future proof.

2. Buy the best CPU that you can afford within your budget to build a media center computer.

3. If you choose an AMD processor do the same with the socket. AMD processors are usually more upgrade friendly. The newer sockets are often backward compatible with older socket motherboards. AM3 processors can fit into most AM2+ and AM2 sockets. Check your motherboard supported processor list to see if the new AM3 processor you are considering is supported on your old board.

The average consumer is usually better off with an Athlon CPU

4. Because of this key difference between Athlon and Intel processors. I think it is usually better money spent to go with an Athlon processor. Buy the latest socket type and get a motherboard to match. They make them backward compatible (at least they have the last few versions) so upgrading is much easier and cheaper with Athlon than it is with Intel.


5. Intel offers the fastest processors available on the market. So if you must have the best go with Intel. Athlon offers more performance for the dollar. To me; Athlon is a better value. But this could change with each new model year. No one knows what will happen in the CPU market next.

Understand that the motherboard is the integral part of the HTPC that will ‘interface’ with the rest of your home theater.

If ever there were a place to spend the most money, it should be on the motherboard; as this will give you the best video chipsets, audio inputs and output connections and overclocking capabilities over cheaper motherboards.

Do not, I repeat; do not cut costs on the motherboard.

This is your interface module to your home theater.

You need all the options you can get and the cheapest time to equip the HTPC is at the beginning; with a well-equipped motherboard.

6. If you need a digital SPDiF; RCA or toslink output on your motherboard make sure the board you choose has these.

Also make sure that the audio chipset will output the correct sample rate that your equipment will need to process the digital signal.

7. The graphics card can be done in two ways.

8. The onboard graphics built into the motherboard (make sure the motherboard has one built in if you plan on using it)


9. If you use the on-board video you will need to be sure it can output the screen resolution that you will be using.

Check the chip-set model number and see what the specs are. Usually, you can also read some reviews about that specific feature from within Newegg. Newegg makes it pretty easy to build a media center computer effortlessly. I use them for most of my PC builds. Sometimes you need information to learn how to mix and match parts. Newegg doesn’t really provide that information, just a huge index of parts.

10. A PCIe graphics card made for gaming, video editing, and HD video playback. These standalone cards will usually offer better performance than onboard video. There are also some very powerful graphics cards available too.

Most of these cards are used for gaming though and gaming takes higher processing power from the GPU. So performing video for Blu Ray Players is quite easy for these graphics cards.
Go back to the top of page!

Return to HTPC page from; build a media center computer.

Return to Home Speaker from; build a media center computer.

All about the PC to help Build a Media Center computer

How to overclock CPU
Foobar 2000 Music player
Echo Audiofire 8 Review
J River Media Player review
ESI Julia Soundcard (ESI Juli@)
crossover network using the PC
home theater PC
computer surround sound speaker
computer speakers
audiophile computer speakers
AMD vs Intel CPU

WebWatcher-Get 40% Off