Few months back, we featured a configuration for a mid-end HTPC. Making a low-end HTPC is a bit tricky, because it is difficult to make a feature-rich PC while keeping the cost down. Today, we will put together a Low-End HTPC, but since price is the prime and prominent consideration, few features will be severed. Well, enough of jabber, let's get down to the list.
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (AM2) (Price: Rs. 3650)
Well, the AMD Athlon 3000+ is a solid performing budget processor. Even though AM2 is expensive compared to the Socket 939 counterparts, the extra cost is worth the upgrade which will be available in a year's time.
With a core running at 1.8 GHz and 128 KB L1 and 512 KB L2 cache, a 1 GHz HyperTransport bus along with an integrated DDR memory controller that supports dual channel DDR RAM, this CPU is ideal for an entry level HTPC.
Motherboard: MSI K9NGM2 (Price: Rs. 4000)
Based on the GeForce 6150 Core Logic Chipset with 430 MCP Southbridge, this is the best motherboard with an onboard graphic accelerator solution for the AM2 socket CPU. The Geforce 6150 supports TV-Out and Nvidia Pure Decoder. The 430 MCP has options of using Dual SATA RAID, Onboard Gigabyte Ethernet, USB 2.0, and Firewire. Besides that, the board supports a handful of features like Dual Channel Memory, PCI Express x16 slot, PCI-E 1X slot, and 2 PCI slots.
The MSI K9NGM2 perfectly supports 'Cool N Quiet' technology. We need a mATX motherboard for our needs, which will be explained later. MSI is already well known for high stability platform especially with the Geforce 61xx chips.
RAM: Transcend 512 MB DDR II 533 MHz (Price: Rs. 2700)
The AM2 based Athlon 64 supports DDR2 RAM up to 800 MHz. Currently the DDR2-800 is very expensive, so DDR2-533 should do for now. Also, the main usage of HTPC is CPU-intensive rather than memory-intensive. So 512 MB should do for now. One can always upgrade to a higher capacity at any given time.