In this module, you will learn why
- Case form factor size matters
- Choose a low power CPU
- Go for a large CPU cooler
- Choose affordable RAM modules
- Choose a Solid state drive
- Choose a gaming graphic card
- Opt for a high quality power supply
- Be without an optical disc drive
- Choose HDHomeRun as a TV tuner
- Use Flirc to control your HTPC
There seem to be endless possible combinations and intricacies of the media software involved and how that relates to the endless hardware configurations.
Don’t worry, I’ve been there as well.
It is good to start choosing components with a case together with a motherboard and CPU.
The case size will determine the size of the motherboard you will need.
Some people would advise you the opposite to choose the processor, motherboard, CPU cooler and other components first and then see which case would be suitable.
I would suggest to start from your environment where you will be placing your HTPC.
Will you hide the case inside your TV cabinet or place it next to your TV?
Depending on your environment, you will need to decide between different form factors which mean the physical dimensions of the system.
The most popular form factors among are ATX, micro ATX, and mini ITX.
The following image illustrates the different form factor sizes.
- ATX: 305mm x 244mm (12.00 x 9.60)
- Micro ATX: 244mm x 244mm (9.60 x 9.60)
- Mini ITX: 170mm x 170mm (6.70 x 6.70)
When considering a case form factor, it is good to keep in mind that smaller mini ITX form factor cases usually have smaller fans, which are louder than the larger ones used in micro ATX cases.
A larger case also means that you can have better airflow and room for more hard drives and other peripherals.
The height of the case will also determine what kind of CPU cooler you can use and whether or not you can use full or half-height graphics or TV tuner cards.
The common HTPC case selection criteria are as follows:
- Form factor (What size motherboard do you want to use?)
- Height of the case (Will it fit into the TV cabinet?)
- Cooling fans (Does the case have a good airflow?)
- External drive bays (How many optical drives do you want to install?)
- Internal drive bays (How many HDDs can the case hold?)
- Expansion slots (Do you need space for a graphics card?)
- Supported power supply size (Will a standard ATX PSU fit inside?)
- Price (How much does it cost?)