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Recommended build for basic HTPC?

I'd like to build a Windows 8 based HTPC. Nothing fancy, just playback and some YouTube surfing. I don't need a TV turner or any sort of recording.

I already tried the mini android PCs and the WD Live TV devices, but I would really rather run Windows 8.

I was thinking of an Intel Atom with on-board graphics. Something like one of these -


but perhaps less expensive if I build it myself. Anyone have any experience with this kind of PC?

Ukiah, CA
For that price, you could get an Intel NUC, which would probably be quite a bit better all-around.

Foxconn makes similar barebone devices. Just add RAM, a HD or SSD, and an OS. There's about 20-25 of them at my work, of various models (Atom 330+Ion, Atom D535/GMA 3150, AMD E-350/Radeon HD 6310). Other than a few DOA units on the last batch a year or so ago, they've worked pretty well. Foxconn RMA support was good as well.

Of the three, I'd recommend the D535/GMA one the least as the onboard graphics are REALLY bad (even by Intel standards) and the AMD ones the most.

A couple of years ago, I had an HTPC powered by an E-350. Pretty much every non-interlaced video I threw at it in XBMC played beautifully (even 1080p video peaking at 60 Mbps), and YouTube was great up to 720p. 1080p was playable, but there were a decent amount of dropped frames.


reply to Maven
For that price or a few bucks more--depending on sales--you could get a name-brand laptop with an Ivy Bridge chip (3rd gen i3), which is considerably better for video. My slightly older box with an Atom processor never did a good job with even standard video like my fairly new Win8 laptop does. And then you can just plug it into your HD-TV via HDMI (extended desktop to 2nd monitor) to get 1080p.

reply to Maven
That's true... Laptops are a little more expensive yet can do the same job and more. It would just be awkward since there isn't a lot of space on my TV unit.