This is the third budget HTPC build under $250 that I’ve put together. This one is a little different than the last two, but will get the job done for under $250.
As always, please take a look at my previous builds that I have put together. They all differ slightly, but offer the same thing in the end – a great HTPC that you can use to play all your media for years to come.
This one is a little different in the sense that it is already 80% built for you. All you need are some drop in components and you can be up and running within 20 minutes. You could quite literally open the box, and 20 minutes later have OpenELEC running on your TV.
Alright lets get right to it.
Intel NUC DN2820FYKH – $134.99
The Intel NUC is an amazing little box. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with the Celeron model, and the highest i5 model. This Celeron will easily play 1080p video and stream whatever you can throw at it. REMUX Blu-ray files? Yep.
Crucial 4GB Single DDR3 – $35.99
The Intel NUC accepts laptop memory because it’s so tiny. I chose to go with 1x4GB stick because for a HTPC it’s fine.
ADATA SP600 2.5-Inch 64 GB SSD – $47.99
I’ve used these SSDs in pretty much all my builds. I stand by them and believe they’re a great product. This size and price point is excellent for our HTPC build.
Total: $218.97 (Our cheapest build yet!)
Other costs: Windows OS
This build is solid. If I needed a HTPC on the cheap, this is what I would chose. You have Intel quality, it’s quiet, it’s upgradeable, and its tiny. Best of pretty much all worlds.
Pair this with OpenELEC and you will be laughing. Like I said in the beginning, all you need is 20 minutes and a spare USB stick.
All in all I hope you liked this build, and if you have any recommendations or questions please let me know in the comments, I’d love to see your feedback.
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I’ve read your cheap HTPC build articles and was wondering will these be powerful enough to run acestream under Windows?
Currently I have an acer revo on Xubuntu 13.10 (works perfect for 1080p in XBMC) and it can play 1000kbps ace stream but not much better, ideally I want something to be able to play 2000kbps+
Yes, this box will run Windows. How well it will run Acestream I’m not 100% certain. You may want to go with the i3 version to be safe you can run the max settings in Acestream.
Could you install Linux on this setup and use it as a dedicated Plex Media Server?
Yep! I encourage people to try out Linux builds like OpenELEC or XBMCbuntu. You could roll your own though with Plex.
Hi, Alex i have question regarding the memory you stated “This leaves another slot open though for future expansion.” but according to the technical specification “The board has one 204-pin SO-DIMM socket and supports the following memory features:” and i am worried because i am thinking about buying one but as 4GB of RAM seems enough i want to make sure i have all info clear before i make purchase.
Yes, ordering 1x 4GB stick should be enough. If you’re using Windows as an OS though, buy 1x 8GB sticks.
Will this box be able to handle the new x265 encoding for 1080p (what about 4K?)? Trying to figure out how ‘future-proof’ the build is..
Yes, since x265 is mostly software based right now there shouldn’t be an issue. As for 4K, I’m not sure as the HDMI port will need to support it. Off the top of my head I’m not sure if it does, but I would be surprised if it didn’t support it.
Looks great. What about remote control of the device?
I have a couple different media centers, and I use the following remotes.
On my main setup I use: The Rosewill RRC-126 which I talk about on that page.
On my other setup (in my bedroom) I use the: Rii Tek RT-MWK08 which is really great, I might switch to using that as my main remote.
Hi Alex, what do you use for a remote with this build running OpenELEC?
I actually use a Flirc with my normal TV remove. This way I have one remote that does everything.