3 Budget HTPC Builds for Under $250 – January 2015

With 2015 just starting, many people are looking forward in the new year to find cost cutting solutions. One way people are doing that is with cutting the [cable] cord. I’ve outlined below three budget home threatre PCs that anyone can setup as a streaming box.

When you cut the cord, typically you would want to replace your cable box with something else that can play or stream media. There are many pre-built solutions out there (see here, here), but many times it is much more worth while and worth your money to build a custom one.

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Build 1

Part Item Price
Case Apex DM-387 HTPC Case w/275W Power Supply $45.34
Motherboard ASUS H81M-A LGA 1150 $58.93
CPU Intel Pentium G3420 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor $67.99
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $37.27
Power Supply Included with case N/A
Hard Drive A-Data Premier Pro SP600 32GB 2.5" Solid State Disk $41.29
Total: $250.82

Notes: The case on this build is nice, it includes a PSU and is well made. I’ve personally used one for about 2 years now. With the Intel G3420 you will be able to watch and stream 1080p no problem. Overall nice build, but on the ‘bigger side’ with the larger case.

Build 2

Part Item Price
Case M350 Universal Mini-ITX $39.20
Motherboard ASRock Motherboard Micro AM1H-ITX $58.49
CPU AMD Athlon 5350 APU $65.99
RAM Crucial 2GB DDR3 $22.67
Power Supply 90w Universal Ac Adapter $12.99
Hard Drive A-Data Premier Pro SP600 32GB 2.5" Solid State Disk $41.29
Total: $240.63

Notes: Since this is a Mini-ITX build, it has a small footprint. The motherboard is loaded with features, best of which is the ability to use a laptop AC adapter to power it. With the AMD you will also get great video performance.

Build 3

Part Item Price
Case Intel NUC DN2820FYKH $134.99
Motherboard See above N/A
CPU See above N/A
RAM Crucial 4GB Single DDR3 $35.99
Power Supply Included with case N/A
Hard Drive ADATA SP600 2.5-Inch 64 GB SSD $47.99
Total: $218.97

Notes: Lastly is our Intel NUC build. The smallest HTPC of the bunch. Very nice case, very good CPU and Mobo combo as well. All you need to do is open it up, plug in the RAM and SSD and you’re in business. Probably the best HTPC of the bunch if I had to pick one.

There you have it folks. Three budget HTPCs that will play 1080p without breaking a sweat. These will last several years, providing hours of cheap entertainment.

Leave your comments or questions below and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.


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  1. David February 5, 2015
    • Alex February 6, 2015
  2. Ron February 27, 2015
    • Alex February 27, 2015
  3. Ryan February 28, 2015
    • Joost April 22, 2015
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