How to Do a Cheap HTPC Build for Under $500

Cheap HTPC Build for Under $500

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Building a cheap HTPC or Home Theater Personal Computer is a great way to have an entertainment hub for your living room.

It is an excellent all-in-one option to play games, watch movies, or listen to music without having multiple devices.

Several pre-built HTPCs available in the market today, but you cannot customize the specs to fit your needs. 

Building an HTPC from scratch is still the way to go since you can pick the components depending on your preference.

If you are unaware of which parts to get, you are lucky. Today, I will guide you in choosing the best budget HTPC parts, something I’m more than familiar with.

Our reference price point is under $500 since many consider it the sweet spot. 

An HTPC build can easily stream movies or play music without hiccups at this price point.

That said, let’s get started.

1. Case – Silverstone ML05B HTPC Case

Silverstone ML05B HTPC Case
Source: SilverStone

We are kicking off this HTPC build with the case – the Silverstone ML05B HTPC case. I recommend this case since it will support all the other components.

The ML05B is a slim tower case around the same size as a PlayStation 4. Depending on your living room space, you can also lay it flat or upright.

This case also has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A front panel for your peripherals. It also has multiple drive bays if you want to store more videos, movies, and games.

The Silverstone ML05B HTPC case comes in at around $75. Considering the form factor and features, it is a bargain at this price point. Plus, it comes from a reputable case company.

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Silverstone 0.8mm Steel Body Tek Acrylic Front Panel for Mini-ITX Media Center/HTPC Case Cases ML05B
Silverstone ML05B HTPC Case

2. Processor – AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
Source: AMD

The AMD Ryzen 3 3200G will serve as the brains of this HTPC build. It is a quad-core processor with a 3.6 GHz base speed with boost clocks up to 4 GHz. 

This processor also supports up to 64 GB of memory and comes with its own air cooler. It is an excellent option for a budget build since you do not necessarily need a super-powerful CPU to stream movies.

Why go with AMD instead of an Intel processor?

Since we are going for a budget “bang for the buck” build, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is the better option over the Intel counterparts. 

The 12th gen Intel i3 12100 has a more powerful processor, but not ideal for gaming.

The Ryzen 3 3200G has a Radeon Vega 8 integrated graphics that fares well in gaming. It is not as powerful as a dedicated graphics card, but it can run esports titles like Dota 2 and Valorant at a decent frame rate. 

Older games will run fine too.

You may purchase the Ryzen 3 3200G for around $120. It is already two generations behind, so watch out for some sales.

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AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 4-Core Unlocked Desktop Processor with Radeon Graphics
AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

3. Motherboard – Gigabyte B450I Aorus Pro Wifi

Gigabyte B450I Aorus Pro Wifi
Source: Gigabyte

We are going with the Gigabyte B450I Aorus Pro Wifi for the motherboard. It is a micro ITX motherboard with two ram slots and enough storage expansion slots for future use.

We are going for this board since it has built-in WiFi. It reduces the need for an external USB WiFi dongle or a PCIe Wi-Fi card.

Lastly, this motherboard has several I/O ports at the back for your keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals. 

But most importantly, it has a single display port and two HDMI ports at the back.

The Gigabyte B450I Aorus Pro Wifi is available for around $150. It is pretty pricey for an older generation of motherboards, but it is the price you would pay for a niche PC part.

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GIGABYTE B450 I AORUS PRO Wi-Fi (AMD Ryzen AM4/Mini ITX/M.2 Thermal Guard with Onboard Wi-Fi/HDMI/DP/USB 3.1 Gen 2/Motherboard)
Gigabyte B450I Aorus Pro Wifi

4. Memory – Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4

Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4
Source: Corsair

We are going with the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR4 kit for this build. This RAM is a no-brainer since it is low profile and does not interfere with any parts of our build.

16 GB is also the suggested minimum since some modern apps are memory-hungry. 

For instance, if you stream via Google Chrome, it will quickly take up at least 4 GB of memory with just a few tabs open.

More memory also gives you better multitasking options. You may open multiple software or several Chrome tabs simultaneously without slowing down your HTPC.

These RAM modules have a 3200 Mhz speed and are considered the sweet spot for third-generation Ryzen processors.

The Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2×8 GB) kit is available for less than $60.

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Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16 Desktop Memory Kit - Black (CMK16GX4M2B3200C16)
Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4

5. Storage – Patriot P300 512 GB NVMe SSD

Patriot P300 512 GB NVMe SSD
Source: Patriot

There are many storage options available, but we are going for the Patriot P300 512 GB NVMe SSD due to its price.

For around $30, you get 512 GB of storage for your movies, games, and other media.

It is also an M.2-2280 drive, which means it mounts directly to the motherboard. No need for SATA power and data cables. You just have to screw it in, and you are good to go.

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Patriot P300 M.2 PCIe Gen 3 x4 512GB Low-Power Consumption SSD
Patriot P300 512 GB NVMe SSD

6. Power Supply – Silverstone SX300-B 300W 80+ Bronze

Silverstone SX300-B 300W 80+ Bronze
Source: SilverStone

The last part on our list is the power supply – also considered the heart of a PC build. The Silverstone SX300-B 300W 80+ Bronze power supply is one of the most affordable options.

There is a saying that you should not skimp on your power supply since the whole system might be affected if it fails. 

That is why the SX300-B is such a great option since it comes from a reputable computer brand.

The SX300-B has an 80+ Bronze efficiency which means it is a consistent unit. 300W is also enough since we are not using a graphics card for this build.

This power supply has an SFX form factor and is perfect for our HTPC case. SFX power supplies are smaller and more compact compared to regular power supplies.

This unit is not modular, though, and all the cables are already attached. It might give you a little problem while building the HTPC since you need to manage several cables. 

Just use a few zip ties on the excess cables and tuck them away, and you are good to go.

The Silverstone SX300-B 300W 80+ Bronze power supply is available for around $60. Not a bad price for an SFX unit with an 80+ Bronze rating.

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Silverstone SX300-B 80 Plus Bronze 300W SFX Power Supply, SST-SX300-B
Silverstone SX300-B 300W 80+ Bronze

Bottom Line

Our cheap HTPC build costs around $495. It is a little bit lower than the $500 target price, but consider it headroom for price changes.

This guide is the ideal cheap HTPC build that is perfect for media consumption and a little bit of gaming. 

Of course, you can customize this build more depending on your needs. 

You may add more storage, change the case, or even go for more RAM. The final build depends on you.

Do not forget to leave your comments and questions below. If you are looking for more HTPC guides sign up for our newsletter below for deals and guides.

Aim is a tech and gaming content writer who loves playing Apex Legends, Valorant, and Dota 2. He also plays casual games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Pokemon titles on his Nintendo Switch too. He also builds gaming computers and does tech troubleshooting on the side.

This post was last updated on 2024-05-26 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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