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HTPC Guide

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With the ever increasing popularity of digital music and streaming video, it was only a matter of time before consumers demanded these technologies in their living rooms. The Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC) has had its place in some homes over much of the last decade, but only recently have they gained popularity among the mainstream market. WebTV could arguably be considered the first production HTPC, and many companies bundled Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) along with their computers in an attempt to push consumers in this direction. It never really caught on back then as few people owned more than one computer and were still learning the ropes.

Nowadays, everything has turned digital - music and movies especially. You'd be hard pressed to find yourself in a position without internet access. The new breed of HTPC brings entertainment to your fingertips with the ease of pushing a button on a remote. You don't even need to leave your seat, unless of course nature takes its course. Then again you could always set up your home theatre system in your bathroom! An HTPC gives you the ability to call up a moive instantly, set recordings for future broadcasts, and hold your entire music collection in one medium sized box. These conveniences, along with other full-fledged features of a complete PC, has pushed the HTPC so far into everyday life that the market for them will only get bigger. Companies around the world have begun making HTPC's, and one day soon you may find yourself joining the bandwagon.

Pre-built HTPC's tend to be extraordinarly expensive, for no apparent reason. An HTPC is basically a cheap computer with a few features added. So why pay the big bucks for a machine you could easily build yourself for half the cost? Just about every member here has the knowledge to build a computer. In this guide I'll be helping you decide which parts you'll need for an HTPC.

At this point I want to make explicitly clear that this guide is just that, a guide in helping you decide what you need. The products that I suggest only represent a small fraction of those available. Depending on the brand, model, and any sales going on you'll probably be able to find better equipment for the same (if not lower) price. It all depends on what you need and how much patience you have. Now then, let's begin!

  1. Introduction
  2. The Parts - An Overview
  3. Processor
  4. Processor (cont'd)
  5. Processor - Overclocking
  6. CPU Heat Sink
  7. Memory
  8. Graphics Card
  9. Graphics Card (cont'd)
  10. Sound Card
  11. HD Tuner Card
  12. Hard Drives
  13. Optical Drives
  14. Motherboard
  15. Motherboard (cont'd)
  16. Power Supply
  17. HTPC Case
  18. Final Thoughts
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