The New HTPC Is Up And Running

As part of the hardware refresh I’m working on, I’ve replaced the Mac Mini that I’ve been using with a custom built Sandy Bridge based box. The XBMC forums were a great source of information on what would work and what I needed. I had to change up their recommendations slightly because my receiver does not have HDMI ports, so bitstreaming audio was out. I saved some money because I already had a hard drive and a Blu-Ray drive, so that that into account if you’re pricing this out. The hardware arrived yesterday, and after I finished my school work I started assembling. It was all put together and ready for an OS install before I turned in. I finished it off this evening and got XBMC installed. The numbers are impressive. It’s quiet and powerful, with VC-1 Blu Ray rips playing without a problem. That was something the Mini struggled with because if its lack of hardware acceleration for anything except h.264. Now the Mini will get rebuilt and become my desktop/server, and an Air will be coming home to be the traveling machine.

Here’s the list of the hardware I used in the build:

  • Apex MI-008 case
  • Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3-B3 H67 LGA1155 Mini-ITX motherboard
  • 1 Corsair XMS3 4 GB PC3-10666 DIMM
  • Pentium G840 CPU
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 6450 1 GB fanless graphics card
  • Lite-On Blu Ray drive
  • 160 gig hard drive from an old, decommissioned server.