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Home Theatre PC (HTPC) Advice


I am looking at building my first HTPC. (efficient and low consumption)
I must admit; I am not really knowledgeable on all the pieces needed and how they all fit. I have been reading tons of information online.
I am looking for a HTPC that would stream HD (720p and 1080p) content that is downloaded. The HTPC would be running a bit torrent client in either Windows or Linux. (If possible this would replace my file server)

I have been looking at the Zotac IonITX F-E http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500036&Tpk=ZOTAC%20IONITX-F-E.
Is the ASUS AT5IONT better?

Is there another mobo/cpu combine that would be better.
Any case recommendations with power supply?
Budget $400-$500

Any help and guidance would be greatly appreciated.


I don't need a TV Tuner or Blueray DVD.
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I went the easy route and bought the Boxee Box. Read my thread here.

So far it's played any file I've thrown at it and the online content has been great. I highly recommend it as a cheap alternative to an HTPC.

Before this I owned a Popcorn hour, AppleTV (with boxee installed), and a HTPC with Boxee and XBMC installed. So far the Boxee Box is my favorite.
Thanks for the posts.
@SiBurning; I have been reading the threads on the website.
@media; I was thinking about the Boxee myself, but wanted to see if I could build a HTPC for the same price, without an O/S of course.
There is something about the Boxee I don't like, I just can't identify it yet.
Downloading Boxee and installing it now.
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Nasa, I built a htcp (with help from the AVS thread referenced above). I love it!! I can't remember the exact specs, but it is a AMD chipset. I'm running mediaportal with my movies as the front end. I'm running a 60HDD for the OS and I've got 2x1 Tb HDD for the movie files. I think after all was said and done it ran $700? I didn't go high end with the components but not low end either.

Now I'm trying to figure out a way to stream my files to other tvs in the house like my bedroom without having to build another system.
i tried to get into HTPCs and I was always sad at the interfaces... however that was in the time when DVDs and 5.1 via coax ruled supreme. I gave up on it after a couple of years and run with a 2 TIVOs that can stream and store from my servers.
I built a quite nice HTPC about a year ago, for right about $400. It plays 1080p without any stuttering or skipping at all, and hosts all my movie files as well as downloaded files.

I would recommend a few things though... 1) Do you have any intention of buying a tuner/cable card? That will significantly impact the mobo, case, and OS that you end up using. 2) While it may seem like you don't want them now, I'd recommend a larger mobo for additional PCI slots. You never know in the future if you'll want to add a wireless card, better sound card adapter, firewire, etc.

I can't speak for any case recommendations (Mine is an all black Anetc 4U rack mount server case :tongue_sm). That being said, look for a case that will look decent in your living room, and has plenty of ventilation, as decoding HD can generate some heat. Choose low dB fans for the case and processor to prevent any unwanted noise while watching the TV. Finally, you also need to decide on what you'll do for a remote. Dedicated IR, some type of game pad, or a wifi based remote on your smartphone... all are reasonable options, but don't be fooled thinking you'll be happy using a keyboard and mouse on the couch... you won't.
Thank you all again.
Can you offer any sample builds with links?
This would give me a feel for what things I should be looking at.
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