The Bottom Line
All together, the base cost for our budget Media Center PC (including Windows 7 Home Premium), rang up around $500 after sale prices and rebates.
- nMEDIA PC HTPC 1080P: $49.99
- Intel Pentium G620: $63.99
- ASRock H77M: $84.99
- 8GB G.Skill Value RAM: $39.99
- Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB: $94.99
- Asus DRW-24B1ST DVD Recorder: $16.99
- Power Supply - Antec EA-380D: $44.99
- Rosewill RRC-126: $14.99
- Windows 7 Home Premium OEM: $99
From there, the kind of tuner you need to buy influences the remaining cost. Using the tuners mentioned above, your total costs* would be:
- PC + AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet ($79.99) = $589.91
- PC + SiliconDust HDHomeRun HDHR3-US ($87.95) = $597.87
- PC + WinTV DCR-2650 CableCARD Dual Tuner ($99.99) = $609.91
- PC + Ceton InfiniTV 4 CableCARD Quad Tuner ($199.99) = $709.91
(*Prices accurate at the time of submission. Sale prices and promotions subject to change)
If you're cutting cable, you'll make up that $589 within the first year alone. If just replacing your cable company's crappy box, your break even will take a while, but you'll enjoy the flexibility and features a lot more.
Compared to TiVo's offering it's still a great deal. Their top-end DVR is $399 at retail, but quickly balloons to $900 when you tack on lifetime service. Sure, you could opt to give them $15 per month instead, but going right back to where you started just seems silly now, doesn't it?.
Have you built or used your own Media Center PC? Got a different suggestion for the budget build? Share it with us in the comments below.