Assassin's Hardware Guide

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
#1
This is a link to my free hardware guide which I try to keep as updated as possible.

Assassin Hardware Guide (updated for 2016)

Table of Contents:


1) What to Expect

2) The Basics
Definition of Parts
Beginning Considerations

SOFTWARE OVERVIEW

3) Operating System Summary
Linux/OpenElec
Mac OS
Microsoft Windows
32bit vs. 64bit
Windows 7
Windows 8.1
Windows 10

4) Front End Software Summary
Kodi
Emby
J River
Plex

5) Codec Summary
LAV Filters
Haali Media Splitter
Shark007 Codec

6) Antivirus, Antimalware, Antispyware Software
Microsoft Security Essentials (antivirus)
Peerblock (antispyware)

HARDWARE OVERVIEW

7) CPU Selections
What is M.2 and SATA Express
Skylake CPU (Intel)
Haswell CPU (Intel)
AMD FM2 (AMD)

8) Motherboard Selections
M.2 & SATA Express Boards
Skylake Motherboards
Haswell Motherboards
AMD FM2 Motherboards

9) Solid State Drives (SSD)
mSATA & m.2 Cards

10) RAM

11) Hard Drive

12) Power Supply Unit (PSU)
Fanless & Silent PSU
Pico PSU

13) HTPC Cases
Standard Cases
Large Cases
Mini Cases
Touchschreen Cases

14) Heatsink & Fan Options
Low Profile CPU Coolers

15) Wireless Internet Options
AC vs. N Explanation
USB
PCI-E
Powerline Adapters

16) Optical Drive (DVD/Blu-ray) Options
Slim Optical Drives

17) Input/Control Devices
Remote Controls
Full Size Keyboards
Mini Keyboards
USB Adatpers / Receivers

18) HDMI Cables

19) Cable Card, TV Tuners & Devices

20) Graphics Cards

21) Barebone Systems

22) Assassin HTPC "Quick and Easy" NewEgg Build lists
Basic HTPC Build
Mid-Level HTPC Build

Enjoy!

Assassin HTPC Hardware Guide
 
Last edited:

el-Capitan

Senior member
Apr 24, 2012
571
2
81
#3
Definitely recommend! I've learnt a lot from your guides. Thank you.
 

cytoSiN

Platinum Member
Jul 11, 2002
2,247
0
71
#4
Really informative. Nominate for sticky.
 

Chapbass

Diamond Member
May 31, 2004
3,041
31
86
#6
Used this guide quite a bit, assassin knows his stuff. Can you sticky this for us please?
 

billyb0b

Golden Member
Nov 8, 2009
1,249
0
71
#8
i've purchased his guide too! it's a must for a great HTPC experience
 

sgbroimp

Junior Member
Aug 29, 2012
1
0
0
#9
I purchased an HTPC from Assassin. The purchase experience was excellent, but what really impressed me was how they stepped up when I had a problem (which was not their fault, strictly speaking) 8 months later. Terrific folks to deal with.
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
#10
I purchased an HTPC from Assassin. The purchase experience was excellent, but what really impressed me was how they stepped up when I had a problem (which was not their fault, strictly speaking) 8 months later. Terrific folks to deal with.
Thanks for the feedback. I will pass it on to Ben.
 

assassin24

HTPC Moderator
Mar 27, 2005
394
0
0
#11
Ivy Bridge i3 section updated. Enjoy.
 

flocko

Junior Member
Aug 30, 2012
18
0
0
#12
Just got finished reading the i3 additions .

Very nice write up and really like the reality check on the 4000 graphics . Seems for most it will be moot but for others it could come in handy for that occasional light gaming itch .

BTW ... Grats on the new position here at one of the best tech sites on the net . They (Anand) have themselves a REAL winner !
 

Annisman*

Golden Member
Aug 20, 2010
1,775
19
81
#18
Hey Assasin, something I haven't seen mentioned in your guide: Music playback.

For me, I have alot of .wav files for higher fidelity music. Obviously these tracks need to be played in a stereo output. Is there a program besides WMC that would be better for this playback or a way to know exactly what or where the music is being processed by ?

Or should we just direct WMC to our music collection and just hit the play button ? Is there more to it ?

I mean, for my PC I know my Xonar sound card is doing the processing, and I use mediamonkey for playback, I know it's in 2 channel mode PCM 44.1 Khz. I'm just a little fuzzy on playing through my htpc (and Polk speakers) versus my regular PC+Xonar sound card and headphones.

Thanks.
 
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billyb0b

Golden Member
Nov 8, 2009
1,249
0
71
#19
this is a great guide for a really nice HTPC experience. I purchased the full guide earlier this year and used it exclusively for the extensive software setup.

it also contains good info on hardware, but i did not use that portion of it.
 

Annisman*

Golden Member
Aug 20, 2010
1,775
19
81
#21
Asassin, love your guide it has been worth 10X the price.

Just wanted to point out that the mediabrowser game plug-in is no longer free to use, it is a premium feature.

Also, would you suggest using Mediabrowser's picture library plugin or just use WMC's standard library viewer ? Thnx.
 

pauldun170

Diamond Member
Sep 26, 2011
5,496
873
126
#22
Rosewill 101 case mentioned in guide has been discontinued.
 

Annisman*

Golden Member
Aug 20, 2010
1,775
19
81
#25
Hey assasin, I'm having a strange issue that just popped up.

When media center launches, the default background is now coming up (I changed it via your guide) Also, many of my libraries are not showing up in Media Browser. The only Library showing is the one on my local hard drive. The other libraries (on my external) are no longer appearing.

The external hdd is fine, I can access it under my computer, and all the files are there. I double checked to make sure Media Browser was still including those folders in the library, and it is.

I updated Media Browser, then updated Media Center Library, still not showing up.

This is all the troubleshooting i wanted to try without going further and messing something up, have you heard of an issue like this before ?

Two things recently happened that may have triggered this.

1. Windows installed new updates (not sure what they were)
2. My HTPC failed to boot and windows went into it's 'check for problems' mode. It asked if I wanted to restore to a previous date, and hit 'no'. The HTPC then booted up fine shortly after.

Anyways, just looking for a couple tips on where to look to resolve this kind of issue, or wondering if you have run into it yourself.

My HTPC is setup just like your guide says, so you know what I'm dealing with in terms of hardware/software.
 

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