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First HTPC: Intel NUC or i3-530 from my current PC?


Jan 5, 2010

I currently have an ageing home PC and no HTPC. I need your help in choosing what HTPC to get. I hesitate between two options.

Option 1: Intel NUC. Probably one of the newest one with an Haswell i3.

Option 2: Most components from my current home PC, which I will upgrade. This means:
- Gigabyte H55M-USB3 mATX motherboard
- Intel Core i3-530 CPU
- 8 GB G.Skill RAM
- Intel 320 120GB SSD
- MSI GeForce GTX 460 768MB
I would put this in something like a Silverstone GD06 and pick a suitable PSU to round out the built.

Planned usage:
#1: Play music on my home stereo. Probably run iTunes or JRiver. Music in lossless format (as much as possible) will run through an external DAC.
#2: Play movies on my big screen TV.
#3: Play some "arcade" type games such as Need for Speed. I prefer to play on my computer though so this is a secondary need.

My main concerns if I go with Option 1 (NUC):
- Noisier than GD06 due to smaller fan
- I'll be stuck with all this useless hardware when I upgrade my PC

My main concerns if I go with Option 2 (mATX/i3):
- I'll pay more for nothing.
- Big HTPC.
- I can add a soundcard to get better sound out (through ASIO... need to do some research, I don't know much about this stuff yet)

I'm looking for comments that could help me decide which way to go. Thank you.
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Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
I think the Option 2 should work just fine... Drop a Corsair CX430 in that Silverstone case and go to work!

As far as size... it depends on what you need. A typical HTPC case like the GD06 works if you have a place for it, personally, I used a PC tower... a Fractal Define Mini... for mine, because that's what fit the best. Just because it's an HTPC it doesn't have to go in a 'HTPC' case, and there are also smaller cases like the ML03 and ML04 that will take an mATX board as well.
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Feb 25, 2011
If you're going to upgrade your PC anyway, the old components will make a perfectly serviceable HTPC. The mATX form factor has some small cases available, although the NUC will be smaller.

I honestly doubt the NUC would be any louder, smaller fan or not.

I would probably want to get a slim mATX case and swap the GTX 460 for a low profile card, even if it is a little less capable for gaming.

If a new build for your main rig isn't really on the horizon otherwise, then the Atom or i3-based NUC will be smaller and less expensive.


Jan 5, 2010
Thank you for your feedback folks! I will look at the suggested cases, research the sound card options and also evaluate costs. If I remember, I will post again when I decide.
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