Build Your Own HTPC
| by Nikhil Singh
The concept of HTPCs (Home Theater Personal Computers) hasn't really caught up in India yet, so when we decided to hook one up for ourselves we had a tough time finding the parts we needed at our local computer dealer. The fact that there wasn't a single concrete and easy-to-understand HTPC resource available online (call us simple minded, but most of the stuff enthusiasts spoke of went above our heads, initially) made us tear our hair out in sheer frustration. So after spending what seemed like eons researching on what motherboard, cabinet, processor, graphic card, etc. would fit the bill, and cross checking with numerous local retails and wholesalers, we zeroed in on the best options available in India. Without further ado, we present an easy-to-understand, relatively jargon-free guide that will help even the least technology-inclined among us, build a fully loaded HTPC.
The first and most vital ingredient is the chassis. To say that we had a bitch of a time finding one that suited our needs, would be an understatement. As I said before, the fact that HTPCs aren't popular in India yet, means that availability of niche HTPC products such as casings are hard to come by. Since we couldn't locate one easily, we looked for alternatives - considered case modding a normal case (but didn't go through with that since we're quite lazy), pondered keeping our components out in the wild (i.e. without a cabinet!), and did all kinds of retarded stuff, but we knew we needed a casing that was meant specifically for an HTPC; nothing else would do. Thankfully, after literally breaking our heads a million times over, we came across a dealer that sold GlacialTech's range of Altair cabinets.
This baby was just what we were looking for - small form factor, well designed interiors, good cooling, great looks, and last but definitely not the least - a remote! There are quite a few variations of the Altair A381 in existence, but the only one available at the time was the Standard variant which comes equipped with all the stuff I just mentioned, plus a 240-watt silent power supply, an infrared receiver, a built-in card reader, and an awesome external volume control that doubles as a power switch. The cabinet cost us Rs. 9,000. To ensure that you don't go through the same pain we went through, here's the dealer's email address - firstname.lastname@example.org (Mumbai). Get in touch with them if you wish to buy the cabinet.
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