About 6 years ago, I built an HTPC using a full ATX case. It's been working well ever since but needing a cleaner looking living room setup so I decided to build something smaller and leave the old HTPC as a media server and general purpose PC in a different room. I had been using a Raspberry Pi with RASPBMC for a couple months but it was just too sluggish. These parts were bought over a period of 2 months after many more months just scouting and scouting.
I caught the processor on sale at Amazon from a Lifehacker alert. I toyed with the idea of getting a motherboard with WiFi capability but didn't see the need as the PC sits right next to my router and I prefer a wired connection anyway.
The SSD is part of Crucial's refurbished program so it came cheap; would've been even cheaper had I not got 2-day shipping but I was feeling impatient.
The 8 GB RAM is overkill, I know, but I had planned on putting it into my old HTPC/media server and using that 4 GB in this new HTPC. Then I realized that the old HTPC is on 32-bit and I just can't be bothered to re-install Windows 64-bit in order to access the 8 GB.
I really like this Cooler Master case. I don't really get cable mgmt that well but tried to tuck things into the sides and underneath in extra areas. The PSU is way more power than needed but the price was just right.
I threw OpenElec onto a flash drive, booted up and it installed XBMC/Kodi quickly. I pulled in the Transparency skin, loaded the WMC backend TV server, got a bunch of add-on's and Bob's your uncle. So far, so good. It's super fast watching live TV off my SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime, no lag whatsoever. Recorded TV, old shows and movies - también, no hay problema.
I also have a FLIRC so that anyone who comes over can use a remote to navigate.
This is strictly an HTPC, no gaming. I know folks like to see the flashy, complicated builds but I wanted to do something good and cheap for a basic HTPC purpose, which should hopefully last upwards of 5-6 years or more.