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How To Build A Home Theater PC, Part 1

Here's the step-by-step guide on how to build a home theater PC. From the case to optical drives, and from the home theater speaker review to computer media players, let's get it all in place before we put it into your media center computer system.


For more detail on how to install the various components, refer to the computer building guide in additional reading below and visit this page for more on computer case connections.

Start by opening up your HTPC/computer case. The first thing you should do is to take a moment and decide on the order that things need to be done.

HTPC cases are usually a little tighter and less roomy than a computer case, so the order of installation may make a difference. This can also vary depending on the case you are using. In the case of the Silverstone SST-LC16B-M ATX, we'll start with the motherboard.

Installing a motherboard in an HTPC case is identical to installing one in a regular computer case. Put the motherboard in place in the case, aligning the back panel with the cutout on the case. HTPC Case
Take note of where the holes in the motherboard are and line up with the holes in the case. Remove the motherboard and screw in one spacer into each of these holes.
Re-align the motherboard on top of the spacers and secure it with the motherboard screws.


CPU and Memory

With the motherboard in place, we can move on to the CPU and system memory. Raise the lever that is on the socket. Install CPU
Align the CPU with the Socket. The trick to this is to align pin 1 on the CPU with the pin 1 mark on the socket.
Look for a gold triangle on the CPU and a mark on the socket, also a triangle. Align these 2 triangles, and put the CPU in place. It should sit nicely in the socket and you will not need any force to put it in place. Install CPU
Once it is in place, lower the lever and lock the CPU in place.
Next up is the system memory. Align your memory modules with the DIMM slots and press them into place. Installing Memory
Snap the DIMM clips in place on either end of the DIMM slot.


CPU Heatsink

Note: Whether you build a computer or build a home theater PC, installing a heatsink is fairly universal, but there are exceptions. Refer to your heatsink manual to ensure that there are no extra steps required.

Depending on the heatsink that you have, you may need to remove the existing heatsink mounting plate and replace it with the one that came with your heatsink. Install Heat Sink
Secure the mounting plate to the motherboard with the included screws.
Align the base of the heatsink with the CPU and place the heatsink on top of the CPU gently.
Next, get a nice thin layer of thermal paste, or heatsink compound, on the CPU. To do this, I use a credit card to spread a pea-sized drop of paste evenly across the top of the CPU.

Apply Thermal Paste

Install CPU Heatsink

Hook the retention brackets onto one side of the bracket. Using them as a leverage point, gently push the heatsink onto the CPU, and hold it in place.
Hook the other side of the retention brackets onto the motherboard bracket. You may need to use a small flat-tip screwdriver to get them to click into place.
If you are using a fan with your heatsink, attach the fan clips and any dampening rubber, and hook the fan onto the heatsink.  

Additional Reading:

So far so good? You have just taken the first steps to build a home theater PC - let's continue...

Return to Media Center PC, Part 1

Return to Media Center, Part 2

Media Center Computer

Home Theater PC

Continue on to Part 2 of How To Build A Home Theater PC

Return to Computer Guides from How To Build A Home Theater PC

Return to Build Your Own Computer Home Page

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