HTPC Advice

I want to get into building HTPC for people (like in real life, and getting paid) and I'd like some advice from people who've had experience in that field.


what Linux distros have the best stability, driver support, and UI. and windows frontends as well so I can be flexible, and what software is popular?


as far as hardware I have abbaseline build around 585 with windows included. it has 2x4GB 1600, 240GB muskin chronos SSD, 6400K, high end Asrock mini itx board, 430w psu, and a silverstone ML05B


that's the baseline minimal specs things can be added Ala cart customization, but I think it needs fine tuning, like the ram, would 2x2GB be alight for HTPC use or is the 8 GB recommended? I want the SSD to be a baseline standard since streaming, is the hot thing right now, if they want storage then I can get  a 128 GB SSD and a 1TB HDD for around the same price. as far as the PSU goes its a rosewill430w green drive as I've had luck but if I can trim down the prices I'd like to get that 360w seasonic PSU.  is the 6400k enough, too much, just right? I want the baseline build to be a smooth experience, pretty sure I can go lower but I want to hear what you guys think.  I opted for the 99$asrock itx board that has VGA/HDMI/dvi and 6+2 power phase over the 4+2 one with only VGA/HDMI, nut it does have wifi, that is some that I can add in later via USB or PCI-E while the DVI was not, should I go with the wifi one instead, I really do not like MSI or GIGABYTE, and would much rather use ASUS but boards are currently limited.  possible Ala cart items are wifi/Bluetooth adapters, Bluetooth KB and mouse, remotes, capture cards, sounds cards, bluray drives additional storage, cooling, and ram/CPU depending on needs, and possibly cases

sorry for formatting, mobile

Any Linux distro will work, just slap XBMC on it.

my only experience with Linux was with Ubuntu before unity disfigured it and, how do I "slap xbmc on it"?

XBMC is a software, so just install it with the distros' package manager, whatever it is (I use Yum, personally).


okay do all versions of Linux have about the same support for drivers and what about Netflix since it uses silverlight, isn't that a Microsoft only thing or is there a work around

Yes, there is a work-around. A lot of distros have support for it, but not all 64 bit distros do. It was developed for Ubuntu, the "Netflix Desktop" software, but it works essentially everywhere.

so my best bet is Ubuntu, what about ram is 4 enough or would it need 8GB?

For an HTPC, 4 should be plenty. You won't really be multitasking on it. Also, since you don't like Unity, you should look into getting gnome set up for Ubuntu. It can be done without much difficulty. I've forgotten hwo I did it now, but google should have the answer if you care.

okay, there's a 1866 4GB kit thats like 2 bucks more expensive so ill get that and swap the rosewull for the seasonic psu

Can't go wrong with that.

this is what I got so far, probaby add some fans since me and phantom apparently have an infinite free 2 day shop runner shipping

I don't like Gigabyte but maybe this board will be good

Possibly look into linux distros stripped down for use with just xbmc. I use openelec on a really old pentium no issues. Unless you want the functiality of a full desktop its the way to go. I forget the names of some others but they all seem to have great driver support

as soon as the Mobo is shipped and I buy phantom a CPU, I'll have spare hardware to test out the software

Here are the specs for my personal HTPC which should give a pretty basic outline for what's needed.  You're most likely going to want to go with OpenElec if you're going for bare-bones, or XBMCBuntu if you still want a gui for configuration.