OpenELEC & LibreELEC reduce the system requirements of a HTPC system. They are Linux based “just enough” operating systems. They are branded this as they they provide just enough OS functionality to launch popular media center solutions like Kodi. This means that you no longer require any high-end system components to run atop HTPC. In this post I will provide the perfect 4K cheap HTPC build that will allow you to watch 4K movies and play your music collections. This is the simplest HTPC build for Kodi and can be put together for under $300! [Read: What is HTPC, aka Home Theater PC, and what is it used for?]
Best 4K HTPC Build for Kodi, OpenELEC, and LibreELEC 2017
This 4K Kodi HTPC has two main objectives. The first is to produce a system that is capable of running Kodi media center and streaming 4K video content and the second is to build it for the lowest possible price. To achieve this we will not be using any performance components or large storage areas. We will be selecting the optimum components for running Kodi and those that present the very best value for money. You can also combine low budget with low power consumption, see our low power HTPC-NAS combo build 2016. This build includes all core components with the exception of the power supply. For a suitable PSU I recommend the EVGA 500 W1 as this will give you the required power for the build at a good price.
Recommended HTPC / Home Server Builds 2017
- Best Home Theater PC Build 2017 to do it all (Plex, Kodi, NAS, Gaming)
- Medium Budget 4K HTPC Build 2017 for Kodi, Plex and Gaming
- Cheap 4K HTPC Build for Kodi, OpenELEC, and LibreELEC 2017
- Low Power Home Server Build 2017 for Network File and Media Storage
- Best HTPC for Kodi with 4K on a Medium Budget 2017 (~$400)
- Energy efficient budget HTPC-NAS combo build 2016
Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini-ITX Case $39 (or less)
As we are aiming for simple, size is not important so our cheap 4K HTPC will be built using the mini-ITX form factor. One of the best looking cases for mini-ITX motherboards is the Cooler Master Elite 110. This is a compact cube style case with just enough space for HTPC components. The case comes in black with a sleek look to it and will sit nicely next to any living room TV. Although it is small it does have room for additional hard disks if you want to expand your storage capacity later down the line.
The Cooler Master Elite 110 features a mesh front panel with vents on either side providing a good airflow around your system. Although this is a mini-ITX case it supports full sized ATX power supplies which will save you money. The case only allows PCI-E cards of up to 210mm in length but this will not be a problem as we do not require a dedicated GPU for this build. With this case we get the smallest possible system that looks great. Power supply sold separately. [Read: How to manually update OpenELEC to Beta?]
Intel Core I3 4160 CPU $115 (or less)
I tend to use AMD CPUs for HTPC builds as they are generally cheaper but at the lower end of the processor ranges there is little difference. For this HTPC build for Kodi we will be using the Intel I3 4160 CPU. This processor is now two generations from the market leaders but is more than enough for OpenELEC, LibreELEC and Kodi media center. There is also a wider range of Intel motherboards for the mini-ITX form factor.
The Intel I3 4160 is a dual core 3.6GHz CPU with 3MB smart cache. Although it only has 2 cores it does support hyper threading which can produce similar levels of performance to quad core processors. It supports DDR3 memory to a maximum of 32GB. All Intel I3 processors utilise socket LGA 1150 motherboards and the range for these is huge and we have plenty of features to choose from. The Intel I3 4160 is now relatively cheap and the optimum choice for this build.