There is an HTPC for everyone. If you want a fast and easy way to set one up just to watch your media, then you can choose a device similar to the CX-919 Android TV stick or the Amazon Fire TV. If you would rather enjoy a different experience, with 4k content and gaming possibilities, then you might be better off with an NVIDIA SHIELD Pro. It depends on what you want, as with every investment you do in buying technology for your home theater PC.
It should not be a surprise then that there are also high-end computers, with several more uses further beyond the classical "I turn it on, I watch a movie, I turn it off" drill. The peak of technology in this sense would be a barebones i7 computer, simply because the i7 is one of the best processors out there. Of course, fitting an i7 processor in a mini computer HTPC might perhaps come at the cost of size and noise, and this is exactly the thing we will see on our Gigabyte Brix Pro review. [Read: VOYO mini PC could be a compact and silent media PC]
This box is taller than its Intel NUC media center counterparts, but follows the same principle: basically, you will be faced with a mini computer HTPC, including a motherboard, power supply, processor and barely anything else. When you buy a barebones i7 computer, you should know you will still need to get things like RAM and storage for it. The appeal of these, is that you can spend as much or as little on these parts, so the barebones i7 computer will fit your needs. This Gigabyte Brix Pro review will let us see that this device is not for the people who want to build a casual HTPC to enjoy a movie every now and then -these people will have an option to buy an Android TV box under $100-, but instead, this device is aimed to people who want to set up a big project, like a home server with tons of storage, using little space. [Read: 5 Most common NAS or Home Server uses]
Best Android TV Boxes:
Gigabyte Brix Pro review: expensive, but powerful
If you're on a budget, don't select this option. The Gigabyte Brix pro price is just below $500 and, with the added expenses of buying a HDD or SSD, and the RAM, besides any other peripherals you might want, this device will leave your wallet begging for mercy. However, if you want to set up a big project, such as a home server, then this mini computer is right for you. As you will see on this Gigabyte Brix review, it can also act as a very powerful HTPC, but there are two things to notice here. First of all, the device is anything but silent. You might hear a loud humming or buzzing when the CPU gets hot and the fans start to dissipate heat.
Because of that, you might think this mini computer HTPC cannot be used in your living room, and you might be right, however, you could insert a 2TB HDD on this device, and if you take into account its power and connectivity, you will notice that you would get a nice machine able to provide data, for example, to 4 simultaneous connections on Plex, in full 1080p without lag. Or perhaps you want a computer that isn't only limited to media, but instead you want to get work done on desktop applications in your living room (for whatever reason), then you might want to buy this device and perhaps a nearly full-sized keyboard such as the Logitech K830 Wireless keyboard with touchpad.
After your Gigabyte Brix Pro review, would you recommend this device?
I cannot recommend this device to you if you only want to look at the latest shows or movies in your living room; the reason being, this is not a device suited for that. It would be an overkill for that use. In our Gigabyte Brix Pro review, we noticed that this device is noisy and sometimes gets hot, because it is a heavy duty computer. As I said before, in this case you would be better off getting a device such as the CuBox TV Android box or even the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
However, not all of us have the same needs. If what you are after is raw and great computing power, amazing capabilities and versatility for any uses you might want to try with it, then our Gigabyte Brix Pro review will let you know that this device is the right one for your project. In particular, this device is very well suited to be a powerful home media server, and bringing content to your other devices in every corner of your home.