Our fellow blogger from Fanlesstech did their choice and are offering 3 references builds to get a silent HTPC.
We have the choice between 3 models
All those models comes with a SSD for the storage, this means that you either have your own home server or NAS to store your digital content or that you extensively rely on the online ressources (Netflix, Spotify,…). You can of course append an additional HDD, either internal (if you can fit it as the Entry-Level model use a rather small case) or external, but in any cases, you won’t have a truly silent HTPC anymore nas the conventional HDD are sometimes even more noisy than a very good fan.
To be noted as well that none of the three builds include a Graphics card, therefore, the High-End is not really a High-End machine, but rather one of the best you can get without discrete graphics and without moving parts. For those willing to go for a discrete graphics, you still have solutions as many manufacturers today offer passively cooled graphic cards, though you’ll have to be careful as in such full passive system, the heat will build up significantly. The graphic cards sold as passive often take as assumption that there is a minimal airflow in the case.