Okay, it isn't too extreme of a discount, but ~$300 off is still pretty good. (Discount based on purchase date, obviously). Take into consideration the tower itself cost me only $700.
This is my first home-built computer and its purpose is strictly for gaming. Previously I was running on a couple year old laptop which would crash from low settings on Minecraft. So I set out as the jobless teenager I am, and sold...a lot. eBay became a dear friend of mine throughout this process, both from selling and buying. Once I had some money this site was a great help to organize and research the parts I wanted. Over the next three months I did a heap of research and scouted for the best prices until everything was finally purchased. I will talk more about my choices and feelings upon owning them later but overall I am happy, and glad I can finally delve into the PC gaming experience.
CPU: I don't have really any complaints for this processor. I got a great bundle deal from Microcenter and heard many good reviews about the 6300- it is a good CPU. Definitely get this over any other FX-Series 4xxx or 6xxx. I haven't dabbled into overclocking yet- that day will come when I get a cooler. I originally wanted the i5 but the budget wouldn't allow for it, and the same thing goes for the 8 core AMD. But again I am happy with this guy.
MOBO: Again the low price was from the bundle deal from Microcenter. One issue seems to be a bit of a whine (really, really faint) that appears under load. Not a big deal since I have my headphones, but still a negative. As for the how the board looks, it is pretty nice. Don't be fooled by flash pictures, the board looks black, not brown. I liked the big heatsinks by the CPU and the paint finish looks good. Also the ASUS UEFI Bios are nice. With fastboot on and the bios splash screen disable I have cut my boot time to ~5 seconds from windows screen and ~15 seconds from power button press.
RAM: Newegg was having a sale so I picked this up. It ticked all my necessary boxes: 8GB, DDR3-1600, 9 CAS, and it matches the board well. No complaints, no issues, just good memory- and I like the Corsair brand.
SSD: Alright so I didn't get the M4, its the Micron C400, but it is still the same thing (Micron owns Crucial). I got this off eBay for a good price and I like the M4. It is a very reliable and reasonably fast SSD (I boot in ~11 seconds). Definitely get 120+ GB for an SSD because windows alone takes about 20GB of it, and when you add on a few games and large programs 64GB is gone in a flash. I found now that 120GB is not enough for a single drive and will be getting a storage drive soon.
GPU: Ahhh yes, the money drain. This is where the bulk of my earnings went. I was going to get the 7870XT but I read a post somewhere that said "If you are deciding between two GPUs not that different in price always get the upgrade, you'll be kicking yourself otherwise". So I though about it and I wanted Crysis 3 with my Never Settle bundle rather than Tombraider, and the 3GB aspect was nice so I bought the upgrade. It is a great card, XFX has good quality, but this is annoyingly loud. It is easily the loudest fan in my case, including the stock cpu fan. I can't say this card 'destroyes everything' but it is still very good. In Crysis 3 I have to turn a couple settings down a bit but everything else has run quite well. It's a very good bang for buck.
WIFI: You see, we have our router in the basement of my house (so my Dad's PC can be direct connected) and I am set up on the 2nd story in my room. Wifi was an issue. With the d-link duel band something I was only getting about 2-3 bars, but we upgraded to the ASUS AC1750 and now I'm getting 5 bars everywhere. However this is partly due to my receiver( i think) since my xbox and blueray which are near my PC can't get nearly as strong of a signal. I would recomend this for long distance wifi, but make sure you have a good enough router.
Case: Got a great deal from TigerDirect, but man was this a hassle to get here. Had to jump through a few hoops but I finally shipped. TigerDirect was nice about it though, they are still my preferred retailer. The case offers great cooling, although I haven't taken full use of it yet (I need more fans). The 2 negatives I have are: the side panel grates, which are not that bad but deter from the sleekness, and the insufficient space for dual 120 rad. Other than that It is a great case; it looks good, has a nice finish, and is the perfect size.
Optical Drive: Yep...Past-proof
Windows 8: "Eww Windows 8". Yes, stock Windows 8 is a bit "eww". However with Startisback I love it. I need my start button and not have it take me to the modern UI. Also, all those blasted hover charms are disabled (yay). This was a last second purchase, I though I was for sure going to get 7 but nope, I wanted a change of pace and couldn't be happier. It is faster than Windows 7, it has much better menu options and details, and I think it looks better. When you install Startisback it turns into a refined, upgraded Windows 7 rather than the overhaul that Microsoft is pushing. Oh and oddly Amazon gave me an unadvertised discount when I went to check out, maybe because I'm a prime member? Also, am I the only one who buys windows anymore, every other build log says "got windows ultimate/pro free ;]". If there is something I wouldn't torrent it would be my dang OS.
Monitor: Love the look of this thing. Got an amazing deal on eBay (probably my best deal), and it is wonderful. IPS is great, colors look bright and true, whites are bright and blacks are deep. The 5ms is not a big deal, from a side by side test there is the same amount of ghosting as my Dad's 1.5ms monitor. It is dubbed a "frameless" monitor, which is technically true, but it really be called a bezel-less monitor since there is a boarder. But I still love it, frankly it is the smallest frame you are going to get on the market without spending your first born.
Keyboard: I picked it up real quick at staples. It is semi-temporary, there are other things I prioritize to get down the road but it has the standard layout I like. The keys feel a bit cheap, but again, it is cheap.
PSU: This was another eBay item I bought and did with very little research. The bid was ending and I saw a modular Corsair >500 watt and it was reviewed as being really quiet. I got a pretty good deal on it at $22 +shipping so it = $34. The cables look really good, you can't see though to the colored wires (unlike the CX series). It is really quiet and does what it needs to but I'm worried a bit about it's age. I do plan on taking off that horrible bright yellow side sticker that sticks out like a sore thumb. I will probably upgrade down the road and get some individually sleeved cables.
Later Upgrades (in order-ish): fans (2 front 2 top), LED strip(s), individually sleeved cables, better PSU (one that matches).
Completed upgrades (I will take pictures when I have done more to it): Changed side panel to completely clear (no vents), painted 7950 plaque from red to ASUS blue (going to print label onto it in soon), added a WD Blue 1TB, an H80i, grabbed a g602 mouse and cm storm quickfire ultimate keyboard.
Sorry for the term paper sized description :].
|CPU||AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core||$119.99|
|Motherboard||Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+||$54.99|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600||$51.99|
|Storage||Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" SSD||$77.99|
|Video Card||XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB||$269.99|
|Case||Corsair Carbide Series 300R Windowed ATX Mid Tower||$49.99|
|Optical Drive||Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer||$16.99|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit)||$74.99|
|Monitor||Acer H236HLbid 23.0"||$119.99|
|Wireless Network Adapter||Rosewill N900PCE 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1||$24.99|
|CPU Clock Rate||3.5GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||16.0° C|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||-|
|GPU Core Clock Rate||980MHz|
|GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate||1355MHz|
|GPU Temperature While Idle||41.0° C|
|GPU Temperature Under Load||-|
|Performance Preset Score||P7305|