I'm 15 years old. My old computer was eight years old, and ran about as fast as your average tortoise. With that in mind, I saved up my meager birthday and Christmas money for over a year or so in order to build my own, the end product of which you see here. I decided to buy during Black Friday, and am quite pleased with the deals I got. My goal was to make a decent gaming PC for appx. $650, and I think I succeeded.
FX-8320: I was originally going to get the FX-6300, but at the time of purchase, the FX-8320 was only $10 more. ($129 vs. $119) so I decided to make the step up - no reason not too, except that due to its loud stock fan (or so other people have said), I may need to buy an aftermarket cooler like the Cooler Master 212+, which I don't mind. Extra ideas for Christmas, eh? Eight Cores at a decent price, should work well.
Asus M5A97 R2.0: Good reviews, decent feature list. Easy to work with and install. The only possible problem I have with it is that my graphics card hangs fully over one of the small PCI Express slots, and nearly encroaches onto the other, meaning that any add-on (such as a wireless card) will not fit or leave the graphics card with poor airflow. That's not as much the board's fault as mine of course (for the part selection), and I can always just get a USB wireless adapter anyways.
Ares Series RAM: Simple, DDR3 1600, and on a VERY nice sale on Black Friday. Went in easy, works well from what I've seen. Should be able to do just fine for any program/game.
Barracuda HDD: Again, Simple 1 TB Hard Drive. Does it's job, went in nicely, should provide plenty of storage. Yes, a SSD would have been nice, but this is a budget build.
MSI Radeon HD 7870: Very very nice, especially for $121 after rebate and promo code. I was originally going to get a 7850, but the price drops (such as with the FX-8320) let me justify this. Plenty of power for a budget gaming rig, and MSI Afterburner is a nice touch.
Corsair 300R: For a first-time builder, supremely easy to work with - and on a great sale! Practically tool-less, the only thing I needed was a common magnetic screwdriver to screw some of the stuff in. DVD Drive just slides in, so does the hard drive. Built in standoffs, so no fumbling around. Perhaps could have done with a couple more tie-off points, but it worked well as it was. I would definitely recommend to anyone building, especially first-timers.
XFX 650W PSU: Another bargain steal. XFX is a good manufacturer, 650W should be plenty, and the semi-modular design was very handy. Screwed right in, and hasn't blown up. My only (minor) problem was that some of the (included) power cords seemed like they could have afforded to be a few centimetres longer, though again that was probably due more to my building skill than the actual part.
ASUS CD/DVD Drive: It goes in and out, and reads disks. What more do you want?
Windows 8.1: Yes, Windows 8 takes getting used to, but especially as time passes and it become standard, should be good to have. It really doesn't look that bad, and took only about 10 minutes to install.
As far as the build went, I think it went pretty smoothly, even if it did take 3.5 hours for the hardware part alone. I probably could have used a little more cable management (that back of the case is a rat's nest), but all in all a good experience for a first time builder.
A NOTE ON PRICING: All prices given are after rebate and/or promo code at the time of purchase.
Also, on the pictures, I know the lighting is weird and some of the pictures are blurry, I was experimenting with different camera modes. Sorry!
ONE-YEAR LATER EDIT: I've added a CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo, and the temperatures and sound are much better.
|CPU||AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core||$129.99|
|Motherboard||Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+||$94.99|
|Memory||G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600||$49.99|
|Storage||Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM||$59.99|
|Video Card||MSI Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB||$121.99|
|Case||Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower||$39.99|
|Power Supply||XFX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V||$39.99|
|Optical Drive||Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer||$16.99|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit)||$89.98|
|AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor|
|CPU Clock Rate||3.5GHz|
|CPU Temperature While Idle||-|
|CPU Temperature Under Load||31.0° C|