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$500 Budget Gaming PC :: The N200 Mini Monster
by Dradix
Permalink:   (48 comments)

Picture Quality Note: All of my pictures were taken with an S4 quality camera, and I realize that a fair number of them are blurred slightly. I swear that when I took the pictures they seemed perfectly clear, but they came out blurred :P. Hopefully the number of pics makes up for the lower quality!


I've been saving up for a few months / researching budget parts and past eBay listings to find the right components to use in this build. My intent with this project was to prove to my parents, I'm 15, that building and reselling computers was a semi-worthwhile side job that could bring in some profit each month. It took some searching, and researching to finally find, what I would consider, a worthwhile parts list. I do realize that it can be a time consuming, and difficult, process to build and sell PCs for a profit, although I feel that given enough time I can definitely make this little side business worth the time.

Parts list:

Here I'll go through what I purchased, and why.

CPU: I've heard really good things about the Athlon x4 760K and figured it would a perfect CPU for my budget ($500). As of writing this I haven't tested it much, but it runs Linux Mint off of a bootable USB drive fast enough. Beyond the good reviews and low price I wanted to try out some of AMD's Athlon CPUs to see if they'd be worthwhile in possible future builds.

Mobo: I picked this motherboard for a few reasons. The first being that it was cheap, for $70 I got a fair number of bells and whistles, while still sticking to my price range. The second being that it was an A88X chipset, which when paired with a 760K means that OCing is completely possible. The third being that I wanted the board to be quality, I didn't want to purchase some POS board and try to resell it for twice its value to some unsuspecting person, I wanted to be sure that I was selling something of quality to a person, and know that they wouldn't be disappointed when they got it. Beyond those reasons this motherboard has been great so far, the BIOS is easy to use, and I'm going to try my hand at the OC Genie 4 before I list it on eBay later this week.

RAM: I know, I know, I could of gotten cheaper RAM. The thing is I picked up this RAM, plus the PSU, used from reddit's r/hardwareswap for $90 shipped. When you work out the math I essentially paid face value for the RAM and got the PSU free, and offer I couldn't easily pass up. Besides the deal I got on it the RAM has been working great so far, and it's clocked @ 1600Mhz, so it's plenty fast.

HDD: I picked this hard drive up @ Newegg when it had a $10 off coupon on it for $54.99. That's cheaper than WD's Cavier Blue, and when you're on a budget every dollar off counts. So I decided to chance it with Seagate, and so far it has been an awesome HDD. It's speedy, and whisper quiet.

Case: I managed to get this case from Newegg for $50. It's an amazing case, and I really enjoyed building in it. It has 3 USB ports on the front (2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0), Audio, Power, and Reset. Along with that it has a 5.25" bay, and a 3" bay in front so you could slap in a hotswap and DVD/CD/Bluray drive super easily. On the inside of the case it's all black, and looks very clean. Cable management inside was a tad tedious, but nevertheless I enjoyed building in it, and give it a solid 4 stars.

PSU: As mentioned above I basically got this PSU for free, so I can't complain. It fits my power needs perfectly, and still has headroom in case I want to OC in the future, or the perspective buyer wants to. Beyond that there isn't much to say about it other than it looks damn good!

ODD: Besides the fact that it's ASUS there isn't much that's special about this drive. I got it for $5 off @ Newegg and paid a whopping $14.99 for it when it was all said and done! You really can't beat that price for a reliable ODD.

OS: I got it for $11, that's all I can say.

GPU: This was probably the best part about the entire build, getting to buy, and use, a brand new GPU! I've heard that when you could get one the R7 265 was the best budget card available, as it is basically a rebranded 2GB 7850. That being said I really haven't gamed much on it because I don't want to have to reformat the HDD and reinstall windows, or delete and leave behind remnants of a game or two.


I really enjoyed building this PC, and I'm really hoping that I can resell it easily via eBay. I'd like to thanks you for taking to time to view this post, and to look over my thoughts on the various components of my $500 BTS build.



P.S: All the parts were purchased through Newegg as I don't have a Microcenter nearby (unfortunately), and it was a price difference of ~$5 total (I believe) to order from three different sites rather than one. And thus that is why I ordered all my parts from Newegg, plus free shipping and 3-4 day delivery on everything was an added bonus! :D

P.P.S: After doing some tests it would appear that the top temp on my CPU was 104 C... personally I feel that this is a failure on HWMonitor's part, but if anybody else has used this CPU and gotten results like that could you say so in the comments?

Part List
Date PublishedApril 20, 2014
AMD Athlon X4 760K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.8GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle48.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load61.0° C
MSI Radeon R7 265 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate-
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate-
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
3DMark 11 Benchmark Results
Performance Preset ScoreP5600
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
xBlood_Monkey [9 Builds] 2 points 9 months ago

If you're worried about temps, you could try re-pasting your CPU heatsink. Other than that, this looks like an excellent budget build. :)

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion! I've got some Cooler Master thermal paste lying around, maybe I'll use some of that.

PandaBear77 [1 Build] 2 points 6 months ago

Hey man do not worry about the temperature. Is a common failure on the FM2 chips. My 760K is around 90º on idle, which is not possible :P

Read the temperature from the BIOS. Mine said 30-40º on idle.

That R7 265 is basically a R9 270, because of the memory bus. Really good value. I was tempted to get one, but I need the maximum graphical power possible because of the anti aliasing (my screen is 1366x768, thus the anti alias need).

Konasumi 1 point 9 months ago

Nice build! How did you get Windows 8.1 Pro for $11.00?

C2400 4 points 9 months ago

There's a subreddit for 'software swapping' that sells official Microsoft keys for small amounts, as he mentions Reddit elsewhere I'd guess that's how he did it.

I won't say what specific subreddit as I don't want to break any rules, but I recently used it to get keys for Office 2010 Pro Plus, Windows 8.1 Pro and Office 2011 (for Mac) for only $33. I'm sure you guys will be able to find it easily.

aubry [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Anyone on that forum that you trust? There are so many great offers and they all seem too good to be true.

C2400 1 point 9 months ago

/u/DNK13 and /u/s5ean are both stand up guys and were both very helpful to me in the past (although I obviously cannot guarentee 100% nothing will go wrong)

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

I purchased from /u/s5ean actually. +1 for his rep.

aubry [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks! Will most likely buy all software off there now! I appreciate it!

[comment deleted]
Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 9 months ago

Yup. That's where I got it, the mods removed my first post because I mentioned it :P

[comment deleted by staff]
Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

Yeah, your going to get your comment removed for that... :P

bchurch 1 point 9 months ago

I heard about your build post, but I don't see why it is against the rules, its perfectly legal.

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Technically it violates MS's terms of use, but meh.

bchurch 1 point 9 months ago

Good to know

bubbledor 1 point 9 months ago

i'm wondering the same! would love to get it for my system, i'm waiting on dreamspark access...

Sam_McCofin [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

That would take SO much cash off of my build!! Me want Windows.

LeoonF 1 point 9 months ago

He is 15, so he probably got it through his school for cheap; I don't know for sure but its just a guess.:)

Sam_McCofin [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

That's cool, but my school's dumb. They only sell Win. Vista Ultimate for $45. It's so annoying. :)

ben8248 [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

I bought Win 8.1 Pro student version for $70. Just need a .edu email.

Sam_McCofin [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

I'm currently a student. Is there a way I could do that?? Thanks. :)

ben8248 [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Here you go. You will need to use your student email. It is a downloadable version only and will cost an extra $15 for the disc. Learned that the hard way.


Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Actually my school doesn't do dreamspark, as you have to be a university grade education facility to receive free operating systems :(

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Yes I used the method that /u/C2400 mentioned.

PolishXlion [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

My Friend has this CPU. I will ask him to check his temps.

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago


ThatsPoorlyDrawn [3 Builds] 1 point 9 months ago

I do not believe your cpu should be running that hot...nobody else seems to be having those temps, and another note...why choose a R7 265? Just curious, what games do you play? What FPS and quality?

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Yeah... I ran Windows 8.1's version of Windows Index and that's when it claimed to have spiked to that temp. Although within seconds of it hitting 104 C it dropped straight back down to 64 C. Which is why I think it was an error on HWMonitor's part.

I have a friend with a 7850 1GB, I have a GTX 760 4GB, and in games like GTA IV, Minecraft, FTB, and BF3/BF4 we get nearly identical FPS. Knowing that the R7 265 was a rebranded 7850 made me think that for $150 it was most certainly worth it for my budget. Plus its been recommended as the gaming card to get when on a budget.

As far as games, I haven't played any specifically on this card yet, but on my buddies 7850 1GB he gets a solid 60+ FPS in every game on ultra @ 720p, so I figure this card should handle most everything @ 60+ FPS on high @ 1080p.

ThatsPoorlyDrawn [3 Builds] 1 point 9 months ago

Nice, thanks for the quick response!! I love the GTX 760...the 2gb edition is a great budget card as well...not a $500 budget, but my PC all-in-all was around $700. But this build seems to be pretty awesome itself! +1 for the great way to spend $500!

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 9 months ago

Thanks! For whatever reason I bought the 4gb version of the 760, only to later realize I could of bought a 770 for $50 more.. such is life though, you live and you learn.

6thcousin 1 point 9 months ago

Nice job on this one +1

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago


candy [2 Builds] 1 point 9 months ago

Sweet build

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago


RazerZ 1 point 9 months ago

Nice build. I have a feeling HW temps are wrong, unless you forgot to apply thermal paste ;)

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Trust me, I made sure it was on there :)

I've determined it was an error on HWMonitor's part, as running prime95, even with a stock AMD cooler, only yielded a ~80 C top temp. I realize that that is a really high temp, but the use of this PC will most likely never try to run intense mathematical formulas for long durations of time...

Hellvaguy [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Instead of mini monster, call it MINI BEASTMODE

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

lol, thanks!

pegotico 1 point 8 months ago

you can use CPUID HM Pro, I have one build with the X4 760k and temps are showing ok A good guide http://www.overclock.net/t/1128821/amd-temp-information-and-guide

XxAnimaxX 1 point 6 months ago

what games can you run?

LemingSweaty 1 point 5 months ago

do it you wont

Shidokidd 1 point 3 months ago

Hey Dradix! Just finished constructing this computer! In addition to the hardware that you used, we used a liquid cooling system from Cooler Master. (we were aware that this was not needed however, we're experimenting) We had to re-arrange the fans but everything is fine. The air flow isn't interrupted or anything. Currently, we are in the BIOS letting it burn in. This is a great build, thanks so much as it fits the budget perfectly. :)

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 3 months ago

No problem man! I'm glad the build is working well for you, don't forget to post the build here when you're done, I'm exited to see it!

JayHuff4346 1 point 2 months ago

On this case, I've read some reviews of people complaining about a lip that blocks some ports on GPUs, and I really like this case, and really want to get it for when I build this really small gaming PC, but with a lot of power packed into it (going to have a zotac GTX 970, smaller than the other cards at about 8 inches) but I don't want to waste money on a case if I can't use the HDMI or some stuff on a 330 dollar GPU. So, I guess what I'm saying is, is there a lip on the case that blocks ports on GPUs?

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

In my experience with a MSI R7 265 I experienced no issues with a "lip" on the interior of the case.

I plugged into the HDMI and DVI ports just fine.

Hope this helps!

JayHuff4346 1 point 2 months ago

It does, as I really like this case and would like to get it for a SFF build with intel/nVidia (best for SFF in my opinion), while I prefer to build with AMD and AMD for regular ATX builds (no idea why, I just do).

If possible, can you take a picture of the back of the case where the pci-e slots are, specifically the ones your GPU is taking up? Just to clarify things a bit more

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Unfortunately I cannot, as I sold the PC some time ago :(

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

JayHuff4346 1 point 2 months ago

No problem, you did what you could and I appreciate it

Thanks :)

Dradix [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Thanks for understanding!