My 11 year old son was killing my laptop with his gaming, so I decided to build him a mid level gaming tower for his room.
Since this was my first build I began by searching the Internet for any and all information I could digest about building a machine. This led me here to PcPartPicker. What an awesome source of information and excellent way to research, compare, and track parts. Not to mention the friendly helpful advice of the community.
I also leveraged social networking. This turned out to be key in scoring some good deals. Such as an EVGA GTX-670 card for $150.00 and two WD 300GB Velociraptor 10K drives and a Linksys AE2500 wireless USB for $20.00. This provided us with a substantial bit of what we needed at a very low cost. I was also able to tap the shoulder of an acquaintance in Southern California to pick me an AMD processor and Asus motherboard as a bundle deal from Micro Center. The gross savings were somewhere around $50.00, but I had to cover shipping and I comped him some money for his time. Net savings was only about $1.00 over the CPU and MOBO I was able source locally, but I was able to get the non LE Asus MOBO. So it turned out to a fairly good deal.
All other items were purchased on-line. Most, if not all, through Newegg. Easy to deal with, fast shipment, and coming from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area where I live was overnight delivery even with the 4-7 day egg saver delivery option. How awesome was that?
Some deals I had scared up changed a bit and resulted in me buying items I was originally able to source for free. But that is the cost to getting things you want. Like front audio, front USB 3.0, and cable management.
Everything went very smooth during the build and I had my 11 year old do most of the labor as we talked about what I had learned in my almost 3 weeks of research. He did a great job and I am proud of him. There were a couple of items that took a bit of time, like finding out how to get the Windows 8.1 ISO and convert it to a bootable flash drive. We opted to not install an optical drive at this time.
Next steps are to let him play with the machine for a few months, then look into overclocking (would include new CPU cooling, maybe even liquid cooled), new keyboard, mouse, monitor, and possibly a Blu-ray optical drive so he can watch DVDs.
I will fill in stats after I run some testing software. I still need to research this part of the PC building world.
14 March: Added a new monitor. Ended up with an Asus S240HLabii 23.0". I could not locate this model on PC Part Picker so I listed the Asus S230HLabii. They seem to be the same monitor, except the 240 has DVI, VGA, and HDMI ports. It might be work mentioning that my son paid for the monitor. Birthday/Christmas money and a small loan from his parents. That I will indeed collect on.