A couple of days ago I flew from Michigan to San Francisco, CA to help one of my best friends from college build his first gaming PC. At first, I thought he wanted to adhere to a strict budget of $700, which eventually I talked him up to $800-$850. In the end, he ended up being willing to spend just a bit more which made this build totally awesome! It's the first build that I'd be willing to really show off, so here I am!
CPU: i5-6500 3.2 GHz - I really wanted to have a solid quad-core rather than opting for an i3. My buddy was coming from an i3 2120 so I really wanted to up his game. That was part of the little extra I wanted him to spend in the beginning. Totally worth it. Also, no need for an overclocking chip. Just didn't seem necessary.
CPU COOLER: Cryorig H7 - This is totally overkill, but I really love how this thing looks. It's a fantastic performer with great aesthetics at a great price, just like every one seems to say on the interwebs.
MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-B150N Phoenix-WIFI Mini ITX - My friend REALLY wanted to go for an orange themed build as that is his favorite color. This motherboard was absolutely perfect for what I was going for. I didn't include any LED lighting strips. I was really going for a lot of just ambient orange lighting and this board nails it. Besides that, it's a great mobo to compliment non-k processors and was a perfect fit for the i5-6500. I almost wish Gigabyte made this board in different color variants because it just looks THAT good.
RAM: Kingston Fury 8x2 16GB DDR4 - I've used these sticks before and I think they have a great look about them. The reason why there is two separate sticks in the part list is because we were originally going to just stick with one stick to start out, leaving room for him to add more later. I ended up ordering the second from Amazon as one of the many parts I gifted him for this build.
GPU: XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB (Reference w/ backplate) - I managed to snag one of these about a month ago as I knew this would be what I wanted for my buddy's build. I was impatient however and really wish I would've waited for an aftermarket card (the XFX dual-fan model would've looked excellent in my opinion). It's a blower style cooler, but so far I've had no trouble keeping temps under control by changing the temp range in Wattman. Overall, I'm pleased with decision.
STORAGE: ADATA Premier SP550 M.2 240GB & Western Digital Black 1TB 7200RPM - These were sort of a last minute decision. Once I got to San Francisco, I quickly learned that my friend had forgotten to buy storage! I had originally had a single 2.5" ADATA SSD picked out but since it was nowhere to be seen, I convinced him that taking advantage of the M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard would be a good thing to do now as it wouldn't be accessible later. And accompanying the M.2 SSD, we settled on a modest 1TB WD Black drive for storing games. I've had nothing but good experiences with WD Black drives making it really easy recommend. (He's never had an SSD before so he's really impressed with boot times.)
CASE: NZXT Manta Mini ITX - This was a total surprise for me! I had originally chosen a Phanteks mini ITX case that I had experience building in before. At the time, the price was right for the budget. I sent him a link to the Manta kinda hoping that he would just get it but I never heard back from him (busy with work and such). I called him the night before I was flying out and he told me he bought this case instead! Obviously I was thrilled! Building in this thing was a great experience and I'd do it again in a heartbeat! The included PWM fan hub it awesome to see and really helped out with our fan configuration. The only thing I can say is: Wow. This case brought this build to the next level.
PSU: Corsair RMx 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular - I love Corsair products. I found this one on sale with a rebate so we jumped on it. Originally it was supposed to be visible, but the Manta's PSU shroud hides it. It's a great product for sure and supplies enough juice for this build without going with something overkill.
CABLE EXTENSIONS: Thermaltake Sleeve Extension Power Supply Cable Kit - I didn't really know what to expect from these extensions because there were no reviews on Amazon, but these things are great! These really gave the build that "finished" look I really wanted to go for. They're a bit stiff, but easy to work with. The included cable combs snap on fairly easily and overall, I'm so glad I personally bought them to help the build look seriously spot on.
FANS: Thermaltake Orange Riing Fans 3x140mm & 1x120mm - I didn't know if I wanted these static pressure optimized fans, but I really couldn't pass up how perfect these would be for this project. I purchased these before I knew about the case change, so I had to order the 120mm to replace the spot at the back of the case. I thought about not using the 140mm at the top-back spot but I thought what the heck... I have it and I don't want to return it. Good decision. Very pleased with these, even though they aren't PWM fans. They'll serve my friend well because he's not concerned about total silence.
In conclusion, this has been my favorite PC build to date. It turned out so well and I'm quite proud of how it turned out. My friend and I had a great time building it together and here's hoping it lasts him a long time.
Thanks for checking out the build! I do really appreciate it. -Heath
Edit: Sorry for the lack of photos with the lights out. My Nexus 6P doesn't like low-light photography. It's really hard to portray how great it looks in pictures.