After I built my new 5-year lifespan gaming rig, I was really interested in how cheap a tower one could build that could 1080p high-ultra game. The main motivation was the hype everyone had for the $400 PS4 and the $500 Xbox One. I was determined to prove to the PC haters that PC gaming is not expensive, in fact, PC gaming has never been cheaper and affordable than today. The goal was to find PC part configurations that absolutely undercut the price you'd pay for an 8th generation game console(which are sold at a loss anyways) and would beat them in real world performance. After making some not that bad theoretical builds based around a dirt cheap, but still viable Radeon HD 6790 @ $80 before tax and Athlon ii x3,x4s/APUs/FX 41XX, I realized that buying all brand new parts wasn't viable in what kind of performance I wanted. I remembered the Radeon HD 5800 series being absolute monsters in performance from back in the day. They're so good Apple still uses them in their Mac Pro configurations 4 years on. In gaming performance they tail closely behind the Radeon HD 7850 for real world performance. 5800 = 6900/7900 of its day. Then Valve was all like, "STEAM MACHINES, *******!" Psssh, you know I'm building one of those now; no question.
Currently overclocked to 3.12GHZ, gonna push this bugger hard and try reach 3.4ghz-3.6ghz on this water cooler. It's only 18C idle and 20C with medium usage. It isn't unlocked so I'll have to fiddle around with clock freqs and voltages and see how much mileage I get.
Part choices:: GPU: Craigslist for $90. Kind of wish I had done a better job of searching because there were ones for $70 that i found later. :(
CPU: Ebay for $54. Got this little beasty from Korea. **** son, 8 day shipping time and $8 shipping fee? That is a bargain. Cheaper and more powerful than anything I could hope to purchase brand new or second hand in my area. This was the best price(including shipping) to power CPU on ebay I could find.
Mobo: I had to buy a brand new as there were no good boards for less than $60 in my area or on ebay. So I bit the bullet and ponied up for the shipping and tax for the board.
RAM: Black Friday, WHAAAAAT!? Oh man, this was THE BEST! $49 for G.skill sniper 1600mhz? That was a score. Thanks, Newegg. <3.
HDD: This is the unused 2nd storage drive from my i5 Ivy Gaming Rig.
Case: Look at that tiny sleek looking bugger. Its cool and small; fits nicely in the TV stand.
Heatsink: I was going to go with a cheap air solution, but, I had a problem; the case is too shallow for most heatpipe-block air heatsinks. The amazing low profile air solutions were around $40-50 so I figured I might as well just grab the water cooled solution for a little more money as it was on sale.
PSU: I wanted a cheaper PSU but I had no choice in the matter. I was repairing my friends machine and he was having trouble booting to windows after POST. I rigged up my PSU into his machine and got it working. So I bought a new PSU for him. Turns out it was his wall socket and not his PSU. :( So, we had this spare PSU lying around. Instead of paying me back he just gave me the unused PSU.
UPDATE Couldn't get above 3.12ghz without instability or failing POST. I was able to boot to 3.185ghz but BSOD 30mins into Prime95. I was hoping I could fiddle with voltages but my BIOs has the options greyed out, so it seems 3.12ghz is where it shall stay. It's still a pretty good OC and more than enough for gaming. Temps are super low. I reduced my fan speeds to 50% at 40C Degrees temperature in BIOs and it still maxed out at 44C under prime95. Going to try get as low as 37.5% fan speed and disable my rear case fan to try get it as quiet as possible since temperatures are so low.