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Mom & kids 1st build, $600 Gaming Machine

by mayalass



CPU Clock Rate


GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate



The kids, 8 and 10 years old, and I decided our 6 year old Gateway wasn't cutting it anymore and that we would make a project of building a new computer. I had never done anything like this before and so had to do a lot of reading! The kids did most of he assembly and I did most of the cabling and Windows installation, dirvers, etc. We used the monitor, keyboard and mouse from the old machine to cut costs.

It is used for gaming, nothing too hardcore, Minecraft modding, various Steam games. I wanted it to be as future-proofed as much as possible, since I'm sure their gaming is just going to expand. It is SO much faster and responsive than the old machine which locked and lagged. The graphics are a huge improvement. We are very happy so far!

Any feedback or suggestions are welcome. I'm sure I made mistakes.... We had a strict budget and I plugged in the components here and waited for the price to hit our magic number. PCpartpicker is awesome.

UPDATE 2: As summer heated up this year, our new computer started shutting down, and after installing Speedfan, I realized it was overheating. We installed a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, and it completely solved the problem. CPU temps went from 80-82 (!!) to 67-70. AND it runs more quietly now, the fan going at half the RPMs but dropping the temp by 10-15 degrees. I highly recommend adding this cooler to the original build as the original cooler just didn't do the job.

Also, hubby has been playing Skyrim lately---fantastic graphics, excellent response, no lag. Couldn't be more pleased.

UPDATED: Wow, thanks everyone so much for the comments!!!! !
Some quick replies: I don't think we're going to be overclocking, but I did have my eye on the coolers mentioned, mostly for the quiet. However, the fans on this case are super quiet already. I'm sitting right beside it and can't hear it.

Hair-tie: good idea!!

I will check the mobo/RAM settings, thanks for the tip.

Cable management: that big cord was super stiff. I tried to route it behind but I couldn't get it to bend easily and decided to leave it out front. I agree that it looks messy that way!

Our old monitor is decent, 2048x1152, a close-out we got a couple of years ago when the Gateway monitor died.

And as for Windows, I had purchased the upgrade disk a couple of years ago when we went from XP to 7 on the old machine.

Again, thanks so much! I'm relieved to hear we did all right with our selection.

Comments Sorted by:

jake_burlock 2 Builds 92 points 19 months ago

What a mom!

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JohnTsams 1 Build 41 points 19 months ago

My mom could never do this. Great value you got there.

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PickItApart 23 points 19 months ago

Excellent build for the price. Great parts selection. no gripes here.

If you want tips or ideas. 1) Grab a Cooler Master Evo and overclock the fx-6300. However this will take a little reading to do so safely. By doing so you'll get an extra boost in performance. 2) You can try to put cables behind the mobo or behind the HDD trays (between HDD trays and rear wall) on the bottom.

chowsownsomepizza 1 Build -7 points 19 months ago

No get the Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus. Its the same as the evo. The difference between the cooling performances between these two coolers is only a degree Celsius.

Necrochain 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

I wanted a 212 Evo, but the NZXT Respire T40 was on sale for $25 in my area and I'm getting around the same temps as the Evo would have. Really it's down to budget and how far you want to overclock.

PickItApart -1 points 19 months ago

your right. but the Evo is quieter.

Kbur215 -1 points 19 months ago

Or just grab the Cooler Master Seidon 120m because its currently the same price as either and run a push-pull fan setup off the top exhaust.

rar 2 Builds 10 points 19 months ago

Great Job!!! This system should run anything that an 8 and 10 year old should want (or you'll allow).
It will run games better then the system I just built with my kids (10 & 12) by probably 20% or more (if we just compare the GPUs)

Over-clocking the CPU is not necessary ... I wouldn't bother if your just trying to make your games run faster ... but if your want to dive into learning how a computer works and how timing effects performance and heat ... it's is a great adventure. Although I think your kids are still a bit young to really have the background and patients to get into that. My experience so far is that my 10 year old doesn't care about how things work only playing games (which may just be his interest right now rather then his age). My 12 year old is more interested but does not seem to have the patients (or maybe it's just Dad's lecturing). I think I jumped the gun on trying to teach them how computers work (even though they were excited to learn it as we picked out parts and built the machine) ... hopefully that will change over the next year or two.

Over-clocking the GPU will make your frame rates faster but with a HD7870 I don't think your will need to for a while. The downside is that it does generate a lot of heat. BTW the HD7870 is a great card for OC if you decide to do it.

In any case, I think you chose well and I'm sure everyone is going to have a blast with it. +1 (as everyone here seems to say ... )

JohnTsams 1 Build 6 points 19 months ago

You could add a thin client to one of the monitors so that both kids can play minecraft at the same time.


Seagull4111 2 points 12 months ago

oh! That would be an interesting idea...

NovicePCBuild 1 point 9 months ago

So is that using one tower but being able to play on both monitors? Or did I not get any of what the wiki page was trying to tell me

Attacker3 5 points 19 months ago

Hmmm, 7870 for minecraft? :D jk +1 great build!

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SethMatrix 4 points 19 months ago

very nice +1

Spirafall 1 Build 4 points 19 months ago

Very educational for the kids and a very nice way to spend time together! The part choices are very sound, and definitely good patience with the prices.

One suggestion I have for any future builds, is to tie back your hair! XD I've had the unfortunate experience of a single hair falling under the heatsink, so hahaha.

I read some reviews about the mobo where the ram doesn't run at 1866, so it might be a good idea to check your RAM speed if you haven't already. It might run at a default 1333 or 1600, which is no problem, but just thought I'd mention it.

NovicePCBuild 1 point 9 months ago

I love your build

talby 9 Builds 4 points 19 months ago

+1 great selection of parts and prices (yes I agree, pcpartpicker is a great enabler for this purpose)

Living relatively close to a MicroCenter is just as deadly, they have some awesome bundle deals to be had - as my wife has reminded me over the past 15 years :)

I have a couple of builds using the source 210 here and here if you want to see some examples of cable cleanup in that case.

Firecrackers 1 Build 3 points 19 months ago

Looks like she's ready to stream minecraft. +1

SgtTherin 1 Build 3 points 19 months ago

Very sweet. I wish my mom had done that growing up. +1 because I can't give anymore than that like I'd like to. Goodjob

Spencer1012 2 Builds 2 points 19 months ago

Good build. I'd just put the big fat 24 pin connector and the 4 or 8 pin CPU power connector (depends on the board) behind the motherboard tray. It would look SO much cleaner that way and airflow would be a bit better, I suppose. It only takes a minute and that's what those holes are for right next to the power supply :-)

Great parts though.

Zeus 1 Build 2 points 19 months ago

Great build! Should suite your kids' intended uses fine.

dhswanson1987 2 points 19 months ago

Good gaming machine for $600! If you get tired of your old mouse, I highly recommend Gigabyte's M8000X USB laser mouse. Also, you're visual experience could look a lot better with a purdy new monitor. Now is the time to get one while Black Friday deals are going on. I've seen an Asus 23.6" 1080P LED-LCD go for $109.99 w/free shipping! The only problem with that is that the 7870 will struggle @ 1080P in some games whereas graphics with more memory bandwitdh will shine. That's really only with today's more graphically intense games, though. Again, nice build!

JTsComputer 1 Build 1 point 19 months ago

where did you find that deal on the monitor?

dhswanson1987 1 point 19 months ago

Newegg.com via their e-mail promos.

JTsComputer 1 Build 2 points 19 months ago

ah .com vs .ca....so much worse deals here :(

Logden 1 point 3 months ago

So true! I plan my builds for $600 then realize I was on American money and switch it to Canadian. It jumps up about $200!

revotivo44 2 points 19 months ago

This is amazing, wonderful job Mom. Not only did you give them a physical object but you also gave them a memory that they will always remember and hopefully pass onto their kids.

AtomicA 2 points 8 months ago

Ha! I wish my mom was like this!

chowsownsomepizza 1 Build 2 points 19 months ago

Great Job for a starter! By great I mean AWESOME! You did a very good job at cable managing, budgeting and researching on parts.

p.s That is not a moderate gaming machine, its an EXTREME build able to run next-gen games at ultra!

BlastXin 1 point 15 months ago

that's a bit too emphasized. It may run on Ultra but with lower resolution and/or FPS depending how graphically intense games are.

mat_tech 4 points 15 months ago


vekspec 3 Builds 0 points 3 months ago

It's a great build but I would not call it an Extreme build. This would be a good Mid-range build. An EXTREME build would be i5-4690ks and above (i7, i7 extremes, Xeons, 8320/8350) plus 970s, 290s, 290x, 980s, Titans, SLI 970s, 980s, xfire 290s, etc, etc. Example: Mine.

And no, it would most likely not run next-gen games at Ultra unless you turn down the resolution. 7870 is an mid range card and the 6300 is a midrange cpu.

fsma92 2 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Somehow I missed this build, but this is fantastic! This must have been a really fun project to do with your kids, I'm you they appreciate more than you realize, not just because they got a PC but because they got to spend time with their mom. Builds like this are really heart warming. Props to you mom!

Julian1999 2 points 7 months ago

pls be my mom :(

pepoxx 2 points 7 months ago

automatic +1 for being the best mom -besides mine xD- out there

Zequill 1 point 19 months ago

Very nice build +1

xx116xx 3 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Gonna be building something EXTREMELY similar to this very soon for myself... personally I think this part list is the best for the budget.

Xxmg98xX 1 Build 1 point 19 months ago

For that price everything is perfect. +1

aludka 1 Build 1 point 19 months ago

Very nice. For what you intend on using the PC for your parts look fine. I love it when a parent takes the time and initiative to involve their children. If I could give +2 I would.

flyboy88 1 point 19 months ago

Nice. Better stats then the xbone. Also +1 for family projects, please route that 24 pin behind the mobo though.

canders 7 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

Nice build. +1 for the head lamp!

ravagex 1 point 19 months ago

Outstanding build for the money. Big ++++++ for the family effort!

Apach3 2 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

first off, if the system is gonna be on a desk, flip the power supply so that the fan is on the bottom, therefore allowing it to draw fresh air from outside. second, i would spend an hour or so tucking the cables behind the motherboard if at all possible; with the power supply flipped, your cables would be that much closer to the rest of the components that need it.

other than that, it's an incredible system for only $600.

polykow 1 Build 1 point 19 months ago

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Mom of the Year Award!

( Alex from the Unschooling_Gamers Group!)

Harleysmoke 1 point 19 months ago

Gonna need some serious upgrades if you wanna play minesweeper on their. Wooh... this couldn't even run it on bear minimum settings. Jk good build.

Ordies 1 point 19 months ago

From just the last picture of MineCraft, I understood what RP your son is using. It's a very good one, too.

Tyl3r 1 point 19 months ago

Kudos :)

coryjamesking 2 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

i always find myself being the 100th like lol. Nice build!

Emre_A. 1 point 18 months ago

I am actually thinking of making a build similar to this but with more processing power instead of graphics, the parts list is great, and is pretty future proofed for what they will be playing in the future.

good job!

Padpo 1 point 18 months ago

Well my experience with the computer I have now is that if you spend more on your graphics card than your processor you will get better performance than getting a better processor than graphics card.

Str8jakt 1 point 17 months ago

Mom of the year award goes too mayalass

humaid 1 point 17 months ago

Oh Minecraft, it is a MUST!

bankesjunior 1 point 17 months ago

better than my pc :(

metherul 1 point 16 months ago

You are a cool mom, I can tell you that. My mother thinks even touching a computer will cause your brain ti implode...

Deano_Awesome 1 point 16 months ago

Well done super mum +1

EPICGUY23 1 point 15 months ago

That is so cool! I wish my mom would have done that with me. Nice choice of parts for a budget build +1.

shredz 1 point 15 months ago

What a great project. It looks awesome! Who cares about that cable. Just enjoy your masterpiece and the satisfaction that you did it together. Great Mom!

lucas1945 1 point 15 months ago

I don't know where I went wrong. Most of my prices were the same for my computer, but I had a 7770... :(

Just checked... It was windows... Where did you guys get the windows from? Was it free?

SneakyBastardSword 1 point 15 months ago

I'm building something very similar, actually(http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3fEUA). looking at your build, your GPU was probably a little too powerful, and the processor might bottleneck a little, just judging by the price and brand. otherwise looks to be a pretty solid build, especially for a first-timer.

BlastXin 1 point 15 months ago

Awesome Mom!

Blaster5968 1 point 14 months ago

My mom not that cool

Mr.Curiou5 1 point 14 months ago

+1 for an awesome mom and a nice build, good luck and enjoy!

8BitPhoenix 4 Builds 1 point 14 months ago

I want you for my mum! My mum tells me off for looking at PCPartPicker...She says it's not a 'normal' thing for teenagers to do. I say she hasn't been a teenager for 40 years!

Seagull4111 1 point 12 months ago

Same here... I don't get told off but I sort of isolate myself in my bedroom

Hydrothepyro 1 point 27 days ago

so tell me what she think 'normal' kids do

andrei68 1 point 14 months ago

I'm impressed ! I would have gone with a GTX 660 which would have been able to play more games at high quality , but ... I'm really impressed ! What a mom ! Hope you and your kids will enjoy this build !

EpicBro101 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

this will be nice when the kids start getting into more advanced games like battlefeild and cod

gokufighther 1 point 13 months ago

couldve went with a quad core and you got wayyy to expensive of a video card, but the pc will last like 10 yrs and will play all games made today and within 5yrs i think

GamerDeso 1 point 13 months ago

My mom couldn't do this even if her life depended on it. You are one awesome mom!

RoboBird 1 point 12 months ago

(bats eye and mutters) gaming machine, minecraft, psh

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kjrsmith 1 point 12 months ago

Best mom ever. Doing similar with my son. Not sure who's having more fun him or me.

YTBeasty 1 point 11 months ago

that 7870 is an awesome card!

Iron_Hero_ 1 Build 1 point 11 months ago

AWESOME mon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CosMcG 1 point 11 months ago

Could you put an SSD drive into this rig?

JustinAngers 1 Build 1 point 11 months ago

Didn't include the OS into the price. This bugs me.

Reconmidget 1 point 10 months ago

Great build! I applaud you! How're the mobo?

Scort 1 point 10 months ago

Hi Folks, New guy here and was admiring this build. Looking to build something similar, but hopefully around the 500.00 mark. Can't see a date for this build so was wondering if there would be update suggestions/improvements based on current pricing drops and/or increases ? Objectives: Fast, cool, quiet, upgradable, easy cable management. Cheers and Thanks To All ! Great site ....

yaman 1 point 10 months ago

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor $69.99 @ Newegg
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $24.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard Asus H81M-D PLUS Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $44.99 @ Newegg
Memory Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory $44.99 @ Newegg
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $55.98 @ OutletPC
Video Card Asus Radeon R9 280 3GB DirectCU II Video Card $208.99 @ SuperBiiz
Power Supply Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $49.99 @ Newegg
Optical Drive LG GH24NSB0 DVD/CD Writer $13.99 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $510.91
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-15 14:11 EDT-0400
yaman 1 point 10 months ago

You can save a bit by geting a r9 270/270x :D

Scort 1 point 10 months ago

And still need a case. Since it will be my first build, I would like something with lots of space. Don't wish to fight with cabling etc. Thanks for the input...hadn't really looked at the G series CPU's, so food for thought there :)

Gemignani 1 point 10 months ago

Exellent case shoise Great combo of CPU&GPU, perfect. Could have been cheaper motherboard... of course could also get some better performance by breaking the ram up into 8GB of 4x2 vrs 2x4 but no other parent I know could do this! :D

Ravenhelm 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Wow. I seriously wish my mother were like this. Solid build, but far from the best. Still very effective for gaming on almost every level :D

Dr.MooPh.D 1 point 10 months ago

Ouch. You could have bought a Gigabyte Radeon R9 270 2GB WINDFORCE Graphics Card for a little less. It has a little bit more power I think, not %100 sure.

bytesize 1 point 10 months ago

I think i might assign my mother to do the part selection for my next build... she could find all the major deals...

Yezzunammuri 1 point 10 months ago

You need a better CPU cooler the ones that come with the case usually are not that good. You are looking at around 30 to 40 bucks for a better CPU cooler I personally prefer the master hyper 212 evo CPU cooler.

Ioneriona 1 point 10 months ago

It looks like it will work very well! One thing I would suggest is get a psu a little over what you are using; ae: my computer is 300W, got a 430W. If you want a cpu that doesn't get as hot, go with intel. Mine runs at about 45 degrees Celsius under load. Nice job! -BT

you741 1 point 10 months ago

Do you find that 6 cores is helpful for games? I am struggling as to what CPU to get for my $700 budget gaming build.

P0W3RM 1 point 8 months ago

Go with an fx 8320, its a beast for overclocking and 8 cores can handle games very well.

Nilwickplays 1 point 10 months ago

Good to know you had enough detotated wam. +1

zekeSPN 1 point 9 months ago

Smart choice for motherboard in my opinion because you can throw 2 more sticks of the 4gb in there for 8gb I highly recommend upgraded to 8gb then to 16gb crossfire would be good if you need more gpu power (Insert Arnold Swaggerer saying power here) But pretty good build upgradablilty is awesome with your rig good job.

tster14 1 point 9 months ago

can this run days mod some what

P0W3RM 1 point 8 months ago

My mom can barely figure out how to open chrome . . .

Nice build though! I wish I had a mom that knew about computers, I just tell her what to buy and that is all she knows lol.

MichaelTaylor23 1 point 7 months ago

That cable management XD

Krank 1 point 7 months ago

You could've saved more money by not buy the Optical Drive, unless you plan on watching movies or playing games that require a disk.

Wewum 1 point 7 months ago

Wow :D

Hairy07 1 point 6 months ago

You're a real cool mom!

Extrodius 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

decent monitor? thats above 1080p!

Matteso 1 point 6 months ago

+1 good build for he price +1 case fractal design if you want to play sky rim try upgrading to like a 660 ti they are very nice or a

GamerCrusader 1 point 5 months ago

Haha i wish you were my mum. Very good choice of parts and very organised from the looks of things. Keep up the good work!

iNonEntity 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

Best mom in the world? Very likely

Muttonsourdough 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

I love builds like this, where people (family or friends) come together on a joint project. It may be aggravating at times (especially if it's family!) but in the end the group has a machine that everyone has a part in. Collaborative projects always make for fond memories.

ChrisHeppe 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

Nice build!

KenPlayzzMC 1 point 2 months ago

YOU DID GREAT! I think you should get a MSI 970 if u upgrade the Motherboard , But the Rest is Great hope you had fun building it!

adamquinny 1 point 2 months ago

how hot is the cpu

Geode1010 1 point 21 days ago

GET A SSD! Your kids would LOVE it! :)

Wisdomteeth 1 point 6 days ago

remember wear a shock bracelet so you dont damage your parts +1 cool build

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Hamaro22 0 points 4 months ago

If you ever decide to upgrade this, I would suggest this.The reason why there's no case,PSU,OpticalDrive,and CPU Cooler is because you can use the other parts from this PC to the new one. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor $159.99 @ Micro Center
Motherboard Asus B85-PLUS ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $84.99 @ SuperBiiz
Memory G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory $63.99 @ Newegg
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $49.98 @ OutletPC
Video Card MSI Radeon R9 270X 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card $169.99 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $528.94
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-02-04 21:15 EST-0500
TNTrocks123 1 Build -10 points 19 months ago

You guys paid for windows right?

redflaggaming -18 points 19 months ago

Hey guys. Nice build! I need some help. I need to know if this build has any bottlenecks or poor choice of components. I already have the OS and optical drive also. Also, if need be I can salvage wires or parts from other old PCs that I have. Thanks for the help in advance! http://pcpartpicker.com/user/redflaggaming/saved/2WNY

Spencer1012 2 Builds 5 points 19 months ago

Hey if you need help there's a forum for hypothetical builds.

Please don't put this on other people's posts.