My 10 year old daughter was saving up for a laptop, but I convinced her that building her own desktop PC was a better option. She agreed. She wanted something simple to play Minecraft and other flash games. I thought that it was more sensible to have a solid foundation with lots of upgrade possibilities. She was paying for her computer with her own money that she had saved up, so getting the best bang for the buck was very important. She said that she was willing to invest her own money into upgrading for the future, so I took that into account.
I went back and forth over which processor to buy for a budget build.
The AMD A-10 7850k was tempting with strong integrated graphics and would do what she wanted, but I wanted a stronger base.
I also looked at the Intel i5-4690k with an Asus Z97-A motherboard which was an excellent foundation, however it quickly ate up almost the entire budget.
The next option was back to AMD with the FX-6300 with a GTX 750-Ti. This processor has no onboard graphics and requires a video card, but is a favorite combination for entry level / budget builds but not the best for upgrading.
Right when I was set on our purchase, I was swayed by rave reviews of the performance of the Intel G3258 and the term "Console Killer". Micro Center had the G3258 and the MSI Z97 PC Mate combo for $99.99. Performance for a great price with major upgrade potential was a no brainer. This was exactly what I was looking for. With the extra savings compared to the other builds that I was planning, we could use some of that earmarked budget for a good video card.
Being her first time building, she wanted me to take pictures during the build and make it a learning experience. I told her what to do and what everything does, and she put the whole thing together by herself (with a little help from Dad). She's planning on turning our activity into a science project presentation. Her idea!
We are very happy with our results. Her temple is a little powerhouse!
Interesting notes from our build: This system does not have a Optical Drive. I was planning on using an old DVD burner, but it only had IDE connections and our motherboard does not. We labeled all of the parts with Post-Its before assembly. This is a learning experience after all. Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals were not that great. There were better deals earlier that week. I learned how to overclock. My daughter's new computer is far superior to both my wife's and mine. From this point on, we will never buy a pre-assembled PC.
Rebates are as follows: Motherboard = $10, GPU = $40, Case = $15, Power Supply = $20
Total price after rebates = $539.92
Without monitor = $399.93