This was built to replace my old rig, which had survived this long and is still turning;
Intel Q8200 2x eVGA GTX 260 216 Core 8GB Ram eVGA 780i FTW Motherboard
Thats the core of the old system.
I started with the debate between an AMD FX-8130 (I do a lot of non-gaming work) and an i5 4690k, and ended up at the i3 4160. Bang for buck is king in the realm of the budget systems, and while $1600 isnt exactly "a budget system" price range, I needed it to include anything and everything. I didn't have a single part I could reuse aside from my keyboard - which was me settling because I actually wanted a new keyboard as well.. But anyways.
The Core i3-4160 so far, has been pretty decent for its cost. The listed price here feels higher than I paid, I want to say it was closer to the $115 mark. I don't have any PC/3D Mark scores off hand, but the games I currently play are all maxed out at 1920x1080 with every option available.
After deciding to scrap my full ATX plan, I went straight to the mini-ITX format.. Because, smaller is cheaper? Right..
So my second compromise I had to make was on my GPU. Now, $230 for an R9 270x is pricey, but it fits. I was hell bent on using the CM Elite 110 as it fits in my square shelves, and paired up with my HTPC build that should arrive at some point, it'll match as a pair of speakers in my living room.
But back to the GPU. It functions, I have zero experience with anything greater than it, but everything I play (Skyrim, Crysis 2, World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Path of Exile) works flawlessly. With my old system, all of these struggled with maximum settings.
Its also quiet. I run the Corsair H75 with a push/pull configuration, and on the 'silent' option I can barely hear the GPU at all. The only time it gets overly loud is when the temps were getting up to 80c - pre cable arrangement as shown above. Now everything idles around the 28C mark (CPU and GPU included) and only really ever reaches the mid 60's C.
I also had to pick up the Wireless adapter simply because I read a lot, but in this case, didn't read enough. I totally spaced on the fact that the motherboard I bought didnt have wifi built in.. And while this isnt critical, the bluetooth module was something I desired, and having wifi connectivity isnt a bad thing.
If I had to blame my poor budget expenditure on one simple thing, I'd blame the above. I could have picked up an Asus Z97i-Plus for $155, and saved on the cost of the wifi card, the 2 antennas and the 2 antenna wires which came to a total of $85 after it all got here.... But live and learn. I'll be picking up the Z97 board when I do my HTPC build and just swapping the parts.
One last thing I want to talk about is the monitor - which I picked up from Costco for $150 with the infamous Costco Warrenty... LED backlight, IPS panel.. 1920x1080 resolution.. A fairly thin bezel for dual or triple monitor setups... You cant possibly find a better 24" monitor in my opinion. I havent put my Spyder on it yet, but compared to my 9 year old 21" LG TN panel I had... Well, its literally night and day.
Post comments if you have any specific questions, it isnt an optimal build but it fell within in my budget and my form factor that I wanted to sacrifice to keep.