* Mail-In Rebates:
The name came from one of my favourite PS2 game back in 2005, Ace Combat: The unsung war. I bought my first pc back in summer 2012 from a guy on craigslist for just $200 which included the monitors(broke in just a few months), and all the peripherals. I have been doing work and playing games on my laptop since I start my study and one day while I was playing CS source, the laptop hanged and couldn't start. That's where I decided to go with pc. So back to the pc before i did all this staged upgrades, it had Phenom II X3 B73 with an Asus M5A78LM-Lx Plus and Radeon HD 6450.
Fall 2014:The first major upgrade was the GPU, Cpu cooler(the stock cooler was like a jet engine even at idle), and the case fan addition.
Black friday 2014: The second stage upgrade was the Case, PSU, SSD, more case fans and the 24" monitor.
Spring break 2015: The latest upgrade was the CPU, motherboard, and the fan controller.
Future upgrade: GPU
CPU: I have been doing tons of research on CPU comparison for the past few weeks and I had a hard time on getting either this CPU or an i5 4690k with such a tight budget. I decided to stay with AMD since the $100 extra(mobo bundle at microcenter) for 4690k is not worth it. Besides, I could use that money to upgrade my GPU later. It has been doing well and easily overclockable to 4.0 GHz. I know I can go further up, but this is currently good enough for me. Switching from a Phenom II X3 to the 8320e feels so much different. Everything is smoother and snappier than before.
Mobo: This is the best performance/value to pair with the 8320e. Bundled this with the CPU at microcenter, its damn cheap compared to the online prices. The only thing that annoyed me was the difficulty and troubleshooting needed when changing mobo and cpu wihout reinstalling OS. I've read a lot on forums saying that its best to reinstall windows, but I did it without doing so. yeay! though it took me the whole night to uninstall the old drivers and install the new ones. got a few BSOD but I used sysprep command and reinstall all the drivers from the included CD.
CPU cooler: I went with this because its cheaper than the 212 evo but looks almost the same, so why not. It has been working very good in keeping my CPU at room temperature(on idle), yup thats right, room temp! the Hyper T4 doesnt come with any special brackets for AMD mobo, just clip em straightaway, so i have to settle on the horizontal placement.
Memory: Nothing to say, still going strong.
Storage: Changing my boot drive from HDD to SSD was the best decision that I've made. boot time to windows went from almost 2 minutes to less than 20 seconds.
GPU: Bought this from Microcenter ( man, I'm grateful there's a Microcenter nearby) because it was cheap and able to give good FPS for the games that I played the most like (BF3, Dota 2, even Crysis 2). Gonna upgrade this to a GTX 960 when I have the budget. I care for my power bill, thats why I chose that over R9 280 or 280x.
Power supply: If I'm not mistaken, this is either a tier 2 or 3 PSU from Tomshardware. Very good price for a good quality PSU.
Case: Also from MC, bought it during sale to replace my previous case( thermal master T102) as the old case doesnt have any cable management space at the back and its using a cheap included PSU. I was able to get more breathing space for all the components with the new NZXT 210.
Corsair Sp120: The reason I bought the fan controller is because this fan will run at full blast without one and its quite noisy. Now its running from the fan controller at minimum speed, there is a noticeable coil whine when I dont play any music. Dont recommend this, instead, try the Quiet Edition, that has some good reviews.
Thank you PCPP community for helping me with this build. you guys are awesome!
*Edited 4th April 2015
Added new rams because I sold my old rig to a friend and together with the kingston hyperx blu. Just got my EVGA GTX 960 SSC today. Still playing around with it but overall, I am really happy. Got it off Amazon for less than $200!
*Edited Summer 2015
Added another 8GB of ram(2x4, same brand and frequency), backplate for the GPU, WD Blue 1TB, and relocated the LED strip to the top. Pictures will be posted soon.
*Edited 25 Sept 2015
New pictures uploaded! As you can see, the cpu cooler is right on top of the last ram slot. It actually made contact with that last ram(fyi, those are low profile rams), so to prevent any short circuits, i just slapped some electrical tape on the ram where it makes contact with the copper heat pipe of the Hyper T4. Did some rerouting on the LED strip so that it sits on top of the case now. and yes, I bought a new keyboard which is the Corsair Vengeance K70 Cherry MX Brown! I'll never go back to membrane again.
Very good price for its performance. certainly not faster than the intel cpu's, but gets the job done in multitasking and games. You will only see the performance difference in benchmarks, but who looks at benchmarks all day long?
Keeps my cpu cool at lower price than the 212 evo
It boots too fast!!
Decent cable management space. only drawback is no 3.5 to 2.5 bracket included, too bad if you have an SSD.
Good quality at good price.
At full blast runs like a jet engine, at 40% speed with fan controller, produce coil whine. but keep my system cool.