Description

DISCLAIMER: I know a lot of people are wondering why I went with the i3. Just so you all know, I built this rig with the intent of upgrading and adding parts in the future and the i3 will only be in it for 1-2 years at most before I upgrade to an i7. I also plan on adding 1-2 GPUs and more RAM but that will come later. For now this machine is running like a freaking dream and I wouldn't change anything about it.

This was my first PC build ever and I wanted to do it as a budget build but the more I got into it the more I kept adding and upgrading.

My idea here though is that I can upgrade the CPU and RAM down the road and add 1-2 graphics cards as well so I think for the price point this turned out to be a pretty decent build.

I wasn't initially planning on OC'ing my CPU but as I got more into it I started to consider overclocking but then later found out AFTER I purchased the i3-3220 that it wasn't capable of OC'ing. I don't mind though since I do plan on upgrading to a better CPU in a year or two and using this one to build an ACTUAL "budget machine" along with other spare parts I might have.

The ASRock Z77 Extreme4 MOBO has tons of features and is going to last me a long time I think, I wanted to have a good foundation to build off of so the PSU and MOBO were the two most important pieces in my mind.

After I decided on the Thermaltake MS-I case I started reading reviews with people saying that it was a very cheap case and that cable management was a nightmare but I am extremely pleased with it.

I tried my best to stick with a blue/black/white color theme and think I did a decent job of that. I also tried very hard to make a decent go at my cable management, I also think that turned out alright as well especially considering the case limitations and that this was my first ever build.

All together this machine runs amazingly well for me and should keep me happy for a long long time to come especially considering that I upgraded from 4+ year old (low-medium grade at the time of purchase) laptop, (Compaq Presario CQ60 with a Pentium T3400 running Vista and 2 gigs of ram).

CPU Comparison of my old rig and my new rig: http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/935/Intel_Core_i3_i3-3220_vs_Intel_Pentium_Dual-Core_Mobile_T3400.html

P.S. The first 3 or so pics are of my old PC setup/desk mostly just to show off my multi-monitor configuration.

Comments

  • 74 months ago
  • 4 points

hey man, the motherboard you bought is not overpriced, but more than you need. you couldve gotten a VERY decent h87/z87 board for a hundred bucks. saving you 80$, it could go towards the i5 CPU @jokermike suggested.

the ocz PSU is fine. i have the 600w, and its doing fine. i go for reviews, not advice from fanboys that dont even own OCZ powersupplies.

you didnt need a cooler, but that is a "mistake" i made too on my first build. even so, a cooler is nice to have when you want low noise levels. its your first build, more research wouldve done you much better (ie, consulting the massive userbase on pcpartpicker, we're nice ;) )

but overall, its decent. :) good luck on your next build! :)

  • 74 months ago
  • 3 points

Hey thanks for the kind words Mincading. I do plan on upgrading this machine and eventually squeezing as much out of that MOBO as possible. Eventually add 1-2 discrete GPUs and I do very very much so plan on upgrading the CPU, that was my intent from the very start and once I upgrade I will probably need that cooler so I sort of jumped the gun there but figured that the cooler was so inexpensive I might as well get a nice frosty rig from the get go.

I don't think anyone is really paying attention when I mentioned in the description that I fully plan on upgrading CPU/RAM and adding GPU to this. Most of the comments don't seem to reflect the fact that I fully intend on upgrading the parts mentioned... :-(

Again, thank you for the kind words and advice and for the info on the OCZ. Have a good one!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

If the ssd is going to be your boot drive, then u shouldve have backed off and gotten a 120gb. u wont need 250gb for boot drive.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I was so close to just settling for the 120gb but I wanted to make sure I would have enough storage for programs too since I plan on installing most applications on the SSD as well as the OS. My wife got a new Ultra book last Christmas with a 120gb SSD and ran out of room on it after only 6 months of use! I am using the External 500gb HDD drive connected via eSata for all of my files and changed all my user paths to point there but I still want to make sure and always have enough room on my primary drive.

I run the Adobe Creative Cloud suite on my computer for work along with a lot of other programs I am required to run and use for work so I figured better safe then sorry when it comes to storage and I got a good deal on this for around $140 compared to the $90 I was going to pay for half the storage with the 120gb.

Still though, you are probably right, the 250 is sort of overkill.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

U should put like big programs on the ssd but other small programs, you should put it on the hdd.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

why didn't you go with AMD?

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

usually i wouldn't go AMD myself but if he was on a budget that would of been perfect for how much he spent here. would of had enough for a decent video card to go with it as well

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

I was debating between AMD and Intel but I've always had Intel machines and am much more familiar with them so I decided to stick with what I knew. I plan on building an AMD machine for my next dedicated build, (dedicated as in not the one I will build with parts I upgrade out of this current Intel machine)

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Dang that is a nice setup. Wish i had that many displays going.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Hakumisoso. I had 4 extra monitors running off of my Laptop, (5th screen was/is the laptop itself) 1 connected via VGA cable and the other 3 using external graphics cards you plug in through USB. They worked pretty well but were laggy on that old time laptop.

I'm now running the 4 monitors off of my new rigs MOBO iGPU, 1 via DVI and the other via HDMI. The other two are using those pluggable USB video cards and they work amazingly well on my new machine, no glitches or anything.

I seem to be catching a lot of flak for my first build and it's nice to have a purely positive comment for once. Seems nobody is reading that I fully plan on upgrading this machine, (specifically, upgrading the CPU first, adding a discrete GPU or two and adding more RAM).

Lot of people hating on the i3 but it was almost half the price of an i5 and I want to eventually go i7 with it so I figured I could save $200+ bucks for now and build this like it is for under $900.

Thanks again! Feels great to have at least one positive comment after working so hard on this thing.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

People are hating on the intel cpu because for the igpu, an amd apu would've been better. But with your plans of replacing the cpu with a better one, and adding a dedicated gpu, z77/ lga 1555 is better. I would've made the same choice, though i would've went with the 1150 socket because haswell has a better igpu. It is more expensive though.

Edit: re-read this and realized my grammar was terrible!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah okay, that makes sense I suppose. the iGPU is working flawlessly for me though so I don't exactly understand but at least I have an idea where all the negativity stems from.

Thanks for confirming that the Z77 is a good choice for the upgrades I intend on making. I was starting to feel super bummed out over my build.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

I don't understand the hate, if OP says he's upgrading, why are you complaining about the parts.

Also: Wow. That is a LOT of screens.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks 1&hockey! I think I probably went overboard with screens but I work on this machine from home all day and I am usually using at least 3 at one time.

Yeah, I think I must have not made it clear that I intended to upgrade soon when I first posted the build but for having the lower grade CPU and only running off the iGPU this rig is running great so far. I don't do a whole lot of gaming but will most likely add a dedicated GPU in the future for better performance.

Just running off of the iGPU I have to say though that I haven't experienced ANY lag so far and I've tested running videos from different sources in all 4 monitors at once, 0 lag. I also tested out a couple games running off the iGPU, (Resident Evil 5, Starcraft 2 etc.) and could run both on High setting with very minimal lag.

Right now the i3-3220 is treating me very well :-)

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

dont you hate having everything ready for a sweet build, except you have to wait for that cpu/gpu combo you've always wanted? its gonna feel pretty awesome when you get the upgrades you're looking for

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I really wanted to go all out and get top of the line everything out the door but unfortunately with my wife in school and me being the only source of income along with just having a baby 5 weeks ago I sort of had to reign in the spending.

Despite the lack of dedicated GPU and a better CPU though I gotta say, this rig is running amazingly well. I haven't had any lag in performance so far and am really happy with the way it turned out.

The ASRock Z77 Extreme4 is the heart of this rig and I did a lot of research on that since I wanted a really good yet affordable MOBO I could build off of and I think I hit the jackpot with the Extreme4.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

what we could do, if only we had money to blow

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

I really like your desk. Been looking for a great corner desk like that for a while now, however, I think I would like the inside corner (where you sit) to be rounded and not square... Do you remember where you got it and the brand/model?

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks theonelonewolf, I have always loved L shaped desks since I have been running multi-monitor setups for about 6+ years now. I had 3 different ones at work back when I used to have to go into the office and when I finally got the green-light to telecommute I wanted to get a really nice L desk for home.

I priced similar desks at office and furniture stores new and they were around the $300 mark! That is just a little more then I'm willing to pay for a desk personally but I was considering it.

Then I started looking at Craigslist and I found this baby a couple years back on there. It was being sold by some Real Estate company downtown that was moving into new offices and upgrading all the furniture so I snagged this for only $50! It was a pain to dis-assemble and move then re-assemble but it was oh so worth it. I have so much surface area I can comfortably sit my 5 monitors, (the middle one is a 32" TV I use as a monitor and the one on the far right is the old laptop I used to use as my main work machine) I even have enough space left over I can do things like build computers :D

I have 2 old Dells behind the monitors on the right side and a semi-newer Dell on top of those I was parting out and turning into a Linux server.

If you are looking for a new desk I would strongly recommend looking for something used on CL or from other sources.

Oh and since I got it used I have no clue on the make/model, sorry :-(

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome, thanks for the info. I'm looking at doing a 3 x 27" setup with a 4th at 23" so I'll definitely need the room. Just REALLY want that rounded inside corner...

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I was thinking of trying for a rounded inside corner myself but have always had the straight lined corners and it's never actually bothered me before. I understand how it goes though when you want something specific. Don't compromise if the rounded is that important to you, unless of course you can find a steal of a deal like this desk was. Then you could just try and customize it with some power tools and turn it into a rounded corner :-)

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, unfortunately it's hard to come by stuff like that around here.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice, +1. How are the fans?

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, I put the fans in mostly because I wanted to add more to the computer since I had so much fun building it in the first place, oh and I also wanted to see the shiny blue LED lights! :D

Obviously I don't have a whole lot going on in my rig yet, low power CPU that isn't OC'd and no GPUs yet so the fans are really not necessary but I plan on adding upgrades so I think I will eventually need them.

They are pretty loud to be honest and I am considering unplugging them from the MOBO for now but I wanted to find a program where I can turn them on and off at will when logged on. I downloaded Speedfan yesterday to tie in with RainMeter but haven't had time to look into it's options and if it allows me to turn the fans on/off or just monitor them.

I also have played around a bit in the BIOS/UEFI and see where I can change the speeds so I might start there.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Holy monitors batman! I hope you just pulled out all of those laptops and whatnot for the pic, and you don't actually use them on a regular basis, otherwise at that level of multitasking I might have to brand you an alien. lol

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Ha ha yeah I only use about 3-4 monitors actively. On my old setup with the laptop I had 5 connected to it, (4 plus the laptops screen) but only really looked at 3 or so actively.

I pulled out a couple of my tablets too for the photo just to get the monitor overload affect going :-)

Unfortunately with my job I do have to do a lot of multi-tasking and task switching most times and it really gets tough sometimes.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh, I see haha! I get to multitasking sometimes and wish I had more monitor space but I've been using my TV for a second monitor here lately(mostly for movies.. it's pretty convenient.) and it's helped a ton. It's in an awkward position in comparison to my monitor but I get over it haha

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh and just to clarify, I only spent slightly over the $800 mark on all of this, some of the prices are not accurate as to what I paid at time of purchase and the External WD 500gig HDD was something that I had laying around from years earlier so it didn't go into the price of the rig.

  • 74 months ago
  • 0 points

Kind of disappointing that you didn't know that the i3-3220 wasn't overclockable... should have done more research.I don't really understand the point of the 3 case fans, you can't overclock and you have no gpu (future i guess?)In my opinion spending the extra (5-10$) and getting the Hyper 212 EVO would have been worth it. The HDD doesn't make sense because you could have gone with a WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD for less money (unless it is recycled from an old computer)

What are you planning on using this rig for? Not horrible for a first time build but not good enough for a +1, sorry if this was harsh/mean I'm trying to help you not disrespect you.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Again, I didn't intend to do any overclocking and I still am on the fence about it but I do wish now that I would have bought a CPU that could do it. Yes, bad planning on my part.

The case fans are there for when I do the upgrades in the future. That was the main point of this build was to give me something to upgrade for a long time to come and I plan on getting some GPUs and now probably upgrading the CPU so I think the fans will help when that day comes. I also liked the blue LEDs on the fans and part of the decision to buy them was to add some cool effects for a low price, (they were super in-expensive on Amazon so I thought, hey, why not?)

The Hyper 212 EVO kept coming up above the PRO and I honestly wasn't sure what the main benefit of the EVO VS. the PRO was so if you could elaborate that would be awesome.

I assume you are referring to the External WD 500 gig HDD since I put in a Samsung SSD as the primary boot drive. As for the WD External drive it was something I had bought about 5-6 years ago and am now connecting it to this machine via eSata so I just included it in the specs.

I appreciate all of the advice!

  • 74 months ago
  • -1 points

for the same price of the mobo you bought you could of gotten an asus or gigabyte board which is waaay better than asrock boards. Why did you choose to go i3? $90 more could of gotten you a solid i5. OCZ power supplies are crap try to see about switching it out with a xfx, corsair or seasonic psu. (most if not all xfx psu's are made by seasonic and some select models of corsair are made by them as well) samsung 840's are good ssd's but the evo's and pro's are soo much better for a little cheaper an evo would of been perfect http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA27Z1349546

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

I almost went with ASUS since I love the brand but I kept seeing this ASRock Z77 come up in builds and reviews and frankly I fell in love with the design and the specs. To be honest with you I would not have changed my decision because the board is fantastic!

Because I wasn't really planning on OC'ing at the time I started this build I figured the i3 would be good enough and I could upgrade in the future which I plan on doing. $90 is a good amount of money, (10% of what I put into it).

I didn't know that about OCZ, from everything I've read the PSU I purchased had good reviews. Could you send me any negative reviews from reputable sources? I do want to upgrade this machine in the future so I might add the PSU to the list of upgrades if it turns out there are some bad reviews out there.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

well really its from my own experience with them. had to RMA 2 of them and both was from blown caps. in my previous build i had a 600w ocz modxstream pro. Maybe i had bad luck but its always good to go with a company that knows how to build quality psu's.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Dang... that sucks you had to RMA 2! I hope I have better luck with this one but so far I haven't had any issues. I'll make sure and post up here if any of my parts fail since the build is still fairly new.

Here's to hoping all goes well and keeps running like a champ.

Thanks for the feedback jokermike :-)

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

no problem, hope your pc lasts you a long time :)

  • 74 months ago
  • -1 points

$900 for an i3 and no graphics card.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

The plan was originally to go with a better CPU but I read a lot of reviews and looked at specs and decided this would be one of the cheaper parts I would and do intend to upgrade first. For right now though the i3 is treating me VERY well I have no complaints. I will be moving the i3 to a cheap-o budget build here within the next year or so but compared to what I came from it performs like a dream. Oh and I don't really do much if any gaming so I decided to hold off on a discrete graphics card and make that one of the items I purchase as an upgrade.

I've run a few games on this with just the iGPU and they actually run very well even on high settings, (Resident Evil 5, Startcraft 2 etc.)

I built this with the intent to upgrade as I go along.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Ohhhhh ok. I was unaware you didn't do much gaming. If that's the case then your build is fine.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks man, yeah I am just not that in to gaming and don't have a lot of spare time especially now with a 5 week old baby around :D.

I mostly use this programming, web surfing, video watching and some light gaming here and there mostly with emulators.

I want to start using this for gaming down the road after I upgrade the CPU and get a dedicated GPU. I figured I would go that route instead of buying the latest round of consoles, at least when they first launch and are at their highest price points.

I'm really excited about STEAM, got interested in it since I am very into Linux and love supporting anything Linux related, (Android, Ubuntu and all the other great Linux distros etc.)

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh and by STEAM I mean the new STEAM OS they are working on which is based off of Linux and the new STEAM Boxes they are coming up with. The "Big Picture Mode" in the STEAM app is really sharp and I personally think it is just as good if not better then the current PS3/Xbox OS's so I really hope they get a foothold into the console market.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh and I only spent around $826 for all of the parts, the External HDD I had from many years ago and just guessed at what I paid for it at the time of purchase.

I plan on upgrading the CPU in the near future but this particular i3, (the i3-3220) has some really great reviews and I myself can attest to how well it performs.