Description

bigger photos : http://imgur.com/a/fc1Rm

The old college laptop died and after doing some research (thanks to LifeHacker and reddit) I determined it would be better to build rather than buy. This is the first time ever building one but I've performed a few XBox surgeries. PCPartPicker is an amazing tool for shopping parts and reddit /r/buildapc is a fantastic resource. This is just a home PC for normal use and some Excel + VBA, I use XB1 for gaming. Here goes...

Intel i3-4340 - Was originally going to go with a cheap AMD processor from the MicroCenter bundles but numerous people recommend checking out the lower end Intel chips. After checking out some reviews, decided to go with Intel since I probably wouldn't need so many cores.

MSI Z87-G41 - Plenty of hookups for my needs and has USB3.0. A few minor hiccups that the mobo may or may not be responsible for. First is the load lever that closes on top of the processor seemed to need a legitimate amount of force. I watched a few install videos and nobody seemed to pull the lever down near as hard as I did. I checked a few times to see if something was out of place but nope. Eventually I worked up the courage and got it closed. Second thing is the 24-pin power cable from the PSU. My fingers are still sore 2 days later from working that cable in. It took an incredible feat of controlled strength to get it in there and not break the motherboard. Overall, everything works, the BIOS is pretty useful and it looks cool so I'll let it slide.

G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 2x4gb - I don't know what to say... it's RAM and it works. Looks cool too.

Samsung 840 EVO - It's been some time since I had a new machine and holy smokes have hard drives come a long way. I went a bit over budget to grab the 840 EVO from Staples with a $30 off coupon. This thing is crazy fast. Installing drivers and such caused the system to reboot numerous times and every time I was impressed how fast it started up. I ran the magician software that came with it and got 547MB/s read and 529MB/s write. About 70,000-75,000 IOPS. Fantastic drive.

WD Caviar Blue 1TB - Works just fine, hasn't crashed yet. Wish it came with a SATA III cable.

Rosewill Line Glow ATX case - Looks pretty cool, USB3.0 headers, comes with 4 fans. However plugging the fans in is confusing, I had them plugged into the mobo incorrectly at first and the system would not power on. I ended up just moving them to the PSU component power cables and leaving only the CPU fan plugged into the mobo. Cable management is either not very good at all or I just plain suck at it. I see a lot of beautiful and clean builds on here and mine will not be one of them. The drives lock into place with twist fasteners, no need for tools, and there are a few adapters for flexibility. The LED fans are pretty cool. Overall, it's a good case for the price.

Corsair 430W - $20 with rebate, can't beat that. Only issue was the 24-pin power cable being an extremely tight fit on the motherboard. Not sure who is at fault here.

Samsung SH-224DB optical drive - $17 at MicroCenter, just wish it came with a SATA cable

Acer G246HL - I have a dual Dell LCD display at work (finance/insurance) and every time I sit down in the morning it makes me appreciate this wide screen beauty. Big change from the old laptop as well. Only knock here is that it doesn't have an HDMI cable and didn't come with a DVI cable either (almost $40?). For that price I think I would have rather grabbed an IPS display or a 27" LED with an HDMI cable.

Rosewill RNX-N250PCe - I have a small-ish apartment so I'd expect it to receive excellent signal strength and it does.

Cooler Master bundle - Both for $30 is pretty good, the LED fans are nice and match the case. The only requirement I had for the mouse/keyboard was that the mouse have a thumb "Back" button.. it's an odd must-have feature, I know, but it's my computer dammit!

As far as retailers go... NewEgg - ordered Monday afternoon, delivered Wednesday afternoon. Unreal shipping speed and it was free.

Amazon - ordered Monday afternoon, delivered Thursday and Friday afternoon. Text alerts are cool.

Staples - ordered Monday evening, delivered Thursday afternoon.

NCIX - Not sure what the problem is here. Yes, we had storms here in DC but I ordered Monday afternoon and it took exactly a week to get here from Buffalo, NY. I'll be passing on them for NewEgg and Amazon in the future even if the price is the same.

MicroCenter - Sweet CPU/mobo bundles and it's always a good idea to go there just to look around. A shrine to the electronics gods.

Overall, pretty happy about how it turned out. Many thanks to PCPartPicker and reddit for all the help and hopefully this review can help somebody else just as all the reading I did helped me.

Comments

  • 69 months ago
  • 6 points

I want to have a Microcenter in POland :( Nice build!

  • 69 months ago
  • 3 points

Frick, I wish Calgary had a Mircocenter.

Removing my bias against I3's it's a very solid build. GJ!

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

I haven't seen too many first time builds in that price range that include a monitor. Nice job.

It's a little hard to tell from the pictures, but if you are not routing your cables behind the case, please do so! Those cables are restricting your airflow and your system will look much nicer if they are tucked out of sight. It does look like a pretty tight case.

Oh, and I love that mouse back button as well. After using a regular mouse it makes you feel like you can fly through the internets.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks man! It's impossible to tell from the photos but there are a few holes for cables near the drive bays, besides that, nada. Here's a photo, any help for a rookie builder?

http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/S2dEXadsPSA/maxresdefault.jpg

  • 69 months ago
  • 3 points

Yes definitely use those. It's not a dream case for cable management but you could definitely reduce the amount of slack cable sitting around in your main compartment. Use zip ties or velcro straps and route large cables like your 24pin power behind the case, then bring it back into the main compartment through the hole closest to the socket on the mobo. Anything small or too short to reach if routed through the back should just be tied down as far out of the way as possible. The idea here is to allow the intake from those two 120mm fans to get to the mainboard as efficiently as possible. Plus as a bonus, you already have a nice blue theme going and I feel that the multicolored jungle in there somewhat takes away from that.

I apologize if you have already done any of the above, I can't see what is going on there too well. Best of luck!

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah the 24-pin power cable was so difficult to get plugged in that I decided to leave it there after the test boot. I was afraid I would break the motherboard trying to plug it in while the board was mounted on the standoffs.

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

I know that feel, bro. I try to avoid plugging and unplugging that header especially, as sometimes the whole board flexes before you hear the latch click. If it continues to give you trouble, shine a flashlight into the socket holes and see if there is one or several contacts out of place. But since it works the way it is, you may want to just skip the risk and leave it.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah maybe I'll tie the 24 pin near the holes and work on re-routing and organizing the rest of the cords. It will definitely help airflow and make it easier to upgrade/tinker in the future. Thanks

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

i have that keyboard let me know what you think of it +1

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Keyboard is pretty cool, only downside is you have to use scroll lock to turn the LEDs on. And when you're working in Excel it's not very practical to have scroll lock on

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

Great job here! You fit everything well within your budget and everything looks great! +1

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh man. Looks great. But I think you should try to make the cables a bit more neat. 1+

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree, I need to re-do some cable work this weekend

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey, great build. Good part choices for the money. I am planning on using the same MoBo as you have. Is it good to work with/reliable and does it come with enough SATA cables?

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

It did the job for me but this was my first build ever so I have nothing to compare it to. I had to grab an extra SATA cable from Microcenter since I had the optical drive along with the HDD and SSD. If you only need 2 you'll be fine.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Ok, thanks :)

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

I would have gone with a AMD FX 6300 instead of an i3. Or if you want integrated graphics an AMD APU. AMD has better bang for the buck stuff.

  • 69 months ago
  • 4 points

I think the i3 makes more sense. AFAIK you cannot create multithreaded UDF's in Excel using VBA so actually it seems OP made a pretty good, economical choice. Also, integrated graphics...

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Integrated graphics should be sufficient right? I mean I could always add one but I was under the impression I would be ok for what I'm using it for.

  • 69 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah for running one monitor at 1080p you should be fine. I just wanted to make the point that the i3 comes with integrated graphics whereas the 6300 does not.

source: I own a 6300

Okay and I can't resist also pointing out that the i3 has half the TDP of the 6300...don't get me wrong I like the chip I just don't think it's appropriate here.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that was the great debate the week before I ordered everything. It was really hard to decide between this and the FX-6350 which also had a bundle deal at MicroCenter

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

This will be plenty enough for anything besides high end gaming. If you get a used Chromebook for $113 or so you can remote into your PC when you're out and about.