• Log In
  • Register


Cheapest usable computer (almost all-new), first build ever

by Arvind2205



Date Published

March 6, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.8 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

14.0° C


I just wanted to learn how to build a PC from scratch, and I set out to build the cheapest usable computer I could, with as many new parts as possible. Everything except the HDD on there is listed at purchase price after rebates - the HDD i just used and old one I already had, with Windows installed. It took me around two hours and so far it has been working great :)

Parts are listed on the left, the CPU+Motherboard combo was on sale at Frys for $79.99 (64 after MIR), and the PSU cost $24 (15.99 after MIR).

It didn't work as smooth as I would like right off the bat, because the old HDD had a bunch of things that ran on startup, but killing a few unwanted processes got the memory utilization down and it's doing far better since. A Full HD video does peg the CPU to 98% however and there is the odd stutrer. 720p does okay,. Overall the CPU runs very quiet, and temps under load seem reasonable.

It was a lot of fun building this computer, posting some pictures here. Thoughts if I could I have done better with this budget? And how I can improve performance? Haven't OC'd yet.

Thanks! Arv

Comments Sorted by:

FACUNDO 13 Builds 2 points 38 months ago

Great build!

But like RaspberryPiFan said, change that PSU ASAP!

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 2 points 38 months ago

Thanks :) Will do. I think I will get a relatively cheap EVGA 80+!

53MP3RF1 2 points 38 months ago

Thought about this one? http://pcpartpicker.com/part/seasonic-power-supply-ss300etbronze

It is around the price of the 80+ 500w from EVGA, but is more efficient. When you're pulling a TDP of less than 200 watts, a 300w PSU is all you will really need. Even with an R7 250, as you noted below, you'll still be drawing less than 300 from the wall. I wouldn't recommend an R7 250 either, perhaps you should go with a 750 ti ( http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt7060510m )? The 750 ti is a little older, but it works well on the platform you'd be putting it on and it draws relatively little power. No, it would not end up being under $200, but with a little more you should be able to get fairly decent settings on most older games and some less-demanding newer ones.

Fine build, nice bargain hunting.

FACUNDO 13 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Get the 500w one! It's better than the 430w one for the price!

[comment deleted by staff]
FACUNDO 13 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Hello! :-)

[comment deleted by staff]
Gooberdad 10 Builds 2 points 38 months ago

+1 on your cheap build. It's so much fun to see the pc post and run after the pieces areally installed.

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Thanks :) It really was enjoyable.

GermanMustardBuilder 1 point 38 months ago

That awkward moment you realize even this motherboard is better than the one in your PC... Also you got 14°C idle temperature? Where do you live?

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

So far it seems like a decent Motherboard! 14C is what speedfan has been reporting so far on average as the core temp, but I'm not 100% sure that is accurate. System temp is around 28C. Having said that, I live in the pacific NW USA, so it's only in the high 40's outside in the daytime right now. Inside my house it's around 64F (I like to keep it cool in the house :) )

GermanMustardBuilder 1 point 38 months ago

Yeah somehow the temperature readings of APU-Motherboards seem to be kinda fault, mine also shows weird temps. That's kinda cold, I don't thing my family would like it if I would cool the house down that much :D

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Yes, seems a little off - but even them it seems pretty cool. My girlfriend doesn't like the thermostat so low either, so there's little space heaters everywhere as a compromise :D

staples93 3 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

AMD is notorious for low idle temps, but it probably isn't very high from that, low 20's probably. Love the build though, GREAT budget.

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Thank you :)

ActuallyImJerome 2 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

When I saw this I was thinking to myself "there's gonna be a diablotek psu, there's gonna be a f***ing diablotek psu..." until I saw this. Although, you did a great job, this is a good build!

Good job

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Thank you :) Will get a new PSU asap.

ActuallyImJerome 2 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

No, no, no!! xD

What I was saying is that I was expecting you to get a PSU from a company called diablotek, which is like the worst company ever, but then I saw that you've had this Raidmax power supply, which is actually decent. :P

BigAll 5 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

It was suggested by another person :P raidmax is still pretty bad

ActuallyImJerome 2 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Its actually okay, but it obviously is not high end.

BigAll 5 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

It is definitely a very old design as it has no pfc (I think I've seen pentium 4 computers with pfc) also, aperantly the ul is faked, either one of those things (especially the faked ul) should be a big warning sign, and that's just from looking on the outside

AnimeGamer 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Wow slap a GPU on that and there's a cheap gaming pc

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

I think I will put in an R7 250, that should make it a complete build under $200 :)

Markastrophe 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

This is honestly inspiring to see, great budget build!

meklafire 1 point 38 months ago

How's the APU working for ya? Might want to consider it for my $500 build. I am impressed by the low-cost-ness of your build. How much was the HDD?

BigAll 5 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

For a $500 build you can do much better, the quad core apus are much more cost effective. Also, if you are putting a gfx card in it straight away get an athlon and not an aX whatever (or an fx chip or a Pentium)

meklafire 1 point 38 months ago

Yes I agree. I mistook the CPU for a A10... I think I will need more than 2 cores, so I'll go FX

BodaciousBuddha 1 point 38 months ago

I wouldn't be so quick to pass up the i3's. Also, to compare, it's simpler yet accurate enough to think of the FX-6300 as having three 'cores' (or rather, 3 modules with 2 cores each = 6 cores). The i3's dual cores (IIRC) run 4 threads, so you won't see it faltering at times like the other dual cores (G3258). It makes more sense to view the core debate from this perspective. I used to think the 6 cores made the FX-6300 much more valuable than the i3's dual cores, but it isn't. Of course, value depends on what your goal is.

This is why the FX-6300's performance with gaming is somewhat on-par with the i3's (assuming you overclock the FX to 4.4).

If you want to render/edit videos while playing a game made in 2012+, then go with the FX. If not, then go with an i3.

Intel Core i3-6100 3.7GHz Dual-Core Processor $122.00 Gigabyte GA-H110M-A Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $49.99 [+$30 for H170] Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory $34.99 ($5-$10 for red RAM)

That's $205 for the i3 setup v. your $260 (FX, mobo, RAM). The i3 build gives you an extra $55 which can be spent on a better GPU, CPU, etc.

With the FX build, you can save $20-$30 with a cheaper 970 mobo which'll clock just as fine. Look into the Gigabyte 970 UD3+'s and get the one with a power phase board higher than 4+1.

Finally, if you consider the next 3+ years in terms of upgrading your build, you'd want to go the Intel route. For example, start with the i3-6100 on the lower-end H110 mobo and upgrade to a Z97 mobo to overclock the i3 non-K. Or go with the cheaper i3-4170 or relatively more i3-4360 on the B85 or H87 mobo. You can jump to the i5-4xxx with its 4 cores, and in terms of gaming, you've got a build far superior to the FX-6300 build. Intel builds have a delicious upgrade path. The FX setup has its later uses, but jumping from an FX-6300 to 83xx isn't worth it (unless you're clocking in 20 to 30+ hours per week on 'productivity' stuff on the PC).

meklafire 2 points 38 months ago

I have looked into an i3 build before. I usually have 3-4 applications open when I game, that's why I went to the FX series. If I only had one application running, then I would go the path of an miniITX i3 build. Thanks for your input :).

Sharet-OP 1 point 38 months ago

+1 for the squared pants hahaha joking...good build bro

commodore64 3 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Good job, did lower than myself on a PC I just upgraded.

MightyAlFred 3 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Since others already pointed out the need to change the psu (although, with that little power draw you have, you could probably be fine anyways), I'd only tell you to get a second stick of ram, both because the iGPU uses onboard ram, and so leaves less for the system, but also because to get the most from it you need both high frequency and dual channel. Oh, and if you do, don't forget to force the iGPU to use the max memory allowed (probably 2Gb) from the bios.

GoodGamingPC 23 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

And it has bluetooth :)

TheBeginnersGuide 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

first time? you should always do 2x2 gb ram on these or 2x4 gb

gumbob3 1 Build 1 point 37 months ago

You could just use ethernet instead of wireless. also buy a cheap case with a built in PSU (cheaper)

elias.boehmer 1 point 37 months ago

most built in power supplies are terrible, but sometimes you can find good ones, I agree with the ethernet though

[comment deleted]
Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Thanks for the input. I will replace it with a better PSU. Can you explain you mean by UL is fake?

Gooberdad 10 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

It's for Underwriters Laboratories. Means it's been tested blah blah blah. This psu is just a really poorly constructed unit with minimal shielding, thin wiring and all round cheap *** components. If you want to try something fun turn on an am radio in the same vicinity as the pc while it's on and listen for the loud RF interference this psu gives off while running.

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Wow, that's good to know. Thanks for the info. I think I will get an EVGA 80+ 430W or so, would that be a good choice?

turkey3 3 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

I recommend you read this article, please, it'll take 25 minutes but you'll leave enlightened: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-power-supplies/ Please do read it.

Arvind2205 submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Thanks, that really was enlightening. Now I understand why 80+, and what 80+ bronze/silver/gold means. Appreciate the help!

Gooberdad 10 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Ahh you'll probably be fine. Some people have problems and failures with the psu others dont.

[comment deleted]
[comment deleted by staff]
BigAll 5 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Psu failure isn't that spectacular ;)