This is a build I did for my girlfriend. She wanted a budget gaming PC to be able to play Minecraft on, as well as some newer AAA titles like Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite, etc. She doesn't really care about “Ultra” graphics, or 120fps, etc. - She doesn't really like the new consoles coming out, and wanted something better than a 360.
She also wanted a good PC to do general multitasking, media viewing, and school/office work on. She is currently running an a junky laptop that is a few years old. Overall, this build cost me around $390 out of pocket, and honestly I wouldn't have changed a thing. It does everything it was intended to do, and actually exceeded my expectations. Some of the games it manages high/very high settings and runs around 45-60fps @ 1080p.
Of course I cheated a little, and salvaged a few spare parts from an old Athlon X2 office system, on which the MOBO conked out. I also reused the SSD from my main rig, as I bought a new one for myself :p – My only complaint with this computer, is that the fans are super loud. I have tried editing bios settings, using Speed Fan, etc. – which is why I have bought the fan controller. I was actually able to find one that matched the aesthetics of the case almost to a T.
I am also going to re-use a keyboard and mouse from another computer, and I bought new ones for my main rig, and have some spare parts laying around.
While it won’t directly compete with the newer next gen consoles, I feel like it could definitely be a contender, due to its low price point, and flexibility/expand-ability. It actually cost me less than an XboxOne would have.
(I apologize if the pictures are sub-par, but I couldn't find the good camera, so I used my cellphone.)
CPU – I took a trip to Microcenter, and got the cheapest AMD quad-core I could set my eyes on. Overall it is a decent little piece of silicone. Currently it is overclocked to 4.5ghz and running stable. I know that Bulldozer isn't as good as Piledriver, but like I said, this computer was a budget build, and had very low expectations - but it exceeded them surprisingly well. IMO this is a great chip for an office/light gaming setup, such as this.
Thermal Compound – I had extra Arctic Silver 5 laying around (seems like I have a ton of the stuff) so I decided to use it on this as well. It isn't the best paste, but it definitely does the job, especially in a budget build.
CPU Cooler – I had a spare CoolerMaster V6GT laying around from when I upgraded my main rig to an AIO loop. Overall this thing is a beast, and barely fits into the case.
MOBO – What can I say? For $40 in a CPU bundle, I couldn't really go wrong. It has a few nifty features like OC Genie II, SATA 3 (6gbps), and USB3.0 (Rear ports only, no MOBO headers). Only gripe I had was that it doesn’t have PCI-e 3.0 (which is why I didn’t invest a whole lot into the video card.) Other than that I have no complaints, at least until it catches on fire.
RAM – While I was at Micro center, I decided to buy the RAM too. I decided that 8gb of Vengeance RAM was enough, and would give some headroom. I could always expand to 16gb, but I see little reason to with this build. My GF decided on the blue, because she thought it was “pretty”… I have to say, it is aesthetically pleasing. I was going for another black/blue theme with this computer, and I feel like it came out quite well. The RAM in this computer OC’s quite well with the rest of the other components, currently it is OC’d to 2150mhz and running smoothly.
Storage – Both drives were brought in from other computers. The SSD is a 128gb Vertex 4. I hated to part ways with it, but I upgraded to a bigger, and slightly faster drive in my main rig, so I got over it pretty quickly. The thing boots Windows halfway through the logo animation (Partly because of the decent RAM overclock). I am currently running the OS, a few programs, and two of her favorite games off of the SSD. The 250gb Barracuda was from the old office system, and is being used for storage and “extra” games.
Video Card – I know there are better cards in the price range, but they are still more expensive than this card. I really didn't feel like spending over $200 on a card running in a PCI 2.0 slot. Overall I think 1gb is enough for its intended purposes, and it overclocks decently well. It can run games like BF3, Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and others perfectly fine – anywhere from medium to very high, all ranging from 720p (Borderlands) to 1080p (everything else). Running at about 45fps I deem it perfectly playable. It also helped that I got $110 of free games with the card, which I installed on MY main gaming rig, lol. Gotta love the Never Settle pack. GF got pissed though, and I bought another code off of some guy on eBay for less than $20, because she wanted Tomb Raider...
Case – I bought it cheap off of Amazon a few years ago, to add aesthetics to the said “office build”. When the computer took a dive, I put it in the back of the garage, and came across it when cleaning a few months ago. Case was still in pristine shape, so I decided to reuse it for this build, rather than spend more money on a new case. Overall cable management was non-existent in this case, so I had to wire-tie everything to the sides of the HDD bays, which you can see in the pics.
Case Fans – I took the two 120mm Cooler Master fans off of my V6GT cooler, and put them inside of this case.
Power Supply – I reused the Dynex 520w power supply from the office computer. It is still in perfect shape, and 520w is definitely enough for this system. I know Dynex is far from “quality”, but it gets the job done, and it is now no longer taking up space in the garage, and I didn’t have to buy a new PSU. A win in my book.
Optical Drive – I had a spare laying around from the office computer as well. Decided to reuse it as well since there is nothing wrong with it, and it works perfectly fine.
OS – Since I hate Windows 8, and I still have a few licenses left, I decided to install Windows 7 onto this system.