Description

Welcome all.

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.

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Comments

  • 81 months ago
  • 2 points

Is there a reason who manually took a picture of the screen instead of taking a screen-shot? Other than that nice build!

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, stupidity and laziness. Lol.

I went in the room to take a few pictures of it, and decided to upload those pics as well. If I took screen shots I would have had to put them on a flashdrive or something - so I could upload them from my main PC onto the site.

I can easily rectify that though.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks like the kind of computer I would build!

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, although the Phenom II x4 965 is faster or atleast as fast from what I recall anyways and it's a tad cheaper but it's a decent chip either way. good choice on the 7850, I think the 7870 is a great deal too but it's right about the top of your price range.

Also, great job on the repurposing parts lol

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks.

Only reason I didn't go with the Phenom is because it is an older chip. I understand that in some cases the older chips can be better, like in this case. But newer chips "usually" overclock better. Other than that, I was contemplating that chip. What sold me on this one though was the Microcenter MOBO deal... lol.

Also, I didn't really have a budget, but more of a guideline. I felt that a 7850 would suite the needs perfectly, instead of spending an extra $50, I ended up just dumping the excess funds into my next PC project.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

It's totally understandable getting a newer chip, It is only for web browsing and gaming so you won't really see the difference in the two especially with the overclock.

I'm building my girlfriend a computer atm and I'm stuck between getting the 7770ghz or upgrading to the 7870ghz for the extra $

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

If you are thinking 7870 Ghz, you might as well get the XT :)

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh yeah that's the one I decided I would go for instead of the ghz.. that's the one on the 7900 architecture right? Tahiti?

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes sir!

Thing is a wolf in sheep's clothing, lol.


You should make a parts list with what you want to put into your GF's build, and what your budget may be. I would love to take a look at it.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

I would look at replacing that Dynex PSU for either a Antec, Seasonic, or Corsair. Prices wont be that bad for a 450-500 watt PSU. You don't want that Dynex dying and taking everything with it. Other then that nice build!

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I know.

I had it laying around, and instead of junking a perfectly good PSU, I decided to use it for something. I may end up replacing it in the future, though. But when I do, I might as well get a better case.

It actually feels hefty, though. I have seen some PSU's that were really light, and felt cheap. Hopefully it lasts a few years before it dies. By that time it may be time for a new build, lol.

I am ashamed to use the Dynex PSU, but I couldn't stand it taking up space, and couldn't bring myself to chuck it since it still works fine, and really isn't that old. It was purchased only a few months ago for another project.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Good luck with it!! I have seen those die randomly no matter if its band new or 10 years old. Bad power to key components can cause them to die as well. That's why "I" think its best to spend a little more on a PSU from a good company and cheap out somewhere else. At least I hope if it dies it doesn't take other parts with it. But totally understand using a PSU laying around instead of buying a new one.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the input.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

In your pc, what did you replace the vertex 4 with?

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

A Samsung 840 Pro (256gb)

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Good choice.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Not keen on the big blue spot on the side of the case but that's some nice cable management

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. Cable management was a b*tch in this case since there was no cutouts for managing cables, and routing room behind the try was non-existent.

That "big blue spot" is called a fan. Since the case has horrible intake, I decided to keep it since it blows air directly on the CPU and GPU. Not the most effective cooling method, I know. But it sure beats having to buy another case.

Also, my GF digs the big blue fan, so I guess that is all that matters, right?

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

wat wat WAT this seems like it'd be about $150 worse than mine yet you spent like $230 less than I did... and I spent REALLY long periods of time trying to haggle for good prices- saving about $100... so it's as if you built something for like $330 less when it should be like $150 less... Kudos man! Well, granted, you had the case, PSU, and some other parts... still Kudos!!!! :P :)

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't think I would say $150 less.

The processor is only a few bucks cheaper than the 6 core that you have. In gaming (well at least the games that she plays) there is no bottleneck from the CPU, whatsoever. Couple that with the fact that a 660 and 7850 are marginally different, at best... and I have yet to wonder why you would think this build would be $150 worse. I also have the responsiveness of an SSD :)

Both builds have "modest" cards, and both builds have CPU's that are perfectly capable of gaming. I wouldn't say that my build is $150 worse.

  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, well I guess I didn't look at it right :P but nice work man, I think your girlfriend really loves it! I bet she can play her skyrim at max settings in 1080p...much better than consoles.

  • 80 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah it handles Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Battlefield 3 and others just fine. Overall I am very happy with the performance of the computer, especially for the amount of money that was actually invested into it.

I may end up getting a fan controller down the road, because the system itself is pretty loud. Other than that, I may change out the heatsink for the CPU, but that is yet to be determined.

  • 81 months ago
  • 0 points

oof. try to get a hyper 212 evo and a 300+ mhz overclock.

so close to the 7.9 across the board :O

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Well I have a Coolermaster V6GT laying around since I pulled it from my main rig, and I bet it will perform just as well.

I know close to 7.9 across the board, but I don't have much experience with AMD systems, and I don't want to push it too far. And no matter what I will do, that FX4130 will never get to 7.9.

  • 81 months ago
  • 0 points

sure it will :D

maybe.

probably not.

cant hurt to try?

  • 81 months ago
  • 2 points

I have seen dual Xenon systems benched at 7.8

I have a 3770k @ 4.8ghz - 7.8

I just don't see it happening, lol.

The WEI score is good for a baseline system analysis, but is far off from being a good benchmark. It is just broken...

  • 81 months ago
  • 0 points

yeah i know. strange numbers.

i was mostly joking, although a 300 mhz oc would be nice