Six months ago, I decided it was time to move from a laptop to a desktop. After hours of designing stupidly high end rigs that would go for $1500 without peripherals, I settled on a ~$1000 build to demolish 1080p.
But then a whole lot of real life happened, and it kept being pushed off. Around a month ago, I realized that with the amount of time I have to be playing games (not much), it's pretty hard to dignify dropping a grand on a computer when I could go on a pretty dope vacation instead. What I could justify, though, was spending significantly less on a PC that could be used for movies, multiplayer games, emulation, and general entertaining, and could double as a gaming computer when I got around to it.
I spent an entire month searching for deals on the parts I wanted, and thanks to the guys over at r/buildapcsales, I was able to come in under my new $450 budget. The computer performs very well, and with a z170 board, I have a lot of room for expansion.
CPU: After doing some research, I found out that many of the emulators I intended to use rely almost completely on single threaded/per clock performance. So much so that they can't even support AMD cpu's. I was originally going to go for a Pentium G4400, but with Microcenter's combo deal, getting the i3 was only $30 more, and it had twice the threads, so I went for it.
Mobo: Wanted the cheapest Z170 mATX board money could buy. Luckily, Microcenter had this in stock when I was there. Got it for $59.99 with the combo discount applied. I also have a $10 mail in rebate on it, but I didn't include that to account for tax, which PCPP doesn't account for. Works pretty well so far, and picked up my 2666 RAM with no issues. Can't speak to processor overclocking on it yet, as I don't have a K processor
Memory: This is the only part where I'm not 100% convinced I made the right decision. 1x8 GB is good for future expansion, but it doesn't allow the processor to use dual channel mode, which makes a difference when you're running an i3. However, this motherboard generally can't support more than 2 sticks of overclocked RAM, so I would have had to replace all of it if I wanted to upgrade. Also, for whatever reason, even though it's hitting 2666 MHz, it's not getting the transfer rates it should. I don't know what the problem is yet. Feel free to leave a comment with suggestions, though I doubt anyone will read this far. Banana.
HDD: Cheap, good, and on sale at Microcenter at the time. Also much bigger than any SSD I could have got for the price, and I don't really care about boot times that much.
GPU: Got this through a NewEgg ebay special. Not the most aggressive clocks or anything, but it beats the poo out of the GTX 860M on my laptop. I went with the 950 for a bunch of reasons: -AMD has more driver overhead, and on an i3, it's very noticeable. 1% lows are much lower generally -The R7 370 specifically is kind of a hunk of junk. It's actually worse than the 270 before it, which I would have considered if there was one on sale when I needed it. -the 950 destroys the 750 Ti for not much more money, but the 960 isn't that much of a step up -the new wave of GPU's are about to come out, so the more you spend, the more you're probably going to wish you waited
Case: You can tell it's a cheap case, but at the same time I was impressed overall. It has a nice look to it, and a USB 3.0 port on the front. Everything fit, though my cable management was kinda garbage. Oh well, temps are good.
PSU: Got this on a newegg flash deal. It's called a CX450M. Semi-Modularity was a plus, and the bronze certification was nifty.
Best budget processor if you need decent single threaded performance. Stock cooler does a good job keeping it cool as well
Nice and cheap Z170 board, especially if you're getting a combo deal at Microcenter ;) Also recognized my 2666 MHz memory immediately, though I'm not getting the data transfer rates I was hoping for. Have yet to determine what the problem is
Good price for overclocked memory, though 1x8 misses out on the dual channel boost. I'm also not getting the data transfer rates I was hoping for, and have yet to determine what the problem is
Cheap, and the thing flies for an HDD.
Not super aggressively clocked, but it has a small form factor and runs cool. A few reasons why I chose this card:
-AMD has more driver overhead, and on an i3, it's very noticeable. 1% lows are much lower generally
-The R7 370 specifically is kind of a hunk of junk. It's actually worse than the 270 before it, which I would have considered if there was one on sale when I needed it.
-the 950 destroys the 750 Ti for not much more money, but the 960 isn't that much of a step up
-the new wave of GPU's are about to come out, so the more you spend, the more you're probably going to wish you waited
I was actually pretty impressed for the price of the case. Cables can't be routed behind the panel that the motherboard is mounted on, though, so my cable management was garbage. Everything still runs cool, though, so it's all good.
(CX450M) Cheap, modular power supply. Got it off a flash deal on Newegg