My first build here on PCPP.
I'm a 22 year-old IT technician and have been working with computers pretty much all my life. I've built 100's of computers and have serviced 1000's, for professional and personal use. I've probably built about 20+ for myself and this is my most recent build. I'm fairly neutral when it comes to AMD vs Intel but wanted to challenge myself to make a more than decent gaming build for no more than $400 and this is what I came up with. I'll list the actual price I purchased said part for with parentheses. All parts were purchased within the past 3 weeks and the build was finally completed last week.
(Note: I got a lot of these parts on sale, so you're not likely to replicate this exact build for the same amount of money, but you should be able to use the core components as a reference.)
CPU: AMD Athlon x4 860k + GAMMAXX 400 Cooler ($67.99, purchased on Newegg but price matched NCIXUS; Cooler was free with motherboard)
I'm constantly doing research on parts and I just love the 860k. This is my second build using an 860k and I'm very impressed with it. The main reason why I went with the 860k vs the Pentium G3258 at this price point was because of how cheap FM2+ motherboards are, especially the price I paid for the motherboard I chose. I know there's no real upgrade path for this processor, but this build is meant to be a budget gaming build and this 860k is an awesome performer, especially overclocked. I was able to overclock it safely to 4.5 GHz with very low temperatures (Idle 25c. Full load 45-50c) and I didn't even have to up the voltage (1.415v). Overclocked, it's close to FX performance in gaming. I got the GAMMAXX 400 cooler as a free gift with my motherboard, and it also came with a $10 MIR so I pretty much got paid $10 for the cooler lol.
Motherboard: Asus A68HM-K ($29.99 from Newegg w/ $10 MIR)
I was very hesitant on purchasing this motherboard because of a 3/5 egg review avg. on Newegg, and because the motherboard doesn't have USB 3.0 headers, but I took a gamble because it was $39.99 (minus the $10 MIR) and it came with the GAMMAXX 400 cooler for free. I guess you can say I got lucky and got a fully working one. The lack of USB 3.0 header wasn't a big deal with me because it does have 2 USB 3.0 ports built in, and I could always get a cheap add-on card to make the USB 3.0 ports on my case work. Nothing very special about this motherboard. It uses ASUS's user-friendly BIOS and supports overclocking + fan control + temp. monitoring. No problems whatsoever so I was very happy with getting this board.
Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Red 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 ($45 from TigerDirect Closeout Sale)
I usually purchase parts on Amazon/Newegg, occasionally from other retailers like NCIXUS, Microcenter, Fry's etc. if their prices are cheap. I have an Amazon Prime/Newegg Premier membership so those are usually my top choices, but I decided to check TigerDirect out of the blue and saw that their closeout sale went to "Up to 80% off!". I lucked out and was able to get this RAM set for a very cheap price. Sadly, TD is out of stock on all the parts worth getting. They've been bought out by another company but I doubt they'll ever make a comeback. The RAM is speedy and works very well, but unfortunately I was unable to overclock it very much so I just left it stock.
Storage: Crucial M500 120GB SSD + WD Caviar Blue 500GB (SSD Free, HDD $19.99)
I got the SSD for free from a decommissioned computer, and I got the HDD for cheap from the TigerDirect sale. Although the M500 is an older SSD, it's still fairly quick and is faster than most newer budget 120/128GB SSD's. Nothing to really say about the HDD, its cheap storage and it works.
GPU: Sapphire Dual-X R9 270 2GB ($99, Open-Box Like New from Ebay)
I was looking for a GPU around the $100 price range as I didn't wanna go over budget. Brand new, my options were a R7 260x, R7 360, or GTX 750 ti. I had a 270x in my previous build and didn't really wanna settle for much less than that so I looked for GPU's on ebay. I've had good experiences purchasing used GPU's in the past so I wasn't too worried about it. The seller I purchased from had a good rating and was listing about 15 of these as "Open Box - Like New" and indeed it was. I've easily overclocked it to 270x speeds (1100/1500). The Dual-X cooler works great and the card never goes past 55c full load.
CASE: Thermaltake Versa H23 w/ Side Window ($19.99 from TigerDirect)
Another cheap purchase from TD. I really wanted to get a MicroATX case to match the motherboard, and I like making small builds, but I couldn't pass up a good quality case for this price. The case has good cable management and is well ventilated. It supports two front 120mm fans, 1 rear 120mm fan, and has liquid cooling support for up to 200mm radiators. I have a Rosewill 120mm in the front and one in the back. The case came with a 3-pin 120mm fan but I decided not to use it. It's a decent looking case and I can't complain for the price I paid.
PSU: EVGA 600w Bronze ($34.99 from Newegg w/ $10 MIR)
For the PSU, I wanted something cheap and at least 80-plus certified. This build wasn't going to be anything crazy, so this PSU works just fine. This was the cheapest 600w Bronze certified PSU I could find at the time and I've used EVGA's cheaper PSU's before so I wasn't worried about using this. EVGA's cheaper PSU's are actually made by HEC/Compucase and use top-quality Chinese capacitors (Japanese caps are much higher quality) but this PSU works very well. The cables are sleeved, and it has a good 120mm fan. Perfect for single GPU builds.
O/S: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit [REMOVED]
I just really like Windows 8.1. It runs faster than Windows 7 and I'm just a step away from Windows 10. I have computers on Windows 7/8.1/10. I mainly went with 8.1 because there's less driver issues compared to 10, I can always upgrade to 10, and the keys were cheaper than actual Windows 10 keys.
TOTAL PRICE: $361.95 (without tax & MIR's)
Most of my builds are usuallly $600-$1000. This build is my most favorite so far and was surprised how much power I could get out of it for how much I paid. A similar build at normal price would still be under $500. Alternative builds I would recommend would be going with a Pentium G3258 for a better upgrade path, or spending a bit more money and going with an i3 or FX. I'll post some other angles of the case when I can.
Thanks for looking guys.