Hello All, I wanted a computer that I could use for moderate gaming as well as general use. This computer is leaps and bounds over my 6 year old Toshiba that was not built for gaming even when it came out. Comments are totally welcome as well as criticism.
I did not want to completely cheap out on this build, but at the same time I wasn't going to drop a grand on a computer that I would not be using constantly. I focused on reviews, ratings, benchmarks, tons of google searches and availability while balancing it out with price throughout this build. It is my very first one and time ever doing anything like this with a computer so I am sure there is some things I could have done better or differently to someone more experienced. Maybe I could have done some things differently, but for what it is I am happy with it.
Building this took me about 3-4 hours and was a lot easier than I thought. I double and triple checked everything before turning on and had 0 problems. Windows 10 loaded in about 10-15 minutes with USB 3.0. I loved every second of it and would like to do it again.
CPU- I wanted something with decent integrated graphics and speed. The last few months the price of this cpu had dropped significantly and I read a lot of good reviews on it for what it is. It stayed within that bargain/effective range that I was looking for. It has 4 cores and comes easily over-clockable if need be ( which I have no clue how to do). I also did not plan on getting a graphics card, at least right away, so i stayed with the integrated Radeon R7 graphics. This CPU plays newer total war games at medium to high settings. *Currently OC to 4.2 Ghz stable
MOTHERBOARD Its a micro, it has usb 3 headers, supports up to 64 gigs of ddr3 ram with speeds up to 2400 MHz. Seemed like a great buy for an A88X with all the features it has with it. It fit what I wanted it for and had a great price. And yes I did put the I/O shield in facing the wrong way I realized this after the fact, but it still works and if it ain't broke I ain't fixing it.
MEMORY I wanted to have 16 gigs of ram at 2133 and after looking for sometime I found the rip jaws series at nearly $6.50 per gig and 1.5v each. I have read that increased RAM speeds helps increase APU performance. The stock speed of the mobo keeps this ram at 1600mhz and to get it to advertised speeds I had to raise it manually or enable xmp profile both of which I ran into stability issues when the timings were changed. Something I will have to work on.
STORAGE This SSD was $20 cheaper than its Samsung counterpart and is still super fast. I might add a HDD later, but for now I am happy with just this. The 240 gig seemed like its right in the middle in terms of storage/price ratio for an SSD.
CASE This is my first time building and I have nothing else to compare it to, but I really liike this case. It is very well built and seems almost heavy duty. The majority of the cables can be hid behind the back panel and it came with two stock 120mm fans. I added 2 more fans to the mix and painted them all red to go along with the color scheme. It happened by chance that the RAM, Stock CPU fan and Mobo were all red so I figured why not. Maybe i'll buy some apoplexy glass and make a window in it later on?
POWER SUPPLY The money I saved on the SSD/Optical Drive I put to the case and the power supply. At the start I had a non-modular 500w bronze+ power supply picked out for around $45 but for $15 more I switched to a fully modular psu with 20 more watts( not that the 20 Watts really matters).
OPTICAL DRIVE I know an optical drive isn't needed, but its something I wanted to make sure I had in the build just so I could throw in some of my older games like rollercoaster tycoon, Civ 3 or older total wars etc .Call it weird I like to play older games that i have from when I was younger.
MONITOR I had a $100 23" asus picked out but chose this monitor over that because of the outstanding reviews and it has an IPS panel for under 200. It is also 23" which i was happy with and has everything else that I would want for the price.
KEYBOARD/MOUSE/SPEAKERS I really wanted a mechanical keyboard cause I freakin love how they feel when typing on them, that and it has an LED back light on it all for a decent price. The mouse is wired and had decent reviews on comfortability. The speakers were cheap, but they will get the job done and I did not see anything bad wrote about them. Seemed like a great bargain for the price.
OS Windows 10-Home- Get it free from work +$100 - w00tUpdate Work only offered 8.1 and I wanted 10, so I bought an OEM product key for $13 off a website and used a USB drive to download it to the PC. Costing me very little, still happy.
Update 5/01/17 Finally got the computer put together, I really did not think I could do it, but it was much easier than I thought. And I totally love it, starts in like 5 seconds and the OEM version of windows was nice cause it doesnt come with alot of the bloatware, extra programs. Maybe I will overclock it one day when I need too depending on gameplay. As for now it plays Total War 2 awesome and I can finally play alot of steam games that I could not touch with my old laptop. Thanks for reading guys I will post pics soon.
Update 5/23/17 Its been a little while since I first built this PC and it has been serving me well ever since. I finally took the dive and bought a GPU for it that was on sale. An RX 560 for $130 from BestBuy seemed like a good deal after how high prices have been from the e-currency mining craze. The discrete card has bumped my Novabench score into the 1400s from the 850-900s I was getting before. While it does slightly irk me getting a dGPU and not utilizing the APU it was bound to happen sometime. I see it as a cheaper alternative than buying all new CPU/mobo/ram for now. I will keep this card as long as it works, it has a nice lifetime warranty in North America.
Prior to this I bought a coolermaster hyper 212 evo to try out my hand in overclocking and I keep it at a stable 4.2gz. For some reason I cannot get the RAM to run at 2133mhz without getting a random bsod every once in a while, so I keep it at 1866mhz. I also got a 480GB PNY SSD around Christmas time that I have put all my steam games on. Other than that this build has been chugging along nicely. Maybe one day in the future i will get a Ryzen CPU and a new motherboard and ram, but for now I am doing just fine with 1080p gaming.
Idles at around 34 C with stock cooler, with a "Cool in Quiet" CPU fanoption in motherboard. Have not had to overclock yet, but there is a nice OC profile in my Mobo bios that I have used to increase RAM speed. Overall I enjoy this CPU it was my first purchase. Runs Rome Total War 2 at High settings. I overclocked this to 4 GHz just for benchmark with stock cooler and temps spiked to around 44 C. Remember 72 C is the max safe temp for this CPU
Awesome accessories for the price. Great and easy to use bios with explanations of everything on the right. Has an Overclocking profile for hardware, very easy to use. Shows fan speeds and temps. Has 2 CPU cooler connectors and 2 Case fan connectors. I have 4 case fans running off this mobo using splitters.
Has some instability issues OC this to 2133. With my mobo it runs at a default 1600mhz. The instability happened with the timings and was probably my fault. However, great color and working RAM.
This SSD boots my PC and I am on the home screen in not kidding 6-8 seconds. Crazy fast and at a great price.
This tower is built like a brick **** house. Very sturdy and has a ton of space. I have 2 intake fans in the front of this one exhaust in the back and one exhaust on top. Very easy to use. However, it can be a little hard on cable management getting the back panel on with all the cables hidden on the mobo side. Overall well built feels heavy duty. Has a air filter screen on the very bottom of it
At first when I plugged this in i did not think it worked, upon realizing it had to be completely hooked up before turning on I realized how much of a noob i was. This thing comes with plenty of connectors including two for hard drives. Its fully modular so nice for cable management and has a built in fan.
I know these are not really needed, but what if i wanna watch an old DVD of star wars episode 2? Only thing I used this for was to download my wifi card's drivers that came with it via CD. This is just something that I wanted to have in my build. And it works.
I do not know that much about computer screens, if it works and looks good I have no complaints. That pretty much how it is with this 23 inches and has a reasonable price with HDMI.
Background blue LED? Mechanical? Whats not to love? This thing is loud and has a mechanical clicky feeling its badass and I love it