This is the system I'm currently building. All parts have been purchased and I'm just waiting on shipping now. I'm building this pc on a pretty tight $400 budget. I'm also a gamer, but I don't typically play alot of the graphic-intensive 1st person shooters. I'm more of an MMO/RPG/RTS fan, which means I don't need the most cutting edge graphics. Here's a breakdown of the parts I chose along with my reasoning behind the choice. Once the parts come in and I've had a chance to test then out, I'll update this with my thoughts on their performance.
APU - I decided to give AMDs newest APU a try for this build. This is a very budget minded build and I think this processor will do nicely for what I will need.
Motherboard - This was just one of a handful of boards I could have chosen. I wanted a board that would support DDR3-2400 ram, utilized the latest x88 chipset, and was Crossfire capable. This one happened to be red to match the rest of the components, so I went with it.
RAM - APUs benefit greatly from higher speed ram so i wanted to fo with 2400 here. This set happens to be red and has lower CAS rating then the rest.
Storage - I have a 7200 500gb Seagate laying around that I can use for storage, but with the prices of small SSDs being as low as they are right now, I wanted to try to get a bit of performance boost by using a small SSD for my OS and most used programs. The Seagate will serve as mass storage.
Case - To be honest, this would not have been my choice if I had aa little more cash to spend. I know I'm taking a gamble with the included PSU, but when you're on on a budget, you have to scrimp occasionally. My fingers are crossed that this case and PSU work out. I plan on ultimately adding a DIY side window to the case.
Optical Drive - I'll be using an old HP Dvd writer from an old computer.
OS - Gonna go ahead and bite the bullet and install Win 8.1.
With the omission of the dvd drive and hdd that I already oowned as well as the OS which a buddy in IT at work is hooking me up with... This system ran me $404 including shipping. It should arrive any day now and the building can begin.
In the future I'll expand the system by going to 16gb of ram as well as adding a r7 250 to run in crossfire with the APU. I've also read great reviews about the results of overclocking this APU. I'll be adding a water cooler, more fans, and a fan controller in the future and begin playing with the overclocking capabilities.
** Update 2/18/15
Well, I have everything sat up and am using this system now. So far I'm pretty happy with all of the components. I'm running it with a slight overclock to 4.0GHz with the stock cooler and its staying nice and cool with temps peaking at 58c under full load. I pushed it to 4.2GHz and temps would peak at 65c. That made me a bit nervous, so i decided to be happy with 4.0 untill I add more cooling. I haven't had time to do much gaming on it yet, so I don't have much to report along the lines of benchmarks or in-game FPS yet. The system boots into Windows 8.1 in about 5 seconds. I have downloaded a new moba named Smite and tried it out. There is no onscreen FPS to see what I'm getting, but I'm running at Maximum settings and have never seen even a hint of lag. It's extremely nice and smooth. I also installed GW2. I haven't spent any time in it yet other then to create a character and run around doing a couple initial quests. At high settings with anti-aliasing turned off, I'm getting mid-50's FPS pretty steady. Unfortunately, I'm using an old monitor that doesn't allow me to run at 1080p. I'm getting these results running at 1440x900.
Here are my thought on the individual components thus far:
APU - I love it. This thing appears to have great overclocking ability and provide fabulous graphics all in one. So far, it's everything I hoped it would be. I'd recommend this chip to just about anyone.
Motherboard - So far so good here as well. The board looks great! It works great! Nothing to complain about here. Everything was virtually plug-and-play. The only thing I had to setup in the bios was to set the ram to 2400, and the overclock. The bios was easy to understand and navigate.
Memory - These puppies look awesome!! No problems here. Just plugged them in, set the bios to the proper speed, and enjoyed!
Storage - This is my first SSD and I haven't run any read/write tests to see if it operates at the speeds advertised yet. That being said, I'm shocked at how quick this thing is. Again, I'm super happy with this purchase and would suggest an OCZ SSD to anyone.
Case w/ PSU - Honestly, I was prepared to be let down here. I have to say I was surprised. Is it a great case? No. Is it a nice budget option? Hell yeah!! This case is has plenty of bays. The front panel plug-in's had long enough cords (just barely, but they made it). Cable management options are minimal, but acceptable. The included fan looks nice and is pretty quiet so far. Everything fit fine with plenty of room to spare. The metal is very thin and easily dinged and dented, but I don't plan on playing football with it or anything, so I think it will be fine. The PSU seems stable so far. I don't plan on keeping it in the system for very long, so hopefully I can get a few good months out of it. My biggest complaint about this case is that one of the Motherboard power cables was a little too short to use any sort of cable management. I had to just stretch it straight across the motherboard, and it was barely long enough for that. I'd recommend this case to anyone on an extreme budget like I was when I put this build together.
OS - I was kind of worried about the OS here. I had read horrible reactions to the new Windows and was prepared to hate it. So far though, I really like it. Like I've said earlier, I haven't had a lot of time to mess with it, but I like it so far.
I'll try to find time to install some benchmark software and get some stats posted soon... Until then, let me know what you think or if there are any questions you may have about any of the components or the system as a whole.