Description

I mainly use this bad boy for gaming, but I'm going to take some online programing classes on it as well. Very pleased with it so far, it's able to max out anything I can throw at it and only Crysis 3 seems to go below 60 FPS in a few select parts, something that should be remedied with an aftermarket cooler and overclocking my CPU. Bought the parts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so I only ended up paying $800. I'd personally consider the performance compared to the price I payed to be pretty darn good, at least for a first time builder.

CPU: Was going to get a slightly lower clocked FX variant, but thanks to Cyber Monday I was able to get this 8350 instead. Glad I did, since my goal was to meet or exceed recommended specifications for even the most demanding (and, honestly, probably poorly optimized) modern games. For most of them, the FX 8350 is listed outright as the recommended AMD card. It runs SUPER hot right now, but I'm going to blame the stock cooler and I plan on getting a new cooler soon.

Motherboard: Decided I didn't really need a bunch of fancy bells and whistles that more expensive motherboards have, so I decided to put most of the cost cutting in this part, while still making sure I didn't get anything low quality. Some of the connectors are in less than optimal positions, (I needed to do some tight cable management to make sure I didn't get any cords stuck in my graphics card fans) but otherwise it is serving me quite well.

Memory: It's 8 gigs. Pretty standard stuff, but I got it for 56$ and I don't think I've ever seen RAM like this go any cheaper. Also, it's shiny. I like shiny.

Storage: Just your average Joe 1tb drive. Will most likely get a 240bg SSD alongside it at some point.

Video Card: It was a no brainer for me, seeing the price drop to $300 for the R9 290, that this would be the card to get. I was originally going to get an Nvidia card, I really like the feature set that they have, but they didn't have anything in my price range with 4gb of memory, at least not anything that came close to the r9 290 in terms of other key aspects of performance. And like I said, I was gunning for recommended system specs for recent games, and some of them have been asking for 4gb, so it was the R9 290 for me. I wish I had the foresight to buy my card on Black Friday, since by the time Cyber Monday rolled around most of the 290s with better reviews were sold out, but I managed to get this Gigabyte for $250. Still some monster performance for that price.

Case: I just wanted something flashy and white. My Xbox's are white, so I thought I would try to color coordinate. Definitely looks cool, but I'd prefer if the motherboard installation were different. Not sure if those fans on the top are going to be really helping or severely hurting performance on the graphics card right underneath.

Power Supply: I just wanted something with a Bronze+ rating and 750W from a reliable brand. "Oh, EVGA is a good brand," I thought to myself. "Not a bad price too. 'Semi modular' as well... Cool, I guess? I just want something that works." Sure enough, I got a semi modular power supply with high quality braided cables. Quite surprised, as I was just trying to get the cheapest PSU I could find that wouldn't sacrifice the safety of my system. I didn't need no fancy pants doohickey, but this ended up being one of the nicer parts in my build.

Optical drive: Yeah, not super necessary, but this being my first build I had no idea how I was going to install windows without one. Also, I have some older disc games that I'll probably pop in from time to time looks longingly at modest collection of star wars game discs

Operating system: I've warmed up quite well to windows 8.1, and I can honestly say that I prefer it to 7 after using it for long enough. So windows 8.1 it was for me.

Added some newer pics. Still too much graphics card sag?

1/6/15 update: replaced the stock cooler with a Noctua NH-u9b. It wasn't until I was removing the stock cooler that I realized I had it installed wrong :P (In my defense, the arm to lock down the cooler was the opposite orientation in the manual than on the actual unit. You live, you learn) and now my CPU temps are MUCH better. Also added a blue LED fan to pump fresh air directly into the intake fan of my new Noctua. It's a neat fan, I plan on getting another to dispense of the air the Noctua puts out when I eventually pick up an SSD. Total price of build is now $860

Comments

  • 62 months ago
  • 5 points

GPU Sag is over 9000!!! Better zip tie that up!

  • 62 months ago
  • 3 points

Nice build but I've heard some bad things about overclocking on the AM3+ MSI boards without VRM heatsinks, so I'd look into that before you try any overclocking. Also you may want to hold that GPU up with something, you've got some serious sagging

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the info on the VRM, after looking into it I might indeed want to hold off on overclocking on this board/processor combo.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

That gpu sags more than some ******* dayum...

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

294mm graphics card Sag alert!! Wait... that's what she said!!

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

That is an interesting case you've got there, and yeah, I'd fix that sagging GPU quick-like.

Also, I'd get that PC off of the carpet. Static electricity is a darn silly way to lose a perfectly fine build.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

yep!! also he is suffocating the psu...... put the computer over a hard surface.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I was a little worried at first about static from my carpet, but after seeing similar concerns my PC is now resting on a sheet of thick cardboard. But does anyone have a less... Cardoard-y - solution to isolating a PC from carpet?

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Go down to your local Home Depot/Lowes, get a chunk of wood. Sit it on top of that.

Or if you have room on your desk, set it up there.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

...only Crysis 3 seems to go below 60 FPS in a few select parts...

Are you getting 100% CPU utilization on any core?

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not sure if the regular old windows resource manager is a good indicator (I'm open to suggestions for what program would be) but it does seem that each core gets to 100%. And, quite worryingly, I hit 80C at one point, and recently I've been getting short freezes during gameplay. That wasn't happening before. I'm definitely going to want to get a new cooler next pay check.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

Reapply your thermal paste (you may need to order more first, Arctic Cooler paste is pretty good). Common mistakes are putting too thick and/or not spreading it over the entire CPU. You shouldn't be getting near 80C for something as processor-light as gaming even with AMD's stock cooler.

This may not fix the problem, in which case you should get a non-stock cooler. Even an FX-8350 shouldn't bottleneck any single graphics card.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

The stock cooler came with thermal paste pre-installed. I'm also getting 40-45C idle temps, and from what I've read that isn't quite normal. I'm just going to order a new cooler and thermal paste tomorrow (maybe an SSD as well) and keep an eye on my temps until then.

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build M8 +1

  • 62 months ago
  • 1 point

I guess the interior pic wasn't the best, I fixed that worrying sagging on the gfx card before I closed the case up.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Can you still fry an egg on your cpu, or did it come down from 80 degrees Celsius?

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, my CPU temps are now under control. I was also using the BIOS for checking the temps, which seems to be displaying a much higher temperature than what it really is at. It looks like CPUID HWmoniter is showing more accurate temps all around.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

how does air get inside your case? It doesn't look like there's a front intake or it's able to make it's way past the drive bays.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

There is a front intake, I've also recently added a fan on the side of the case for intake as well