Update - July 2015:
For sub $500 build from the start, this was amazing. Unfortunately it wasn't enough for my YouTube needs and I've already upgraded to a FX-8320 that is now overclocked @4.6GHz with a Hyper 212 Evo cooler.
- CPU: I debated for a long time between the X4 750K, a more expensive AM3+ processor, or a FM2+ APU build. When the 860K came on to my radar, I jumped for it. Bang for the buck was there, especially when the OC'ing on these isn't difficult. When NCIX had it for $69.99 on Black Friday, I emptied my bank account. * I currently run it at 4.3GHz on the stock cooler. Max temp of 80C.
Motherboard: Yes I know it's mATX and yes I know it may cause me some trouble with cable management on such a small board. But with it marked down to $89.99 from $109.99, Newegg already had me interested. On top of that, MSI had a rebate for $30 back. I think I got lucky to get a good looking, and functioning board for this price. * Really easy to use, wish it has more case fan headers then the 2 it comes with. Can't complain as it's pleasing to the eye. I had an issue with mounting to the case as not all screw holes line up.
RAM: Newegg had a great sale on this ram for a short time. Snatched it up Thanksgiving eve and it went back up to $82.99 the next day :) * Speedy, and runs without an issue.
Storage: Previously 2 HDD's, I'm now running 1 WD Blue 1TB.
GPU: Newegg has the 280X for $199.99 after $15 rebate? But wait.. Visa checkout gives me $25 off! SCORE! $174.99! DO YOU SEE THIS PRICE???? $174.99!!!!! Originally I had plans to go with the MSI Twin Frozr 270X but Newegg sold out when it was $159.99. COULD NOT BE HAPPIER. * Had to RMA the card due to artifacts on the screen. Got it back, then I overclocked the core to 1150 with no issues.
Case: It was a hard decision on a tight budget. I ended up stretching and getting the 200R over both the NZXT Source 210 Elite, and the BitFenix Comrade. I think I've made a wise choice and will further find out over the long run. Reviews for all 3 cases were very positive with the Comrade being at the bottom for build quality. * Sleek, and easy to install all components. I really like the tool-less drive bay and thumbscrews that are located around the case. Very easy to install components and I recommend this to anybody building a new rig on a budget.
PSU: SCORE! 600w for $33.99? GOT IT! Snatched this up and I'm happy. It had a $20 rebate and was the main reason why I picked it up at this price. Made it very appealing considering other semi/fully modular PS units can be quite pricey. * Corsair makes good products and I don't think I'll have an issue with this considering the overhead I have.
Cooling/Fans: Using the stock 200R fans (1 intake & 1 exhaust) plus a cheap LEPA fan (setup in top exhaust) I got for free on rebate during Black Friday 2013. It pushes ~44CFM and it's not the most, but it's silent and helps move air. I'll be adding some better fans in the future, but nothing fancy. This case is very open. * Currently looking at some new fans just to increase airflow. I want it to be quiet though, which it already does a good job at.
OS: Sheesh. I'm probably going to purchase Win8.1 for the student price of $69.99. Wish I could find a copy for less. * Running Win10 Tech Preview. Runs VERY nicely.
Peripherals: Uncle gave me a Logitech wireless USB keyboard/mouse combo. Nice set, works well. * No issues. Recommend this to the average user. Really no cons for gaming either, but the price isn't competitive with real gaming keyboards/mice.
Monitor: Got to the end and realized what my budget build didn't account for. I've got a Philips 170S in the family den room and I'll probably steal it from the old pent4 Dell we have it hooked up to. * 24" Samsung monitor: SyncMaster T24B350.
End of story. I'm happy. Thoughts of questions? I really have to thank the guys on ComputerForum.com for helping me make some of the final decisions (case, PSU, and CPU).
Very nice processor and runs great for the price. I run it O/C'd at 4.2GHz and it's smooth.
Nice motherboard but it lacks some basic necessities such as USB 3.0 and front panel connectors that WON'T be blocked by a second GPU, if you happen to CrossfireX.
Overall, the BIOS is easy to work and there's a lot of great features to enjoy.
Wishing there was more fan headers though.
Fast, stylish, and cheap.
Very good GPU, and QUIET too.
Had to RMA the first card, and almost RMA'd the second before finding the issue.
These cards are overclocked on the memory too much. 1500 is stock, and I am currently running this card at 1490. Using AMD Catalyst Control Center to adjust is perfect.
This card will run anything on max settings, CPU dependent.
Sleek, and very easy to work around. Thumbscrews are nice and I love how the drive bays are tool-less!
Expected a solid product from Corsair for my first build and it was delivered. 2 months in, and no issues.
Quiet and it looks good. I got it for free on rebate.