The first PC I've built, made to meet a budget of $500 to $600 dollars. Decided on my graphics card and went from there, finding the cheapest parts that still met my needs and weren't trash. Made some mistakes, as in any learning experience, but was happy with the result overall. Was used for gaming.
Prices listed are what I paid for them, around Aug 2015. May not include rebates.
I meant to upload this years ago, but I got too caught up in schoolwork and forgot.
I was very happy with the: CPU, Memory, HDD, Video card
I had some issues with the: Motherboard, SSD, Power supply
I was very unhappy with the: Case
The Intel Core i3 is Old Reliable when it comes to gaming PCs. It may not be top of the line, but it gets the job done and its performance is incredible compared to its price. If you can afford the jump to i5 it might not be a bad idea, but for most gaming PCs the i3 will do the trick just fine.
I have not had problems with this CPU in any situations, including outside of gaming.
I got this CPU for around $120 at a Micro Center in Sept of 2015.
This motherboard has been the backbone of my computer since I first built in in 2015, and for the most part it has done that job very well. It has held together, hasn't suffered any major problems, etc.
I have to commend the design of the BIOS in particular, very easy to navigate and comes with a ton of options and information about the computer. The feature that reboots the computer after a power outage is very convenient, and has saved me at times when I'm accessing it through remote desktop.
I do have a couple of issues with it, though. First, because this is a MicroATX motherboard, the pins are all very cramped together and it makes assembly difficult. There are also less onboard ports than I'd like. Second, there are no onboard USB 3.0 headers, which makes any USB 3.0 ports on your case unusable. And finally, the keyboard port on the motherboard gave out after connecting and disconnecting it less than 5 times. Thankfully I'm able to use USB ports for the keyboard as well, but still quite annoying.
Besides the port breaking, the other issues are all clearly demonstrated on the product description, but they're still inconvenient. So, if you do have the option getting a regular ATX motherboard with USB 3.0 headers, I'd do it. But if you don't care about the extra onboard ports or really need a MicroATX, then I'd definitely recommend this motherboard.
I got this motherboard for $42.99 on Directron.com in Aug of 2015
It's RAM, it works, and it was fairly cheap. Not much more can be said, but not much more is really needed from RAM.
I got this RAM for $41.99 from Amazon.com in Aug of 2015
So, truth be told, I only used this SSD for about 2 months before trading it with my father for one with more storage space. During that time period, it worked well, with fast transfer speeds.
However, my dad soon put it into my sister's laptop, where it stopped working in March of 2017. That means it lasted less than 2 years' time, which is pretty bad.
That being said, I don't know how well it was treated in my sister's laptop, so I'll give ADATA a little benefit of the doubt.
I got this SSD for $56.99 on NCIX.com in Aug of 2015
This hard drive has not failed me yet and it has pretty nice transfer speeds. Good for it's price. Can't ask for much more.
I got this HDD for $52.99 on Directron.com in Aug of 2015
I chose this graphics card using choosemypc.net and imputing my budget. I don't know the site is up-to-date anymore, but I was happy with the advice at the time.
The graphics card was very good for the price. It can run Metal Gear Solid V and Skyrim (with an absurd amount of resolution and texture mods) at 60 fps with settings at high on almost everything, and it can run GTAV pretty good settings with 45-60 fps. The only game I've had issues running at high settings is Mass Effect Andromeda, but that game is two years newer than the others, and this card was mid-tier when I bought it, so that is understandable.
It comes with DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI ports, so it should work with pretty much all monitors.
The only thing I don't like is that the GeForce Experience (the Nvidia driver manager) now forces you to log in to use it, but it's not that bad. Also, it keeps the drivers updated and can set some games to the optimal settings the card can handle, which is very handy. Plus you can update the drivers manually if you really don't want to log in.
It's a bit old at this point so I don't think I'd recommend someone get this card nowadays, but it did the trick when I got it and I figure I can get a couple more years out of it.
I got this video card for $216.99 on NCIX.com in Aug of 2015. It came with a key for Metal Gear Solid V.
I had a couple of issues with the other parts in my build, but overall I was happy with them and I was proud of choosing parts that were of good quality but also budget-friendly.
This case is not like the other parts. This case is an awful product with very little redeeming qualities besides the price.
Right out of the box, this case was a pain, literally. The sheet metal the case is made of isn't folded or blunted in a lot of areas, so I started getting cuts on my hands as soon as I opened it up. To this day, whenever I have had to open the case, I have walked away with at least one cut on my hands, without exception.
Instructions are basically nonexistent, so I had to figure out for myself where everything went and what screws belonged where. Very infuriating, especially for a first time build.
The fan provided is of cheap quality and came with broken wires. I had to resolder them back on, and one of the wires is stretched very tightly to fit around the fan.
The case has a small form factor for being Mid-Tower size, so assembly is quite cramped. If you are looking for a small case that might be a bonus, but otherwise it's not a fun environment to work in.
Cable management is an absolute nightmare in this thing, see my build photos if you want an idea. It's hard to see anything but cable. If you have a modular PSU it might be okay, but otherwise, good luck.
A case this tiny should really have more grills than this. It only has one covering half the front, and a tiny one on the back.
The result of only one fan, a tiny case, cramped wires, and only two small grills? Airflow is absolutely pathetic. This thing gets very hot when running games.
Poor design for component placement. To put in and take out the PSU, you have to bend the case, or shove it into all the cables.
The disk drive mount area is just a flat sheet of metal with holes in it. I don't like mounting disk drives vertically, but I could handle it. That is, except for that directly below the mounting area is a thin crevice. So, if you drop a screw (which happens often when mounting vertically), you have to either turn the case upside down to get it out, or fish it out with tweezers.
The more time I spent building the computer the more I realized how bad this case was. But I was so far invested in putting everything together, I figured I’d just continue since I’d hopefully wouldn’t have to deal with all the problems once building was done.
Since then, I have had to mess around with some of the parts inside, and each time I’ve run into the same problems. But they didn’t affect my day-to-day life, so whatever.
However, the case started proving to be terrible for that too. The foam grips on the feet soon peeled away, leaving more sharp metal edges that scratch the floor. The USB 2.0 port stopped working after about a year and a half (January 2017), so I had to start using a USB hub connected to the motherboard. And about a month ago (August 2017), the headphone jack died, leaving me to have to unplug my speakers and plug my headphones in in the rear motherboard port. I have since bought a new case.
The only real positive this case has is that it is really, really cheap. Now, I knew about one or two of these problems before I bought this, and went for it anyways because of the low price tag. Please, do not make the same mistake I did. Going for a case just $20 or even $10 more than this one will make a massive difference in build quality and ease of access.
I got this case for $22.99 on Amazon.com in Aug 2015.
This power supply has done its job over the years without any issues. The only complaint I have is that I wish I had gotten a modular power supply instead, as cable management is quite a pain (especially in the tiny case in this build). There are PSUs that are only $10-$20 more that are modular, so if you have the money I'd say go for one of those instead. Otherwise, this one is very good.
I got this power supply for $44.99 on Newegg.com in Aug 2015.