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Teen's First Mid-Range Build

by Ace331FTW


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

April 18, 2014

Date Built

April 14, 2014

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

31.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate



Once upon a time, there lived a boy who would play the latest flash games on max settings on his basement desktop. But then, everything changed when he got his own laptop. It never really satisfied him like his desktop though. Years later, he got another laptop, but after a month or two, he realized it wasn't enough. He journeyed back to his abandoned basement and started to clear out space on his old desk and he found some interesting things, some DDR2 ram, and some old IDE hard drives and optical drives. Then it hit him, his father built his old PC! And that was the beginning of his long 6 month journey of research and learning, until he felt he was ready to build on his own.

All jokes aside, this is a build I will use to replace my old raggedy HP netbook that only lasts for 5 minutes off the charger and can't play Minecraft on the lowest settings at 20 fps. With funding provided by my wonderful mother as a reward for being 8th grade valedictorian, I set off to build my own computer. Budget started at around $600 including monitor and OS, then went to $1300, then down to $1200. Everything was purchased at Microcenter except the GPU, Wi-fi card, Monitor, and OS, which were from NewEgg back in December. Now to explain why I picked each part:

  • CPU (AMD FX-8350): Wanted somthing strong as all other processors I've dealt with in the past (AMD E-450 & Intel Atom) have been garbage. The i5 was out of my price range with a z87 mobo and I wanted overclocking capabilities. Overall I feel this processor should last me a long time.
  • Cooler (Hyper 212 EVO): Fairly standard, but gave me some problems. I didn't realize you had to adjust the screws for AMD boards and it wouldn't go in at first so i had to almost force it before I realized I was doing something wrong. Overall, not very confidence inspiring but good cooling.
  • MOBO (Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3): Very nice black and dark gray theme, 990FX chipset, good cooling, and low price with the MicroCenter bundle.
  • Memory (Corsair Vengeance): Fairly standard, reliable ram. Purchased back when prices were still really high.
  • Storage (840 Evo & WD Blue): The 840 Evo is one of the fastest budget drives out right now and the WD blue is a really reliable place to store my large files.
  • GPU (R9 270X): I know, I know, everyone will say, "You could have gotten a 270 non-X and just overclocked it!" but when I purchased it the difference was only around ten bucks. I got Asus because I've heard great things about them and pretty much everything else was sold out. I originally planned to go with a 280X but the prices jumped and the 770 was still out of reach.
  • Case (Corsair 200R): Another fairly standard part that gave me a bit of trouble. First, the thumbscrews on the back were screwed in really tight and i had to use pliers so I didn't strip them trying to use the screwdriver. Then, there were too many mobo standoffs installed so I had to get a wrench with the correct tip and pull them out, one being extremely close to the back of the case and was really tough to get out. I had to remove a PCI bracket to get to it. Also, sometimes when a moving part in the front starts, like the hard drive or fan, the front of the case vibrates and makes an annoying buzzing sound. Other than that, it was fine.
  • PSU (Corsair 600M): Semi-modular PSU from a reliable brand at an ok price.
  • Accessories: Optical drive to install Windows, Windows 8 because it is snappy and not that bad in my opinion, Asus monitor because it was the cheapest with HDMI, speakers, and low response time, needed Wi-fi as my router is upstairs and I'm in my basement, white led fanz cuz fanz, and a cheap keyboard and mouse setup.

Upgrades in this order will probably be: better keyboard and mouse, dust filters, and possibly down the line a more powerful GPU.

Comments Sorted by:

deathfromup 6 Builds 13 points 43 months ago

Congrats on Valedictorian, I can tell you deserve it just by how well this post is written for an 8th grader.

The build looks great, well balanced and well thought out. Enjoy to new computer, you earned it. +1

Ace331FTW submitter 2 Builds 4 points 43 months ago

Thanks, that's overall what I was going for. Just a nice, balanced build.

lemonademolotovz 1 point 42 months ago

what is a valedictorian? i'm British so i dont know

SneakyBastardSword 2 points 42 months ago

having the best grades, or "marks" as I beleive you brits call them, at school.

lemonademolotovz 1 point 42 months ago


xx116xx 3 Builds 2 points 43 months ago

Nicely done! Good cable management too from what I can see. +1

Polo_Loamsdown 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Great build! Looking through your pictures I noticed your HP laptop - I have the same one with the same bloody screen problem! Must be nice to move up to something that doesn't struggle to do basic tasks. Enjoy!

mcbrideda 2 points 43 months ago

+1 Well done.

qwazyd0gg 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Awesome Build. This is very close to mine if you want to check it out. The FX processors are a breeze to overclock. I saved the money myself and got an FX 8320 and then OC'd to 4.2GHz. I think the 270x is a great choice. It plays just about everything maxed @ 1080p right now, and once the price comes back to or below MSRP, buying a 2nd and crossfiring will out perform a GTX 770 or 780 (http://www.reviewstudio.net/868-amd-radeon-r9-270x-crossfirex-and-r9-280x-4-way-crossfirex-review). Enjoy and great job!

Ace331FTW submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Thanks for the info, I never realized how powerful dual 270Xs are! If I do go down that path, I know I'll definitely need a new PSU. Maybe a case with more airflow too, though. Do you think the 200r will be good enough?

qwazyd0gg 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Oh yeah it shouldn't be an issue in that case. Maybe throw a bottom intake fan in there and give yourself some extra cooling. I'm waiting for the cost to come down to crossfire myself. I almost wish I had of waited a few weeks seeing the Club3D R9 270X's are $170 a piece at NXIC right now. My GPU is a 4GB right now so I want to wait for the same card to drop in price so it doesn't down scale.

Microshrimp 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Excellent build! Isn't it amazing how many doors are opened up when your budget goes from $600 to $1200? Microcenter is a pretty neat store. I've only been there once, but it was a great day. You have put together a very solid system that should easily last you throughout high school. Keep up the good work! +1

TooGood 1 Build 3 points 43 months ago

Rrgh. Don't remind me I don't have a Microcenter close to me! :D

ITneto 2 points 43 months ago

Awesome build

brokegamer 2 points 43 months ago

great cable management well done

tjb423 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

Your build is very similar to mine, performance-wise, if you wanna check it out.

Hellvaguy 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

It's pretty dang close to being beast mode. Since you made it for you son, Im just gunna go ahead and say it qualifies for : BEAST MODE!!!

MAXXHEW 4 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

You can remove that plastic hard drive cage and relocate the HDD up near the optical drive with a $5.00 adaptor, it makes it easier to clean inside the case, provides better airflow to the GPU, and enables the use of 1 power wire from the PSU. I used the same case and it really makes the inside look neat. http://pcpartpicker.com/b/OsV

subzerosaul 1 Build 1 point 39 months ago

any issues installing the wifi driver with windows 8 ?

Ace331FTW submitter 2 Builds 1 point 38 months ago

Nope, no problems. It works right out of the box without even using the CD.

Fearripper15 1 point 37 months ago

Looks great, but unless you plan to delve into video editing or some kind of rendering, an 8-core CPU might've been a little overkill. Other then that, looks great.

Ace331FTW submitter 2 Builds 1 point 37 months ago

Yeah, I do plan to do some editing, plus engineering work.

biobasher -4 points 43 months ago

You could have saved a few dollars with the graphics card and got an MSI r9 270 and overclocked it in it's application and got the same performance...

subzerosaul 1 Build -1 points 39 months ago

using MSI