First off I don't think that I would have attempted this build, or even started to plan it, without the aid of PCPartpicker. So I owe almost all my success to this site. The task of choosing parts, finding reviews for everything, and making sure everything is compatible is quite daunting and this site made it all the easier and much more enjoyable.
Now for a little back story, my first computer was a Gateway laptop and I loved that computer but it sadly reached the end of its days almost a year ago. I definitely decided that I wanted to go the portable route again and get another laptop. I finally settled on a Toshiba Satellite L70-A. I really did like this laptop but I felt there may have been something missing once I started to run some more intensive programs and games. One way or another I found my way to this site and I was hooked since.
I just ran minecraft, terraria, and civ5 for the most intensive games that I run as well as a Virtual machine for messing with Linux. I also run Photoshop, Sony Vegas, handbrake, and utorrent all while probably browsing the internet with plenty of tabs open. I could see the strain I was putting on my laptop and I remembered a few years ago when I was in high school and I took computer engineering technologies 1 & 2. That sparked my interest to find some way to build a computer from scratch. In class we never REALLY built a whole computer from the case up but I wasn't going into this completely blind either. So here I am.
Now on to the parts:
Case: NZXT 210 Elite - It was very cheap and it is surprisingly sturdy and well put together for a case of this price. Although I kind of missed that this case doesn't have a way to mount my SSD that I bought I got around it. A nice sleek and kind of minimalistic case is exactly what I wanted.
Mobo: ASRock960GM/U3S3FX - Two USB 3.0 and another four 2.0 ports for all the wireless stuff I use and it had all the features I wanted. Still I changed mobos about 4 times before I decided on this. You may be wondering why I got a Micro atx for this case but I had intended on putting everything into something smaller but I decided to try that later...another build perhaps?
GPU: Sapphire Radeon R7 240 2GB DDR3 - I actually had another card picked out for really cheap since newegg had it as an open box product. Someone bought it and so I had to go for this one even though it was just a tad pricier than I wanted. Main thing to know is that the GPU's main function for me was to run two monitors and to smooth out my not-so-intensive games. Since I had two TVs that had HDMI ports I needed a card with either 2 HDMI ports or a combo of HDMI and displayport. Like I said I had that all worked out but I wasn't ready to buy the other card so I lost that option. I won't be playing any of the triple A titles or anything like that so I think this is all I need.
RAM: GSkills Ares 8GB (2x4GB) - Great reviews and low profile, this was probably the easiest part to pick. I only had 4GB of ram before in my laptops and I think I was stretching their performance with so much running at once so I think 8GB should do, I have seen a lot of builds and videos where people either comment or say 16GB or more is a little overkill so I can wait to upgrade if I even need that much.
PSU: Corsiar CX 500M - This had great reviews as well but was probably the most stressful to pick. If I buy a bad psu I could really screw up my build or worst case scenario destroy my parts. Corsair is a great brand and I didn't need too much power but I wanted a modular or at least semi-modular psu so I had to go for the 500W. Hey, if I do decide to get some more power intensive parts I have room to grow. The cable just crossing over my Mobo to the power connector wasn't small enough to fit through a slit in the top of the case for me to route it through. Nor was it long enough to use a more accessible hole to make cable management easier. Ah well, I'm not complaining.
SSD: SanDisk 120GB Solid State Drive - I was going to get the Kinston ssd and it would have been pretty cheap for one but I started reading A LOT of the more recent reviews saying they are having some issues. I decided to spend a few extra dollars and get this sandisk one. So far it is blazing through start up and initializing programs that are installed on it and I have no complaints whatsoever.
CPU: FX 4300 - Yeah I could have gotten the FX6300 for only a few bucks more but I had already ordered this one and then price dropped a decent amount on Amazon to where I would have changed for the 6300 but this 4300 is tearing through everything I throw at it so to be honest I am very happy with it. Cable management was a pain but I did the best I could.
...My laptop compared to my build...
2.6GHz 2 Core-----Processor-----3.8GHz 4 Core 64mb dedicated-----GPU-----2024mb dedicated 4GB-----RAM-----8GB Cost about 630-----Cost about 440 total with all discounts.
I can so tell a difference between this first build of mine and my laptop in performance and price, it is also very satisfying to have built this with my own hands.It started up on the first try and started loading windows, I never felt so relieved. So great to see the fans start up and hear everything start warming up with no issues and on my first try.
There is also a temperature difference of a tad more than 20 degrees Celsius between this build and my laptop. Running so nice and cool it's hard to believe. Highest temps so far is 34 degrees celsius and lowest is 25. My toshiba never went below 48 and most of the time hovered around 50-52.
I plan on buying more fans if needed and I also want to get two 3TB (or 4TB) HDD that I will set up in RAID-1 so I can have all my data backed up. I have almost filled up my 2TB portable hard drive and 300GB hard drive from my old Gateway with TV shows, movies, games, programs and just other junk that I would feel very good about backing up. Especially with all the editing I do, it would be almost impossible to get it back. Best to be prepared. I am also self-employed and I have business data on my portable that I don't need to lose either.
I got the TV from ebay for only 70 dollars so I could have my dual screen set up. I found out my 24 inch TV had been discontiued since I bought it a while ago. If I wanted to get another one just the same then I would have had to pay about 160 or so but I settled for the 22 inch of the same TV and I am very happy to have it for such a great price.
Well I think that is everything, I know that was one wall of text to read. If there is ANYTHING you can recommend I do differently or just anything to improve my build then I welcome all the criticism you've got. Or if you just like the build that is cool to comment about too. Thanks for reading.
EDIT: no idea why the pictures aren't in the right order.