Description

Frugal Power v1.0

I just finished building a new computer on a very limited budget thanks to gift cards from Christmas and my birthday. After frugally searching for over two months, I managed to pay just a little less than $400 for everything and less than $50 of that was out of pocket. The drawback is that I was forced to recycle my GPU and PSU, but they can be easily replaced in the future.

CPU/Mobo - This was an awesome combo deal from Micro Center. It was $99.99 and came with a $10 rebate card from MSI. Let's see if I can overclock as well as everybody else.

RAM - Nice deal from Amazon. The specs are great and it looks sexy, too.

SSD - One of the best SSDs on the market and I managed to catch it on sale. The price dipped even further while it was being shipped, so I contacted Amazon who credited my account with the difference.

Case - Supply and demand, how I despise thee. I received a notification from camelcamelcamel when it was finally restocked at Amazon, then it was out of stock an hour later. I plan to use this case for several years, so I wanted it to have the quality to last. It's so quiet that I had to look inside the window to make sure the fans were spinning. SO QUIET!

Optical - On sale at Micro Center. Useful for installing the OS. Kind of loud when it spins up.

GPU - Recycled from old computer. This video card is quite bad, but it replaced an XFX GeForce 7800GT for no cost in 2012.

PSU - Recycled from old computer. The cables were way too short, but hopefully it lasts.

HDD - Recycled from a WD external enclosure that died. This is the most noisy component in the entire system.

  • Heroes of the Storm (very low quality) - 84.9 avg, 100 max, 47 min
  • SWTOR (very low quality) - 82.3 avg, 102 max, 53 min
  • Unigine Heaven Benchmark (low quality) - 13.9 avg, 21.5 max, 6.3 min, 351 score

What's it replacing?

I built my first system back in 2005. It was upgraded a couple times, but it was still a dinosaur at its core using DDR1 and an AMD 939 socket. Currently I play Star Wars: The Old Republic, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm. I have two 1080p monitors and typically game in 1920x1080 fullscreen windowed mode with graphics turned down as low as possible. Every game I played throttled the CPU and RAM to ~90% while I managed 5-30 FPS. I grabbed this data from Windows 7 gadgets and FRAPS, respectively.

EDIT Added another image to show off the improved cable management.

Comments

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

You did a great job on that budget!

My only suggestion is to remove the top HDD cage (it's removable in my Define R4, and I believe it is in the R5 too). That should help with the airflow, which will become more important if you upgrade the CPU cooler, or especially the GPU (which will almost certainly require a PSU upgrade too).

Great build, and happy tweaking/upgrading!

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Your advice makes a lot of sense. I will remove the middle drive cage before I start overclocking.

I intend to keep the all moduvents attached for the sweet, sweet silence and will probably upgrade to an AIO CPU cooler of some kind along with the GPU and PSU when I get the opportunity.

Thanks for the reply! This was long, LONG overdue.

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Great stuff for that low of a price! +1

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Whats a good GPU for mid tier gaming that can be replaced in this build? I really like the frugal aspect of this build but I'm willing to pump a little money into this.

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

The 260X / 270/X / 280 selection is the best bet. For the past few years, AMD has always been on the money when it comes to best price to performance on graphics cards. The 270 will outperform the new consoles, so you're still getting a great card for that price.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

IIRC the PS4s GPU is about as powerful as an R7 265 but because of the optimisation that can be done with a standardised hardware setup it performs similarly to a 270. The Xbone is about equal to a 260X.

I'm sure a site did a comparison at some point? I think they used a 260X.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

The most affordable option I found that provided the best Passmark/cost ratio was the Nvidia GTX 750Ti (3692/$99.99=0.027). My info may be dated. It's a good option for SC2, SWTOR, etc.

You may want to aim higher depending upon what games you play or your target FPS. I believe the R9 270 or GTX 960 are better options at slightly higher price points, but somebody can correct me if I'm mistaken.

Thanks for the kind words. :)

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

I just simple love that cpu, even though your case cost twice as much as it

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Yo, that's a great build on an ultra tight budget! I'm glad you're happy with your upgrades; hope they last a good while. I personally like builds like this much more than the unlimited budget e-peen builds. Congrats!

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm quite satisfied by all the hardware. Now I just need the software to cooperate. I've had a few hangups, but nothing I (and google) can't solve.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

While I can see that you're on a very tight budget, you might want to think about stepping up that PSU to a 500W 80+ Bronze. Perhaps an Earthwatts or something along those lines.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

It's true that a better PSU would have been ideal, but the 430W is more than double what PCPP recommended. All the calculators I used showed less than 300W is necessary.

It's non-modular, the cables are way too short, and the unit is already a couple years old; but it's 80+ certified. It will get replaced when I can replace the GPU, when it becomes necessary.

Thanks for the comment.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Sounds good! Just be wary when overclocking. It would be a shame to lose a machine like that.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

if he wanted to he could only unplug the optical drive if he wanted to but that would limit him from doing the second action you suggested

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

thats not what I meant. I meant that if he keeps the optical drive where it is at the moment and only removes the sata data and poweer cables, he would not be able to place the storage drive bay in the optical drive bay location since the optical drive would be there. Thats all I was saying. I was not questioning the hability of the r5 to do what you suggested. I want to be clear on that

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm probably going to leave the optical drive connected and find a molex to SATA adapter for a couple bucks. It rarely gets used, but I'm sure it will be needed again at some point.

I will remove the middle cage for better airflow as you and someta both suggested.

Thanks for the suggestions and compliment.