This is my first brand-new, from scratch build, every previous system I've owned was a hand-me-down mobo/cpu and parts I had pulled from other hand-me-down systems. My goal was a budget gaming build that would play current gen games at medium settings or better, along with room to upgrade in the future. I'm quite happy with the result.
I purchased the parts over the span of about ten weeks from various online sources, with a few exceptions.
APU The Kaveri 7850k came recommended by a friend who recently built a system with one and after reading up on them I was interested enough to go ahead and pull the trigger on building a system based around one. So far, it has not let me down. I purchased this in an auction along with the MOBO on eBay for only $150.00, at the time a new 7850k alone was going for $180.00.
Cooler The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO had great reviews and a good price to match, I found one of these for only $25. Installation was pretty easy once you eliminate the extra parts for the second mounting option. It -is- rather large though, I have a Mid size tower and it just barely clears the side panel, and only because the panel has a protruding window.
MOBO The A88X-G45 Mobo has both style and function, but mainly I liked the fact that it would support DDR3-2400 RAM, which is the listed max memory speed for Kaveri APU’s. Only 4 slots of DDR3 ram but seeing as this is a semi-budget build, 4 should be plenty. I got this barely used on eBay along with the APU for $150.00, at the time they were around $140.00 new.
Memory The G.Skill Trident’s were on sale for $90 at the time, I was mainly looking for a set of DDR3-2400 speed ram that had good reviews and was on the less expensive end. So far these have been great!
Storage I purchased the SSD new just for this build, my first SSD so far and I've not been disappointed, I was amazed when my computer went from powered off to desktop in less than 13 seconds. The $140 price tag was a little steep, but I knew I wanted at least one SSD in this machine.
The other HD's were leftovers from old builds.
Case The case listed here is the same model as mine, the only difference is mine is a green variant with ‘Corps of Tanks’ logos on it. I’m not sure what game that is from but the tanks don't detract from the overall look and feel of the case. The side panel has a clear window that protrudes a little bit but this worked in my favor as the cooler might not have fit an ordinary ATX-Mid case. The side fan also has some nice green lighting. (My fav) The reverse-side panel can also be removed to allow for cable management space. The case cost just $50 which is not much compared to other stylized cases -w- lighting.
Power Supply I mainly went after this power supply because it was on sale at the time. I probably should have done some more research, while the MOBO has 8 SATA slots, this power supply can only power a few devices. Aside from that (which was my error) this has been working great.
OS I went with windows 8.1 (yes yes, spare me) I’m not put off by the tiles layout on the start menu, I just put it in desktop mode and removed as much bloat as I could and off we go!
Monitor The monitor I bought from a friend, they had recently switched to a laptop and no longer needed it, I needed an upgrade from my old POS and $40 was very reasonable.
Keyboard My keyboard needed a serious upgrade from the office throw-out that was missing an escape key (Hooray, no more erasers for escape keys!) The lighting and macro options were what excited me most about this keyboard. I use AHK quite a bit and I love the extra keys and profiles on the keyboard. I got this manufacturer refurbished for just $50, half the price of a new one. The key spacing is a little tighter than my old one, but the keystrokes require far less pressure and they feel more responsive.
Mouse Extra buttons, fits my grip, adjustable on the fly DPI. I can even make it fit my green color scheme. I like it quite a bit and the price was reasonable.
Headphones My first true gaming headset, these are both comfortable and sturdy, I like how the mic slides into the earpiece, so I can even take these to listen to music on a walk. The earcups could be a little bigger, they just barely cover my ears, so if you have big ears, try before you buy. New for $80.
Overclocking I went for a 24/7 Overclock that I can just set and forget. CPU is running stable @ 4.4 Mhz. Idles around 37° C. Couldn't get it above 50° C running the AIDA 64 stability test and I'm fine with that. GPU is bumped up to 960 Mhz and runs stable so far, managed an 1857 in FireStrike. More testing to come. Pics of BIOS Settings, idle/heavy load temps and FireStrike results have been added.
Planned Upgrades The next upgrade will be a graphics card, not quite sure which one to go with at the moment.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps future Kaveri users and please leave a comment!
I currently have this overclocked to 4.4 on the CPU and 960 on the GPU. Running stable so far, no issues. As long as you spring for decent ram, 2133 speed or better, you will get a good response from this chip.
Very much recommended for HTPC's or any system that requires a smaller case, or less voltage.
Overclock settings can be viewed in the photos of this build
Amazing cooling power for a low price. I only paid $25 for this cooling unit, it was easy to install and came with everything needed, including some parts for alternate mounting options.
Using this cooler, I cannot get the APU above 50° C while running AIDA 64 stability test, even with both sides of the APU overclocked.
I am very much liking this MOBO, it's got style, 8 SATA ports, supports DDR3-2400RAM, it has two USB ports that support polling rates up to 1000hz. (Great for a gaming mouse and keyboard!) The board also supports up to 64GBs of RAM (WAY more than I will ever need) All in All a very nice board with plenty of room to upgrade.