Description

To start, while $1,127 is technically what I paid for all the parts for this build, i actually only put out a little over $600 of my own money.

This began with me wanting to build a new computer, but not really having the money to build the computer that I really wanted. A friend told me about Bing Rewards and how he was able to buy a few upgrades for his computer by getting $5 gift cards just for searching through Bing Rewards. I checked it out and realized by having numerous accounts you could rack up $5 gift cards pretty quickly, so I ended up making numerous accounts on my home computer and also at work. I then set up a bot that ran on both computers everyday so Id get the max points you could get on every account without even having to do it.

Shortly after starting Bing Rewards I found out about a site called Swagbucks and made an account for that as well. One of the rewards on Bing was 500 Swagbucks so I started getting Swagbucks every time I had enough Bing credits on an account. I also downloaded the Swagbucks apps and would let it run on my phone overnight when I was sleeping.

With this setup, I was (and still am) earning around $100-115 a month for doing essentially nothing, and that's when I decided I was going to use all those gift cards to build a new computer. I originally considered building the whole thing without using any of my own money, but I decided I didn't want to wait almost a year to collect enough gift cards to pay for the whole thing so I ended up supplementing the build with my own money as well.

In the end, it ended up taking a little over 4 months to complete the build and some components I paid for and others were paid for completely with free gift cards. For only putting out a little over $600 myself, I'm damn happy with the build and I think it came out really well, especially for my first build.

To be clear, I am in no way trying to advertise for or promote BingRewards or Swagbucks in any way. I'm just explaining how I was able to complete this build on a budget of only $600. While I do think using BingRewards and Swagbucks is a super easy way to increase anyone's budget for a build, I am by no means suggesting that others necessarily do the same.

Parts Breakdown:

CPU - I went with the i5-4590 because I got a really cheap deal on it. While I know it cant be overclocked, for my first build I'm fine with that, and I can always replace it with an unlocked CPU down the line. The i5-4590 is still a very good CPU and handles everything I throw at it very well. I paid $60 of my own money and used a $100 gift card that I got for Christmas to buy the CPU.

Motherboard - I went with the H97m Pro4 since the CPU is not unlocked and again, I can get a Z-series Mobo down the line if decide to start overclocking. For being pretty cheap, I'm extremely happy with the AsRock board. Its got quite a few features that are seen on higher end boards and it fits my needs perfectly. The motherboard was paid for with $30 of my own money and the rest with gift cards.

Case - After quite a bit of debating, I ended up going with the Corsair Air 240 Case and I'm really glad I did. I wanted a case that was small enough that it could fit next to my 7.1 surround sound receiver/sub-woofer, but also underneath my 55" TV that doubles as my monitor. The Air240 is a very well thought out case. Even being my first build, the separate sections make cable management a breeze and I was able to achieve a super clean looking build without running into any major issues. Everything fit perfectly with careful planning and the case gives excellent airflow. The Air240 can fit most of the higher end GPUs and I even have room to SLI another down the line if I decide I want to. he i5 4590 idles in the low 20s C and even under full load rarely hits 50 C which is pretty damn awesome. The case I paid for half myself and half with gift cards.

Cooling - I decided to go with the Corsair H100i because the Air240 isn't wide enough for a lot of the popular air coolers. I couldn't be happier with the H100i. Not only does the H100i look like it was designed for the Air240, but there is a huge difference in temps compared to the stock CPU cooler. Adding on 4 Corsair SP120 fans in a push-pull configuration allows the CPU to idle around an icy 21-25 C. The H100i was paid for completely with gift cards.

Memory - Went with the Corsair Vengeance Pro because I got them for a good price. Went with 2 x 4gb sticks for now and will likely add another two 4gb sticks at some point later. I paid for about half the ram myself and the rest with gift cards.

PSU - For the PSU I went with the Corsair CX 600m. Definitely not the best PSU in the world, but it has no problems handling this build and with a $20 mail in rebate I ended up getting it for only $48 shipped. For the price I couldn't pass it up, and it hasn't given me any issues. (No GPU coil wine, power issues, etc) The PSU was paid for entirely with gift cards.

Storage - For storage I went with a Samsung 840 EVO 120gb SSD for the OS, and a 2tb Seagate for everything else. Both are working great and the Samsung SSD makes the system very quick. My computer boots up in about 7 seconds and does a full re-boot in about 10 seconds. Both hard drives I paid for myself.

Video Card - The GPU was the last component that I bought. For quite some time I debated on getting a GTX 960 right away or waiting awhile, saving up gift cards, and splurging on a GTX 970, which is a lot more future-proof than a GTX960. I ended up waiting, saving up $180 worth of gift cards and paying only $150 of my own money for an EVGA GTX 970 SSC+. All I can say is I'm really glad that I waited. The EVGA GTX 970 destroys anything I throw at it, without even breaking a sweat. Even with the H100i, the EVGA GTX970 fits into the Air240 without a problem.

Custom - As far as other stuff, I bought blue sleeved extension cables for the 24-pin ATX, the 8-pin EPS, and the 8-pin/6-pin PCI-E's. The blue cabling was relatively inexpensive and they really add to the color scheme and look of the build. I also added Remote-controlled Multi-color LED strips for the case lighting and I'm happy with how they came out. The picture that shows the front of the case with the front cover off and a cable that is electrical taped is the receiver for the remote. I placed it so it doesn't hit the front cover and I hid the receiver eye behind the mesh grill and dust filter so I can just point the remote at the front of the case to dim or change the lighting. I originally was going to get a NZXT sleeved LED cable kit, but decided that I would have gotten sick of it being the same color all the time. So instead I bought an LED light strip and rewired it to be powered off the PSU instead of a wall outlet. The lighting came out really well and I like that I can change it to pretty much any color I want with a click of a button. The lighting and blue cable extensions I paid for myself.

All in all, I'm super happy with how the build turned out. Any comments or suggestions are definitely appreciated!

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Comments

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

I love the audio cable run. Sneaky and almost completely hidden. Beautiful!

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

Good job, beautiful work. Your attention to detail is obvious and should be commended. I want to use your build as an example of what cable management should look like.

I do have one suggestion though. It looks like you have 4 fans (all on the rad) pulling air in, while only 1 exhaust fan. This creates higher air pressure inside the case than outside, which is great to keep dust out, but terrible for keeping the entire build cool. Since you can't overclock your i5, the 4 fans on the rad are overkill. I'd suggest moving two of them to the back exhaust ports and create a negative air flow. You'll need to clean dust out every few months, but the ambient drop in temperature is well worth it. Cheers!

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 what a beautiful build!

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Fantastic looking build, I love the pictures where your LED strips light up in one colour, but use the corsair logo for great contrast. Right up my street. +1

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

I must say I'm impressed! A mid-high end build at budget prices. Good parts choices and a sound reason for choosing them. Nice presentation and good cable management in the front. My only complaint is, and a very minor one, would be the cable management in the back. But the again I'm ocd about things like that. +1

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah that picture is actually a little old and was before the graphics card was installed. I figured I'd wait till the graphics card was installed to clean up the cabling in the back because I knew there would be 2 more extension cables for the GPU. Now that the build is complete I'm going to clean up all the cabling in the back so it isn't such a mess. I'll update with a picture when its done. Thanks!

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Great. I'd love to see more.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

How are the Fans as I'm thinking of getting the same one nice build! +1

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

I really like the Corsair fans. The ones I got are the SP120 - High Performance Edition fans. They also make a Quiet Edition of the same fans, but I thought it was better to get the High Performance ones and tone them down using the Corsair Link software. With the High Performance ones then you at least have the ability to crank them up if you ever happen to need to, compared to the Quiet Edition ones that max out at a much lower RPM.
The SP120 fans are a lot quieter than the stock fans that come with the H100i. I run them on a custom fan curve in a push-pull config and I can barely hear them. Generally mine run at around 700-900 RPM depending on what I'm doing and they have no problem keeping the system idling in the mid to low 20s C. I also got another SP120 that I use as an exhaust fan that I'm happy with as well. I bought them on Amazon bc that was the cheapest I could find. You can buy them in 2-packs or as singles. They also come with 3 color rings which is a nice touch and makes it easy to match most color schemes.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

OK thank you very very very much

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

They also make a AF120 version of the fans but they are 3-pin and are for general airflow. If you are attaching them to a water-cooler or putting them in a tight space get the SP120's, thats what they are designed for.

Also the Corsair SP120's are available in a 4-pin PWM version or 3-pin non-PWM version. I went with the 4-pin PWM version so I can fully control them through the Corsair Link software.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

OK thank you

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

very nice build man. +1!

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

The title sounds like a p@#n title

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for being a swagbucks member as well. Also sweet build

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Really like this build. I've been eyeing up the Air 240 and have been putting together a similar parts list. The extension cables look great and I'm sold on adding those to the list. Makes me think twice about wanting to go for all air cooling after seeing builds like this. A giant air cooler would just ruin it. +1 for inspiration

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

I would have recommended the R9 390. It is a better overall card, and you don't have to worry about the 3.5GB ram problem. Plus its a little cheaper than the GTX 970.

  • 60 months ago
  • 0 points

No offence, I love the build and all but you do seem a bit lif you are a walking advert for swagbucks and bing rewards, but maybe that is just me. Nice build though +1

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

I agree a bit of an advert for them, but if he found a way to get a build like that for the actual price he paid the I say good for him.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah sorry about that. I re-read what I wrote this morning and thought the exact same thing. I'm def not trying to advertise for either one of them or recommend others do the same. I was just explaining how I was able to build this computer on only a $600 budget. Thanks for the input though!