I've always wanted to build a PC deep down inside and I finally did it. I honestly spent the first 3 years of my college career using a Early 2011 13" MacBook Pro. It served me well all those years, however, I could feel a slowdown occurring and that I used my battery more than I should have. Not to mention it just couldn't keep up with the new tech. I needed something faster, cheap, and SOON! After a month of research, I finally sold old trustworthy to a friend for a good price, using that money to build.
So enough back story, here's the parts for my quick and dirty college sweet spot gaming machine.
CPU: AMD FX 8320
Pros: It's a $130ish processor that performs well at stock, great when overclocked. Good bang for the buck. Overclocking monster! I OC'd this up to 4.3Ghz no issues, no voltage adjustments, and it ran 55 degrees under load.
Cons: Not too fantastic of an upgrade path. However, had I gone Intel, I would have spent more money than I could have afforded and in 2 years when I choose to upgrade this, I would have needed a new MOBO and CPU anyways. Intel changes CPU sockets every eye blink.
*Note I originally bought a FX 6300, but sold it for the same price as a friend's FX 8320. So that's why the price is $99.99, because I bought the 6300 and then sold it.
**Cooling: Corsair H60 (Gift)
It's loud with the stock fan currently. Probably need to swap that fan out. I like it, not a bad gift.
MOBO: MSI 970A-G46
Pros: Has the basics, solid BIOS, and it is able to CROSSFIRE or SLI. Not very common at this price point.
Cons: No wireless, no onboard USB 3.0 headers for the case. Just get a 3.0 to 2.0 adapter for 5 bucks. Still cheaper.
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB
Pros: Trusted brand, looks sexy with the gloss finish and silver letters.
Cons: Not the cheapest, nor fastest RAM.
Storage: WD Caviar Blue 1TB No SSD yet. I will when my boot times slow down.
Pros: Industry standard these days, fast. Boots in 5 seconds. >:D
Cons: It doesn't wake me up in the morning.
Graphics Card: Sapphire Dual-X Radeon R9 280
Pros: 3GB Card, Traded a friend a used iPod and $50 cash. Graphics card search avoided!
Cons: I'm out a good used iPod and $50 cash :/
Case: Corsair 230T
Pros: Looks AMAZING, side panel window, fits everything nicely, cable management is a breeze, room to expand.
Cons: May or may not fit a H100i, case feet are rubbish, probably a 1/4 of an inch between the bottom of the case and the floor. Don't expect airflow from the bottom.
Case Fans: Cooler Master... something or other... look at the list
Pros: Got 2 120 mm for 5 bucks from a friend unused. They replaced the stock fans I had in the front.
Cons: None so far.
Moved one stock fan to the bottom and mounted the other 140 mm to the top as exhaust.
PSU: Corsair CX600 FACE THE UNIT WITH THE FAN UP!!! This is to reduce the risk of it suffocating with this case.
Pros: 600 watt power supply for 35 bucks after rebate, reliable.
Cons: Not modular, but what do you expect for 35 bucks?
OS: Windows 8.1 (I prefer OS X, but both are tools to get work done. No reason to fanboy either side.)
Pros: It's growing on me. I can definitely find my way around it. Got it on a student discount.
Cons: Even after student discount, it's still 70 bucks! Sometimes I wish I was a Computer Science major, so I could get it for free from the school...
MY BUILD TOTAL COST: $530ish dollars
Anything that is 0.00 I already had or was a gift at some point.
IF you wanted to duplicate this build, I would suggest...
-> Getting a R9 270 if you want a better bang for the buck GPU... OR a GTX 970 Strix if you overclock and have more money than me. The change from a R9 280 to a GTX 970 is bonkers and is worth every penny you spend on that unit. The friend I bought this from has a GTX 970 now... (-$50 then add +$100 OR +$330)
-> Going for a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo for the cooler OR a H100i (IF you don't mind the fans on top of your case) Only got a H60 because it was a gift. (+$30 OR +$100)
-> Adding a SSD (+ From $50 - $100)
YOUR BUILD TOTAL COST: From $660ish to $1000ish
Depending on the route, you can have a mid-range to lower high-range build! THANKS AND HAPPY BUILDING!