Hey guys this is my second build and convinced my Dad his old PC was not cutting it anymore. It was running Windows XP (which was one of the best versions granted) but was extremely slow and opening anything on it took minutes so I talked him into letting me pick out parts for a new one and we could build it together. After building my first PC found here I had the PC building bug and was looking for any reason to build another one so this was perfect.
The goal for this build was to get the most performance for basic office use under $250 and I feel like I did pretty well. I ended up changing parts multiple times while picking out parts for the build until I was happy with the quality and performance.
Hope you guys enjoy the pictures and reviews I gave for each part. I try to explain things that I look for in parts so that maybe you can learn something from this build that you couldn't find on the product page. Thanks for checking my build out! :D
The CPU was a tough choice but I knew I wanted Intel because he keeps his computer in the garage where it gets very warm (South Florida) and I know the lower operating temps would probably help. This CPU provides a lot of performance per dollar and it was enough power for the most basic computer usage that my Dad does.
The motherboard was a very good price and had a lot of good features with good reviews online so went with that. Works great so far as I can tell and will check on everything when I visit home again.
Went with the cheapest 4gb of RAM basically because anything was an upgrade for him at this point lol
I really struggled between going with an SSD or an HDD because I didn't think I could fit the SSD in the budget. 120GB might seem like a small amount of storage but he's coming from a 40GB HDD so in perspective this was three times as much storage and he was only using 25GB of it. Yes I could have gotten a 250GB HDD for around $30-$35 but I had the room in my budget and knew how much of an improvement an SSD would provide in general computer usage. My Dad was so happy with how fast the computer boots and applications open so it was worth it. I chose the OCZ ARC 100 because the performance was one of the best in that price range and had great reviews.
The case was also one I went back and forth on. There are a good amount of microATX case options in the low price range but chose this one for a couple reasons. First it came with 2 fans preinstalled (120mm intake and 80mm exaust) which made this case a great deal. Also the front panel has cutouts for air to be pulled in (check photos) unlike the others which were closed off (where is it pulling air from?). This case is made from solid material and didn't feel cheap to me at all with no sharp edges or flimsy material. I was able to figure out some nice tricks to hide cables actually and did the best I could with cable management and preventing them from blocking airflow. There was also a big surprise when I got the case, there was a 2.5" drive mount at the bottom of the case!!! It doesn't say anything about it on the product description page so I was pleasantly surprised I didn't have to buy a converter for the 3.5" bay. What a great case for such a low price. Only con was the ugly cables from the front headers, but there's not window so you don't have to look at them anyway!
Antec is one of the best PSU companies and this one was a great low power budget PSU perfect for this type of PC. It was non-modular but what do you expect for $25. I was able to hide the unused cables no problem with minimal planning.
I initially installed windows 7 on the computer but after dealing with driver issues, for some reason general slow speeds, and a lot of times where it was showing 100% CPU usage performing basic tasks, I decided to wipe it and install 8.1 instead. What a huge difference! Everything was working perfectly and the PC was running faster with no big load spikes while using. They did a great job on Windows 8.1 and I'm excited for Windows 10.