Around the holidays I had mentioned to my dad that I was thinking about building my own computer in the next few months.

1 week ago he call me up and said, "Hey, my current PC's motherboard just fried. Want to practice building a computer for me first?"

Stipulations: maximum possible performance on a $425 budget, needs to be delivered within 1 week, maximum USB ports (esp. 3.0)

He is a professional photographer and has a shelf full of external HDDs. Generally he refrains from storing pictures on the computer HDD because it just messes up his archiving. He does basic photo editing, but only small contrast/lighting/sharpness changes.

He will be using this computer for his business and personal life.

I didn't have the time to rely on shipping so everything was purchased at my friendly neighborhood Microcenter! Found some great deals even with the time crunch.

On to the build!

No major issues. I watched a couple PC building videos and just went from there. Case is pretty terrible, especially for cable management. Screw holes were crooked sometimes. The front drive bay covers were loose upon unpacking the case and I could never get the top one to stay in, I think the left bracket was broken. Didn't really matter though, because he said the case could be really crappy. Honestly for $15, I'm surprised it came with 6 sides.

I used a custom anti-static wire that kept me grounded and the components safe.


APU - the heart of any build. I saw nothing but good reviews on this APU and it fits perfectly as the best processor that I could afford in a build like this. Offers the potential for slight upgrading and possible overclocking. I might buy my dad an aftermarket CPU cooler for father's day or something.

MOBO - heavily discounted with USB 3.0 internal header. Perfect!

RAM - decent discount on this too. Could have gone with 1833 or more, but I was right to the edge of the budget as is. It'll do fine for the minor multi-tasking he does

SSD - enough space for OS and a few of his main programs and other software. When I told him the potential boot times of SSDs, he was all for it.

PSU - I'm no expert, but I consider EVGA to be the best sub-$60 PSU maker out there. Even the Corsair CX series seems to have a decent share of bad reviews and a lot of DOA. I had absolutely no time for a potential return issue. (my opinion heavily influenced by a more experienced friend of course :D ) Non-modular so this made the cable management a bit worse, but I think I did ok in the end.

CASE - I skimped where I could... seriously this thing is pretty bad, but for $15 it'll be perfect for sitting under a desk and completely out of sight.

EXT USB 3.0 - MOAR USB ports! nuff said

WIN 7 PRO - from a friend who didn't use it and I convinced to sell to me super cheap!

When it was all done and I told him it was a Quad-core and would be able to boot Windows in 20 seconds, he replied, " Wow! What a screaming machine; I'm impressed son!" Hence the name.

I'll probably be building another machine on a very similar budget in the next couple months so any feedback on this one would be much appreciated! Thank you for your time, Lars


  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! Although that APU is designed to be used with 2133 memory iirc, but it should still work fine.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks like a pretty solid build :D! Great work!

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

I have that same case--I used it for my first build when I knew jack all about building computers--I despise the thing. I have a Fractal case coming in today to replace it, in fact.

The case sucks to build in, but, it has a rather bad design flaw for people that aren't too tech savvy. That dust filter under the PSU has to be cleaned frequently or it will cook the PSU. With a decent case, the filter would be easy to get at, but with it being inside instead of outside, it's not as obvious or as easy to get at as it should be. I'd give him a heads up or plan to clean it out for him at least once a month, to be safe.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah... I am a bit concerned with that. I might just take it out and use twist ties to hook it up on the outside of the case. My dad is the type of person that considers computers to be set-up and forget, so I should really do something sooner than later.

I'll be looking for a much better case when I do my second budget build

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

I would've gotten a Kaveri APU and also 2133 RAM, apart from that good build :D

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Kaveri is nicer (and HSA is super intriguing), but it's $60 more expensive too...