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1st Build, Budget Gaming

by majestic_mackerel


Part List View full price breakdown


CPU Clock Rate

3.4 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

28.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

1.125 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

28.0° C


(Edit 26/09/2013: New photos of cable management. Not beautiful, but infinitely better than what it was before.)

I benefited from reading other completed builds, so I thought it only fair that I contribute myself...

My Xbox 360 is reaching the end of its life; purchased from launch, its been repaired 3 times and is now struggling to read disks, the fans sound like a hairdryer, the wireless adapter refuses to maintain a connection longer than 30 seconds, and some save-files have become corrupted. Coincidentally, my friend introduced me to the Steam summer sale and the games have been struggling on my laptop, so I decided upon building myself a budget gaming PC.

      • Parts * * *

CPU: 3.4GHz quad-core processor for a decent price Memory: To save a bit of money, I chose 4GB rather than 8GB. Storage: I'm using a spare 120GB 2.5" HDD to install games and programs on. The boot time from the SSD is crazy: about 6 seconds! The 120GB is full and I haven't installed everything, so I shall have to upgrade that in the future. Video Card: I get pretty decent performance off games at high-preset. Averages 46FPS on BF3 and is beautifully smooth on Burnout Paradise, very rarely dropping below 60FPS. Power supply: Browsing the forums, it was clear that to skimp on the PSU is to court danger, so I chose Corsair as they seem to be a reliable and trusted brand. OS: I could have saved a little by choosing 7, but I quite like the Metro Start screen of 8.

      • The build * * *

Took about 3 hours to build (disregarding the the month worth of evenings watching video tutorials and researching parts), although Amazon delivered the SSD and memory the following day despite it being in the same order, so I had to wait for those before I could install Windows. I was impatient to see it work, so I turned it on without any RAM; the motherboard speaker just gave 3 beeps rather than showering sparks and bursting into an expensive flame, which was comforting. Coming from the perspective of a complete novice, the case was really easy to use. The cable-management's great, but the power cable was too thick to hide in the crevice. I didn't realise that a processor has a fair weight to it, so I nearly dropped it taking it out of the box. I was genuinely worried that I would bend the pins installing it after reading some horror-stories, but it went in without fuss. Also, the wireless adapter software doesn't install on Windows 8, but it works nonetheless. I'm fairly sure my Dad thinks that I have OCD from the amount of times I was touching the case and my metal lamp whilst building.

      • Resources * * *

Thought these links might help some fellow first-time builders...

How to install an AMD CPU http://youtu.be/SdyWDOf19J8

Compare GPU performance http://gpuboss.com/

Newegg TV How To Build A Computer Series http://youtu.be/lPIXAtNGGCw I can't praise this series highly enough! Loads of info but explained in simple terms and really clear demonstrations.

Lifehacker How to Build a Computer from Scratch http://lifehacker.com/5828747/how-to-build-a-computer-from-scratch-the-complete-guide

Logical Increments (Like a cheatsheet of PC parts) http://www.logicalincrements.com/

(Also shout-out to PC Part Picker, this site is incredible!)

Anywho, sorry that was far too long. But to anyone considering building their first PC, it's not as horrific as I imagine you worry it will be.

Comments Sorted by:

l13199l 3 Builds 5 points 66 months ago

really nice pics, but you should work on cable management, it will helpw ith your temps and overall look of the system

xPCgamer79x 5 points 58 months ago

The final 2 pics shows the update he made to cable management

l13199l 3 Builds -7 points 58 months ago

Build is from 7 months ago, dunno why I'm being told this now

BurgerBum 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

perhaps an extremely late reply would help? :DDD

Fozbi 2 points 38 months ago

like this ! :p

BurgerBum 1 Build 2 points 37 months ago

sadly unlike this however. :o

Rman917 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

: ^ )

IncognitoGamer123 1 point 18 months ago

Why do you have -6 points?

l13199l 3 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Dunno, I probably came off as an *** or something. The more I learn the less I comment on things on the site. Comment karma didn't really matter that much to me anyway

IncognitoGamer123 1 point 18 months ago


bkbroiled 2 Builds 4 points 66 months ago

Links in your Description are very useful for someone like me who is trying to develop computer build skills. Thank you very much. I found mysuperpc.com useful also. good luck with your 1st build.

fnapoli 1 Build 2 points 66 months ago

Oh, nice photos/fps graphic too!

LookTopHats 2 Builds 2 points 66 months ago

Really great budget build! Seriously great pics info etc. Good job :D

gogo809 3 Builds 2 points 64 months ago

You did a really really good job on this. Congrats on your first build, I am impressed!

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 2 points 64 months ago

You are a kind soul! But I did lurk this website for months beforehand; if anything, I have learnt that to skimp out on the PSU is to court the wrath of this website, and rightly so!

malcar11 4 Builds 2 points 62 months ago

Is a very nice budget machine. I'm planning building one with the same tower case. How do you like it? is as good as it seems? thanks.


majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 62 months ago

The case was really easy to work with and roomy. I bought it specifically because of the cable-management features at that price point. Also, the thumb screws make it really easy to open the case, if you're like me and really nosey about the inside.

malcar11 4 Builds 1 point 62 months ago

Yes, I am hehehe. Thanks!

fabnmun 2 points 62 months ago

A solid PC, specs look great. The case is pure WIN, I built mine using it.

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 66 months ago

Blech, I forgot to mention OblyTile to make custom Windows 8 tiles. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1899865

xx116xx 3 Builds 1 point 66 months ago

Probably should've gone with 8 gigs of some faster RAM, but other than that this is pretty decent I guess.

xx116xx 3 Builds 1 point 66 months ago

And also, CABLE MANAGEMENT. Clean up those wires.

fnapoli 1 Build 1 point 66 months ago

I really like that case! I was considering it for a mATX build in the near future. It's unfortunate though that there's so few cable management choices. Is there really no way to get the Mobo Header cable up through the back? That thing is lingering precariously and possibly/probably touching the heatsink on your GPU, which doesn't seem like a good idea.

See this build: they managed to cable route a bit better and safer, maybe this is possible for you as well? http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/EwE

Cool HDD/SSD moutning options...those were just provided mounts on the case, or did it take some modification on your part?

Also, is the CPU overclockable? I probably would have put the cost of that added fan towards a decent heatsink (Hyper TX3 even)

Also, to reiterate what others have said, thanks for putting all those links...I havent seen a couple of them yet myself!

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 66 months ago

That cable management is beautiful! I definitely need to spend more time on it. It was a tight fit against the side panel and bent the cable at a really awkward angle, but I'll try again.

Those were the provided mounts. I actually removed the cage which accommodates more drives. http://www.coolermaster.com/uploadfile/fileproduct_list/P1304160001703a/PRDPIC/13_51fcb436ef436135952a6c7330d99205_1366066083.jpg

The CPU is overclockable. I haven't researched enough into it to consider it, but I shall keep that in mind.

fnapoli 1 Build 2 points 66 months ago

Yeah, it's worth it, and now you have some inspiration!

I'm really digging this case. It's pretty cheap, too, as it's been on sale for around $40 CDN at some points.

Great build, by the way, part selection is nice for the budget. Enjoy your gaming!

twizmwazin 1 point 66 months ago

Perhaps should'nt you have gone with a 500GB or 1TB mechanical hard drive rather than that tiny ssd? 64GB is nothing, and I would personally fill that vey quickly when downloading games. Otherwise, seems like a prety solid budget build.

mattataki 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

Sorry, I'm kind of late but I was about to look into maybe buying that case. Though, after I saw the cable managment options, I was dissapointed, those various zip-tie hooks made me think it had a good cable managment. But basically, I wanted a microATX case with bottom mounted CPU, good airflow or the least possible drive bays of any sort, fan filters, good cable management options, USB3.0 front I/O and a decent look.
What do you say about it?

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

Well, in terms of your criteria I would say this case fulfils it, but being an absolute novice, I'm not sure how well this case performs with regards to cable management. This review is fairly comprehensive and pretty much sold it to me: http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5521/cooler-master-n200-chassis-review/index.html It does actually come with a drive bay, but I removed it. You can see it here: http://www.coolermaster.com/images/upload/images/case/N200-2.jpg

mattataki 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

Thank you for those ample explications. Those definately helped, the cable management seems ok. The design is original too, what do you think of it? Do you like it so far, any stuff you can say about it?

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

I quite like the design. It's pretty sleek and simple, and the glossy black bar on the front panel is a nice touch, it's just a shame a small chunk is removed for the ODD, but could be worse. The front panel lights are white, so the white LED fan looks pretty sweet with it. It's a minor nag, but the front audio socket is pretty tight and I thought I was going to rip it out when I connect and disconnect my headphones. It's a pretty good case.

mattataki 1 Build 2 points 65 months ago

Alright, thank you, now I have a good idea of what to expect from it. Gloss is definately a nice touch on electronics. I personnaly love it but you must be gentle to clean the dust out, dust can easily scratch the finish. I just realised that it's a front small piece so it attracts less dust and fingerprints. I like my stuff clean ;)
Have a good day Sir.

seanapa 1 point 65 months ago

Cable. Management.

zinton 1 point 64 months ago

I noticed this case has a filtered intake on the bottom but does it have one on the front of the case as well?

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 2 points 64 months ago

It has a steel mesh on the front which acts as a filter of sorts, but it's not as fine as the dust filter for the PSU. You can see it in this picture: http://imagescdn.tweaktown.com/content/5/5/5521_08_cooler_master_n200_chassis_review_full.jpg

Kansaskid 1 point 62 months ago

I am also getting ready to start my first build. i have almost everything ordered and it all should be on its way, except for one thing which is the CPU. i was going to order a AMD FX 4 core clocked at 3.4 GHz. but amazon is out of stock. so, i was looking at the AMD Athlon that you used in this build... i was wondering how you like it, honestly. Ive never really used a computer with a Athlon in it, just the FX. i was wanting to do some light gaming on the pc im building (i.e Minecraft would be the "biggest" game i would play on it). please please please let me know what you think of the processor...like i said, im pretty green to all of this, so go easy on me. thanks!

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 62 months ago

I don't consider myself a knowledgeable authority on computers, so my experience is only coming from an everyday user. I regularly play (now, as opposed to the intension of the build!), at 1920x1080, Skyrim on ultra and BF4 on medium, and have not come across any slowdown. But for the purposes of light gaming and Minecraft, I'd say the Athlon is more than enough for your needs, if it fulfils mine.

Kansaskid 1 point 62 months ago

Thanks! i will probably be playing heaver games at a later date (once i get a better GPU) so thats why i chose the Phenom... but seriously, thanks for the input. like i said, im pretty new to PC gaming, so ill take all the advice and criticism i can get.

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 62 months ago

Glad to be of some help! Good luck with your build!

brelovix 1 point 62 months ago

Very good quality photographs. I like the build too, great!

guitargod1174 2 Builds 1 point 60 months ago

im kind of scared now since i bought this case with the same power supply. did you just not do cable management or is this case not good for it? i havent built mine yet. im planning to drive to microcenter since they are having sales on the new AMD Kaveri APUs

guitargod1174 2 Builds 1 point 60 months ago

SORRY i didnt see the last pics of when you did do cable management

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 60 months ago

Haha, it's cool! It's a good case for cable management as it has tunnels(?) to thread the cables through behind the motherboard. This build shows how this case should be managed, as suggested by fnapoli: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/EwE .

MannyK14 1 point 60 months ago

What kind of more modern games can you max out. BF4, Far Cry 3, Skyrim...

majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 60 months ago

I haven't done a proper FPS test, but I run... BF4 at 1920 x 1080 at medium settings, and it runs at around 45 FPS according to the in-game benchmark. FC3 is about 35 FPS. * Skyrim at high settings with the 3 official texture packs is super smooth, same again at 45 FPS. When I get round to doing some actual bechmarking (next week maybe), I shall let you know!

MannyK14 1 point 59 months ago

Thanks, your build looks great!! I'm probably going to build it.

JPKaizer 1 Build 1 point 59 months ago

just came to give you mad props on the pics. WOW I didnt know a 7770 could be a decent GPU for HIGH preset gaming @ 1080p

ethanj357 1 point 55 months ago

How's That SSD??

Covenspire 1 point 54 months ago

Nice... I'd add more storage though, steam fills HDD's fast!

gerardo80 1 point 41 months ago

Good job

adirimia1 1 point 38 months ago

Y no hdd cuz ur gonna put games on it and 64 isnt enough, and the windows 8 is faster installed to a hdd also

sketch24 9 Builds 0 points 66 months ago

This is a nice budget build. It's nice to see the piledriver athlon in a build.

The only thing I would recommend against is using GPUboss for any kind of comparison. They say nothing about what their test setup is like or how/where they get their numbers from. If it's a composite from other sites, it's inaccurate because they are using different cards on different setups. If they are using their own numbers, it's shady because they aren't telling us how they got their own numbers or what setup they used. I would go straight to review sites if you want a decent review.

[comment deleted]
majestic_mackerel submitter 1 Build 1 point 66 months ago

If I had seen that article a fortnight earlier I would've spent the extra pounds on the RAM. D: I shall add that in. And, yes, yes we do.