"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself. "
Using an ugly retired, but solid Avaya phone-switch server rack case, I gave it new life filling it with new goodies designed around 1080p gaming on a single 60htz monitor. The build itself cost me about $750, but about $850 if you count the monitor, extra peripherals and OS.
The most difficult part was probably rewiring the USB and powerswitch on my ancient case with new pin adapters for the modern motherboard. Those stupid plastic pins are impossible to find anywhere, and I finally found some at a nearby university's surplus sale after asking to strip down old computer's from the 2000's that they were going to throw out.
Biggest regrets: Got an older CPU, will probably be completely outdated in less than 2 years, also should have waited to purchase my graphic card as prices dropped about $30-40 dollars in just 2 months. Oh well, it still outperforms everything else I've ever owned.
I got some nice deals which I'll list here: CPU price was the lowest it's been in months (though I got it through NCIXUS ewwwww), the case was free as was the dvd drive and fans, keyboard, Windows 10 was also next-to-free due to a nice discount I got through my university, my hard drive was also a gift from my father I hadn't had a chance to use in a machine yet. One day I may get around to doing some better cable management, but it is not this day.
This rig is designed for C++ software development and max quality 1080p 60fps gaming ; however, you can't push it much farther then that. 60fps is out of the question for resolutions larger then 1080p for most games. It might not be PCMasterRace worthy, but I think it provides excellent quality for the cost. Just as a note, I am really liking the pro version of Win 10, my boot times are usually about 17 seconds (as in from power-up to able to click on start menu).
Cinebench R15 Benchmarks:
OpenGL 127.2 fps, CPU 760 cb
Greater than 60fps at 1080p with max settings on average:
•Unreal Engine 4 (v12)
Things it's struggled to handle:
•Witcher 3 (need to adjust some settings, can't run it on maxed out settings with 60fps, but with optimized cfg you get next-to-best quality and still average 50-60fps)
•Shadow of Mordor, runs at about 55fps on max settings, slight adjustments to cfg will get it easily performing at 60+fps
•Skyrim with 50+ mods, ENB's are particularly performance heavy and drops the frame rate in 1080p to almost 35fps, you may want to get a better card if you want to run Skyrim at 1080p with every decent mod installed.
-Very good CPU, but it is starting to get older, if you want to future proof your build go for a Skylake or latter architecture such as a Intel Core i7-6700K
-Actual performance usually runs at about 3.9ghz with hyperthreading and boost tech
-Got mine on sale for $289, usually goes for about $315
-While the stock cooler is good, it's even better with a cheaper non-stock one such as a Cooler Master.
If you want to do lots of overclocking, I recommend looking at a higher priced board, otherwise this is great. Affordable, and lots of bios options.
Good RAM, that occasionally gets shipped out from the manufacturer in bad bunches. Be warned that occasionally you may just get a bad bunch, it seems 90% of customers get working RAM that works fine, but this company produces a few bad sticks in every batch they manufacturer. This is true of multiple sellers and distributors. If you don't mind taking a risk for a slightly lower price, buy this otherwise there are other manufacturer's with similar specs that won't distribute bad RAM to you. Also be warned that just because the RAM passes a memory test doesn't mean it isn't broken. My first batch I received caused random game crashes despite passing a memtest86 with flying colors, after replacing it, it has worked fine though.
Cheaply priced SSD, which handles just fine and is of high quality. Keep in mind this is a 2.5" and you will need an adapter for most desktops/atx cases.
-Low priced video card for value, when on sale (buy when it is $150-170)
-Great video card for 1080p gaming
-Will handle 3 monitors just fine
-Very quiet, I can't even hear it run over my case fan's noise.
-Handles overclocking just fine.
-Card is huge, if you don't have room, this is not the card for you.
-It isn't the best card on the market and will struggle to run some new 2016 games.
-The manufacturer rebate takes FOREVER (ie: 6+ months) to get.
Other Thoughts: Because of it's large size depending on your motherboard other pci slots may get covered, however any other decent card will also be similarly sized so this isn't a fault of the card so much as it is the nature of quality cards, just make sure you have room.
Games it handles fine with 60+fps @1080p: Mechwarrior Online, Tomb Raider, Elite Dangerous, Cryengine 5.1, Unreal Engine 4 (v12)