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Build

"Dirty Gerty"- $800 Budget (including peripherals) Gaming PC for GF

by dragonspawn

9
20 Comments

Details

Date Published

Feb. 17, 2016

Date Built

Feb. 5, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.7GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

50.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.18GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

5.4GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

40.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

60.0° C

Description

So dubbed by the client herself.

(For those concerned, the high pile carpet pictured is not the permanent home of the PC. It has been moved to a much more loving home with hardwood flooring.)

My first build from scratch, and this one really was from the ground up, had to work most peripherals into the budget as well, aside from a wireless mouse and some nice headphones already owned.

As suggested in the title, this is a budget build aiming to make some triple-A games playable, but really outside of the odd Assassin's Creed: Syndicate session, most of the games run on this machine will be lower end and fairly easy to max out (e.g. King's Quest). In that regard, it manages as expected, and even maintains around 30 FPS playing Syndicate on a tweaked Medium setting at 1080p (which the game claims it doesn't even have enough VRAM for).

The whole thing runs very quietly, like you have to put your ear up to the case to hear the fans, so I'm very happy with the overall airflow of the setup.

I know from the pictures that the cables look really messy, but that's mostly poor photography. I have most of it twist-tied together and hanging off to the side of the space where the lower hard drive cage used to be, so it's not touching anything and it's not really obstructing the airflow from the front fan. I probably could've used more space with the back panel but I wanted to be sure the side would fit back on and not damage any wires in the process.

This being my first build I'd highly value any constructive criticism or suggestion for future builds. Thanks!

Part Reviews

CPU

Great CPU for budget builds looking to maintain an upgrade path. It even manages to hold its own against some current triple-A games (Only tested Assassin's Creed: Syndicate personally) when assisted by a graphics card. I can't testify as to the effectiveness of the built-in graphics.

CPU Cooler

If you're not going with liquid cooling, and you aren't pressed for space, there really isn't a reason not to get this cooler. Comes with its own thermal paste and there are tons of installation guides on YouTube if you're unsure about anything.

Something that new builders might not be aware of when using this for the first time: This thing is very tall. It will span the entire width of (but still fit in) a standard MicroATX mid tower with vertically mounted motherboard, and it will usually prevent you from using high-profile RAM in the closest slot, depending on the layout of your mobo and number of RAM slots.

As long as you understand those things, you can't go wrong with this. Extremely quiet and good at its job. I couldn't even hear this thing when running with the case open, and when closed up the temperature increases under high load were minimal.

Motherboard

Good motherboard for the price when you're looking for something cheap that supports Skylake, but probably won't cause any bottlenecks. BIOS worked out of the box, the setup menu was pretty easy to figure out, the installation manual included was very thorough and helpful.

Comes with surge protection, which is great, albeit it's a bit overeager, as nudging the tower maybe half an inch immediately triggers it. Maybe that's more to do with the power supply, though. We'll see.

Storage

Great entry-level SSD. I've heard good things about Mushkin and the Chronos series is definitely a good choice if you can find them under $50 (even more competitively priced would be ~$40) and you don't want to sit and nitpick about read/write speeds, you just want an SSD in the system for your OS and essentials.

Storage

It's a hard drive.

Good speed, good space, good price.

Video Card

This was a great pickup at/under $100. Fairly low profile, comes with a VGA-DVI adapter, and maintains a fairly low temperature. Never saw this thing go higher than ~64 degrees when running benchmarks while overclocking.

This card is often used in budget gaming builds and for good reason. Goes on sale often and does the job well, paired with an i3-6100 this manages to put out >30 FPS in Assassin's Creed: Syndicate on a tweaked medium setting.

That is with a bit of overclocking, you can't get much done with the memory clock but the core clock will definitely muster a bit more than EVGA's Superclock setting. I managed to get a relatively stable +100Mhz on the core clock.

However, and this is the source of the -1 star, the overclocking is limited by the card sourcing all of its power through the PCI connection. There is another version of this card out there with a 6-pin connector that will allow you to go further with the overclocking as you'll be able to up the voltage.

Case

This is a fantastic case.

Coming at $40, this thing has great airflow, 3 frontal USB ports, one being 3.0, the hard drive cage is removable for increased airflow, and there are lots of options for mounting SSDs, including mounts on the back panel. The included case fans are near-silent and seem to do a great job at keeping the inner environment pretty cool when it's closed up, and there are filtered vents at the top and bottom, one being right under the PSU. The back panel offered a decent amount of cable management room, although I didn't take advantage of it as much as I probably could have.

Power Supply

Not the most revered PSU, but it's a good choice for budget builds. The motherboard included in the build this was used in has been very overeager with power surge protection, triggering immediately when the case is nudged aside by half an inch or so, which may be the fault of the PSU. We'll see.

Optical Drive

It's a cheap optical drive for all your driver installing needs on first boot. You should really just pick the cheapest between this and the LG drive that's also under $20.

Wireless Network Adapter

Great little WiFi card. The antenna is magnetic and works very well.

The card gets pulled out of the PCIE slot a bit when you screw the metal backing into the case, but who knows if that's the fault of the card or the case and motherboard perhaps not lining up quite so perfectly. I've just left it plugged in and unsecured to the case.

Had some trouble getting it to work at first, though I believe that was almost definitely the fault of my router or my Windows 10 distribution.

Monitor

Great monitor for a steal of a price at $130. Perfect size for 1080p - any larger and I'd probably prefer to have a higher resolution. A good option for if you're going to be doing some gaming from a bit further away with a controller, this thing is practically a mini (Full)HDTV anyways.

Tilts down a good amount and offers pretty good viewing angles, even from above and from the sides. Base seems fairly sturdy to me as well.

I really only wish it had come with a DisplayPort. I feel that's a fair request considering this is normally a ~$200 monitor, but when you get it for $70 off it's hard to complain.

Headphones

I'd definitely recommend the ATH-M50x, picked them up off Amazon a while back for $150. They're very solid entry level to mid-range headphones. The sound seems very close to neutral and very clear overall, though I usually personally use warm, bass-leaning headphones, so I may not be the best judge of balance.

They're fairly comfortable, a bit heavy, but the padding is pretty soft and good enough to make up for that. If you come from owning some extremely comfortable and light headphones like something from the Sony MDR-XB line, you may find the padding more lacking.

We picked them up since my girlfriend's an aspiring musician and will most likely be using them while recording and editing her own tracks, and I'm satisfied that they'll perform for the job. They aren't wireless, but they come with a great variety of wires in that regard, which was very nice.

Comments Sorted by:

KYBL 3 points 13 months ago

Someone else can correct me if I'm wrong, but DDR3 memory that runs at 1.5 volts will eventually damage a Skylake CPU. Supposed to use DDR3L or DDR4. Something you may want to look into.

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

Hey there, thanks for informing me about this, I feel like that's definitely something PCPP should mention in the compatibility filter. I'm ordering parts for a new build soon so I'll probably also get 8GB of some Kingston HyperX Fury, which seems to run at 1.35v.

Edit: Decided on 2x4GB of Mushkin Stealth at 1.35v for $40.

KYBL 1 point 13 months ago

No problem. I'd imagine the compatibility filter didn't catch it bc most mobo manufacturers still claim that 1.5V memory is supported. But that'll eventually fry your CPU and nobody wants that.

gasmonkeymankiller 2 points 13 months ago

You might want to raise that PC over the carpet or it will become a roasted potato.

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

Haha, no worries there, it was only on the carpet for a short time during setup. Its home is actually somewhere else with hardwood flooring, and my own PC is on a raised shelf built into my desk.

Thanks for your concern, though!

gasmonkeymankiller 2 points 13 months ago

And I thought I was going to eat that potato for dinner:P

Anyways great build. Would you recommend those headphones and how much are they.

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

I'd definitely recommend the ATH-M50x, we picked them up off Amazon a while back for $150, but we didn't look too hard to find them cheaper anywhere else, as I'm sure you may. They're actually $137-145 now on Amazon, depending on whether you want Black or White. They're very solid entry level to mid-range headphones. The sound seems very close to neutral and very clear overall, though I usually personally use warm, bass-leaning headphones, so I may not be the best judge of balance.

They're fairly comfortable, a bit heavy, but the padding is pretty soft and good enough to make up for that. If you come from owning some extremely comfortable headphones like something from the Sony MDR-XB line, you may find the padding more lacking.

We picked them up since she's an aspiring musician and will most likely be using this PC to record and edit her own tracks, and I'm satisfied that they'll perform for the job. They aren't wireless, but they come with a great variety of wires in that regard, which was very nice.

In retrospect, I probably should've listed everything I just said as a part review, huh?

gasmonkeymankiller 1 point 13 months ago

Why not. Thanks a lot for the review I would probably consider these. Once again great build, maybe some better wire managing but hey its not like I could have done better. Good job overall.

ProgramCrazy 1 point 13 months ago

Is "Dirty Gerty" your girlfriend's nickname? Haha!

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

Nope, she has named her PC Gertrude, and insisted that I entitle the build "Dirty Gerty"

ABundleOfBunnies 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

should have gotten an Athlon X4 860k. That little CPU is godly for its price (70)

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

I probably would have gone with something along those lines had the budget been any lower, but I really wasn't looking to mess with CPU overclocking on my first build, I just wanted guaranteed performance for price and a clear upgrade path for future releases.

Wilberton 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

Pretty great! Cable management is Iffy but hey, who gives a rats *** when its closed off!

JarettDrucker 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

Went $0.13 over budget, RIP

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

It was actually 8 dollars under budget with the original parts, but one of the commenters alerted me to the fact that the G.Skill RAM I had gotten was too high voltage for Skylake CPU's, so I had to replace it with the $40 Mushkin Stealth at a lower voltage. Oh well.

JarettDrucker 1 Build 1 point 13 months ago

Oh really? I've never heard of that problem. How did they know?

dragonspawn submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

I'd never heard of it before either, but if you google it, you'll find that Intel has stated that Skylakes don't officially support 1.5v DDR3 RAM, and that it can potentially (and probably will eventually) damage the CPU. The specs of the RAM I had in the original parts list showed that it ran at 1.5v, so they very kindly alerted me. Gotta love the community!

thrust_ssc 1 point 6 months ago

I would have gone for 1*8 gig stick of ram, a more expensive gpu, a cheaper Amd CPU and a 2 tb hard drive. But the system now is probably better at content creation.

KurtCobain 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

He dude quick question if you could answer plz, is the motherboard unlocked or is it not

Lukehans 1 point 4 months ago

+1 on the cable management. :D

JK, its in a enclosed case so it doesn't matter much. (maybe except for airflow)

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