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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's a hard drive.
Good speed, good space, good price.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.