Edit: Monitor update! :D Switched from my ancient Westinghouse television to a 2560x1080p ultrawide.
Edit: 1.22.2017 Update: SSD added, and OS migrated. Parts list updated to reflect current build. Loving the load times. The old HDDs I had before were starting to slow down. Now I have about 3TB of backup space, and 480GB of program space. Going to be adding one of the 1TB drives as a dedicated backup soon.
I've been a PC person for quite some time, but it wasn't until about 2014 that I really even got into the basics of building a PC. And in 2015 when I built it, this one was a challenge for me. As someone who had never built a PC before, I could not recognize any of the cords, plugs, parts, or anything. I knew the theory, but had never held or mounted any of the parts. I should have started by disassembling and re-assembling old or broken PCs from thrift stores and categorizing the parts. Because once I started taking old PCs apart, building new ones became so much easier.
One thing I have found for first time builders. Look up benchmarks for your specific tasks, and budget accordingly. I failed to do that with this build, and ended up using a stock CPU cooler on a furnace of a CPU.(yes it works to keep the parts from melting or anything, but it's loud and it heats up hotter than I'm comfortable with)
Terrible cable management. Funky setup. Odd part choices. All slapped together and abused for a year or so. Not the nicest PC, but it works for anything that isn't overclocking.(Never OC this parts list, it's not pretty)
PS: First timers.. Use a fan monitoring system like MSI Afterburner to adjust fan speeds, especially on your GPU. The reason I get good temperatures is that I re-mapped the graph of fan speeds to raise the RPM of the fans. Without good cooling, parts just don't last as long or work as efficiently.
it wasn't until long after I purchased this part that I understood that it's 8 cores acted as 4 cores due to being hardwired to be like a primitive/crippled form of hyperthreading. A processor that actually had hyperthreading would have been a better choice for me personally, and could have been purchased for only slightly more upfront. Choosing a processor that would meet my needs would have saved me the need to build a new PC in 2017. But as I said, this PC has done me well for a little while and it served as a decent entry level/starting point. It allowed me to become acquainted with the PC building process, and helped ensure that my future builds would turn out the way I wanted them to.
The 8350 does what I need it to. It runs what I need it to. But it does not have the endurance I need it to. While it's using 25-50% of it's assets, it can run all day. But bump it up to 75-100% and it's not a happy camper after a few minutes. The higher the load goes, the less effective the processor is. And the older it gets, the less happy it gets, due to heat related issues.
If you must use a stock cooler on this part, do yourself a favor and order a tiny bit of thermal paste to replace the old stuff. But I definitely recommend an aftermarket cooler.
Edit: With the new cooler installed this part is much more efficient. It had some heating issues with stock, even with good thermal paste. Do yourself a favor and use an aftermarket cooler for this part. I'm usually a big fan of stock coolers, but they just don't meet this CPU's needs. You might be able to get it to work with stock, but it will be hotter than it should and it won't run as well because of it. With the right CPU cooler the 8350 works just fine.
I'm sure the part is known to all for it's cost efficiency, so I'll focus on the specific application. This cools my FX 8350 with ease, and cools it well even when the room's ambient temperature is hot. If the ambient temperature is cold, I don't even notice it under load because it doesn't need to spin the fan very quickly to keep the CPU cool. For a case with acceptable airflow this will do you well. The only good reasons to get a more expensive CPU cooler are if this either doesn't fit in your case, your case doesn't have airflow, or if it just doesn't look cool enough for your taste. Personally I love it. It gives my PC a more finished look. Upgraded from stock cooler to this, and it's so much better.
Got this in person at Best Buy on an impulse because my old thermal paste dried up and the PC was overheating. Best 8 dollars I've spent in a long time. Significantly increased the efficiency dropping the temperatures and fan speeds beyond what I had expected. If you live near a Best Buy, and you want to pick something up for cheap, and you don't want to wait for shipping... This stuff will work. If you want to wait for shipping, there are many other great brands to choose from.
The coming 2017 switch in AMD motherboard sockets causes me to mourn the purchase of an AM3+ motherboard so near to the crossover, but it served it's purpose.
As a motherboard this actually does everything I need it to. It's not fancy, but it works well with the parts I chose. If I had to build with the same CPU again, I most likely would have chosen a similar motherboard if not the same exact model.
Cheap, and it works. I don't have to say much about it. While playing even the most intense games I don't ever go over 9GB, but my common max is under 7GB. 8GB of a better choice would have done just as well, and would have been cheaper. But I'm not dwelling on it. Although the best range for my needs would have been a 10-12GB setup, it wasn't highly available or cost effective when I was ordering the parts.
Mushkin RAM works. But I'd order even Crucial with no heat sink instead if I absolutely had to cut the budget for whatever reason.
Edit:(got it on sale for under $80, but it's overpriced at 109.88 at the time of this review)
Snappy, speedy, and cool looking. All I needed was an upgrade from my old thing, and this did it's job like a king. I went PNY because they're cheap, and fast. I've used them in the past. I read more than I write, so I think they'll really last. It's got the speed I need. The lower fee for TLC was worth it to me, and it's longevity should be alright. No tea no shade no pink lemonade just alright.
Salvaged this from an old PC. This thing sucks, but it was free. There is no reason to buy one of these. Contemplating what to do with it. Might add it to my parents' PC as a dedicated backup drive.
I forget where I got this. It was one of many drives that I added over time. Can't remember if it was a salvage or a sale, but if you have to go HDD this one is alright.
This HDD is cost effective and runs well. If you're looking for a backup or expansion drive, this will work.
While HDDs met my needs, I had other options that I should have chosen. One of my broken down old PCs had a HDD that matched this one for specs, all it needed was to be wiped clean. With the saved money I could have bought a small SSD and saved money and time. The startup and load times can get bothersome from time to time, but they are far superior to all my old PCs. So regardless of the mistake, this was a step up for me.
Learn from my mistakes. HDDs are cheap and easy to order/install after a build is complete. But switching your operating system to a new drive because you want to upgrade to SSD is a bit of a pain. It's more effective to start with a smaller SSD and upgrade storage space later. You can even use external hard drives if you're lazy and don't want to plug a HDD into your motherboard/PSU.(it's easy when you get the hang of it, trust me)
Like the Hitachi Deskstar, I forget where I got this. It was one of a few drives that I added over the past year or so. I can't remember if it was a salvage or a sale, but if you have to go HDD this one will do you fine.
A beautiful card, that works. But I could have spent a little more for a better one. The GPU is solid, yes, but it's frame rate just isn't as consistent as newer cards. The maximum frame rate is competitive, but he standard deviation is much higher than that of a similarly priced nvidia, or even a more expensive radeon card. And I didn't understand that standard deviation is more important than maximum frame rate at the time of building. If a GPU has a max frame rate of 150 but consistently or even occasionally bottoms out below 24FPS, it's not powerful enough. Putting a limit on the frame rate can help narrow the standard deviation slightly, but only slightly.
More importantly, I learned that clock rate is much more important than memory size. A low clock rate means that while doing anything that isn't rendering or editing you won't even be able to utilize the card's GB potential. Think of the memory size as the teeth, and the clock rate as the rest of the digestive system.(I know it's not 100% accurate, but the concept is helpful to understanding how the parts can be made to look better for gaming than they really are) If you have a big old mouth and bite of more than you can digest, you get backed up and can't take full bites for a while. If you have a tiny mouth and a huge stomach, you can't bite off food fast enough to fill it before it's ready for more. What you want in a GPU is something that has good synergy. If it bites too fast, it's wasteful. This GPU can bite WAY faster than it can digest, and so it usually hovers in the 2GB-4gb range when it's clock rate is using it's full potential.(I've seen it peak around 6GB when running multiple programs with on screen displays, and a heavy game with intense mods simultaneously) Does that mean it can't use it's full potential? No, it obviously can. It's just it usually doesn't need it with almost every game I've played. Yes, it is good that the card's memory isn't stressed, but the fact that it's not using it's memory capacity while it's core clock and memory clock are straining to the point of frame rate drops is slightly annoying. Yes, I understand that chipset has everything to do with it. You need architecture that matches your card's potential to better use it's assets. WHich is why an old architecture 8GB card and a new 8GB card can differ greatly even if they have similar specs. (and is why the 390X beats the 390)
For my uses, a higher clock rate 4GB-6GB card with a better chip set would have done much better.
Ugly. But the most functional part of the PC. In retrospect, a cheaper case would have been a good idea. But now that I have the case I'm contemplating scrapping this build and putting a whole new PC in the case. The case cools well. It never has any issues, and it's relatively quiet compared to the sound of the television in the room or the games I play. It is definitely not silent, but it beats the sound quality of an old HP case any day.(not that it's hard to beat the sound quality of an old HP)
Cost effective? Not quite. Fun and cool? Yes. LED fans? So fun for the first few weeks. Highly recommend.
For a first time build, the fully modular aspect was slightly bewildering. But the end result was so much nicer than a semi or non-modular build.
I read reviews, and made a decision. Many people don't like Rosewill, but the PSU worked for me. Maybe I won the PSU lottery getting a Rosewill without defects or shipping damage. But the point is it works. yes it's rated much higher than the parts, but that's one of the things I stand by when building. If the PSU is too close to the parts, a slight dip in it's effectiveness could brown out the whole PC. If the wattage is much higher, a worse PSU that doesn't meet it's potential due to being ****** has a slightly less chance of frying everything. Why not just get a good PSU? No good reason, it's always a better idea to just get a good PSU. This one turned out great for me, but I usually order EVGA Supernova PSUs these days.
Cheap, but sturdy. In retrospect, I have a TON of these laying around collecting dust. Ordering a new one was pointless. If anything I should have ordered a bluray drive instead, as my only current bluray option is a Playstation that my GF uses constantly.
LG is a good brand. I've never had one go out on me. If you need a disc drive for whatever reason, they're acceptable. Mine was necessary because I had drivers to install to get internet access to install drivers for the rest of the PC. If you already have a PC, you can get the drivers on a thumb drive and use that to transfer them. If you don't have a PC, a disc drive is actually quite handy for getting started.
The monitor it's self is pretty damn cool. 1080p ultrawide is not a common format. Some older games won't recognize the aspect ratio, but with a little tweaking they run just fine. Setup was a struggle for me personally, because I had never used a freesync monitor before. I was completely lost, due to believing that it would have some sort of automatic detection/activation. I had to change my monitor and driver settings manually, which was foreign to me having come from a Westinghouse television that did everything I ever needed automatically without any setup of any kind...(except freesync of course, the whole point of a new monitor) Even switching between PCs and consoles and more the old TV adjusted everything masterfully. This one has more control, but with great control comes great adjustments. And I had to make quite a few.
Browsing and multitasking are amazing on this thing. And gaming is much more smooth, now that the initial setup worked out. It's like a whole new world. A magic place I never knew. A space for my windows, and great workflow. It's why I give it all the stars I do.
It's expensive for a reason. You can get good keyboards for cheaper, but this one is quieter and feels wonderful to use. Having never owned one prior to this I thought people were being silly about mechanical keyboards. I was wrong. The difference is amazing. It's staggering. It's like upgrading from a HDD to a SSD, you don't know what you're missing until you upgrade at which point there is no going back. Do yourself a favor and use mechanical keyboards if you type a lot or game a lot. It's a world of difference. Best part is if a key is somehow broken it's replaceable. Just pop off the old one and order a replacement. Wonderful.
Have had it for quite some time. I like light to mid-weight high sensitivity mice without too many extra buttons, so Logitech is my preferred brand. It's an older model, but I've trusted Logitech for years and will for many more. G series mice are my favorite. If you want to take a step up from the mice that wear out after a few months but don't want the mice with a billion extra buttons, Logitech G series mice are awesome.
These are wonderful headphones. This is the first pair of nice headphones I've used in a long time. They're still on the entry level, not an audiophile piece really. But for the average person these things are spectacular. The sound quality for the price is hard to beat. The first place I used these was for a small time shooter called Nether. When the mutants make their creepy noises I can hear which direction it's coming from and the first time I heard it I could have sworn it was coming from behind me.
Be aware that they have a mic built in, and were originally paired with smart phones. Some mono headphone jacks will not work well with these due to the stereo+mic jack they use. If you're using a 2.0 channel headphone driver they should work perfectly. I've noticed that using my case's front panel headphone jack results in poor quality sound compared to my speaker driver, so be aware that like most good headphones these do require a driver of equal or greater quality to sound great.
Cheap and loud enough for me. The sound quality is pretty standard. Being 2.1 channel was a real selling point for me, as I had only owned 1 and 2 channel PC speakers previously. These have lasted me years. If you just need something decently priced that works well for simple home use, these are good. If you're going for something a bit more intense it's likely to cost you much more than these little things.
Edit: The little volume control is helpful, although it can slide around on smooth surfaces. I recommend either replacing the foam feet with rubber ones or just putting a Velcro strip on the bottom to mount it on your desk.