First and foremost, pcpartpicker was an incredible assist in choosing components based on performance/ quality/ price/ etc. My gf and I couldn't have made the build a reality without this site, along with the feedback of members in finding the optimal parts for the price we could afford. . . . .
Intro< My gf enjoys playing the video games, mainly the Sims. She had been getting by [sluggishly] on an ancient relic P4 Frankenstein I had put together for her a few years ago, but with atrocious performance she was getting with that, we decided it was time for a major upgrade. Buying a [insert PC manufacture here] from [insert big box retailer here], would have likely cost more once you upgrade the RAM and add a graphics card, so I choose to build. I built my first computer back in high school, about 7 years ago, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to refresh my skills. Here's the result: "Veronica", as my gf has named her.
Parts< We purchased the parts basically when had extra money, thus we slowly acquired everything over the course of four months, beginning with motherboard. Though its overkill, being that I had no intentions of overclocking, it was only $60 after rebate with free shipping ($80 ). I did pretty extensive research and had a good understanding of brands to go with and stay away from based on quality/ price / performance, so everything is pretty much middle-of-the road. The case, just to let you know, is a beast for the fact that it has 5 molex fans (4x 120mm 1x 140mm) plus it has a built in temperature display with cpu thermometer cable. The only 'splurge' really was the processor. Based on my old laptop dying prematurely do to heating issues, I knew I didn't want an AMD chip. (Spare me a lecture, everyone has a right to their own opinion, and this is mine's!). Could have gone with an i3 or something lesser, but I wanted a decent chip that could hold its own. Also, we didn't go the cheapest route, being that we want this computer to last for at least the next 3-5 years.
Build< My knowledge of computers is pretty moderate, though anyone really, can build a PC with little more than just a 'good understanding'. I was quite confident going in, but used Newegg TV's: 'How To Build A Computer' as a refresher before I began. It took about 5 hours over the course of 2 days to complete. I was ridiculously worried about ESD and freaked out for a second ,due to second-guessing myself on seating the cpu. Other than that, it was pretty smooth. My first post was a success, so it was a breeze putting everything in the case itself. I was unsure about cable management, and weather there was sufficient space behind the board, but surprisingly, after tying everything down, the cover slid on with ease. No bulge either. Sweet!
In all, this labor of love was a great experience! Looking forward to my next build!
**Most of the parts were purchased through newegg. We got $20 rebates on the mobo, video card and psu. The prices listed includes shipping, minus rebate.