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Girlfriend's Gateway to PC Gaming

by Pazaz


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

June 29, 2016

Date Built

June 24, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.2 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

26.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

56.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.076 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6.6 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

24.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

52.0° C


Before this, she was stuck with an older Surface Pro and a Laptop with Bay Trail graphics. Not suitable at all for gaming imo.

Load temperatures are taken from the hottest core, fans at max to test full thermal dissipation capacity.

  • CPU: Well-performing 4th generation i5, originally from an office PC from a few years ago. Undervolted slightly to lower temperatures further.
  • CPU Heatsink: Lost the stock heatsink, bought this heatsink to keep the temperatures down in a case of this size.
  • Thermal Paste: Recently purchased for myself, I applied it to all of her components (sadly, as far as I know, only EVGA lets you keep the warranty if you want to clean the heatsink fully/apply new thermal paste. Suffice to say, I'll need to make sure her GPU is far from requiring any warranty service)
  • Motherboard: Budget motherboard that has all the features she needs. No RAID capabilities, but that's not an issue for her.
  • RAM: Taken from the same PC as the CPU. Runs a stable 1.35V @ 10-11-10-28, though it's rated for 1.5 V @ 11-11-11-28.
  • HDDs: Older HDDs laying around, not in use. One shows early signs of failure so I imagine it'll need to be replaced within the year. OS Drive is healthy.
  • GPU: Better than a 750 Ti, still cheap. Core can OC an additional +200 MHz, added VRM heatsinks (used extra VRAM heatsinks from my MK-26).
  • Case: I gave her plenty of options and she chose this one for the windows and box design. 140mm intake and 120mm exhaust, need to buy a 15mm fan to mount the top exhaust (heatsink hits standard-width fans).
  • PSU: Budget PSU from EVGA - used it before. It's power and I haven't had any issues with it, though I don't plan to run any 24/7 overclocks with it. Tested GPU overclock to see what her 950 was capable of.
  • ODD: She has DVDs, CDs, and games that she wants to play. Really intended for emulating her PS2 games.
  • PWM Fan Hub: Overkill (can't even fit 8 fans!), but few extra dollars for reliability is okay. Not really using the PWM features but it's there for the future.
  • LED Strip: Blue windows, blue LEDs. An essential for her. Basically the brightest things in existence.

Next thing to do: Buy a SSD.
Note, I gave her as many spare parts as I could to further increase the price/performance ratio.

Part Reviews


VR-ready (essentially; official figures state at least a 4590).
Turbos to 3.6 GHz, and not a bottleneck for most GPU setups.

CPU Cooler

Mounting design was different than I'm used to (coming from push pins): place backplate on, insert screw from rear of motherboard, place screw cover on other side of motherboard (facing CPU), and carefully mount heatsink. Great performance, and inaudible at low RPMs. No need to increase fan speed if you're not overclocking.

Thermal Compound

Seems to perform better than my previous PK-3. Great thermal paste, cool applicator.


No issues other than the expected chipset drawbacks. 2 RAM slots, 2 fan headers (PWM-capable). 4 USB ports (2x2.0+2x3.0), 2 internal USB headers, and a lack of USB 3.0 headers leads me to give this motherboard a solid 4.0. Nice BIOS, configurable as much as I need it to be. BCLK seems to be just under 100, however.


Could be faster, could be slower. Reliable if properly stored.

Video Card

No issues as of yet. 2 GB VRAM lowers the limit for texture quality in high-end games, but it performs really well.


Small thread motherboard standoffs and screws.
6 (possibly 2, haven't tested) thumbscrews, and then 2 normal screws must be removed to be able to lift the case open. Fits 3 fans and can easily install components due to the hinged front. Looks decent.

Power Supply

Good brand, cheap. It may have its shortcomings, but it works the way it's intended for.

Optical Drive

Loud at times. Reads disks.

Comments Sorted by:

Boeing77W 1 Build 3 points 32 months ago

I could've sworn it was gonna be a Gateway PC... xD

Pazaz submitter 6 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Wouldn't be very welcoming to the master race at all lol. Would've made the title better, though.

auldae 1 Build 2 points 32 months ago

Lowercase gateway PCs are dangerous too. Before you know it she's going to build up a a tolerance and need something more powerful (and expensive). It's nearly an impossible habit to kick, not sure if they have rehabs for PC enthusiasts.

Boeing77W 1 Build 3 points 32 months ago

That's when you slap in a new graphics card

ctmuck 2 Builds 2 points 32 months ago

You should rename this: Cable management for love.

Kidding, but these are actually a lot of the same parts I was planning on using on a case for my wife.

FACUNDO 13 Builds 2 points 32 months ago
What the heck happened with Cryorig CPU Coolers popularity?


Pclover68 2 points 31 months ago

lol i see u everywhere

FACUNDO 13 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

LMAO I'm not jipster on 2015

tbhpcbuilder 2 Builds 2 points 32 months ago

I love this power supply. The low budget power supplies from EVGA get so much crap but they do their job perfectly. My 430w has been going on for about three months now.

jesswainwright 1 point 32 months ago

Any tips on how to get my GF into PC gaming?

Pazaz submitter 6 Builds 2 points 32 months ago

The steam sale is on, try looking for some good local co-op games? Then you'll reach a point where the co-op games require 2 computers to play together, and that's when she's hooked.

Little_Weeaboo 2 points 32 months ago

Did basically same thing with my girlfriend it works really well

JeffreyG 1 point 32 months ago

Have you tried playing 2 games at once with this rig? Because it sure looks like this can handle that kind of thing. I'm playing a multiplayer game right now, and it has extremely long queue times. So I've seen people playing another game while they try and find a match.

I might build a PC with similar specs...

Pazaz submitter 6 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

I can test some games if you'd like, just keep in mind that I was able to give her the CPU: there'll be an added cost on that front. Though you can definitely go cheaper on some of the parts, we went for a design-oriented focus and spent a bit more on the case and accessories. What's your current specs?

JeffreyG 1 point 32 months ago

On my laptop, I have an AMD A10 (I'm not sure how many ghz) and an integrated AMD Radeon HD 7640G with 512MB or video memory. I don't know the name of the cooler, but in games my system doesn't go above 60 degrees Celcius, which is pretty good.

Pazaz submitter 6 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Definitely good temperatures for a laptop.
A decent desktop is night and day in comparison though. You can get a good desktop for entry gaming at around $350-550, maybe less if you look for deals. She can play multiple games at the same time but heat output goes up with more load. If you're looking to save money you can use your laptop HDD for a little while longer.

JeffreyG 1 point 32 months ago

Oh, so I can get a PC, but put my laptop HDD in it. Hmm. Got lots of trash in this Hard Drive though

Pazaz submitter 6 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Yeah, just mount it in the 2.5" area in a PC case. It would be a good placeholder to lower costs, though a noticeable difference between a decent 3.5" HDD and a SSD. Just a way to lower the initial investment, but feel free to reinstall windows if you want to reclaim space.

Pclover68 1 point 32 months ago

Hey am thinking of buying same parts as yours coz I don't have a lot of money and I don't know a lot about pc building. Can I ask can this build run games like gta v and arma 3 even at medium or low?

Pazaz submitter 6 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Definitely! However, give me a budget and I'll see what I can do for you. This build was cheaper because I gave her the CPU, but there's places to cut corners. I can put together a list for you.

Pclover68 1 point 31 months ago

Hey sorry for a late reply. OK my budget is 900-1000$ .but I was planning on buying a prebuilt pc because I have never done this before and am scared of messing it up when I try to build it myself.

Bloo3336 7 Builds 2 points 31 months ago

pcpartpicker This is what I would do.

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