PCPartPicker

  • Log In
  • Register

Build

Home Desktop

by bobcat1123

6
5 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

June 7, 2015

Date Built

June 6, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.6GHz

Description

The computer was intended to replace my moms 10+ year old laptop that was on its last legs. I wanted to build my mom a good machine that she could use for standard home uses, nothing graphics intensive, hence the lack of a discrete graphics card. I also went slight overboard for her intended uses since I wanted this to last a long while and also be reliable. This was my first ever build from scratch and completely by myself (I helped my dad build my first computer when I was little).

Everything went swimmingly until I ran into some problem when the computer wouldn't boot after installing Windows 8.1. I wasted like 2-3 hours troubleshooting until I realized it was the stupid wireless card. Apparently the wireless card I bought has zero support for Windows 8/8.1. Just having the card plugged in the motherboard would cause my computer to crash while booting up - which was really frustrating. I eventually ended up booting OK but after ~2 minutes of use the computer would freeze and I would have to force restart. Any way, once I ditched the wireless card everything worked flawlessly. Stupid wireless card...

CPU: Intel i3-4160 I originally considered getting the Intel Pentium G3258 but there was a sale and I could fit this processor into the budget. I like that is has 2 cores and hyper-threading so I wasn't concerned about multitasking. Its also a very strong processor for basic computer uses (and slightly overkill).

Motherboard: GA-H97M-HD3 The motherboard worked out OK - although it was a bit smaller than I expected. My only real complaint about this is that there is only 1 system fan header and the case I ordered had two case fans included. Luckily I noticed this shortly after ordering the case and I ordered a PWN fan splitter and used it in the build.

Memory: G. Skill Ares 8GB Nothing special here. 8GB is slightly overkill for the computer uses (my moms laptop was upgraded from 1GB-2GB of ram a few years ago) but memory is fairly cheap and I figured 8GB would provide some futureproof-ness.

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB Again, nothing too special. I made sure it was 7200RPM and had 64MB of cache. I had heard that the barracuda drives had a slightly higher drive failure rate but its working great so far. I had originally thought the drive was bad when I couldn't boot the PC (until I later found out it was the wireless card).

Case: Corsair 200R This case was a little big for the components but size wasnt a huge issue. The computer is sitting under a desk anyway. I liked the layout for cable management and I liked the neutral look and options for future upgrades so I went for it.

PSU: Seasonic 360W I went for a seasonic PSU because I trust their power supplies. I also went for gold rating since I like higher ratings. More efficient also means less waste heat which is great. Its really really quiet during operation. It barely puts out any heat too. My only complaint is that the 24 pin main power and the 8 pin supplemental CPU power cables were quite short and barely made it to the motherboard slots. The 8pin was short enough that I couldn't route it behind the motherboard tray which made me sad :(

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB The optical drive was pretty cheap but I thought I was ordering a samsung optical drive. When I opened it the logo was "SuperWriteMaster" or something weird so I'm not sure what the deal was with that. In any case, it worked fine for installation. And optical drives are really easy to replace.

OS: Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM Worked as expected.

Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN751ND Apparently this card has zero driver support for Windows 8/8.1... In fact, it caused my entire computer to freeze constantly when it was installed in the motherboard. Once removed, all the problems went away. I think the issue was the computer was trying to auto-install drivers that didnt exist and got hung up. This card tried to singlehandedly destroy my build. I don't recommend it. <Edit>: I ended up going to Best Buy and replacing it with this: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/netgear-n300-wireless-n-usb-adapter-black/9928575.p?id=1218196479078&skuId=9928575 and it works fine.

Monitor: Dell E2215HV This monitor had some bad reviews about poor colors and backlight bleeding. I think for my mom its great though. Maybe I wouldn't buy this for myself for gaming or video editing but its a great, cheap 1080p monitor for normal use/video streaming/whatever.

Keyboard: Logitech K120 This keyboard was exactly what I expected. It was cheap, but functional. I recommend either getting a cheap keyboard or going all out and getting a mechanical one. Spending $50 for a non-mechanical keyboard seems silly to me.

Part Reviews

CPU

I originally considered getting the Intel Pentium G3258 for my build but there was a sale and I could fit this processor into the budget. I like that is has 2 cores and hyper-threading so I wasn't concerned about multitasking. Its also a very strong processor for basic computer uses and slightly overkill for my build. Its very quiet during operation using the stock CPU cooler.

Motherboard

Fairly small, but functional motherboard. It has a bunch of SATA3 headers on the board and 4 USB 3.0 ports which is plently. It doesnt have a lot of room for pci card expansions but it was fine for my build. My only complaint is that there is only 1 system fan header - which I think is odd. I ended up using a PWM fan splitter to power the two case fans.

Memory

Nothing special. Works as intended. Didnt' have to mess with the clock speed as it defaulted to 1600 in the bios. Not sure if thats related to the motherboard or the RAM. In any case, I was happy with the purchase.

Storage

Again, nothing too special. I made sure the HDD I picked was 7200RPM and had 64MB of cache. I had heard that the barracuda drives had a slightly higher drive failure rate but its working great so far. I guess if the drive fails at some point I can come back and change my review.

Case

Pretty good case. It was a little large for my components but that was my own fault. It has plenty of 3.5" bays and three 5.25" bays which is great. There was enough room for cable management and some well placed cutouts for routing.

Power Supply

I went for a seasonic PSU because I trust their power supplies. I also went for gold rating since I like higher ratings. More efficient also means less waste heat which is great. Its really really quiet during operation. It barely puts out any heat too. My only complaint is that the 24 pin main power and the 8 pin supplemental CPU power cables were quite short and barely made it to the motherboard slots. The 8pin was short enough that I couldn't route it behind the motherboard tray which made me sad :(

Optical Drive

The optical drive was pretty cheap but I thought I was ordering a samsung optical drive. When I opened it the logo was "SuperWriteMaster" or something weird so I'm not sure what the deal was with that. In any case, it worked fine for installation. And optical drives are really easy to replace if it ends up being poop.

Operating System

Works as expected.

Wireless Network Adapter

Apparently this card has zero driver support for Windows 8/8.1... In fact, it caused my entire computer to freeze constantly when it was installed in the motherboard. Once removed, all the problems went away. I think the issue was the computer was trying to auto-install drivers that didnt exist and got hung up. This card tried to single handedly destroy my build. I don't recommend it.

Monitor

This monitor had some bad reviews on Newegg about poor colors and backlight bleeding. For a cheap 1080p monitor for basic computer uses and maybe some video streaming/youtube/Netflix I think it looks fine. For more enthusiast builds or for hardcore gaming I would maybe get a better one. I don't regret buying it though because it was cheap, I knew what to expect, and it met my needs perfectly.

Edit: I paid about $90 USD for it. I wouldn't buy it at current price of ~$124 USD.

Keyboard

This keyboard was exactly what I expected. It was cheap, but functional. I recommend either getting a cheap keyboard or going all out and getting a mechanical one. Spending $50 for a non-mechanical keyboard seems silly to me.

Comments Sorted by:

AstralWolf 2 Builds 2 points 32 months ago

Like your part choices +1

bobcat1123 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Thank you!

ajpinton 11 Builds 2 points 32 months ago

Good looking build, and great reasoning's behind the parts list.

If you wanted to fix the routing of the cpu power cable, they do make extensions you can buy. I have had to pick them up before, they are normally only a few bucks and come in a ton of colors if you want.

bobcat1123 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Thanks for your comment. I had never really thought about buying extension cables for the power supply; that's a good idea. I'll definitely check them out!

[comment deleted by staff]
bobcat1123 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

I think she is enjoying it :)