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by mphershey



Date Published

April 26, 2015

Date Built

April 24, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.6 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

55.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.126 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

45.0° C


I thought I'd share my first build. I hope some out there appreciate the look or this particular combo of core-items. It's definitely possible to be more efficient and make your money go farther for performance. But I needed only low end performance, and what I really wanted was a PC that looks somewhat unique and is not just another black box budget build, and that is something I picked on my own and put together myself.

When considering my parts list vs cost, please note two points:

1) Don't too quickly jump to conclusions about the total price vs the CPU, etc. It all depends on how someone intends to use the PC, on what their future build plans are, etc. I'm more of an email reader/online banking user, and I play PC games only once every few weeks. And that's like 10% League of Legends and then 90% Warcraft 3 (that one game from 2001). Also, I didn't mind leaving myself open to an upgrade path, just for the fun of it. Setting a clear next step in a year or two.

2) I did actually spend money on aesthetic stuff I thought looked good, without first putting it into speed & performance. The cost of a rig's looks can add up fast. Not necessarily a problem, especially if that's the plan.

It's easy come up with a better $900 part list for gaming, or video rendering, etc. See Build Guides up top for the best examples of that.

Just keep in mind performance for minimum cost just wasn't the purpose of this build, however. Think of it as an inexpensive core build but then with some added luxuries. I prioritized the subjective characteristics/components most heavily.

Driving Factors behind my build

Intended use of the PC:

  • everyday tasks
  • video streaming over the interwebs
  • very light gaming


  • choose some parts so its upgradable
  • Make it fly (like shuga shuga, how'd ya get so fly). I decided to go with a look that I liked, so I passed over some much cheaper options for certain items (the case) or bought extra items to change out the stock ones (the fans).

Personal Background with Computers:

  • It's my first time building a PC.
  • I haven't had a desktop computer in over a decade! Had to get some peripherals, so aesthetic and comfort was a factor for that too.
  • I just retired a laptop from mediocre gaming, and it was an Intel Core2 Duo with integrated graphics and 4GB of ram that I bought in 2009. It had been getting old, for a laptop at least, and so the limitations of HD space, boot-up speed, longevity were all areas in which I wanted something better (so that sets a pretty low bar, easy to meet). Any 4th gen intel +3GHz, along with discrete graphics, the airflow of a desktop and the OS on an SSD would do it.

Note: the case choice / light show / yellow theme is pretty much the whole reason I wanted to build my own PC.

Cost Details (Note Two Separate Budgets)

1) If you want to see the sub-total of the actual guts of my build (cpu, mobo, ram, hard disk drive, gpu, psu), see this parts list. The stuff that makes the computer go does just what I intended it to do: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/s29Q99

2) If you're curious, see the sub-total of this peripheral/aesthetics/nice-to-have-SSD parts list that stayed within my 2nd separate budget: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hgzHD3

Apples to Oranges- I wasn't going to take money from one category and put it into the other.

Build Notes

CPU, Mobo & GPU

  • Enough for current performance goals, upgrade vision and room for extra stuff later. H97 is fine for me cuz I don't plan to overclock (requiring a Z-type mobo in this socket-category).
  • Using the CPU stock cooling cuz I've read about a lot of even power users' builds who don't have heat issues (and I'm not gonna really strain this thing).
  • Check this out for more on the i3 + GTX 960 combo: http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2508356/4160-gtx-960.html I know their discussion doesn't put the issue to bed completely, but just remember I never recommended that you follow this build, especially if you think you know what you're doing (then you're all set!).


  • This case comes with 3 stock fans, which aren't bad. Lots of good features for cable management.
  • Note- I wasn't buying 6 more fans so that I could have 9 total (the case only has room for 7, maybe 8 if you use the back of the middle-HD cage).
  • I removed the stock fans to put in the LED fans, the PC has a total of 6 in the end. Case has 7 leads for fans! All 7 are 3 pin though, so I just had to go into the mobo for my 140mm bit-fenix fan, since it uses a 4 pin.
  • For other future NZXT Phantom 410 owners, especially for their 1st ever build, this review was really helpful: http://www.overclockers.com/nzxt-phantom-410/


  • used a $15 mail-in rebate, so just spent $45 on it.
  • wattage leaves some room for upgrades
  • while the supply's 650W is not necessary for my initial ~300ish watts, it's also not a bad thing to be between 45% and 55% power draw with this initial build.
  • modularity is nice, so I can unplug the unused cables


  • just nice for a faster OS boot up than that from a HDD. I didn't need an SSD with the fastest write speed, mostly will only be read during start-up.

Final Section: 1st-time Builder Lessons Learned

  • Since it's my first build, maybe this was easy to foresee and I just didn't know better. But the Mobo only came with 2 SATA3 data cables. Also, I suppose a lot of what I got was OEM, and didn't come with data cables (or maybe they never do, don't know). So my SSD, HDD and Optical drive each had to be covered by what I had. On the first day of my build, when needing to just get it up and running, I went ahead and just used the SATA data cables on the SSD and the Optical drive in order to install the OS. Then, after finishing the brief use of my Optical Drive, I went ahead and hooked up the SATA data cable on the HDD, and left the unnecessary Optical unhooked for a few days till I could get a 3rd SATA cable.

  • In order to use just one SATA power cable that came with my PSU (2 cables with typical 3 L-shaped connectors each) and reach all data drives , I needed a SATA power cable extension, since the optical drive was naturally so far from storage drives. During the initial build, I had to use both the 3 connector cables just to get power to the SSD and the Optical. With the extension, I can just use one SATA power cable for all three.

  • My Gigabyte H97-D3H Mobo has an ATX form factor, but the screw locations are very oddly placed, not your typical rectangle pattern. So I just had to really make sure to get those right in the case. No problems, but it took longer than I expected.


I wanted to include some information about the addition of a Wireless Adapter that I added shortly after posting the build. You can see it in the additional images I uploaded, as well as some other angles of the yella fiya!. It was the Airlink 101 Wireless N 150 PCI Adapter, got it at Fry's. Too late to add it to the parts list I think, but it was only another $13 so worth it.

  • Normally, I'll be using a Powerline Adapter for a LAN Ethernet connection (highly recommend Powerline Adapters if you've never used one!), but in case one of my family members wants to borrow the PL adapter, I didn't want to be without internet by not having wireless capability. So now it works great with that too!

Also, just wanted to mention that that little yellow brain sticker was home made (get it, CPU == a brain!). Stock coolers don't look as nice as water cooling systems in my opinion, so this was just a quick thing on Photoshop I made to make looking through my PC side window a little more enjoyable! Just printed a 1.125 inch diameter image, cut it out and used some double sided tape, and Voilà!

Part Reviews


Awesome case, love the look. Nice features for cable management too. Great guide for it on overclockers.

Case Fan

Not really very bright at all, but I have 5 other Kingwin 120mm LED fans, so that didn't bother me too much. The color is yellow, though with a splash of orange (I was going for gold so that worked for me).

Case Fan

Works for air flow and looks great. Color is somewhat between yellow and gold (very small amount of orange), though I didn't mind that. Just know that you're not getting something like pure yellow when you think about the common RGB wheel.


Great price for a multi-color LED keyboard, would recommend.


All features worked for about 6 months, then track ball suffered some kind of mechanical failure and now spins freely without registering. Can still middle click with track ball though. But I use the track scrolling feature like crazy, as do most people, so I'm going to replace this with another brand. I do not recommend.

Comments Sorted by:

gigagoku12 1 Build 7 points 48 months ago

I think i'm speaking for a lot of people on PCPP when I say that your description was absolutely beautiful. The information you gave just blew me away! I especially love the fact that you explained your point on using the PC for mostly non-gaming tasks very thoroughly. 10/10 description

you earned my +1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYUdoE4gtII

I would vote higher if I could

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 2 points 48 months ago


mphershey submitter 2 Builds 6 points 48 months ago

Thanks guys i appreciate it! Yea the 007 GoldenEye game on the N64 was a cornerstone of my childhood, the name was kind of an homage to that!

Definitely hooked on the DIY PC thing, looking foward to bigger and brighter future builds! Its funny, I bet you all can relate- as soon as I finished this one, a couple of family members started putting in requests for me to build them one if they buy the parts!

Growliff1234 1 point 48 months ago

I have at least 500 hours into the N64 goldeneye :D

dragoon20005 4 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

still the most epic moment in the movie where pierce brosnan drove a tank in Russia


dragoon20005 4 Builds 4 points 48 months ago

The name of the build reminds me of James Bond Golden Eye

insert 007 theme

Godzlegend1 2 points 48 months ago

Wc3? You..... You..... **** YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! +1 Amazing claps hands Just ******* beautiful!

JheyoDELperu 1 point 48 months ago

hahahahahaa CRYING AND smiling facing the sky!!! YEs there are people who what is CALIDAD!

Godzlegend1 1 point 48 months ago

Wc3 custom games with friends......... The dream

clayofthe757 4 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

You included the cost of your operating system! +1 for you!

Hughesy26 3 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

Nice build and write up. Good to see something a bit different! +1

Eltech 20 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

[Q has blown up a dummy with an explosive pen]

Q: Don't say it...

James Bond: The writing is on the wall.

Amazing, and just a brilliant description and the purpose of your computer! Great build, well done!! Oh yes I do remember Golden Eye because Pierce Brosnan was my first James Bond~ Goodness and the best N64 game ever created! Just seeing your build did truly remind me of Golden Eye. Oh I do love it. You will enjoy your lovely build, most certainly! +100

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 3 points 48 months ago

Yea Pierce was probably my favorite just because he was also the one I grew up on. And that was my favorite 007 movie I believe.

I really liked your Ruby build, great job! +1'ed it!

Eltech 20 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

Thank you so much! :)

rhali8 2 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

+1 for a great build. +10 for a great description. +100 for LED fans. +1,000,000,000 for Warcraft 3! I have been playing that for a few years now and it falls into my top 3 games of all time list (that is pretty huge since I have played countless games!) Nice job man!

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Thanks! yea they're some of my favorite games too, no doubt.

Dam5968 5 Builds 2 points 46 months ago

You had commented on my nephews build so I wanted to come take a look and I must say I really like the yellow and gunmetal together, not your typical color scheme which is great. Very nice build --- good job.

Reyjkl 2 points 45 months ago

I absolutely love this build. However, it isn't for me because I'm more into gaming. The reason why I love this build so much is because of the colors. IT LOOKS F'ING SICK! I was thinking about going with a blue color scheme for my build but now that I've seen yours I might change my mind http://pcpartpicker.com/p/MfMDvK

Karl0508 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

I like it

Good build

WhatupdoeYO 1 point 48 months ago

Love the name and color scheme. Very Sweet!

goodra 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

The color scheme looks very unique and tasteful, and your pc fits your intended uses perfectly. well done!

PytSkee 1 point 48 months ago

Those fans make your PC look like it's on fire! Haha but sweet build +1

jnewell01 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

+1 for the great write-up and the Goldeneye reference. I too grew up with a N64 controller in my hand (among every other controller starting with the NES!). Nice little build too.

connordelaneyy@gmail.com 1 point 48 months ago

This looks incredible, I might do a build similar looking, redoing my room and yellow/orange is the theme :D.

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

Yea yellow LEDs need more reppin on PCPP for sure, I look forward to seeing it!

mlach 4 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

black and yellow is definitely a good color combo! Awesome!

stan47 1 point 48 months ago

i love this build i eill use this for my brothers birthday if u have any advise tell me i new to pc world

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

Thanks man! Yea, I really like how the look of it came out.

It was my first build ever, so I think you're probably as knowledgeable as me, but here are a couple of takeaways I've since completing this build:

  • PSU: this selection of components really only needs about a 500W or so supply, so more money could be saved on that if going with all the same parts.

  • If your bro's a gamer, an i5 with a reasonable graphics card is probably better. And if he doesn't game at all, the i3's good without a GPU at all. Mine's kinda of in between cuz it meets my needs now (like playing LoL) and I'm planning on upgrading to a true mid-level CPU plus an aftermarket cooler sometime in the not-too-distant future.

  • This build could use an aftermarket CPU cooler. I didn't go with one just cuz I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew when I building a PC for the first time, since it was solo... but then again, having done it now, it was soo much easier than I expected (I'm an engineer by profession, been working with technical, hands-on stuff for a few years, so I guess I'm not that unfamiliar with mechanical and electrical hardware and assembly).

So maybe I'll get like a cool looking ZALMAN 9XXX of some sort. Thought what I found to be an "Iron Man Arc Reactor look" to be pretty sweet ( https://pcpartpicker.com/part/zalman-cpu-cooler-cnps9900maxr : red with the yellow for my rockets, going all the way! ). Copper ones are cool too. That, or else a Corsair H100i because I believe I can choose to make the logo light up yellow (as well as other colors). That style seems like a pretty low maintenance liquid cooler.

Also, the Newegg How to Build Your Own PC videos on Youtube, both those from 2014 and the 3 from 2011, were greatly helpful (though I think you've got that down having done it at least once). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIF43-0mDk4

stan47 1 point 48 months ago

Thanks I'm 13 years old so I dont have a job yet but I'm do want to go i n graphics design but one day I thought to my self I don't think I will ever be Able to be a graphics designer without building a PC right so I told my friends that I want to build a PC and my friends brother said do it because He did it to he introduced me to PC part picker and here I am if theres any advice u can give please just text it to me

stan47 1 point 48 months ago

I think I understand how to build it but not the parts

rhali8 2 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

I think I can help! How much do you want to spend on your gaming pc?

stan47 1 point 44 months ago


Necromonger 3 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

This build is almost identical to the build I am going for my girlfriend. Same CPU, similar GPU, same Ram, same but smaller SSD, same brand case.

This gives me even more inspiration to continue her build.

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Thanks man. Yea this combination has really worked out great so far, no aspect of the machine appears to hold me in any way.

And for everyday stuff, this CPU, RAM and SSD are lightning compared to what most people are used to I think, even a pc with these insides is notibly better than run-of-the-mill computers. Good luck, hope your build works out / has worked out!

devin94x 2 Builds 1 point 37 months ago

How is the fps on current games using the I3 with the 960? Im currently making a rig looking more into I3s and Im having a hard time deciding which path I want to take. Sweet build btw.

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 1 point 37 months ago

Caveat- Im not much of a gamer, pretty much only vintage stuff. So I'm not sure what I'd get on most games people probably play, and I'm not really sure if I'm doing the right thing to check.. But for all the games I play on Steam, all on on max max high quality settings in terms of shadows, anti-aliasing or anisotropy, texture quality, sample AA, etc. So I made Steam show the FPS counter and the fps rates seemed to stay at a certain value, pretty consistent.

And those FPS rates were as follows for each of the following games: KOTOR I - 60 fps, KOTOR II - 70 fps, Counterstrike - 60 fps, Day of Defeat - 60 fps. They almost never changed, maybe only for a split second when it was saving or loading, but never at any other time.

Also, though its not via Steam, Warcraft III FT is super smooth (albeit very old of course), and that's after I followed some internet instructions to tweak via regedit (always safe right? jk, might not be a gamer but I am a programmer by education) my fps and prevent it from limiting it, supposedly resulting a change from 30 to 60 fps. I dont have any 3rd party fps counters though, so unconfirmed.

Its probably a total newb question (I'm probably revealing my 'older' age, I havent played games in a long time.. had nothing for many years after I stopped playing the fairly new PS2), but do you think that's normal/descent fps for pc games, at least older ones?

devin94x 2 Builds 1 point 36 months ago

I am so glad you took some time to reply!! You have no idea lol. I have been stressing over this build for over a week now. Sold my old rig about 2 months ago & I am a huge AMD fanboy... so it is very difficult for me to transition to Intel & Nvidia products.

Regarding your FPS scores, yeah I would say they look just fine. All I am looking for really is having the ability to play most MMOs at High settings with 30 FPS at the minimum, and if your frames are all in the 50+ range I would say that is looking really good for me :)

My biggest thing is "CPU bottlenecking" I am unsure if you are familiar with the term, but its basically where games such as GTA V, and Witcher 3, use multiple cores of a processor and restraining the FULL potential of the GPU resulting in lower FPS. It took alot of research for me to feel comfortable purchasing the i3 with the gtx 960. I dont see myself playing this games really, but I dont want to feel limited if it ever came to the point of me feeling the urge to play them.

Thanks again bro, I appreciate your response it has given me hope for my build which will be completed by the end of the week. I will have to let you know how my FPS benchmarks look in current games!!

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 1 point 36 months ago

Sure np! Btw- here's an update I recently posted, basically same CPU & GPU, but w new cooler, monitors and 2x the RAM: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/pTGfrH

Just an extra side note- I just recently brought home some CAD software from work to see if this rig could run it (specifically, Creo 2), and I was shocked to see that it's really smooth! While running some models that aren't anything to sneeze at, it really seems to handle it very well. For reference, at work I run on a Xeon E5-1650, 32GB RAM along with a HP Quadro K5000 4GB Video Card, and though there's an obvious difference in power between that work PC and this i3 home build.. I haven't found a CAD model that really reveals that expected difference yet. Both run every model I've tried just as equally smooth, even on high quality render (which was part of my surprise). Maybe a mega-huge model would reveal it.

I thought I'd have to upgrade to a Xeon E3 (for this LGA1150) before I would be able to bring home CAD work, but it looks like I'm going to be able to use this just fine for a while!

devin94x 2 Builds 1 point 36 months ago

Oh man, she is beautiful.. Over here drooling over your build while I'm creating my budget rig. How simple was it setting up the LEDs? I absolutely LOVE them.

& Wow that is awesome. I must say I'm impressed. Funny how a GPU like the 960 with only a 128 interface is able to compete with others. I am typically an AMD fanboy so it is very shocking to see the FPS scores it pulls. Honestly.. I wasn't expecting the decent performance.

Regarding the i3, doing every day multi-tasking do you ever notice a stutter or delay? This will be my first i3/5/7 CPU so I am very nervous. Still waiting on my CPU/Ram/PSU so I can't bring her to life yet :(

itcheazus 2 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

Those fans look pretty awesome in the case. Great name!

mphershey submitter 2 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Thanks I appreciate it!