CPU - Proof that you can get into the Skylake architecture on a budget. I've had zero problems with the CPU performing up to standard. The CPU cooler it comes with also functions nicely.

MOTHERBOARD - No frills, but it is a solid board that responded well to a total noob handling it. UEFI is pretty user friendly as well.

RAM - Corsair, it performs just as should. It's cheap DDR4, get it! Easy ot upgrade to 16gb at a later date.

STORAGE - Here's the only spot I didn't budge with my budget (heh). I wanted to get a SSD for the OS/frequently used programs. But, this does the job just fine for now. Boot times are noticeable faster than my work laptop.

GPU - Ah...get the 380X! I didn't read about the X version of this card till after I got this one from Newegg already. That being said, this card appears to be an overclocked/rebranded R9 285. There are some compelling arguements to choose a R9 280 over this card. However, given the sub $200 price point for a 4gb GPU that can potentially handle some AAA games at 1440p, it's hard to not be happy with this card. So far I've been very happy with Sapphire's version of this card. The back plate is nice to get bundled from the get go. Handles everything I've thrown at it so far, although I haven't stressed it much at all yet.

CASE - CM's N200 is an excellent case for the money. Cable Management was not too much of a bare. The semi-minimalist design is very attractive without sacrificing the one external drive bays of the 3.5" and 5.25" variant. Note: It comes with a case speaker.

PSU - Nothing major to report here. It's semi-modular, it has enough juice to handle this build and then the obvious peripheral devices that are inbound. Corsair is good brand, fight the urge to save some dollhairs by getting a Raidmax. Corsair does not dissapoint.

MONITOR - I opted to overlook the few reviews about backlight bleeding that there were about this display. I'm glad I did. This beast is beautful and the frame is really as slim as it looks in the pics. It's a perfect 1080p choice if you plan on dual (or more) monitors in the future. IPS is noticeably easier on the eyes versus a TN.

KEYBOARD/MOUSE - After spending all this money above it was hard to convince the wife that I needed $100+ mechanical keyboard. For sub $20, this bundle works. The version I got has a switch to turn off the backlit LEDs on the keyboard. There some code circulating on how to disable the LEDs on the mouse as well, if that's your thing. I've found the blue LEDs to not be too much. One or two keys stuck when I got it, but they'll loosen up (I hope). Also, the matte finish on the keys shows any grease/grime your digits may be holding. The font of the keys is kind of a Starcraft/Sci-fi font. I can dig. Obviously each key is not individually lit, but you paid $20 you cheap skate!

OVERALL This was a fun first PC to build. I did it in a few hours on a Saturday morning. If any individual part stuck out as the best value it would have to be the monitor. I want one at work now ;) If you have extra dough, get an SSD, an extra stick of RAM, and the X model of the R9 380.


May 2016: I added a second Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB stick, OCZ TRION 150 240GB SSD, and some blue led lights behind the monitor.

Feb 2017: Rig still running strong! No issues with any part thus far.

Part Reviews


IPS is great on the eyes. Unlike some of the reviews on Amazon, I am probably 40hrs into this monitor with ZERO back-light bleeding.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice rig for that budget :) I have a question about monitor, is there a noticeable ghosting effect when playing games?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for taking so long to respond. Honestly I never notice it when playing games. I notice it on shutdown/startup, but that's it.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow we actually have pretty much the exact same parts list. How much did you like it when you first built it?

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

I loved it...and I still do. It really runs anything I can through at it. I can't think of a game I don't run on ultra. I play a lot of Rainbow Six Siege, Fallout 4, Rocket League, CSGO, Overwatch, etc. I realize a lot of those aren't graphically demanding, but it handles them all great.

I had some issues with the Seagate HDD and Windows 10. It would spike to 100% disk usage. Once I added the SSD and did a clean boot everything was resolved. Putting the OS on the SSD really helped a lot with any minor bugs and drastically sped up boot times. Let me know if you have any questions. It was my first build, but I'd be happy to help.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for that info about the HDD issues. Thinking about getting a cheap SSD for the OS and a couple of the games I'd likely play the most.