This was my first ever PC build, I'd previously added or changed the odd part such as HDDs or adding USB 3.0 to a couple other PCs but never built one from the ground up before. This build was to replace my 2010 base spec iMac that whilst still working okay, just wasn't enough for me any more. My budget was tight and I built this whole PC almost entirely with the proceeds from the iMac sale plus about £30.
What I wanted from this build was to be able to play WoW at a good frame rate, on sensible settings a few other Blizzard games and then whatever took my fancy later down the line. In addition to internet browsing and the odd bit of Photoshop work. I wasn't expecting all singing all dancing at this price point but I wanted something that would perform well and be open to upgrades in the future.
I had a few bits that I could use on this build, firstly the 2x2TB WD drives out of a custom IcyBox FW800 Raid that I'd built before and would no longer need. This meant I could save some money and get just a 120GB SSD (for now) and use these two drives as bulk storage. I was also given a friends GTX 560 Ti 2GB GPU for free as he'd just upgraded to a 1070. This obviously allowed me to tweak all the other parts in the build to be a little less budget and more future proof.
Honestly, PC Part Picker made this whole process so easy! Thank you to everyone who helped out on the forum and recommended me some stuff. I went with a build based on a suggested build by TheGoat (thanks!) and added the other bits and bobs I personally wanted like the Wifi card etc. I was originally looking at the i3 6100 but thanks to everyone on the forums was convinced by the Pentium G4560 based on the massive price difference and almost identical performance. I actually accidentally ordered a slightly better Gigabyte mobo than originally suggest mainly because the product names are so similar. Anyway main difference as far as I can tell is that I have 4 RAM slots and an extra PCI-E. Good stuff.
I ended up ordering everything through Amazon UK mainly because I'm a Prime member and whilst I probably paid a few pounds more over all, I paid no actual postage costs and could guarantee any delivery days. I also found a cheaper case on there hence the custom part for that.
The build took me probably around 3 hours to physically put everything together, my cable management is quite honestly horrendous. So, sorry about that! I am going to be adding in another SATA cable in the next few days (case only came with 2) for my 2nd HDD, so will work on tidying after that. I did have one failed boot straight away, everything powered up and then sort of dropped out again and would continue to do so... Turns out I'd missed two things, I'd forgotten to put the tiny little speaker onto the MOBO so I had no BIOS beep! Once I'd done that, the beep told me it was something to do with the GPU. I simply hadn't clicked it properly in the first time so after reseating that everything booted up perfectly! Installing Win 10 Pro was a breeze as I'd already created a bootable USB from my girlfriends laptop. Boot time is roughly 10 secs or quicker!
It's worth noting that I am temporarily using an old 22" LCD TV with a rubbish 30Hz refresh rate, so that isn't ideal right now. I have all sorts of over/underscan frustrations too. Nothing is quite sharp. These problems should all go away when I get my Hanns g monitor in a week or so. Once everything was finally ready and I'd run all the updates and found all my drivers it, I left WoW to download nearly 50GB over night. This would be the first test. Once installed and running WoW suggested the 7/10 setting on the graphics scale and a little over 60fps, drastically better already than my iMac which was at about 2/10 and max FPS of 25/30. I then maxed all the settings to "Ultra" and still got 60fps down to about 55fps in a busier area. Awesome.
The only other thing I've played a little of was Heroes of the Storm and got great performance out of that too, not sure on FPS though.
UPDATE 8th May 2017.
I finally have a new monitor, it's really lovely and is an entirely different experience to my old TV. I'm quite honestly shocked as to what a difference it's made to the load on the GPU. This is mainly noticeable due to the increased temps coming off the 560 Ti. It's still only maxing out at around 60c after a couple hours on WoW.
Updated settings for WoW, everything is set at 8/10 and I still get roughly 40-50fps in nearly all zones. I could get higher FPS by lowering the settings but I'm more than happy with where I am right now. The main difference in between gaming now and with the TV monitor before is that the GPU runs hotter and everything looks drastically higher quality!
I've also swapped out the stock cooler from the G4560 as honestly that thing was loud! The temps are possibly a little lower than before but now I can hardly hear the fan. In addition to the CPU cooler I've also switched out the two stock case fans for three Corsair AF120 Quiet Editions. Frustratingly there was no green LED version of these so I went for blue. Another frustrating thing is that I'm sure these are louder than the stock ones were but they definitely move lots more air. Will add new pics soon.
UPDATE 2 4th July 2017 Added a reference GTX 760 that I got super cheap. On paper it's definitely an upgrade, I actually was hoping it would give me more than it did for No Mans Sky. I did however get around a 10-15 FPS increase in WoW. Will be testing out GTA V soon.
This thing is almost a steal at this price:performance ratio. Very quick so far and runs real cool. However the actual stock cooler is really quite loud, certainly compared with the GPU, PSU and 2 case fans. ( Plus the case fans were included in the case which was only £24!!) So I might look at swapping that out. It's not actually "bad" just obviously loud. Losing a star for the fan.
This little cooler is probably the best investment I'll make with all my hardware. It was absolutely silent on the G4560 and Temps were obviously low. However I've since rebuilt with Ryzen 1600 and overclocked to 3.9GHz and it's still less than 60 degree Celsius during heavy stress testing!!
As mentioned in the build description, this was actually an accidental upgrade over the original one in my build. I'd been recommended the Gigabyte B250M-D2V on the forums but on Amazon I accidentally ordered this one. Which seems to be very similar but with 4 RAM slots and a few other things like additional SATA connections. Board is really solid and nicely made, obviously everything is very tightly packed in on the Micro board which was a little challenging during the build however it booted up with no problems at all after I re-seated the GPU.
This is my first SSD so honestly all I have to say is that this thing is FAST. Did feel a little flimsy but maybe that's what all SSDs are like, certainly when compared with the chunky feel of a mechanical drive.
I've had these two drives in a RAID set up for 3 years or so and they've been fantastic. I repurposed them for this build as two standalone internals and all good. Sure they're not as quick as new drive but they'll do just fine for now.
This certainly seems to be doing really well, it feels very well built, was a good price and is modular to an extent. The cables all feel nice and solid however... the SATA power cable is incredibly frustrating. In my build I have three drives and this power cable has 4 power sockets so you'd think this would be all great... not so much. I've just about managed to power two of the drives because the 90 degree cable is the wrong way around! Meaning I just couldn't get it to work at all and each socket is really far apart so the two HDDs, in the pretty standard drive bays, are very hard to power. I've had to order some additional power cables that I'm going to run off this one to be able to power my second HDD. I'm not the only reviewer to struggle with this it seems.
Wireless Network Adapter
EDIT 24/NOV/17: Only buy this if you're super stuck for budget. Whilst it works okay, the speed you get from it is just not good. Or reliable. Buy something else or use powerline adapters. (I went from 12mbs to 40mbs going to cables...)
This works fine after a little faff finding the right driver. I guess it would be fine if you have Disc drive but as my case doesn't have a slot, I obviously don't! It was plug and play just with really slow speeds until the right driver was sorted. Also it's tiny
This case was incredibly cheap but had good enough reviews on Amazon for me to consider it as my first case. A few reviews did mention the lack of cable management space, which I have to agree with. There is almost no room at all behind the motherboard. I only chose the green version because it was cheaper and boy does the green stripe look cheap! Aesthetics aside, it came with an abundance of screws and two 120mm fans. These fans have LEDs and are really quiet and provide great airflow. There is space for a third fan if need but I really don't see why you'd ever need it.
Oh I liked where the built in I/O ports are on the top of the case. 4 stars because it is actually a really good budget case, air flow great and had everything you need.