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Skylake i3 Budget Gamer for Flight Sim X

by VulcansHeart



Date Published

Dec. 15, 2016

Date Built

Dec. 14, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.7 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

926 MHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6.6 GHz


This build was for my neighbor, a retired private pilot, who needed to replace his aging OEM desktop system that was no longer performing as desired while running Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX).

The parts were gathered after a couple weeks of deliberation regarding which CPU and motherboard combination would be best suited for the job. A TechPowerUp thread was dedicated to the discussion, click here. It was basically a choice between the Skylake i3 series, or the much older Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition because of it's single core performance potential being that it is a factory unlocked chip. As you can see, the i3 won.

The next decision was the motherboard. At first, we were settled on the MSI B150M Mortar. However, we saved a few dollars downgrading the processor from the i3-6300 to the i3-6100 due to negligible performance differences, and put the money toward the more powerful chipset found on the ASRock H170M Pro4. The H170 included things like additional USB3.0 ports, M.2 storage capability, and additional PCIe bandwidth.

The memory choice was a simple decision - the least expensive highly rated 8GB modules that ran 2133MHz, 15 CAS, on 1.2V natively. With 2 DIMMs left available, the PC should have a little room to grow if needed.

The Seagate FireCuda was chosen because of it's balance between capacity, performance, and price. With more than enough space to store FSX with all of it's addons, it should hopefully delivery a great experience for years to come.

Another difficult decision was on the GPU. The latest generation of NVIDIA graphics are outstanding performers. However, the price became difficult to justify. Being a 1070 owner myself, it was difficult to go to the other side but ultimately it was very hard to beat the performance per dollar capability of the RX 470. With enough power and memory to play FSX on maximum settings and good frame rates on a 1080P monitor, I feel that the $150 investment was the right choice.

While browsing budget friendly Micro ATX cases on Newegg, I stumbled upon the Cuboid-R from DIYPC. It has a simplistic yet attractive design, more than enough room for expansion on the existing parts list, and a very attractive price point. Purchased for $55, the price then dropped to $50 just a couple days ago. Newegg was very friendly in issuing a refund for the price difference. During the install, I was able to remove just about every panel and piece of this case leaving behind a steel exoskeleton, which made installation a breeze. Cable management was superb thanks to a healthy amount of cable-tie holes and anchors throughout the chassis. There is more than enough space underneath the motherboard tray to tuck away excess cable, especially if coiled neatly and secured with tie wraps. Running the GPU power cable was a little awkward however, and I'm not completely satisfied with the route I took, so I may revisit that later. The case included a front 140mm 0.30A fan (unknown bearing type), and a rear 120mm fan. I had a spare 200mm 0.45A Cooler Master chassis fan that I opted to upgrade the front with to give the GPU a little added airflow. There's room on the top of the chassis for up to 240mm radiator, but I opted to leave those fan locations bare as I don't expect much thermal output from the locked i3-6100 processor, and the GPU is blower type which will help keep ambient temps cool. The last point to make about the case is the rubberized coating on all the panels. It's a nice touch and a welcome change from the powdercoated steel of all my previous builds.

Lastly, the Corsair CX650M was a product review sample that I had laying around unused. I donated it to the build as an act of good faith to my neighbor. After all, I do plan to get some hours in on the flight simulator once setup!

Comments Sorted by:

potatomanflavor 3 Builds 4 points 26 months ago

Good build! those RX 470's are quite good for power to performance, allowing a comfortable increase over a 1050ti and quite cheaper than a 1060.

preaux 1 Build 2 points 26 months ago

Nice build. I like the choices considering the needs of the user. Was the CXM one of the newer revisions or the old green label units?

VulcansHeart submitter 3 Builds 2 points 26 months ago


The CXM is a pretty new unit. When I did the product review in April, Corsair hadn't even updated their site to reflect the new model number.

VulcansHeart submitter 3 Builds 2 points 26 months ago

I am actually really jelly of this rig. Kinda don't want to give it away haha!

Pixelsandwich 4 Builds 2 points 19 months ago

Arctic silver 5 on intel stock heatsink WHAT MADNESS IS THIS ?!

jk, were the temps pretty good ?

Gooberdad 10 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Very nice. Way to take care of you neighbor.

Thumbs up.

Expod 5 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Really cool looking build. Lucky neighbor.

FACUNDO 13 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

You messed up techpowerup xD

VulcansHeart submitter 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago


csgopro 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

How do you do that text?

Vairfoley 27 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

This build is perfect. You couldn't have done a better job choosing the parts. I love seeing builds like this; built for a purpose with a budget in mind. That's what building a computer is all about, to me at least.

Excellent work! +1

PoeDomo 1 point 20 months ago

Can you tell me what the temperatures of the graphics card are? I'm considering a similar model.

VulcansHeart submitter 3 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Sorry, the rig is not in my possession. That said, the owner is not taxing the hardware too much, and I wouldn't expect the GPU temps to exceed 55-60C.

22BusDrivers 1 point 19 months ago

I have a question about the case, was it easy to work in or was it a little hard? I'm thinking about this case for my first build thanks! :D

VulcansHeart submitter 3 Builds 1 point 19 months ago

The case was a breeze to work in. All of the exterior panels come off, leaving just the shell behind to mount the components.

csgopro 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

Air flue???

ToFast 1 point 6 months ago

Good for you man


TheRealMcCoy -11 points 26 months ago

shoud have taken the 1050 or 1050ti cuz their better than the rx 470 and most of rx 480ies

Tultamaneli 9 points 26 months ago

But, they're not?

[comment deleted by staff]
ThoughtA staff 2 points 26 months ago

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