I put this together with the goal of making a powerful web-browsing/school computer that's cheap. Because I am not a gamer by any means, I decided on just using the integrated graphics, and the deal on the i5 was hard to pass up. (More on deals later.) I currently have an iMac (please don't hate!) but decided that parallels and boot camp wouldn't cut it, especially since the machine is a few years old. (If you don't know, those allow you to run windows on the mac, either side by side, sharing resources, or requiring a reboot each and every time to switch between the OSes.)
--Vague Explanation on a few of the parts:
CPU/iGPU: The integrated 4600 graphics is enough for web browsing, at least for me. So far, it’s working great. I was looking into AMD APUs, but none of those had near the power of the i5 I decided on, if I do decide to make this into a light video editing PC or gaming PC.
SSD: I only got the 120gb SSD because I really don’t use that much space - around 250gb on my main computer. I also have a 1tb external hard drive. This is my first SSD, and so far I'm loving it. Boot time from pressing the power button to the desktop is just over 15 seconds! (without fast boot!)
Edit: I decided to throw in a 160gb drive from an old laptop. It appears to be working, no problem.
CASE: Yes, It’s a little large for the mATX mobo. I didn’t quite realize that it would be that large. Although, for $15, I really can’t complain. There really weren’t a whole lot of decent mATX cases in this price range.
WIN 7: For some reason, for the half hour or so I played with windows 8.1, I just didn’t like it. It’s a decent OS, but it’s just not for me. The promo also made windows 8 a hard buy when I purchased the OS. (Even though there was a windows 8 deal a couple weeks later during black friday.)
--Deals Explanation: (Bought everything from Newegg, except the CPU.)
CPU: I was very fortunate to find it in-box sealed on craigslist. The person needed it gone right away, so they gave me a steep discount.
MOTHERBOARD: Great deal on Newegg. $52.99 - $15 promo code - $10 rebate.
RAM: $39.99 - 5% promo - $10 rebate
SSD: $89.99 - 10% off Promo Code
CASE: $50 - $20 rebate - $15 Iron Egg Price Match
PSU: $44.99 - 5% promo - $20 rebate
WIN 7: $99.99 - $21 promo code
Total savings off retail: ~$210
--Mistakes/Things I would change:
I cheaped out on the motherboard a little too much. The only feature I am currently lacking is front panel USB 3. I had to buy a $5 adapter to connect the front panel ports.
I wouldn’t mind changing to a smaller case at some point. Although I would take the features the Corsair 200r adds and a larger form factor over a smaller case that is lacking.
I messed up a few times while putting a few of the things together. Whenever I did a test build outside of the case, it wouldn’t turn on because I kept connecting the power LED light conntectors and not the power switch connector. It took me around 45 minutes to troubleshoot and figure this out. I partly blame the lack of a manual included in the motherboard though, and I was trying to view the online manual on my phone. (Hence the 4-star rating) I also shifted the USB 2 connector one set of pins to the right. It took me a while to figure out also while the front panel didn’t work. facepalm.
At some point I would be interested in maybe getting a PCIe card with USB 3 ports on it. (Both internal and external) So far though, I haven’t gotten enough USB 3 devices for it to be worth it.
It also took me forever to figure out how to install the LAN driver. Once again, it was an easy fix. At least I’ll know for next time. :)
Overall, I’m happy how it turned out, considering I am only 13 and that it was my first build.