Around 2011, I bought a computer from a friend. He had built it originally but had since replaced it, and I desperately needed something to play Star Wars: The Old Republic because it wouldn't run on my Mac. It served me well, from a fried disk drive in a RAID 0 configuration through over 500 hours in Civ V. Alas, a 2.2 GHz Duo Core with 4 GB of RAM can only last so long before it too succumbs. But knowing I could build something on my own for way cheaper than just buying pre-built, plus the satisfaction of knowing I did it, was more than enough temptation to pull the trigger.
As a preface to this build, I had almost no knowledge going in of what I was doing. Despite learning about my friend's rig from trial and error, I mostly was flying blind when it came to what parts provide what benefits. I started by looking at completed gaming builds and ripping parts from there, then replacing them with what I wanted or liked.
You may be asking why I would get an i5-6500 (i.e. a locked CPU) when my motherboard is an overclocker's dream. Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing and just mainly went with what I liked. I also had to balance this build with affordability; most everything was bought on sale or as cheap as I could snag it. My wife and I were planning an anniversary trip to Washington DC, so breaking the bank on parts was out of the question. I salvaged parts from my old computer (mainly the optical drive and my HDD) to fill in the gaps and save a few bucks as well.
This build POSTed on the first power up (to my great surprise; it was installing Windows on an unpowered SSD that gave me the most trouble), and I couldn't be happier with its performance. I've only had time to play Overwatch and about 4 full games of Civ V but everything looks beautiful. Windows boot time is 6 seconds from POST to home screen and it's lightning fast compared to my old rig. She's ice cold with this case, although I had to do a little finagling with case fan cables to get there.
So if you're starting your first build, my advice to you is just do it! Google is your best friend because at least one person has had the same problem you're probably having. Whether it comes to why your SSD won't boot (because you forgot to plug the power cable into it...), to how to lock a damn stock i5 CPU fan into place, to how the hell you arrange your case's LED and power light plugs on your motherboard, SOMEONE has struggled through it. Not only that, but your instruction manuals will do you a world of good for each part so READ THEM THOROUGHLY. If it sounds like gibberish, read them some more and do some research. Reddit was a wealth of information, especially /r/buildapc. And if all else fails, trial and error is the best way to succeed.
I might go back and edit the prices if I can pull them up in my email and order histories, but all in all, this build cost me roughly $600 when all was said and done. Considering I would never find that kind of power for that kind of price in a pre-built machine, I'd call that a win.
Very good CPU for the price. Comes with a stock cooler which works very well. The cooler comes with thermal compound on the back that applies once you lock it to the board which I did not know, and I subsequently had to reapply my own because I am a dingus.
By the way, that stock cooler is a pain for a first timer to figure out how it locks onto your motherboard. The first time I applied it, I thought it wasn't locked so I lifted it. That's when I realized it had thermal paste applied to it. I re-seated it (first mistake) and thought nothing of it.
When I booted it up, it ran fine but my CPU started to show high 60C temps while idling. After removing the compromised thermal paste and reapplying some new, then properly locking it to my board (pro tip: press the pegs to lock it down, no twisting required), she's been fine ever since.
ICE COLD. My CPU IDLES at 28C, and even playing Overwatch I haven't seen it jump above 50. I actually had to use this to replace the thermal compound that comes pre-installed on the stock CPU fan (because I didn't read) but honestly this stuff works so well I don't think I'll ever use pre-applied thermal compound ever again.
I. LOVE. THIS. MOTHERBOARD. WOW. SO PRETTY. I stared at this thing for maybe 20 minutes when I first got it. I wanted to take off a star for how hard it was to figure out where my case's LED plugs went into, but after reading my manual several times, I figured it out before powering up the first time with no issues. I have seen other boards with color-coded plugs and, while that would have been nice, the manual was helpful in this regard.
The BIOS is awesome. Plugged my USB mouse in to make changes on my first boot and it had no problem recognizing it. My only experience prior to this was using a keyboard to navigate BIOS so sorry if I sound like a caveman.
Comes with plenty of screws and plenty of SATA 3 cables. Definitely love this bad boy.
My only gripe with this board: there's only 5 4-pin fan plugs. 2 are for your CPU fan (so they'll throttle with usage), 1 fit my back exhaust fan, my first front case fan reached the board but my second front case fan needed a 12" extension cable to reach the other fan port (on the bottom far left side of the motherboard above where the power supply would sit). The last fan port doesn't actually fit the 3-pin connector (trust me, I tried) for the top 2 case fans, meaning I had to get a 4-pin male-to-male Molex to plug it directly into my power supply.
Thank you /r/buildapcsales! Snagged these bad boys for under $40 around Black Friday and didn't look back. Not only are they gorgeous (and fit the red and black motif of my rig) but they get the job done. I had never heard of ADATA and didn't know if they were garbage or not, but I can assure you they most certainly are not.
After someone mentioned to me there are really only 3 or 4 companies that make RAM, seeing an unknown name like ADATA was irrelevant. I was sold after that.
Friend of mine recommended PNY after he put a 240GB in his newly built computer. I had originally been looking at a Samsung SSD but the PNY was about $20 cheaper at the time. Boy oh boy does she run like a champ. From POST to home screen in 6 seconds or less is just....incredible.
The only snag I had was forgetting to plug in the power cable on my first boot. It was plugged into the SATA port on my motherboard so it was recognized but I couldn't install Windows on it. Sure enough, the issue here was my own incompetence.
Their cloning software, Acronis, is not loved by many. I did a clean install of Windows on this so I can't speak for it myself, but this SSD has performed exactly as needed.
Does what I need it to do, which is hold my dank memes and games that I don't want to take up space on my SSD.
I actually pillaged this from my old computer; it was my main storage drive there but plenty o backup space. Saved what I wanted (documents, pictures) to a thumb drive and wiped the whole thing clean.
I'll be honest here: this is the least exciting part of my build. I got this from a friend who didn't need it anymore (thanks dude!). He sold it to me for $50 and I used it in my old computer until I got my new one up and running. I'll probably upgrade to something else when the prices drop lower but for now she's probably the weakest part in my entire build. And that being said, it STILL runs really really well. But this will certainly be the first piece I upgrade when I get the chance.
They should call this thing THE MEATLOCKER. 5 case fans pre-installed (2 front, 2 top, 1 back) with dust covers on all of them for easy cleaning. My only complaint is that a few of the case fan plugs are too short for my motherboard (Asus Z170 Pro Gaming). I had to get a 12" 3-pin extender for the bottom front fan and a male-to-male 4 pin Molex to connect the top two case fans directly to my power supply (because I didn't have space on my motherboard for them). The good news is the top 2 fans have a low, medium, and high fan control on the front of the case so plugging them directly into the PSU is not an issue. All in all, my computer idles at somewhere around 25-29C and under load gets no more than 40C aside from my GPU which runs in the high 60's.
Is it my motherboard's fault? Maybe. But it does its job well and saved me from having to figure out how many fans to buy, which for a first time builder is a godsend. Also, this thing is so quiet, when I first booted my build up, I was afraid it didn't turn on.
Oh, one other thing: this is listed as a mid case, but I found it to be pretty roomy. Easily a full size case.
I didn't even enable Eco Mode and this thing makes NO NOISE. I kept holding my breath for the 750 to go on sale, but after the 650 dropped lower than I'd ever seen it, I snapped it up. 100W isn't much difference to me right now (considering I'm not pulling more than 400W) so if I really want to upgrade it when I get a more powerful CPU or GPU, I'll do that.
For now, Superflower components are running perfectly swell. JohnyGuru gave this a ridiculously good review and they weren't wrong.
Also MY GOD fully modular power supplies are amazing. My previous rig had a non-modular PSU and it was a mess of cables. Here, you use what you need and it makes cable management a breeze. And this thing smells really really good when you open that box.
Does what I need it to do: reads and writes. Can't complain here. Pillaged this from my old computer though so that's a plus.
This was a gift from me to me. It was on sale for like $30 and I had a POS Logitech wireless mouse that couldn't hold a charge for much anymore. Considering I had been using it for about 6 years, it was time get a new mouse.
Changed the color scheme to solid red so it matches my case lights. EDIT: It turns out that sniper button actually drops your DPI down one notch. It's not actually an "alternate button" but rather, more useful so you don't pan too far when sniping in a game. Found this out playing Overwatch and it turns out to be really useful even when not sniping.
Kept me from ruining my parts with electro-static discharge. 10/10 would pretend I'm a cyborg attached to my computer again.
Extended my bottom front-side fan plug all the way to the 4-pin connector on my motherboard. Good stuff. Shout out to Amazon prime for that free 2-day shipping coming through in the clutch.
Had to use this to connect my two top side case fans directly to my power supply, because my motherboard didn't have sufficient plugs for it. Good stuff, so 10/10 for that.
0/10 for this part being more expensive to ship than it was to actually buy. Bad form, Amazon.