Gotta start somewhere :] well, my old Toshiba laptop just wasn't any good, and I've always liked the power of desktops as opposed to laptops. I've had a little experience with building/taking apart desktops, we had an old one that broke and I messed around with it. Nothing has compared to building my own though, I was on a pretty tight budget, $400, and my dad graciously donated/bought some things to help out. Some parts are from our old desktop, the DVD drive, the 2.5" HD, and the 8800 GT. They're all temporary until I can afford to buy better parts, the 1 TB was a gift from my dad. The wireless network adapter and Hyper 212 EVO were gifts too, but came in a few weeks after my build was done. I haven't done any stress tests, because I don't have a Windows 7 key yet, and having trouble getting any to work on Ubuntu 13.04 GNOME. Recommendations would be helpful haha, I don't know why the last picture is sideways on the site. Both on my phone, what I took the pics with, and on my computer it's the right orientation. And about my cable management, it wasn't too great the first time, and I tried to do a little better the second. It's not great, but it's better than some I've seen around here. Anywho, onto the parts!
CPU : First of all, don't be an Intel die-hard. For a budget of $400, I couldn't afford Intel. I did a little research into AMD CPU's, and discovered their APU's. The more I read about them, the more I was thinking I wanted one. So, I ended up getting the best one, at the time. I was planning on using the APU without a dedicated graphics card, but since the temperature sensor seems a little inaccurate (10ºC at idle..?) I don't want it to get too hot without me knowing, hence why I have the old 8800 GT. The A10 is fast though, if I had waited a little I probably could have gotten a newer APU, but that's in the future.
CPU Cooler : A gift from my dad, a few weeks after my build was done, and relatively easy to install. I do wish I had another fan, but with the 140 exhausting air above it, I think it's fine. I'll make a presumption it's doing it's job well, my temperature sensors aren't quite right so I can't really tell. No sudden crashes or warnings about anything being too hot though, so that's good haha
RAM : So, I thought this was a bargain. The CAS latency is 10, but compared to the other sticks at this speed it was a bargain. Looks nice with the board, sorta matches haha I haven't been able to test it to it's full extent (having trouble finding a stress test for anything on Ubuntu 13.04 GNOME) but everything relying on memory has been insanely fast.
Motherboard : I thought this was going to be my least favorite part, but I quite like it. I can't tell much of a difference between audio quality using my ATH-M20's, so I'm thinking it's a gimmick, but at $60 I'm not going to complain about that. I will complain about the placement of some things, mainly the USB 3.0 port. Right under the first 16x PCI slot, when it could have easily been placed by the SATA ports. Oh well, it doesn't look too bad.
Storage : Not really much to say, temporarily running Ubuntu on the 2.5" drive until I get a hold of a Windows 7 key. Doesn't seem too slow, or too fast, I'll look forward to having a whole TB of storage though :]
Wireless Network Adapter : The other gift my dad ordered, however it doesn't have much support for Linux. I was getting faster speeds with an old adapter from our busted desktop, so I'm using that. I'll see if it works better on Windows, but it was dropping far too much, compiling and installing the newest drivers seemed to help, but not much. Really disappointed by it.
Case : It was a complete blast using this case. I've read and seen so many awesome reviews on Fractal Design cases, and I love the look of them. They aren't too flashy, but they aren't to dull either. Everything was really solid, plenty of screws if I lose/break one, and the fans aren't bad.
PSU : So, here's the power supply. I don't like this too much, it's my least favorite part in the build, and the main reason is the cables are too stiff, it made plugging them in quite a challenge. Some of the cables were a little short too, some were too long but that's fixed only with custom sleeving. It is 80+ Bronze certified though, but still the first thing I plan on upgrading.
There are plenty of upgrades I plan to make. 6670 to Crossfire with my A10, better/more HD's, an SSD, an FM2+ motherboard, liquid cooling my APU, upgrading the APU, and the first one is the PSU. Gonna try and get an 80+ Gold modular, or at least semi-modular, to make cable management much easier.
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Decided to remove the 8800 GT and just use the APU. I've ran it for two days, and I can see a noticeable difference in quality and FPS. I had some issues with DirectDraw, Direct3D, and hardware acceleration, but I reinstalled drivers and everything seems fine. I also managed to find a program to view my APU temps with, HWMonitor, so I decided to do a small overclock. 4.4 GHz, ran Prime95 for 40-50 minutes and everything seems stable. The AMD Catalyst Center says I could go up to 4.9, but that's way too much without water-cooling it. Anyway, I'm incredibly happy with how this has turned out so far. Can't wait to start upgrading it!
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Forgot to mention, downclocked to 4.3 GHz, and running the APU Graphic cores at 950 Mhz. I can play most games with high FPS, on medium to high settings depending on the game. A few lag spikes sometimes, but not very often. Ran Prime95 for an hour and a half, no problems. Thanks for viewing my build! :]