Description

First, let me say THANK YOU!!!!! to the PCPP community for the answers to my questions, suggestions, and information that made this build possible.

The title is from a friend at work who I had been discussing this project with since it started back in Nov. '15. As each part evolved to a higher level and expanded from a narrow purpose to a broad use and the budget just kept going higher. Finally he reminded me that this won't be the build to end all builds, and after a certain point it just became bragging rights. In other words 'Sometimes Good Enough Is Good Enough'.

This build started out far, far different than what it ended up being. The only two parts that stayed the same from the beginning were the HDD (since I already owned them) and the motherboard. I had originally wanted to build a modest budget build that could surf the 'Net, play W.O.W. , and a few older games. It has turned into a mid-level gaming machine that can handle any number of other tasks. Some of the parts I have are slightly off balance, and that is due to price, availability, or that I changed my mind so many times as I gathered parts as budget allowed. Having admitted that, I think this has turned out far better than I had originally planned.


CPU: I had originally planned on going with an i3-6100. I was particularly interested in the fact that when I was getting started, SKYOC was available and people were achieving stable OC's of 4.5Ghz and higher. This seemed like the best of both worlds, until Intel put the kibosh on it. Since the CPU was one of the last things I bought, I figured that If I couldn't OC the I3 (without jumping through a lot of hoops) an I5 would be the best bet, so I went with the 6500.

CPU Cooler: The Raijintek Aidos Black is a nice unit. The heat sink is large enough to do the job and the fan. while only 92mm keeps my CPU cool. Performance is on par with the CM 212 EVO, but about $7 less at the time of purchase. The fan is quiet and installation was as easy as could ask for. The only criticism I have is that the paste cane in a little foil packet (think ketchup) instead of a syringe. Glad I chose this unit as you can see in the photos, anything larger would have completely blocked the #1 RAM slot.

Motherboard: ASRock was my top choice of company but I had a couple other models in mind at first. I knew I wanted a Z170 board for possibly OC'ing a I3-6100 (when it was possible) and that several reviewers had shown how using higher speed RAM with the 6100 had marked performance improvement from stock DDR4-2133. This mobo went on sale, and at the time it was the lowest price it had ever been, and I jumped on it. It's not pretty, and it's not supposed to be. This is a stripped down, no frills mobo perfect for my use as my case has no window. Installation was painless and it's worked well so far. Only gripe is that the Molex connector for the case fan controller is smack in the middle of the board. There is no graceful way to route the cable to it without going across the whole thing, in front of God and everybody. The BIOS is very nice, with two versions; Easy Mode and Advanced. Easy mode is pretty and for minor tweaks is perfect. Advanced mode is closer to old school BIOS (like Phoenix was back in the day) but still very user friendly. ASRock's A Tuner allows adjustments to performance from inside Windows including Easy OC for those with K chips. There's also the ASRock App Store for other things like driver updates and such. Not too shabby for a sub $100 Z170 motherboard.

RAM: It's RAM. I used 3200 instead of 2133 because it was a $5 difference in price and a significant performance upgrade for I3 CPUs vs 2133. I like the low profile heat spreader, and G. Skill has a good rep.

Storage: First is A-Data 240GB SSD. It's fast and price was nice. Not as popular as Samsung, but cheaper. The two Seagate HDD are from my previous laptop computer. They are over 8yrs old and are as good today as when I first used them. I'll get a larger HDD at some point in the future, but these will do for now.

GPU: This was another part that changed, and changed, and changed again. At first I was going to go with a GTX 950, since that was all I needed. Then after seeing that newer games were needing more horsepower to get desired performance, I looked at the GTX 960. Oh, but wait! the R9 380 beats the GTX 960 and is sometimes cheaper. No the 380X is the way to go. Hey look, R9 290s are still around for the same price. No, no, Nvidia had better drivers. And on, and on, and on. When the money came available this card was on sale and I had a slight discount with buying it with a couple of unrelated items, so that's what I went with. I don't regret the choice. I think this is where I couldn't have made a bad choice, since AMD makes great GPUs as well and they all perform well. Install was a breeze, and I downloaded EVGA Precision X (just like MSI Afterburner) to go with it. Came with a poster, stickers, and a nice case badge. I really like that case badge.

Case: This was a pain in the posterior. Lower priced cases were either deficient for cable management, or were uglier than Jimmy's little sister. If I wanted a case that looked like a neon freak show, I'd just go buy an Alienware P.O.S. If I found a case I liked it either spiked in price or went unavailable. Was about to bite the bullet and cough up for an Enthoo when this case came available on Newegg. It's well built, solid as a rock, has plenty of space behind the motherboard wall for cables, and holes all over for cable access. With three fans included and a fan controller, plus room for two more fans (and plugs in the controller for them), USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and a multi-size SD card reader, for under $60?! Yeah, I jumped on it. This case obviously took it's cues from the Define series and/or Noxonia, but so what. DIYPC built a winner with this one. Most of their other cases are ........juvenile, but this one is great for those who just want a nice solid case. There's no side window, but I don't mind since all the action is on the monitor, right? Only downside is that the door isn't reversible.

PSU: This was the first item I bought for this project. I had been researching parts and at the time here on PCPP the fur had been flying over PSU choices and how folks were reacting to those choices. There were few PSUs that were generally regarded as acceptable, but this was one of them. JonnyGuru had put out it's review of the B2 units with a grade of 9/10. I got mine on sale from Amazon on a price drop at a price I just couldn't pass up. 750 watts is overkill for this system, even at full tilt I might only use 65-70% capacity. However, this is a solid unit, well built with a 5 year warranty. Semi-modular to boot. I know full modular is cooler, but the hard wired lines are the ones I'd have had to use anyway. Unit came with black sleeved cables and some nice Velcro strips for cable management.

ODD: The part itself is nice. The vendor I bought it from on Newegg, RIP-OFF!!!!!!!!! The description had been worded so to give the impression of including software along with the ODD, so the price looked reasonable. Come to find out the price was for the unit all on it's own (it's an OEM, but wasn't described as such). I could have gotten the same part for @ $20-30 cheaper. I didn't return it since it was my own stupidity for buying it, not Newegg's. Chalk it up to a learning lesson. It performs as expected.

Other Parts: I already had Windows 7 Ultimate, and the trackball. The wifi card does what it's supposed to do. The keyboard was a cheap one on Newegg. Only noteworthy thing is that it's P/S 2 (needed it for initial set up), but it works well, and types nice.


The build process it's self was so smooth and easy I was suspicious that something was wrong. Everything went like buttah, POSTed no problem, Windows installed no hassle. Whole thing took maybe two hours, with a couple of revisions when taking care of the cables behind the motherboard. Still not satisfied with them but it works and it's not bad, just not perfect. Gotta get a monitor, as right now I'm using a 720p LED t.v. It's ok but a true monitor (1080p or better) will be an improvement.

Questions, comments, and such are welcomed.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

The Raijintek Aidos Black is a nice unit. The heat sink is large enough to do the job and the fan. while only 92mm keeps my CPU cool. Performance is on par with the CM 212 EVO, but about $7 less at the time of purchase. The fan is quiet and installation was as easy as could ask for. The only criticism I have is that the paste cane in a little foil packet (think ketchup) instead of a syringe.

Motherboard

One of, if not the least expensive Z170 motherboards out there, but it works great. Plenty of features, but stripped down so you're not paying for toys you'll never use. Only down side is the Molex port for a fan controller is located in the middle of the board just under the CPU, so there's no hiding that cable.

Storage

Fast, no problems, and no drama. Exactly what I want from a hard drive, and even more so from an SSD boot drive. It's not a Samsung EVO but for the money it's just as good.

Storage

The price doesn't reflect the value, since these drives are approaching 9 years old as of Oct 2016, and have been in constant service all that time. On their own they rate closer to 3.5 star (they are just average drives), but for 9 years of use with no hassle, that gets you the other 1.5 stars.

Video Card

It's been getting the job done, though I haven't taxed it's limits yet.

Case

Solidly built with lots of room and routing holes for cable management. Insulated for quiet operation. Has USB 3.0 & 2.0 ports, and a multi-size SD card reader. The accessory card slots (video card/sound card/wifi card etc) are replaceable, so no awkward holes if you remove a card later. It can mount up to 5 fans (three come with the case) and comes with a magnetic dust filter, and a PSU shroud. It's a great case with lots of room (can handle an EATX mobo).

Power Supply

It's overkill for this build. That said, it's worked like a champ from day 1. Excellent build quality, great price, great reviews, and a good warranty.

Monitor

Nice panel, speakers are o.k., but you can't find a better monitor in this size for under $100 (USD) brand new.

Headphones

Build quality is nice, headset is light weight but sturdy. Sound is a little light on the bass, but was corrected to my satisfaction by adjusting sound properties in the OS. Ear-cuffs are cotton soft and feel good while wearing. There's only the USB connection and works just fine in USB 3.0 ports (though it's meant for 2.0). The cable is heavy duty thick and @ 7 foot long so plenty of tether and not likely to kink or break easily. Volume control is on the back of the left cup, but no mute for the mic at all. Also no way to turn off LEDs except to unplug from your computer (even when off).

Comments

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Why raijintek and not 212

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

The performance is about equal, but the Raijintek was slightly cheaper at the time. The Raijintek is also @ 20mm shorter. I had chosen it before I knew what case I wanted, so smaller with the same performance seemed the way to go. Plus, nobody has one of these, while everybody has a 212.

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

why the 2 expensive seagates? nice build but more reliable and higher gb hdds are avaliable for less than that

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

I already had them from my previous computer that died. They're something like 8 years old at this point.

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

D:

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

Could you confirm for me that you managed to get the RAM running at its rated speed? I'm researching what RAM to buy with my own Z170 Pro4S.

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup it definitely is running at 3200 by every measure available to me. I don't think that it'll be a huge difference if you went with 3000 or even 2800. Since it was a very close price to 2133 I went with the faster RAM. I wouldn't over think this. AFAIK most RAM is comparable and the speed can provide a bump to performance but not enough (IMO) to warrant spending major cash for it. You'll get better results putting that money toward a better GPU than anything that RAM can do.

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

You know that the case actually does have a windowed option on newegg, and it's cheaper.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

It does now, but not when I got mine.

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

How's the airflow in that case? I'm planning on buying one myself and I just want to know what kinds of temps you're getting on the CPU and GPU.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Today I've had the system on all day (non-gaming though) and CPU temps are around 31°C steady. That's with 2 intake fans and 1 exhaust fan with the top open with the dust vent on.

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

Can you hear the fans at all at full tilt? I assume you're just using the fans that came with the case and not aftermarket ones. This case almost has me sold, but I just want to make sure.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't hear the case fans at all. I can hear my CPU fan and that's only if the room is silent (because of the open top).

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for your help! Just ordered it. I hope I love it as much as you do.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem. I'll look forward to seeing the completed build.

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

I have a question about the case since DIYPC customer support is not clearly answering me. I'm trying to build a budget gaming PC for my friend and this case of course checks all the needed boxes for a great price of $60. I can't find any video reviews on this case so if you can help me out I would appreciate it!

Did you have any trouble or recall any of the motherboard screw mounts not being pre-drilled? and the did the case come with standoff screws for the motherboard so the board does not make contact with the case? I heard these are serious issues and is the only reason why I haven't bought this yet.

thanks.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

No, the case had stand off holes drilled for multiple board sizes and my case had the stand offs preinstalled for ATX boards. I also had received 3or 4 extra stand offs in the box.

  • 32 months ago
  • 2 points

You do know that you can connect the molex cable to the power supply

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes but then you don't have use of the fan controller in the BIOS.

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

How's the monitor working for you?

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Working excellently. Graphics are nice, and sound isn't bad (for monitor speakers). The size is better than I anticipated. For an under $100 monitor I'd be hard pressed to find better.