I had been wanting to build a budget-friendly gaming PC for a while, and after hearing good things about the Ryzen 3 1200, I figured it was a good fit for my needs. This website was an amazing resource for a newbie like me when it came to picking all the other parts; I spent days conceptualizing a build. I'm not usually a fan of red color schemes, but after some consideration I decided to go with the MSI B350M Gaming Pro motherboard and build a red/black theme around that. In the end I am happy with my choice in parts, in regards to both aesthetics and functionality.
The build process went pretty smoothly minus a few minor difficulties and rookie mistakes. When first sliding the mobo into position, I checked that the ports lined up with the I/O shield, but I hadn't looked closely enough to notice that some of the metal tabs of the I/O shield were sticking into some of the ports. I only realized this after screwing the mobo into place, so I had to unscrew and reseat it. After removing the screws the mobo still wouldn't budge, it was somehow stuck to the standoffs. I had to apply a lot more force than I was comfortable with to yank it free, and I was worried the physical stress on the mobo would damage it. Another thing that required me to apply a lot of physical pressure was attaching the ATX power connector to the mobo, I had to wiggle it back and forth while pushing down hard until it secured into place.
Other than that, the rest of the build was pretty hassle-free. The Inwin 301 chassis is rather lacking as far as built-in cable management, but I was able to minimize on cables by using a spare 256GB M.2 SSD as my only storage and a video card that doesn't require an extra power connection. Another complaint about the case is that some of the screws were easy to strip, especially because they were screwed in extremely tight at the factory. I had to insert some pieces of plastic baggies between the screws and the screwdriver for extra grip when reattaching the front fan bracket. But oh boy, the case is gorgeous, and its compact form is ideal for my desk. So I am quite pleased with it.
For my operating system I chose Arch Linux. I wanted a bleeding-edge distro to go with my brand new hardware, so having the latest kernel and drivers is one of the big advantages of using Arch. Plus I've been using Arch for a few years now, so I was comfortable with installing it and getting it up and running. And if you're going to build a PC from the ground up, why not do the same with your operating system?
I was hesitant to go with an Nvidia card for a Linux build. Nvidia is notorious for not being friendly towards open-source, whereas AMD is quite the opposite. AMD's open-source Linux driver stack is on par with Windows performance. For that reason I was initially looking at getting an RX 460, even though I knew that the GTX 1050 Ti performed better. But a few days before I bought my parts, the specific card I was considering had gone out of stock. Also around that time, this EVGA GTX 1050 Ti went on sale, and was cheaper than any RX 460s that were available. So I decided to give the 1050 Ti a try and use Nvidia's proprietary drivers, despite their reputation among some Linux users. The only problem I've had so far with Nvidia's proprietary drivers is their lack of an fbdev driver, causing the TTY to be low resolution. This is not a huge problem, it just triggers my nerdy OCD. I just have an ugly low resolution console when entering the passphrase for my encrypted partition and when logging in. The latter is especially a bummer because I like to have cool ASCII art for a nice text-based login prompt.
Another Linux-specific issue is that temperature sensors for Ryzen chips aren't supported as of kernel 4.13, and won't be merged until 4.15. So until then, I won't be able to do any stress-testing and CPU overclocking. But for now I'm very happy with this build. It works great, and it is definitely a big upgrade from my Acer C720 Chromebook. It's been a lot of fun, and I'm proud to have built my first PC!