This was a Christmas present for my Grandmother who had been using the same PC since 2008 and a monitor from 2005 that was found in a dumpster. She loves playing on her PC as she is retired and it made me glad to make something for her that she will enjoy. This build is intended for uses like web browsing/facebook/solitaire and random flash games. It was made to be a budget build for basic computing needs, this build will be a night and day difference to my grandma’s old HP.
I used brand new parts for the entire build minus the keyboard & monitor and was very surprised at how low the cost was.
I kept a close on reviews and benchmarks while placing a high emphasis on price. Keeping needs vs. wants in check I created this to last her the next few years. I enjoyed pricing the parts and keeping the total cost under $275. I could have gone with just a pre-built tower for $250-$350, but most of those include 1TB HDD and I wanted to make sure this had a SSD. I wanted to have something simple, but fast.
Post Build Thoughts: Overall I was happy with how it went after I finally got all of my parts. The Amazon delivery came very quickly, only a few days. I had a bit of a problem with the shipping from Superbiiz. I have shipped items with them before and never had a problem, but lately I have had all kinds of shipping problems. After waiting a little over a week for the CPU & RAM to arrive from them, the UPS man delivered it to the wrong house. Even after I wrote a detailed note in the special instructions, because I have been having problems with my packages being delivered to the wrong address lately with them. I went to all my neighbors to check if they got it the day it said it arrived, but no luck. After about 24hrs had passed I did what anyone would do and contacted UPS and Superbiiz to file for a lost package. By this time nobody had brought it over or sent it back to UPS. It magically appeared on my door steps around 10 P.M. two days after it “arrived”.
Attempting to install Windows 7 was an absolute pain. For starters, when I plugged in the USB to flash it, it did not recognize it. I went to ASrock’s website and read that Intel N3000, 100/200 series and AMD AM4 chip-set has removed their support for EHCI, so it was difficult to install Windows 7 since the USB ports did not work for flashing Windows 7 and I did not have an optical disk. If I had a disk to install it with it would not have been a problem, but who uses those anymore right?
Of course, there was a patch for this on ASrock’s website and I tried to use it to no avail. I would make it through all the steps and copy all of the ISO files than it would stop working. After a few tries I ended up going with Windows 8.1. I know support for Windows 7 does not end until the start of 2020, but I figured she would not have to upgrade for another 2 years and when the time came I would just do it for her. By using this OS i will not have to worry about that now.
For basic computer use this CPU will work fine. I think that this is Intels most interesting budget CPU that they have released in years, mainly because of how cheap it is. Nearly half the cost of an i3 7100, yet still hast the same 3mb of l3 cache, but no hyper threading. It retailed at about $65 when it came out and I got it for $50. I could have went with the G4560 for around $35, (or g4600 for $30 more depending on availability) more than what I paid for the 4400, but I seen no use in having it hyper threaded for the price.
Out of all the budget boards this one had the best reviews for around the $50 price range. Nothing special about it, 6+ Sata connections, onboard USB 3.0. My only regret on this purchase is not buying it off newegg and getting a $15 mail in rebate. I could have used that rebate in conjunction with a $10 credit I got for purchasing a $150 Amazon e-gift card that I used to buy other parts in this build. There were a few times where I put my hand on the back of it when connecting various plugs into it because I thought I might crack it. This also had a PS/2 port on it that I hooked up a brand new 10 year old Dell keyboard to that I found still in the package lol. Which isn’t a big deal most motherboards still have this feature on them.
I knocked a star off because ASrocks USB patch did not work. installing windows 7 via USB will be a pain for anyone getting this motherboard. Intel N3000, 100/200 series and AMD AM4 chipset has removed their support for EHCI. You will need to go to Asrock's website to download their patch, it didn't work for me, but it might work for someone else. Hopefully this saves someone from having to go through the headache.
One of the cheapest DDR4 type ram I could find. 4 gigs will be fine for basic computer tasks. If ram was not sky high right now maybe I would have went with dual channel 2x4. Took me a little longer to seat than usual because of the motherboard.
I went with a SSD for speed purposes like everyone else. Kingston was selling one of the cheapest ones at $50. I could have went with Adata SSD for a few dollars cheaper, but when it comes down to small dollar amount differences like that I like to stick with the more reputable named brand one as in this case.
The Rosewell case was only $20 at the time of buying it. Very cheap and had some of the best reviews that I had seen for its price range. This was one of the very few $20 cases that has a front USB 3.0 , top mounted PSU spot and comes with x2 fans, x1 80mm exhaust fan and x1 120mm intake fan. In my opinion this is a fairly good deal for the price. Its a cheap case its not gonna be comparable to the expensive ones, but what else is there to expect. You get what you pay for. Its flimsy and has some sharp edges that may slice you if not careful. I think this is a very reasonable case for the price that I got it for. Cable management is very hard to pull off with this case, especially if you are using a non-modular PSU and using the CD drive cage. Reason being I stuffed the majority of left over cables in there. There is also very little space in between where the back panel goes on. So if you are running alot of wires back there to hide the majority of it they may bow the panel slightly.
This is a reputable brand and in this case was extremely cheap. Nearly every other brand around this price range is a cheap off brand with nightmarish reviews of PSU failure. Also, it is not a very good idea to skimp out on the PSU, despite it being a budget build I was not going to cut this corner, as much. However, the thought did cross my mind. Sometimes its better to pay the extra money to save possible future headaches. This was one of the rare exceptions. Its non-modular, which makes no difference to me this case will not be opened for a long time, and the aesthetics mean very little . Of course its not modular so that makes cable management a little bit harder, but for the price it went nice with this build.
I had this old HP monitor lying around from an older HP slim-line that my parents used to have. It uses a DVI/VGA with 1440x900 factory set resolution. This will be a huge upgrade to her old monitor from 2005 that was found in a dumpster.
It says that its got an 18 month battery life. We will see about this muahaha.