For my first build, I tried to go cheap. It meant I ran into way more problems while building this sucker, but it was worth it. I had $300 to work with and went to town trying to find the cheapest stuff possible.
I didn't know what I was doing when I first ordered my parts. I got a used CPU for $10 on eBay, grabbed a motherboard, some cheap sketchy generic-brand RAM, my case, and the PSU. I didn't even get a CPU cooler because I didn't realize it was absolutely necessary. I threw everything together and pressed the power button and..... nothing. My first issue was installing the front panel connectors correctly. My second one was installing the wrong motherboard standoffs. My third was not plugging in the CPU power. When that all finally got sorted out, it still wasn't POSTing. I tried getting a CPU cooler and thermal paste, but then it didn't do the job (and I got thermal grease on the pins, of course, so there were shenanigans with rubbing alcohol and a paintbrush). I did some troubleshooting (after giving up for like a month/being busy with school), and turns out my RAM was dead and somehow shorting the motherboard. So I splurged and got that sexy Corsair RAM. That's where I ran into my next issue - with the way the RAM slots were positioned + the height of the Corsair RAM, I wouldn't be able to plug in my hard drive in any of the 3.5" slots. So I moved the hard drive up to the free 5" slot, installed two screws, and said a prayer to the eldritch gods in the hopes that it wouldn't fall out. And voilá, the thing actually POSTed! But then of course I had the fun time of figuring out the incredibly confusing BIOS. I bought a CD drive and threw in the wireless card eventually (since my house has no ethernet), finally figured out my BIOS when those came in, and installed the OS. I had to reinstall once because of things going wrong, but that's what it took to work.
I still don't have a GPU, but I'll probably get one eventually. Right now I use this as a generic desktop PC for work and programming and whatnot (as a CS major, I do get a lot of use out of it). With peripherals + monitor, I got up to my $300 budget. I'm planning to replace the case and get another drive with card readers and USB ports, and eventually get a faster CPU (since it runs at 70% when i'm just running Discord and Chrome). I'm pretty happy with my build!
I can't really complain for the price I got it at. Runs close to full a lot, but it's not exactly a powerful CPU, and it's faster than my laptop.
Confusing BIOS, but I figured it out after doing some googling. Beeps every time you start up. Otherwise pretty good.
If you want something that looks good, go for this stuff. Replaced my faulty RAM with this and it's working great.
Pretty quick startup. With Ubuntu and some basic software I'm barely using 5% of the drive.
Pretty solid case for the price point. Knocked off a star because of difficult cable management. Also, because of the way the motherboard fit into the case, my RAM blocked the connection for my HDD no matter which 3.5" slot I used, so I had to use a 5.25" slot. Fans are quiet. Front panel audio isn't working.
Plenty of cables! Hasn't burned my computer out yet.
Loud but does the job.
Wireless Network Adapter
Worked out-of-box, so I could download updates while installing the OS. Antennas are moveable. Nice and fast.