Description

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!

Part Reviews

CPU

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.

Motherboard

Confusing BIOS, but I figured it out after doing some googling. Beeps every time you start up. Otherwise pretty good.

Memory

If you want something that looks good, go for this stuff. Replaced my faulty RAM with this and it's working great.

Storage

Pretty quick startup. With Ubuntu and some basic software I'm barely using 5% of the drive.

Case

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.

Power Supply

Plenty of cables! Hasn't burned my computer out yet.

Optical Drive

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.

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Comments

  • 36 months ago
  • 3 points

This is very nice. Good on you for figuring it out!

When you upgrade, I recommend getting a G4560, which'll require a new motherboard and new RAM. All of that for under 150$. :)

Either way, good thing it works out for you!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Great suggestion, i would also go for G4560. It has the new intel hd graphics 610 which should suffice for now.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the suggestion! As soon as I can afford to upgrade I'll take a look. :)

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes that would be a good CPU but I would also wait too see what the Ryzen R3 Processors bring to the table, they might obliterate Intel's Celerons/Pentiums/i3's for a cheaper price.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

The G4560 is a beastly CPU for only 60$. If Ryzen can make a better price-to-performance CPU, that would be amazing.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

It would be, I can't wait too see what Ryzen 3 Offers, because Ryzen 5 processors are already destroying Intel's Kaby Lake i5's right now, which I think is awesome. Here's hoping Ryzen 3 makes as much of an impact as Ryzen 5 and 7 does.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Intel is doing better gaming wise (for now), but Ryzen's six cores and twelve threads tho...

Ryzen 3? That might just make me get a Ryzen 3 over a G4560, though the Pentium will be a tough one to beat. Superb performance for 60$.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Get an AMD FX 4000 series CPU . It's more than enough to run chrome and discord.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Ty for the suggestion! I'll have to take a look.

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  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Kids, this is why you always do some form of research before building. I'm glad you got it up and running, but a simple guide would've done you wonders.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly true, but I don't regret trying to figure the whole thing out on my own. I learned a lot more that way, and at the very least it makes for quite a story. :P

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Now that is devotion! most people would have given up with a project at this price point with as many problems you encountered so I commend you sir! good job! Just a side note, SebTheCat is right, you get an FX 4000 series chip for cheap, just note the FX series has no on board graphics so you would need a graphics card first! +1

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! :) I'll keep that in mind for the CPU upgrade!

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

First off welcome to PC master race.

excellent on you for figuring out things and getting it up and running.

Ignore the haters and remember everyone starts somewhere. Good luck in future builds and upgrades.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

thank you!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

For a graphics card upgrade an RX 460, or RX 470 would be great for you! They get pretty cheap and they perform well for the price.

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