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The Starter Desktop ($800 First Build)

by Mvc192


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

Oct. 15, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.2 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.165 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

6.61 GHz


After approximately 8 years of only using basic laptops, I wanted to finally build a desktop which could be used for some light gaming, Java & web programming, web browsing, and Photoshop.

When I began to build the PC, I thought it was going to be a walk in the park since I watched about 10-15 build videos on YouTube, but was I wrong... I was VERY nervous the entire time I was handling any of the components. But, the installation of the various parts went relatively well, though took about 3 hours due to installing - uninstalling - installing due to the case size and cable management (forgive the spaghetti mess, I fixed it the best I could after taking the GPU in and out about 4 times).

Thankfully, the system was able to post. But, my "fun" was only beginning... I was able to install Win8.1, update drivers, and was able to upgrade to Windows 10. Out of no where, both PNY memory modules (original memory shown in photos) failed. Thankfully, I am able to get a refund and ordered the Corsair memory (so far so good with Win10).

The 2 1TB Barracuda HDDs are actually very important for this build - though possibly not the smartest part cost choice. One is used for the usually OS/Documents/Games/etc. while the other will be used to store strictly DVD & Blu-Ray backups. If I can figure out how to share the entire drive over my network, I would be a very happy guy!

Overall, the PC is exactly what I wanted and only went $14 over budget! Please give me feedback and any suggestions as this holiday season I will be looking out for some great deals! <3

Part Reviews


The i5 was what I wanted as the performance to price was something I was looking for.


The Gigabyte motherboard was a component which shaped the build in a way as I initially wanted to dual boot Mac OSX. Although plans have changed now due to fears of another system failure (my little heart probably could not handle another issue and panic attack like I had with the memory), I can still Hackintosh the build if I choose.

Video Card

GTX 950. This was the card I wanted from beginning to look at PC components. Yes, I could have gotten an AMD at the same price point with possibly better performance (motherboard support crossfire support). Yes, I could have only gone with 1 HDD and used the extra $50 for a 960. But, I am happy with the price to performance and full fills the needs I have (used to playing on Intel & GTX 740m graphics so this is a HUGE upgrade) which will usually have games running in Medium graphic settings.


The PS08B is the only component I wish I would have changed. Yes, it is a cheap case and I expected very little, but the size was a shock. The case is good quality for the price and has decent airflow as what I can tell, but is very tight. For a first time build, I would not recommend this to a builder. It looks nice and does it job.

Operating System

Was able to upgrade to Windows 10 easily. Even after hardware failure, I was able to get Windows 10 activated easily.

Comments Sorted by:

bengy22 4 Builds 7 points 41 months ago

If you never do anything wrong, you will never know if you did anything right.

riomist 1 point 41 months ago

That's deep...

Iceman320 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

And if you never do anything right, you will never know if you did anything wrong? right?

bengy22 4 Builds 2 points 41 months ago


wwbt14 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

You could've opted for just a 1tb drive and get a gtx 960 with the extra money you saved

randomguy99 1 Build 2 points 41 months ago

Or instead of 2 1tb drives you could have gotten a single 2tb drive for around 40$ cheaper and then partitioned it.

Mvc192 submitter 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

I probably should have done this... I really didn't even think about just partitioning a larger drive. Noted for next time.

elustran 1 point 41 months ago

There are some performance benefits to having multiple drives, actually. If you're serving files from that second drive or copying something, you're not going to get a performance hit from IO on your OS drive.

Mvc192 submitter 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

My reasoning, after thinking back, with 2 separate was the fear of the media drive going bad. I didn't want to risk loosing important documents if the drive failed. Now if the OS/doc drive goes back, that's a different story.

Thanks for input about performance btw. :)

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Mvc192 submitter 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

Yeah. Would have been the smarter decision, but live and learn. Though, I am not complaining about the 950.

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riomist 1 point 41 months ago

Agreed with other comment about component rationale. But hey! Great build nonetheless!

TechyinAZ 14 Builds 1 point 41 months ago

Build is not bad at all. Looks great!

Lol, yeah the building veterans make building a PC look easy.

As for sharing your HDD, do you have your house connected to a network with the same domain? If so, sharing the drive is easy peasy.

Mvc192 submitter 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

By hour 2 of building I kept thinking to myself, I must be missing something/doing something wrong cause all these videos are sub 1 hr. But hey, had a fun time :)

TechyinAZ 14 Builds 1 point 41 months ago

Well at least you learned, building more PCs because REALLY easy when you already have the know how to do so.

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ShadowDevilSlayer 1 point 33 months ago

I haven't saved to build my own pc yet but I did have a chance to put something together that ran at a friend's house, we wanted to test a hard drive that I had so we put some spare parts that he had laying around together, it was an athlon64 x2, a radeon hd 4550, and old parts from a pc that our high school was going to throw away, it could boot into some old hard drives with windows XP on them but it couldn't boot into my windows 8.1 laptop drive for some reason.

Iceman320 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

I put together and take apart a fair few computers on a relatively regular basis, but just like you when it came to handling my own components that I spent so long deciding on and saving up for I was very nervous.

I also came from a laptop to desktop, and gosh darn it IM NEVER GOING BACK!!!!

elustran 1 point 41 months ago

One point I haven't seen made here yet is that the i5 4460 is probably overkill when matched with a GTX 950 if the main thing you're worried about is gaming/multimedia performance.

Or course, now that you have a nice new desktop, you can always grab a 970 later or something from next year's Pascal chips.

Mvc192 submitter 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

Yeah I figured that when I purchased the GPU. But, like you said always room for upgrades when prices get closer to the budget :)

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DuckyShine 1 point 41 months ago

Looks fine to me. I wouldn't have went with that small of a case but that's just personal preference. The motherboard is fine seeing as you don't have a K series cpu and aren't doing crossfire, could actually have went even cheaper on the mobo.

The 4460 is about perfect really if you aren't overclocking, 4 strong cores is all you need. The gpu is what it is. You won't be playing fallout 4 @ ultra/1080p/60fps but you already knew that. Most games should be more than playable at medium-highish settings I would think and you can always keep an eye out for a good deal on a 390 or 970.

Mvc192 submitter 1 Build 1 point 41 months ago

Yeah, the case was sort of a "oh cheap small case with USB 3, I got to get me some of that". Probably should have through some more money into that :P

And I agree with you about the 950. I will do its job for me as I do not have a 1080p monitor as of now (old Dell 720p.......) and coming from laptop graphics, any sort of improvements over very low settings makes it a new game.

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ThoughtA staff 1 point 33 months ago

The sale of those keys violate Microsoft ToS, and the keys may be unexpectedly disabled. Recommending, suggesting, advising, encouraging, hinting, or in any way implying these keys as a solution or option is not allowed on this site.

Cole_allen 1 point 33 months ago

Oh I'm sorry I did not know I will not do it again.

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