For the past seven years I had told myself I'd build a computer one day. Last year I completed my first Frankenstein build with my brother. We used what was available, what was cheap, and threw it all together in a classic vintage Compaq tower from ~2006. That was going to be my plan here too.
The plan: $400 computer (parts only). [I did need a monitor but I knew that had to be priced separate]. Games I play include League of Legends, Rocket League, Overwatch, and Hearthstone. I know, I'm a huge spender. So at $400, I needed to play all of those games (Overwatch being the most intense I suppose.) at 1080p 60 FPS. That was the goal. All I needed, all I wanted. I had an old eMachines tower from ~2005 that these parts would fall into.
I can confidently say that I'm pretty sure I would have met my goal. My original build had a 1050 instead of a 1050 Ti (thanks to my friends for egging me on to upgrade!) and after enough... backlash about the eMachines case, I decided to splurge and get a case that I was actually interested in. Anyway, these parts can run Overwatch on Epic settings @1080p 144 FPS (no shadows, fog on low). I've been playing them like that for a couple of weeks and zero hiccups. My monitor is actually 60hz so I know it's not a true 144 FPS, but the in-game stats tell me it doesn't waver. If something is intense, it might go down to 120-130 FPS briefly, but it's always over 100.
Having said that, let's dive in, shall we?
Processor: Intel - Pentium G4560 3.5GHz Dual-Core
This thing is amazing. I actually originally had the G4600 on my to-buy list, however a buddy of mine pointed out that the G4560 is basically the same thing minus 0.1GHz, but it saved me ~$10. Absolutely worth it, would definitely buy this Kaby Lake over and over again for budget builds.
Motherboard: MSI - B250M PRO-VD Micro ATX LGA1151
Great MOBO I feel - it has some LEDs that light up. Very classy. I have no issues with the RAM slots and there's plenty of room for my big ol' hands. There's only two fan headers though (CPU and SYS). If you want more fans, you'll need to get a splitter like I did or some other alternative. $15 MIR.
RAM: Crucial - Ballistix Sport LT 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2400
RAM got expensive this year, didn't it? Either way, it looks great, it was the cheapest at the time, matches my silvery-black color scheme, and has heat spreader.
HDD: Western Digital - Caviar Blue 320GB 3.5" 7200RPM
Here's where I cut back and saved some cash. I originally wanted an SSD for speeds, but as pointed out to me, at this budget you simply don't get an SSD. Having said that, this thing loads does load fast. I've used an SSD before and had no one told me, I would have been fooled. A lot of people need 1TB or something larger. I've been living on a 100GB SSD (Surface Pro 1) for the past 3-4 years, so 320GB is more than I need.
GPU: Asus - GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Phoenix
This thing dominates. I was expecting 60 FPS across all my games. This delivers 144 FPS at least and max settings for everything at 1080p. Huge props to my friends for having me bust the budget by about $20 to go from a 1050 to a 1050 ti, because I'm not sure I could live with anything less. Snagged it with a $10 MIR.
Case: Thermaltake - Core V21 MicroATX Mini Tower
This case. This. Case. I love this thing! Like I mentioned, I was going to save the $30 and use an old eMachines case. Thank goodness I have friends to show me the way. This case is fully modular and as you can tell from the pictures, I could flip, spin, and move this case any way I needed to for cable management, building, upgrading, etc. 200mm fan in the front that comes with it, room in the back for a 140mm fan, as well as like six more should you choose. Look it up on their website, I have maximum praise for this. $20 MIR put this in a great price range for what I was getting out of it.
PSU: Corsair - CX (2017) 450W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX
Works great! I got it with a $20 MIR, so super cheap for what it's worth.
Wi-Fi: TP-Link - TL-WN725N USB 2.0 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi Adapter
I actually bought this last year for my brother's computer but he didn't use it in favor of a different set up. I never drop internet, only compromise about 5 MB/s, so all-in-all, a great solution for non-Ethernet users.
Fan: BitFenix - Spectre LED 47.7 CFM 140mm
In addition to the 200mm case fan, this thing is great as an exhaust fan. The LEDs aren't super bright, which is perfect for me, but if you want a star in your case, this might not be the fan for you.
Monitor: AOC - I2379VHE 23.0" 1920x1080 60Hz
This monitor is beautiful. Great colors, huge (I'm used to an 11" screen), no light bleed, and is wonderful in every way of the word. For $100, I got everything I needed in this thing.
I hope this guide helps you with you budget building, as I'm a huge fan. Yet another shoutout to my friends who helped me pick along the way.