I've spent the last 5 years on a Dell Inspiron that was beginning to show its age. I'm a student so money was important, but so was overall quality. I call it "not-so-budget" because know I could've cut corners to make it way cheaper or to maximize performance, but I refused to skip on creature comforts.
The Ryzen 5 2400g seemed like a solid improvement over my old laptop and like a good jumping off point into PC gaming. I know it'll be more than enough to play all my old games and it oughta be enough to get started in some newer titles. If I find myself really getting into it, I'll slap something like a 1060 or rx580 in there.
After several days fighting drivers and display issues, I discovered the Radeon Vega graphics drivers do not play nicely with old and/or cheap displays, so keep that in mind if building with the 2400g.
I ended up exchanging the motherboard for a replacement after my display issues expanded to include boot failures and random/frequent crashes. It still has issues booting with the displayport connected, but that seems to be a common and unrelated issue that I'll get figured out later.
Since the original build just a few months ago, I've already began upgrading.
The display issue led to the purchase of a new monitor, which has been awesome BTW. Where has 34" ultrawide been all my life?
I've also upgraded to some cheap PWM fans so it's a little quieter under light loads.
After dipping my toe in the waters of PC gaming, I saw the light and decided I wanted to dive in. After watching the prices of GPUs fall, I caught an rx580 8gb for $249.99 (compared to $350+) at the time of the original build.
Now, although it's little disappointing that I don't have a Ryzen 1600/2600, the original intention of this build is really paying off.
Great APU for the money. It will get me by for now and should be plenty strong enough to not bottleneck the system if/when I install a dedicated GPU.
It manages to play DOOM (2016) at 2560x1080 with low quality presets at a very console-like 30-45fps. It definitely won't impress anybody in the PCMR and will be unplayable to anyone already accustomed to 100+fps and ultra graphics, but for console plebs, it gives a very similar experience.
NOTE: AMD's Radeon Vega 11 graphics drivers DO NOT like old/cheap displays. Even though this isn't particularly powerful, low end displays caused loads of problems and it was a nightmare to troubleshoot.
After yet more troubleshooting and finally exchanging the motherboard, I got one that seems to be working properly. 5 stars for features, but knocking 2 for the PITA the first one caused.
M-ATX form factor is great for a Ryzen 2400g build; nice and small, but lots of expandability. This particular board is the only M-ATX board with 4 dimm slots, 2 usb 3.0 headers, 4 PCI-E slots, and a display port. Those were my criteria, and this was the only one that met it.
The bios needed updating before working with the 2400g, but that process was extremely simple once I got a hold of an already-support processor. (The second board came updated already so that was nice.) This board also accepted my G. Skill Ripjaws V memory kit right away and overclocked to its rated 3200mhz with no problems despite not specifically being on the QVL.
Everyone says Ryzen loves fast ram and this was the cheapest DDR4 3200 2x8gb kit at the time of purchase (3/29/2018).
This kit isn't specifically on the QVL for the MSI b350m Mortar, but it works perfectly and had no problem being set to the rated speed of 3200mhz.
I've never had an SSD before and decided to go straight for the fastest thing possible. When I turn on my system, it's already sitting at the windows login screen by the time the monitor displays an image. I no longer dread turning off my computer.
I use this as my bulk-storage drive. Obviously it's nowhere near as fast as the NVMe boot drive so games do take a little while to load, but it's not intolerable. For stuff like photos, videos, music, documents, etc. it really doesn't make a difference so having this much storage for such a low price is a no-brainer.
Great case!! So few cases have external bays any more and fewer still have them and also look good. More than enough HDD/SSD trays (all of which are tool-less). Considering its size, there's tons of flexibility for fans. Great for cable management. There's tons of room back there for big bundles of cables.
Only two criticisms with this case. 1) The covers for the 5.25in bays are wider than the opening, so if you install anything in there, the drive wont extend to the width of the rest of the panel. 2) The top opening doesn't have a cover. Without fans installed or a cover, dust will just fall inside the case.
Great PSU for a Ryzen 2400g build. 500w is way more than enough power for integrated graphics and should still be plenty if/when I slap a mid-tier dedicated GPU in there. Being semi-modular makes things so much cleaner. With the M.2 SSD and one 3.5HDD, all I needed was the 24 pin, 8 pin, and one SATA power cable, so getting the rest of the mess out of there keeps the bottom of the case clutter free.
Wireless Network Adapter
Great wireless card for the money. Compared to my 5 year old laptop, the download/upload speeds are pretty much the same (probably due more to the router and internet service than the card itself), but I did notice this picking up nearly twice as many networks... And bluetooth is a nice bonus feature.
Obviously not 144hz, 1440p or anything like that, but for a budget ultrawide, this is the way to go. 34" is great for immersing yourself in one task/game, and feels big enough to serve as two full sized monitors without each one feeling cramped. I was originally afraid that pixel density would look awful on such a large screen, but it's actually extremely close to my previous 24" 1920x1080 monitor so it's not bad at all.
The description says it's only 60hz, but it does actually go up to 75. FreeSync support is nice to have too. The previous model only supported FreeSync over Display Port, but this one does work over DP or HDMI.
I'm particularly impressed by the stand and bezel. Matte black and silver look great and doesn't get all nasty from fingerprints. And despite being a budget monitor, the stand actually raises/lowers by about 4.5 inches.
I've never used anything but cheap, wireless laptop mice so I was hesitant to spend $50 on this guy, but I'm quite impressed. I'm still new to PC gaming and playing with mouse/keyboard in general so I still suck, but even considering stuff outside of gaming, it's a great overall mouse.
Having the ability to cycle through multiple profiles with a couple of macros for each is awesome. I was originally eyeballing the g600, but thought 12 macros seemed a bit excessive. The few here are still useful and feel extremely simple and intuitive. Then for remapping them, the software you can download from Logitech is extremely easy to figure out and use. So far, I've created one for gaming, another for web browsing, and another for working in CAD software.
Overall feel in my medium-large-ish hand is great and extremely adjustable for each user. With the removable weights in there, it feels nice and hefty. And the DPI range goes from ridiculously slow to ridiculously fast, so there's a setting somewhere in there for everyone.