+ Total (United States):
The kids, 8 and 10 years old, and I decided our 6 year old Gateway wasn't cutting it anymore and that we would make a project of building a new computer. I had never done anything like this before and so had to do a lot of reading! The kids did most of he assembly and I did most of the cabling and Windows installation, dirvers, etc. We used the monitor, keyboard and mouse from the old machine to cut costs.
It is used for gaming, nothing too hardcore, Minecraft modding, various Steam games. I wanted it to be as future-proofed as much as possible, since I'm sure their gaming is just going to expand. It is SO much faster and responsive than the old machine which locked and lagged. The graphics are a huge improvement. We are very happy so far!
Any feedback or suggestions are welcome. I'm sure I made mistakes.... We had a strict budget and I plugged in the components here and waited for the price to hit our magic number. PCpartpicker is awesome.
UPDATE 2: As summer heated up this year, our new computer started shutting down, and after installing Speedfan, I realized it was overheating. We installed a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, and it completely solved the problem. CPU temps went from 80-82 (!!) to 67-70. AND it runs more quietly now, the fan going at half the RPMs but dropping the temp by 10-15 degrees. I highly recommend adding this cooler to the original build as the original cooler just didn't do the job.
Also, hubby has been playing Skyrim lately---fantastic graphics, excellent response, no lag. Couldn't be more pleased.
UPDATED: Wow, thanks everyone so much for the comments!!!!
Some quick replies: I don't think we're going to be overclocking, but I did have my eye on the coolers mentioned, mostly for the quiet. However, the fans on this case are super quiet already. I'm sitting right beside it and can't hear it.
Hair-tie: good idea!!
I will check the mobo/RAM settings, thanks for the tip.
Cable management: that big cord was super stiff. I tried to route it behind but I couldn't get it to bend easily and decided to leave it out front. I agree that it looks messy that way!
Our old monitor is decent, 2048x1152, a close-out we got a couple of years ago when the Gateway monitor died.
And as for Windows, I had purchased the upgrade disk a couple of years ago when we went from XP to 7 on the old machine.
Again, thanks so much! I'm relieved to hear we did all right with our selection.