My son told me he didn't want anything for Christmas and never specified anything specific. We got him a bunch of toys and Disney's Infinity 2.0 for the xbox one. On Christmas day he was quite happy with what he got but kept looking around for something else. when he didn't see it, he looked a little confused. I told him if he didn't write it on his Christmas list Santa wouldn't know what to get him. I've never seen him so shocked and ran out of the room to get pencil and paper and wrote down he wanted to play minecraft with the cool mods.
I knew immediately what had been going on in his mind. He hoped for that pc but was afraid to verbalize it. That was me at that age, he is my son. This would have to be corrected. there's no way i'm going to crush the dreams of mini-me. I told him he can get a pc for minecraft on his birthday instead (it's in March).
My intentions was to buy a pre-fab box around the $500 range. as i started to do some research, it quickly dawned on me, no matter what i buy, i'm going to have to swap parts out. at the bare minimum the video card, but probably the PSU as well. Which made me think.... maybe i should roll my own. I haven't used a pc at home in 4-5 years (i've been using a mac), and i haven't built a rig in 9-10 years (the last box i made was for the sake of playing Half-Life 2 before the game came out). This could be fun. i flirted with making a gaming box last year to take advantage of Steam sales and being caught up in the whole Steam Machine thing. but i gave up on that idea because the amount of research and money to build that machine just seemed like too much. i would have to buy all the parts at once to assure there are no problems and truthfully i already had a ps4 and xb1 and didn't have enough time to play those machines much less add another box to the equation.
But this was different.... this was for my boy! I couldn't crush his dreams in his formative years...... besides, i end up killing two birds with one stone. I become a hero dad, and i get to go through the process of building a pc again.
I've got to say, PC Part Picker is a god send. it made this whole process so much easier. i had a lot of problems with Amazon but in the end it wasn't Amazon so much as the USPS. amazon has made a deal with the devil in partnering with them for shipping. After this experience I will be shopping much less at Amazon for sure..... It was (and still is) a nightmare.
Anyway, as i started picking parts, i thought i would go with an AMD chip. the fx6300. and I thought i would go with an NVidea gtx 750Ti gpu. But i kept reading that for gaming the intel i5 was the way to go...... so my chip cost jumped from $95 to more than double. which meant i had to change the mother board i'd chosen from AMD based to intel, and then i started thinking...... "gee, for $50 more I can get that new gtx 960"..... what started out as a $500ish system ballooned to more than twice that (i thought I had a 22" monitor in the closet.. forgot i gave it away when we did spring cleaning) and that $120 for Windows 8.1 (i ended up not buying OEM on the chance i would have to swap machines for some reason). Long story, long..... I built this machine as if i were making it for me, except i got him a really cool case with green lights, which is his favorite color and the keyboard by redragon changes color and the gaming mouse by Etek City does the same. I know this thing is more than enough for minecraft and the mods but it should be pretty good for whatever game he likes that comes along as well. it should last a good number of years (as all of my built pc's do). I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
The thing is, this experience now makes me want to revisit making my own gaming box ( the only things i'd change is the cpu to a 4690k and the gpu to a gtx 970 and the ssd to 500gb.
I haven't built a pc in 9-10 years and damn! this mobo feels so solid. it looks so good. personally i don't need to see my parts but for someone who does, this thing looks sweet. It is a bit much for this build, seeing as i'm not going to overclock, but better to have more than to have less.
I bought the limited edition nvidea gtx version with the green led lights. This is a really well made, solid case. the panels are very thick and there is no flex whatsoever. I bought this case first from Amazon and it arrived with the handles broken. I found it strange that Amazon didn't ship it in it's original packaging. turns out the nimrods at the USPS damaged the crap out of it, re-packaged it, lost parts, yet didn't notify me or amazon.
For a case this size it was really easy to work in and the build was a breeze. I've always ended up nicking myself on a sharp edge but not on this case. it is a really sweet case.
Warning, the handles are a hard plastic and i don't think they can take a lot of flexing.
This was a last minute purchase. I thought i had a monitor already. I could have gone cheaper and saved a few bucks on the build but this monitor has a really low ms and built in speakers (though they don't sound very good). this is fine, since my son doesn't really like loud volumes (yet). over all a very nice monitor.