A Budget i5 gaming box built for my buddy Matt. He set me a budget of no more than $600, told me what games he wanted to run (Fallout 4, Skyrim, Witcher 3, trying to get him into Overwatch) and basically let me run with it from there. Matt and I are both big Monster Energy fans, so we thought it would be funny to build him a black & green system. I set about assembling his parts list with that in mind.
I was pleased to be able to squeeze a 6600k into his budget, even though he didn't care to OC it. To that end, we also decided to save him some cash by going with a budget Asus MoBo. For the price, it's a fine board, just two complaints- There are painfully few fan headers, two I believe, one of which was obscured by the heatsink. I ended up, therefore, having to fall on my sword and connect his case fans via molex. The second is the LED strip that highlights the audio portion of the board isn't a nice neutral white like I had expected, but a rather nauseating goldenrod-yellow, which clashed something awful with the green theme. I'm sure there's a BIOS option to turn it off, but it didn't bother him.
Having never built in a case of this form factor, I was excited to give it a try. I also selected the CPU cooler not knowing how much room I would have inside the case for a tall one. Installation of the cooler was the typical exercise in futility that I usually experience... Less-than-useless instructions left me guessing until he and I looked very closely and were finally able to notice where we were going wrong. Securing the backplate required both of us; I held the cooler in place so as not to mess up the thermal compound while he tightened the bolts. The frustrations continued during cable management. Everything was either just barely too short to tuck away neatly, or in the case of the front I/O, neat management stopped the case from opening all the way. I eventually found a happy medium of a relatively neat cable layout and only had to sacrifice a small amount of case-opening width.
The GPU is something I know I may draw some ire for... We went for an MSI GTX 960 special edition because we found a great deal, it matched his build, and all my research determined that it would be able to run all his games at decent settings at the resolution he runs (1080p, I believe). To compensate, I overclocked the nuts off it in MSI Afterburner. I don't remember where we got with the OC, but I had him test out all his games, as well as a FurMark stress test, and they all ran smoothly and the OC was rock solid. I know he'll be fine for Overwatch too, as my gf runs it just fine on a GTX 950 with no OC. To complete the green theme, we went with 8gb of Avexir ram with green LEDs, which should be plenty for him as he's not using this machine for anything other than games.
After reviewing the power needs for the build, we decided to carry over his old PSU from his frankenstein-esque Dell that he had been slowly upgrading over the years. It was fully non-modular, which made cable management a nightmare as I'm sure most of you can imagine. While it was a pain to build with, it did save us between $70-$90 on a new one. We also carried over his old hard drive which saved us both on new storage and a new Windows license. His old drive is painfully slow (although it needed to be cleaned up, which I think he may have done by now), so he is saving up for some sort of solid-state solution.
Overall, he's very happy with it and, even though some compromises were definitely made to keep him on budget, it does everything he needed it to. Not the most exotic build I've ever done, but it was a fun project for us to work on.