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TLDR; I wanted a new compooder, I built a new compooder.
Here’s the detailed version:
This build has been about a year in the making. I started out with a old Dell XPS 8500 I had bought around 6 years ago. Not knowing what I know now about computers and financial responsibility I decided going with Dells payment plan to get this pre-built was a good idea. SPOILER ALERT… I grossly overpaid for this computer over the course of 2 years. In the end though I did end up with a machine that decently lasted the test of time and powered through what I threw at it. Towards the end of last year though I noticed my i7 3770 and GT640 was starting to show their age. I wanted something new, but I wanted to be smart about it. Thus began my journey, which I’m sure a lot of you had taken, into youtube videos and different forums.
I suppose I should start with what my end goal is with this computer. I love computer gaming, as a dad and also an adult I don’t exactly have too much time for it. When I do however I wanted a computer that wouldn’t really hold me back too much. I was on a budget and I already had a 1080p led screen so I wasn’t looking for something over the top but I did want room to upgrade. I also wanted something that could handle photoshop and video editing. I’m not going to be rendering 4k videos anytime soon but I am trying to document some things and wanted a computer that could handle 1080p rendering without crashing or taking forever and a day.
My budget for this computer was under $700 including taxes. This money was pulled together partly through side hustle eBay resale money and partly through help from the wifey who did not completely understand my enthusiasm for computers but wanted to see me happy. LOVE YOU BABY!!!
Now I am going to leave my reviews in the review section, so this next part will be how I found certain deals and why I chose these components.
Inland 120gb SSD (My first purchase) $29.99
All the forums I read said a SSD would be the best and most affordable upgrade to a computer. So, it was the first thing I bought. A 120 gb Inland SSD directly from Microcenter which at the time they had on sale for $29.99. This SSD has already been used a lot. It initially started out as a boot drive for my XPS 8500. I then found a Dell XPS m1530 laptop at savers for $25 so I threw it in there as the main drive till I re-sold the laptop on ebay for a profit of $100 (old hard with the laptop of course, I kept the SSD). It is now being used for my steam library. The 120gb doesn’t go too far though so I am currently debating on getting a second one and putting them both in raid 0 since if anything was to happen I’d just be losing my steam library and I want it more so for the speed aspect.
Gigabyte GTX 1050 ti $184.98
This was bought around November 2017. GPU prices were as most of you know, not ideal. I had PCPP daily email alert on for GPU’s and even though this price wasn’t MSRP it was the lowest I could find on any platform, even used ones on ebay at the time. This was going to be the next upgrade for my XPS 8500 to hold me over till I had the money to get all my other components. So I jumped on the deal and I don’t regret it at all. Userbenchmark might rate it a speed boat but it was a major upgrade from my barely surfboard GT640. My end goal is either a 1070 or Vega 56, but for now this is definitely getting the job done.
Ryzen 1600 & ASRock AB350 Gaming ITX $163.49 & $37.92
AMD just seemed right for me. I could go into detail as to why but this would be a lot longer than it already is if I did. Nothing against Intel, if money wasn’t an issue I would’ve gone with an 8700k, but I was sticking to a budget. The reason I chose 1600 vs a 1600x or 1500x or 2600 or 2600x was for multiple reasons.
-1. 6 cores. I know some games don’t necessarily take advantage of this and even some workstation applications can be more single core focused then multi core. 4 cores seemed to becoming the expected for a desktop computer with also more applications and games seeming to push updates as well to take advantage of these multi core processors. I figured one way to future proof since I won’t probably upgrade my CPU till Zen+ comes out would be to get a 6 core processor. 3.2ghz base clock was good enough for what I need and I may play around get a AIO so I can OC in the future.
-2. Price. This wasn’t voted one of the best bang for your buck CPU for no reason, and with 2600 just coming out, it was tempting but didn’t fit my budget like this CPU did. Not to mention with the motherboard I was choosing I didn’t really want to go through trying to find a way to update my bios. It was Hassle free and got the job done. Stock cooler also runs in with this one. The stock coolers are attractive and actually work good so less money I gotta spend.
The reason I chose this motherboard is because of 4 reasons. Integrated WiFi, I will be living on an RV so being plugged in won’t be an option most of the time. USB type C, I can see this being useful with a lot tech moving to type c connectors. Form factor, I was originally considering building a much smaller ITX case and wanted to stay small. And the biggest one PRICE!!! This was an open box from Microcenter. Add in the fact Microcenter had a cpu mobo combo deal going on I was able to get an additional discount on top of it. I was eyeing this mobo before this open box showed up in my local store but this just made the deal even sweeter.
Cooler Master - MasterBox Q300L $36.49
It was between this and the Cooler Master Elite 110. I wanted small and portable but this new case caught my attention. I have plans to build this case into my RV which when finished I will re-upload here with new photos! The mini ITX mobo doesn’t look too small in this case, I love the tinted side panel acrylic window and it looks stylish to me. Got this on an Amazon sale for $33.00 since Amazon warehouse is in our state so I was charged tax.
EVGA BT 450w 80+ Bronze $24.99
This was not my first choice. I had my eyes on a 500w 80+ Bronze that was semi modular for $40 but I saw this one on sale and it seemed like a steal for me. I don’t think I’d need to upgrade it even if I do get a 1070. Cable management was a little of a pain but I did use most of the plugins so I’m not mad about it.
Kingwin 120mm fans x2 $4.40 each
The case only came with 1 fan, I needed more. This were cheap, came with good ratings and work. Not sure if much more needs to be said. Didn't want anything flashy, just plain Jane black.
AData SU800 M.2 $30.41
Since my other SSD is being used for my steam library I wanted something as a boot drive. This was cheap and had good reviews. Combined with an Amazon gift card I’ve been saving up from doing passive lock screen ads on my phone I was able to get a pretty damn good deal I believe for a M.2.
Crucial Ballistix Elite 16gb (2x8) 2666mhz $143.49
This one was my second to last purchase, last one being windows. This was a tough one for me for a while because I couldn’t decide between going with a single 8gb stick and upgrading later which in the end would cause me to spend more money then if I had simply bought 2. Or to bite the bullet and get 2 sticks. I scoured the internet looking for the best deals and ran across these on ebay. $135 + $7.49 shipping for this I saw as a good deal. Even better they work too! Buying used can pay off sometimes.
I have Black UV LED’s coming in. I plan on taking more photos when they come in.