After 10 years of using a PC with an AMD Phenom X3, 4gb of DDR2 RAM and 500gb hard drive, the poor thing couldn't keep up anymore and finally died. So it was time for an upgrade. First obstacle being of course: Upgrading with a tight budget.
My first thought was to simply buy a cheap pre-built PC and call it a day. But after thinking about it, I thought it would be better if I just build the PC myself and carefully select each component because those pre-built machines tend to have a mix of generic/low quality parts such as the power supply, the storage or the case, in order to keep prices as low as possible and make a profit.
First step was the research process and boy if it wasn't difficult. I had to catch up on all the new stuff available on the PC world after 10 years of not giving a damn and being stuck with my Phenom X3. Though I still wanted to stick with AMD so choosing the processor wasn't difficult when I discovered the awesomeness of their Ryzen lineup and how affordable they are, especially their APU's. The other parts were more difficult to choose due to the insane amount of options and variations. At first I thought I was kinda rushing the selection of components without doing proper research and I wanted to avoid headaches of any kind later on with incompatibility/inestability issues. So I took my time. Reading blogs, forums, following youtube videos, comparing prices in both physical and online stores until I finally came with this list. This site being pretty much the #1 I consulted the most during my reasearch!
As you can see, a humble build, but enough for me to run Photoshop + ZBrush + multimedia + casual gaming. My goal in terms of aesthetic was to have zero lights/RGB in the case. I've never been a fan of flashy devices or gamer aesthetics, I prefer minimalist simple designs on everything, which is why I spent a ton of time looking for a simple but efficient case to satisfy the aesthetic itch, despite being on a tight budget. Luckily, I managed to grab the awesome Cooler Master NR 400 case on Amazon with discount and it's been great so far. Top notch airflow thanks to the mesh front panel and with a glass side panel included. All in a nice compact minimalist look.
Next year I plan to buy a proper graphics card (either a GTX 1660 ti or RTX 2060 or if AMD launches a budget GPU with efficient power consumption) and upgrade the processor, which is why I got already 16gbs of RAM and a decent power supply to upgrade later on. Just waiting for a nice deal/discount to appear and I will quickly jump in, but in the meantime, this will do for me. It was an intense project due to being in a crazy tight budget and for being my first time building a PC from scratch considering my PC knowledge is not deep at all, just average. But I'm happy with the results so far, the built process was smooth and the setup process of installing Windows, drivers too. I'm just glad of being able to multitask again and watch HD content (I used a dang 720p TV as a monitor with VGA connection!), after using a PC that took like 15 minutes to boot and having to do a single task at a time or it will crash. Thank you for reading!
Excellent performance for a 4 core CPU. Multitasking in this is so nice! The fact that I can play most games at a decent framerate is a huge plus!
Nice and efficient. It just works. And it works so good. No issues at all when updating the BIOS or drivers.
Very reliable memory. Setting them up to run at 3000 mhz was as easy as a single click on the BIOS.
One of the most reliable SSDs on the market. And with reason. Very pleased with the speed and the price too!
Good airflow in a MicroATX case is rare, but this lil' case has it plenty. It has such a nice and elegant look which was what I was looking for. Plenty of space inside to work and do cable management. It is also very easy to clean due to the mesh front panel and the magnetic dust filter it has on the top and the bottom.
It comes with two pre-installed 3-pin fans and I got a nice surprise when I discovered a molex fan splitter pre-connected on the front fan! This goes connected directly to the power supply and you can hook up to three fans in this way! Not counting the ones you can connect directly to your motherboard, so if your motherboard has 2 additional fan connections (which most micro ATX motherboards do), you can hook up to five fans in this case without the need to get a fan splitter! Talk about value!
The only downside is that cable management can get a bit cramped if you're using a non-modular power supply, but nothing that a few rubber bands to hold the remaining cables cannot solve. Overall I'm very satisfied with this case I totally recommend it!
Lovely PSU. It's very silent!
I was looking for a high quality fan without RGB and this was it. Very pleased with how it works. Super silent too even with high RPM! Sometimes I have to give a look into the case to see if the fan is actually spinning because it really doesn't make any noise at all!
Best 1080p monitor due to it's price/value. As thin as a smarthphone screen and the display is just excellent! Nice contrasts, colors and views from the side.