UPDATE: Since posting this originally, I have added and replaced a few parts, including a 4TB external drive from Seagate. The images don't show these new changes.
This build was to fix pretty much all the problems I was having with my Pentium Skeleton build. I had a short in my power button, one of the SATA data ports came off the motherboard, I had slight overheating problems underneath the shroud, and it was just all-around becoming a chore to maintain. I had been planning to update to AMD (because I like AMD more and also sweet Vega graphics) anyway and this was the ample opportunity to do so.
This little processor is a beast for its price point. It makes the Pentium G4560 look like a lizard being compared to a dinosaur. Had a few hang-ups with drivers, but I copied the DVD files to a USB and installed them that way - fixed the problems.
I cannot stress how easy cable management was. You can read my review of the case below, but 110% it was a total breeze and I cannot sing enough praises for it. I had fun wiring everything up, and it pretty much negates any of the other downsides that popped up in this build.
GPU is usually overclocked to 1551 MHz when playing games.
Eventually, I found myself with half a Terabyte in games and was running out of space quickly. (I also didn't have any extra HDD ports and since I needed space, not speed, an SSD of comparable size was way out of my budget of $100.) I picked up a Seagate external drive and now I keep it to store my art and video editing projects on. I also partitioned a section that I use as a manual backup for my files. It fixed my problems overnight (after transferring over 200GB of content to it.)
Since I don't have a wi-fi card, I use an Ethernet connection. But the router isn't in my room with my computer, so I picked up some power line adapters and a gold-plated Ethernet cable (which I got on sale) so I could take my computer with me and never worry about a bottleneck anywhere on my build.
Yes, I know it's on a carpet and the case has low clearance. I honestly don't have anywhere else to put it right now. And yes, I know the pictures are awful. I took these with my phone.
So far, so good. This little guy blows the Pentium G4560 out of the water by a long shot. I've tried subjecting this thing to anything I could possibly subject it to without putting it through one of those screaming/stress tests, and I haven't found anything that it can't handle so far. No, I can't play graphically-intensive games at 4k and pull 200 fps, but it's better than my old processor, which was barely playable under most circumstances.
Pretty decent price for an ATX board. Looks sharp, super easy installation, though it took me a minute to figure out that you only needed to open one clamp for the DIMM slots, but everything was otherwise smooth. Took a star off because pretty much all of the case fan headers are at the bottom of the board, which led me to have to abandon installing a 4th case fan in the top of my case. Had to go into the BIOS and change drive priority to be able to default to the drive I wanted to boot from, which was annoying. Overall, I like it, and my wallet does, too.
UPDATE: Pulled another star because I am currently in the process of making a warranty claim because of two problems. First off, the Ethernet jack has stopped receiving an IPv4 address, which is crippling my ability to play games and surf the internet. Second, when I am trying to set a default drive to boot from, it doesn't recognize the drive I need. However, when manually selecting a hard drive on boot-up, it recognizes it no problem. This was no longer an issue when I swapped the motherboard.
RAM is RAM. Doubled what I had, and its nice and fast. Also, there's no ambient light, but it looks pretty cool.
Pulled this old thing out of my mom's old Windows Vista when it finally bit the dust. This drive is at least 8 years old, and keeps chugging along without complaint. It's a little slow, but I loaded it with documents and pictures instead of software (and use it to store backups) so it's barely noticeable. If you're used to SSDs and M2s, then this will drive you nuts, but it does what I need it for, it's forever old and still works like new, and it was free, so no complaints.
I did want a Seagate 2TB HDD, but they didn't have any at Best Buy and I needed this to finish my first build when it became clear that my old drive wouldn't work. I took off a star for being pretty overpriced, but it was available in a pinch. It does its job, but I've used 300 gigs from it and rapidly growing, so I'm going to need more space eventually.
UPDATE: I bought one brand-new for video editing (because editing with integrated graphics is miserable) and all of the issues described below are non-existent. It handles everything I throw at it like a champ, and is the reason I was willing to swap out my motherboard and processor for weaker ones while they are being repaired. Don't buy used. It's rarely worth the money you save.
OLD: Bought this used from Amazon. Not doing that again. The card itself is fine and handles games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Civilization V beautifully. Took 2 stars off because my screens will occasionally flicker horribly. Unplayable level of horrible. Most of the time, the flickers are annoying at worst, but I my hardcore Diablo III character died because the screen flickered in the middle of a boss battle.
I don't even know where to start with this beauty. Side panel is crystal-clear, sturdy, and gorgeous. I accidentally dropped it from about a foot up onto a ceramic-tiled table. It landed on the edge of the panel when I managed to grab it, and there's no damage. Table took more damage. Two preinstalled case fans are not total s*it and in really convenient spots. You can move the drive trays in the bottom to fit a fan that blows directly into the shroud, which is awesome. Clearance is a little low, especially when it's on carpet, so bear that in mind, but the airflow is so amazing it hasn't become a problem.
It's a fairly narrow case, so I was worried about cable management, but my fears were 100% unfounded. The grommets are positioned wonderfully, there are tie-downs all over the place, but you don't even need them. Along the backside of the case, there are Velcro strips that run from just above the shroud to the top of the case. It's positioned so you can easily run your cables up the side and easily thread a cable through to the front. I used three zip-ties in this entire case. I actually like cable management, so challenges wouldn't have bothered me anyways, but it was actually fun to connect everything because it was so easy.
This detail didn't matter to me, because airflow was my priority, but others might care about it: this case is loud - especially at startup. It idles pretty quietly, but when it's under load, I had to worry about waking up my parents a room over. Normally, I would've taken a star off for that, but the cable management was just so easy that, even with the noise, I wish I could add a sixth star.
I bought this to upgrade from a 450W in anticipation of a GPU upgrade that hasn't come yet. Nonetheless, it's quiet, installed easily, and has more than all of the connections I need. I'm never buying anything less than modular again.
Much, much better than the fan that came with my case. It's quiet, and the very bright LED looks really cool, especially at night. The LED through the mesh front of my case looks super sleek. Keeps things running cool (and looking cool) when my PC is running under load.
If you need a good chunk of storage now so you can worry about an SSD later, this thing is your best friend.
I bought this when I had 500GB of games on my computer (on a 1TB hard drive) but didn't have another drive bay for an HDD. I needed space, not speed, so getting an SSD was out of the question. For less than $100, this thing is amazing. I use it to keep my massive video editing files, which have freed up 400GB for more games. It feels much faster than it supposedly is, and the read/write speed are awesome. I'll never be able to use all 4 terabytes of space, and by transferring my files, I solved a several-month-long storage crisis.
These things are so nice to have. I was lucky enough to have a friend help me pay for them (as $60 was more than I had after finishing my build) and I can't thank them enough. These things are absolute monsters.
First of all, it has the pass-through power outlet feature, which was a must because I have one outlet for both the adapter and the power strip for my desktop. Second, there are three ******* Ethernet ports in the bottom that can handle over a gigabit of sweet sweet fiber optic connection. Thirdly, they're so easy to set up!
The three Ethernet ports mean that I was able to host a small LAN party with my friends. A couple hopped on the wi-fi, but three of us were hooked up to these things, and we absolutely dominated. (I have roommates. Having the LAN party in my room instead of the living room floor was a really nice perk.)
I wish I knew what this thing couldn't handle, because I haven't found it yet. It's a little short, but considering I knew what I was buying and I got it on sale for $2.99, I can't complain. Paired with a gigabit power line adapter and a gigabit ethernet jack and I've got the fastest connection in the SMITE match.