Hello, fellow PC enthusiast! Welcome to my first ever PC build. I have $1000 saved up in graduation money. So, as a graduation present for myself, I decided to build myself a gaming PC. I haven't built one before, but I have watched tons of PC build videos, and I figured "This doesn't seem too hard at all. I want to try it!" So I went on Newegg and ordered all my parts in two big orders, got them shipped to my house, and endured a stressful 2.5 hours to put it together. I'm glad to say it was very successful, and I couldn't have been more happier with the final result.
Since this was my very first PC build, I had to buy myself a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I did have a monitor but it was an old 1280x1024 Dell monitor that was used with an old XP computer I used to have, so I needed an upgrade. I also wanted a quality RGB mechanical keyboard and a RGB mouse, which I did get. (Btw, RGB is AWESOME!) I also cheaped out on the case. If you want to replicate this build yourself, try to put a bit more money towards the case. The one I had was hard to cable manage. They did have a back area to hide most cables but it was pretty hard to get some cables to fit. Also, most people on PCMR reddit said that my liquid cooler was overkill for a i5 6500. I mainly got it to futureproof a bit in case I decide to upgrade my CPU. I know I'll also get comments like "Why did you get Wifi, Reanimate? Wifi SUCKS!" Well, my brother has the router in his room, and I didn't want to run a 50 foot long Ethernet cable all the way to his room just to get better latency and lower ping. I'm fine with Wifi. Trust me, I would've went with wired if I could've, but going wireless saved me time and hassle.
I got extremely lucky while gathering money for this PC build. My mom had $139 in Dell Rewards money from when my brother bought a gaming laptop from Dell.com, and she let me used that for the 21.5 1920x1080 Dell monitor. It literally costed me $6 in shipping out of my own pocket. While at my high school graduation party, they gave out prizes to everyone, and behold, I won a $100 Best Buy gift card. I went to Best Buy and used that towards the Corsair Strafe and paid $50 out of my own pocket. Everything else I paid for with graduation money. So I got $239 paid for me. Also, as a bonus from Newegg, they gave me a free 1 Year subscription to AVG 2016 Premium with my copy of Windows 10 I bought from them. Thanks, Newegg!
Anyways, this build was aim to do mainly one thing, play PC games at 1080p High-Ultra settings at 60 FPS. Does it do that? Yes! The RX 480 is a 1080p beast. Paried with the i5 6500 in the newest games, it stays locked at 60 on High-Ultra settings. Games like BF4 can be pushed further, running at 1080p Max settings with 120% render resolution, and never dipping below 60 in TDM matches. It's an absolute joy, and this card will likely be able to run 1440p 60 FPS just fine, especially on High settings.
Temps are great. The Corsair H60 was extremely overkill, only keeping the i5 6500 at around 34-35C under 100% load using AIDA64. I would recommend either sticking with the stock air cooler or an aftermarket air cooler. The 6500 does not need a liquid cooler at all. While being stressed by AIDA64, The RX 480 with the stock fan curve would get up to 74-75C, which is pretty toasty. I made a custom fan curve that makes the fans spin faster at lower temps, so I got them down to 65C, which I consider a comfortable temperature. The Sapphire NITRO+ model does get pretty hot, idling at around 50C, so a higher fan curve is highly recommended. The custom fan curve has the card idling at 40C.
Update - 10/8/16
My cable management used to be pretty bad. Luckily, I spent about 20 minutes cleaning them up, and it went rather well! The result is the inside of my PC that you see now. You might be like "It still looks pretty messy." True, but it's alot better than what it used to look like!
- The DVD Drive I had was plugged in but didn't have a SATA cable. I decided to unplug the power cable and move that down to the SSD that sits below it, then move the SSD's old power cable behind the case. This also stopped a weird hissing sound the DVD drive would make every time I booted my PC on.
- I unplugged my SATA cables from my two drives and routed them behind my case. That got rid of an ugly SATA that used to go right under my GPU and would bend across the top of it.
- I had a big bundle of unused wires that sat at the bottom of my case. I got all of those behind my case to clean up the bottom of my case.
- The CPU power cable that runs all the way across the top was tucked in a bit more so it wasn't laying on top of my RAM. "Why don't you route it through the top and out the hole at the top left?" Sadly, my CPU cooler blocks that hole so I'm forced to route it across the top.
I think the clean up went well! There were some cables that I wish I could fix, like my thin CPU cooler cables. Overall, it made my build ALOT cleaner! The big thing I'm happy about is that it cleared up the space under my GPU so it now has a lot more air and space under it. If you wish to see what it looked like before, here's an Imgur link to what it looked like before I cleaned up my wires! Sorry it isn't as clear as the top picture as I took that on my bedroom floor under my more white light bulbs.
Update - 10/14/16
My first upgrade has occurred! It was nothing big. It was just a second 1TB hard drive and two SATA cables, one for the new HDD and one for the DVD drive! It's probably the easiest upgrade you can do to your PC, next to expanding your RAM. I also uploaded an updated picture I took after the upgrade, and updated the build list to include the new hard drive. Now I have another 1TB of storage along with the ability to read and write DVDs! Now the DVD drive won't be collecting dust .. okay, it might, but it's still useful in case I need to read a DVD for any reason. Remember the weird hissing sound the DVD drive would make when I only had a power cable plugged in? Well, having a SATA cable plugged in with the power cable doesn't cause the sound, so it isn't a faulty DVD drive.
Update - 4/16/17
It's been awhile since I've edited this page.
Well, lots has happened since my last update. I had one massive upgrade. I upgraded my GPU to a Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 8GB and it's fantastic. My PC gaming experience in the latest games went from 1080p Medium at 50-60 FPS to 1080p Ultra at 50-60 FPS. It's great.
The next upgrade I'm planning to do is upgrading my CPU to either an i5 6600K or i7 6700K. My motherboard supports Kaby Lake so I thought about upgrading to a i5 7600K or a i7 7700K, but I'm not sure yet because I have to mess around with BIOs updates and stuff. I'm also planning to upgrade my mouse to either a Corsair Schimitar or Corsair Glaive (RGB models of course).
Another upgrade that has happen is that I upgraded my monitor to an Acer 23 inch IPS 1080p 60hz monitor. The main reason I got this monitor is because I saw it on sale at Best Buy for $120, which was an insane price, so I couldn't resist it. Colors are great. If you used a TN panel for the longest time, the colors are gonna take awhile to get used to, as they're a lot more vibrant and darks are a lot darker. Sometimes, I wish I got a higher refresh rate monitor instead after seeing my brother's 144hz monitor, but oh well. Maybe I'll replace it AGAIN in the distant future. The monitor upgrades are real.
I also got a powerline adapter, which allows you to connect to the internet using a wired connection that travels through your electrical wires using two small power boxes that you plug in at two seperate sockets. It was a bit tricky to set up, but once I did, it works flawlessly. I went from 30-40 Mbps to 70 Mbps locked. If you think you can run powerline adapters, I highly suggest it for PCs in rooms away from your router.
Remember how I said I can't run my CPU power cable through the top left? Well, I did find a way to squeeze it through there, but I do not have a picture showing this, so take my word for it!
I also built my brother a PC, so now I have more experience with building, which is awesome!
Update - 5/16/17
I discovered that there were two fan slots on the front of my case. Knowing that all my fans are set to pull air out, I would need to counter that with fans that suck air in. Fast forward a few days, and I scavenged my old fan that came with the case out of storage, cleaned it up, and put it on the front, then ordered another fan just like it along with my Corsair Glaive to fit in the second slot. Now, I have air being pulled into the case from the front, which should help my temps and the air pressure within the case.
I tried to update my PC portrait but kept having errors uploading the new picture, so I'll have to get a new picture at another time, as the portrait that is uploaded is pretty old, but not that different from what my PC looks like now.
I hope you enjoyed reading this summary of my PC build. It was a joy to build, and even more fun to play! Happy PC gaming!
Works great for gaming. I have this CPU paired with a GTX 960 4GB and I have been able to run games like Doom and Battlefield 4 on Ultra settings 1080p. It's a great CPU, and has plenty of power for gaming! It does get to 100% sometimes in games like Watchdogs, but this doesn't happen in many games.
Great cooler. It keeps my i5 6500 at 32-35C, which is pretty overkill, but it seems to work well, and should be okay cooling a i5 6600K or i7 6700K if it keeps my i5 6500 that cold.
Great motherboard. This was the first motherboard I ever built a PC with and it was easy to get everything to fit. Not to mention it looks pretty good with the orange accents.
Nice looking RAM that works! It's great for gaming.
I was a bit skeptical with not going for a Samsung SSD, but I don't know why I was. SSD works great, and does what I want it to do!
Spacious hard drive that reads and writes pretty quickly.
Pretty good case. This was the first case I used and it wasn't super impossible to get stuff to fit. It was a bit packed, however. For example, my Corsair H60 and the case fan block the CPU power cable hole. And the space behind the case isn't that much. It's a bit of a fidgety case, but is a good case for $40-$50.
Great power supply. It was enough for my i5 6500, 16GB 2400Mhz RAM, GTX 960 4GB slightly overclocked, and two storage drives.
I used it to install Windows, and it worked, so it basically did it's job.
Great OS. It's clean, smooth, and easy to navigate once you get settled into it and customize your UI just right. Runs games well, and has DX12!
Wireless Network Adapter
It does what it says it does. I get 4.6 MB/s on my 50 Mbps cable internet.
Great keyboard. It sounds great, looks great, and has highly customizable RGB lighting.
Great mouse. It fits well in my hand and it's too big or small for my hands. It also has great RGB lighting.