I wanted to build a computer with the most up to date components and a future upgrade path. I tried to be very budget conscience with a $500 limit, I think after the rebates come in I'm dead on. https://pcpartpicker.com/list/6ghH7h
CPU Intel i3-6100 3.7 GHz dual-core
I am partial to Intel CPUs and I didn't think I needed more than i3 so I went with the popular i3-6100 3.7 Ghz dual-core CPU. Don't think I'll do too much gaming (not enough time), maybe Minecraft or some Nintendo emulators. I do plan on doing CAD and office spreadsheets so I thought an i5 would be overkill and $100 wasted in my budget.
Motherboard Asus Z170-E ATX LGA1151
I am interested in OCing my CPU to get a little more that what I paid for so I searched for a board with a Z170 chip. After looking at a lot of mobos I decided on the Asus Z170-E. I liked the layout of the board and it had everything I think I may need going forward. With 2x USB3 headers, 2x USB2 headers, 6x SATA, M2, and 8 channel audio (I have 5.1 surround speakers). Only thing annoying about it is the lack of fan headers. It was originally DOA, but of course I didn't test anything and had to take it all apart once the dang thing wouldn't do anything when I hit the power button.
Power Supply Antec 450W ATX
Got this free from a coworker. Basic PSU with plenty of power connectors. With a top-mounted PSU this would've worked perfectly. However, the cable for the CPU power was too short to route behind and around the board so I had to run it up the back near the I/O shield and under my video card.
RAM Avexir Core 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-2400 (blue)
Basic ram, I didn't see the need for more than 16GB or for more than 2400. They pulse blue and I think it pulses faster when more RAM is being used, I haven't maxed out my RAM to see what happens (yet).
Video Card Sapphire Radeon RX 460 2GB I wanted a video card that was around $100 and was very new so it wouldn't get outdated quickly. I considered a workstation card that's made for CAD but they are ridiculously overpriced and underpowered at the same price point. I did wait for the GTX 1050 but I wasn't impressed with them and the 1050ti was more than I wanted to spend. I've been messing around with OCing the video card and I've made some improvements. Bumped up the GPU Clock from 1210 to 1290 (+7%) and the Memory Clock from 1750 to 1975 (+13%)
Case and Fans
The case I bought years ago on sale with a rebate for super cheap, I think $30 and with a $20 rebate but Sentey never returned my rebate. I found it in my attic and it prompted me to fill it with parts. Cable management is ok, nothing great. Wish it had space behind the mobo back plate and between the case side to run some cables. I didn't know this until it booted up but the power button is blue and that matches my theme.
I bought 4x Xion 51 CFM 120mm fans to help keep things cool. I replaced the stock case fan just to keep it all the same. That fan is on bottom and it runs at 100% from an extra MOLEX power connector. The two fans on top I decided to chain together and only plug one in so that the mobo only sees one fan and they spin at the same speed.
CPU Cooling CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO
I did a ton of research for the CPU cooler and this one is the best under $50 and I didn't want to spend more than $25. I had a mini heart attack when I got it in because I didn't think it would fit. This thing is very tall, the cooling pipe tips touch my case! Haven't OCed my CPU yet but it is quiet and keeps things cool.
The PK1 I purchased was easy to apply and it spread well. I had to dismantle after my first build and I had an even coat over the whole CPU. I used the 5 drop method, like the 5 on a set of playing dice or dominoes.
I bought another 19" HP monitor to match the one I purchased years ago. For $40 used I am happy.
Had to buy a 5-way audio splitter so I could run my monitors through the front speaker jack of my 5.1 surround setup. That way when my sub and speakers are off, my monitors work and sound right.
The Vantec card reader gives me a front USB3 port and only takes up one USB3 header inside. Most of the other card readers take up multiple headers.
I took the 60GB SSD out of my laptop and to my surprise it booted right up even with all new parts and a completely different setup. The other 1TB and 2TB drives I'll use for work files, music, and a backup location.
The Zalman mouse is nothing special but it is what I use at work so I'm familiar with it.
I was going budget friendly here and repurposed an old router with Tomato firmware so I could make it a repeater and wired access point.