Edit: Added more pictures and will be giving reviews to parts
Thank you PCPartPicker and /r/buildapc for providing all the resources I needed to build my first computer. I went from not understanding any of the nomenclature to building a functional computer in three weeks of studying and research!
I'm one of those people that "game" on a Mac - my personal choice was a 2010 Macbook Pro. I definitely needed an upgrade and wanted to create a much more powerful PC than what I currently work with. I also do amateur Photoshop and website design and my Macbook just doesn't have the processing power that I wanted to utilize.
I don't have much disposable income at all so I went for a budget build. I bought some parts used (great condition) and I don't mind it not being top of the line. Currently I'm getting 100+FPS on high settings on Heroes of the Storm and will test with other games soon. (Update: 100+ FPS on Ultra with Overwatch).
I also really enjoy the OS on Macs and plan on creating a Hackintosh in the future. Anyways, here is what I was working with before and below you can see the parts that I chose and decide for yourself how much better the new computer is (I vote 350% better). Thanks for checking everything out!
MacBook Pro 2010 (13-inch, Mid 2010)
- 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 4 GB 1067 MHz DDRR3
- Nvidia GeForce 320M 256MB
- 250 GB SATA Disk
I was comparing this motherboard with another cheap one (around $45) for my build. This one dropped on sale to $54 after tax and I just jumped on it. So quickly in fact when I unpacked it I forgot this one has 4 RAM slots compared to the 2 of the competitor.
I was pleasantly surprised but then again I should have done more research. Even when this is not on sale (currently $64) I would still recommend purchasing it. The black motherboard looks clean and can work with many designs. It feels durable and has all of the things a MicroATX case needs (plus more, did I say 4 memory slots?).
I got these for $49 after tax which is pretty standard for cheap DDR3 RAM currently (June 2016). However, this was a better deal than some of the other cheap RAM options.
This comes with a built-in heatsink and it's very compact. It's not flashy but it's RAM and it works. This brand, Mushkin, also sells the same RAM in an "eco" version which apparently uses less energy - it was the about the same price and I wish I jumped on that.
Since this memory isn't listed on here currently at an affordable price (currently $110+) be sure to use a search engine to look on another website for this product or the eco version.
This was a great price for a 240gb SSD. I would highly recommend getting an SSD instead of a HDD. With this SSD I can turn on my computer to typing in search results in 15 seconds flat. I'm sure other SSD's can do this as well so feel free to choose!
My opinion: This SSD isn't that stylish unless you have a silver/bird theme going on. It comes with a bracket that has some glue that you can peel back to stick to your SSD. I'm not using it but it could come in handy for something... It does not come with an "adapter" from a 2.5" to a 3.5" drive unless you can use that piece to fit it in somehow.
I got this used (very lightly, almost new condition). It has everything I could have asked for. Some people on this website care very deeply that they need to play a game on a monitor that costs more than my build and a speed faster than the eye can see. Needless to say, I don't care.
I've been playing Blizzard games - this can run Overwatch on Ultra at 100+fps - it gets plenty hot though at that temperature and I don't have sufficient cooling. I've reduced my settings to high at 70fps and it stays at a warm temperature. I'm not the best person to ask about specs for graphics cards but I do know when games look good and this card makes games look good.
I care a lot about home decor - I enjoy traditional pieces and modern design pieces. Unfortunately, being picky about what looks good in a designed home makes it extremely difficult to find computer cases that work well.
My goal is hiding that I even have a computer or to make it blend in well with the rest of my furniture. Since I was on a budget I found this case to be the best bet for that. I got this case on sale for $30 after a mail in rebate but I was most impressed by the $100+ cases. This case doesn't go well with my furniture but it's a very decent compromise.
This case works well and has a ton of space (more than I need). It has room for a CD/DVD drive, 3 HDD's, and 2 SDD's. Since I just have 1 SSD it was definitely a bit overkill.
The blue LED in the front (present when the computer is on) is very bright and distracting when on the computer. It has some cable management but I wish they was more along the top of the case. It doesn't have a matte finish so fingers do leave smudge marks.
Wireless Network Adapter
Really was surprised by this gadget. I'm paying for 45Mbps from AT&T. When hooked up directly with Ethernet I get about 45Mbps download and 5Mbps upload. When this is plugged in and the computer is located 1 meter away in the same room I got around 30Mbps download and 5Mbps upload.
My computer is located the the room above my router roughly 5.5meters away and I get about 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload. When I was playing Overwatch on Ultra settings I was getting about 35ms ping (I am located in CA).
I put my computer on a 2.4Ghz channel since the rest of the items in my house are on the 5 Ghz channel (2 macbooks and 2 Iphones). I also have a Roku connected to the router.
Overall, I did not feel any bit of lag at all. Everything loads nice and quick. It felt as good as when I was plugged in with Ethernet.