For over a year now, I've been meaning to replace my laptop I bought back in 2012 with a proper desktop. I've been lurking on this site in the meantime, plotting, but I finally pulled the trigger when my bonus came in. I had to do a LOT of research, as the only hardware-related experience I've had was adding a stick of RAM to my old laptop. Motherboard sockets? Hyperthreading? SSDs? I had a lot to learn.
I originally set out to create a budget build under $500 using an APU, but after much deliberation I decided to go for more power. After $75 worth of Amazon gift cards (including a $50 bonus for signing up for the Amazon credit card), I actually still came in under $500, but I decided to go for some double hard drive action, which put me ~$25 over. I held off on starting for a while because I was waiting for the RX 480... little did I know, I would have to wait at least another couple months after release to actually get my hands on an aftermarket card. But once that sucker popped up on Amazon (I live in Hawaii, so I can practically only order from Amazon to avoid ridiculous shipping, and there are no good local computer places other than Best Buy), I finally made my move.
There's not much for me to say about the parts that hasn't been said already, as these are all fairly popular. I gotta say the case is pretty great, and for a first-timer I had no trouble working with it. The only troubles I had were from the motherboard's I/O shield tabs, which I have no idea what to do with, so I ended up snipping most of the with nail clippers. But from what I understand all Mobos are like that. Also, when first starting up, nothing would show up on my display... after some frantic research, I found that the RAM needed to go in the slot farthest from the CPU, numbered 2, instead of slot 1, which I thought was counterintuitive but it seems this placement is standard.
Overall, this project was tons of fun to put together, from the planning phase til the end. It honestly gave me the same obsessive high I get from one of my favorite game series, Armored Core (which I can now emulate thanks to the snappy i3 6100). This community was also immensely helpful and inspiring, and I thank everyone who's posted their builds and answered questions in the forums. Hopefully someone new to building PCs can get some inspiration from my posting as well.
Currently playing Overwatch and Tomb Raider (2013) at 1080p, along with some older games, random HumbleBundle games, and a couple emulators, all of which run fantastically. Eventually I will add another 8GB of RAM and maybe a couple extra case fans, while cleaning up the wiring a bit. Apologies for my weak-*** photography game, I was working on it at night with poor lighting. Next time.
Fantastic for the price. Snappy and easy to install.
Reasonable deal. Only one case fan header.
It's been said before, I'll say it again... it's RAM.
Going from a 5400rpm HDD on my 4-year-old laptop to this was a dream. Everyone needs an SSD.
I haven't played any hyper intense games yet, but Overwatch and Tomb Raider 2013 run beautifully. Gets up to 75C when playing for a while. The Sapphire Trixx tool is easy to use, but I don't plan on overclocking.
Wonderful. Easy cable management behind the motherboard, lots of room, comes with two fans with support for three more, and it feels sturdy. I'll probably come back to this for any future builds.
$40 for 500W Bronze was a good deal. Recommended.