Similar to others, I've always wanted to build a gaming PC. It has just taken me 20 years and the sale of a couple gaming consoles to make it happen.
And I'm very glad I did!
My main goal for this build was that it had to be a smaller form factor so that I could have it in the living room without issue. I didn't want an enormous tower, and even mid-towers are too big for the space I have available. So I went on a hunt for a MicroATX mini tower case and happened to find the Rosewill SRM-01 on sale at Amazon for $15 with free shipping.
Next, I did my research by reading articles and comparing all of my options. Then I started visiting the UserBenchmark website to try different configurations to see what sort of performance I could get out of the variety of components I had available in my price range.
I decided on the Ryzen 5 1400 for two reasons. One was price vs performance. The second reason I chose the 5 1400 was because I was worried the newer Ryzen models would require a BIOS update in order to be compatible. That worried me because I'm no computer genius and the task of building a PC seemed daunting enough already. I didn't want to worry about it, so it made the Ryzen 5 1400 an easy decision.
I was looking for a GPU at a time when so many were out of stock or elevated in price due to lack of supply. I just happened on the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570 on NewEgg and decided to dive at it. It was $160, and I felt that it was a great price in comparison to other GPU's I could buy at the time.
Next, I picked up the GSkill Aegis DDR4-2666 for $55. It worked out nicely because it's a decent price and it's the max RAM speed my Mobo can run without OC'ing.
Which brings me to the Mobo. I chose it based on its low price. There's no other way to put it. Gigabyte is a good brand and the price was perfectly low. I did want a better Mobo, but it just wasn't in my budget to go better.
I watched a ton of videos on building a PC using the Rosewill SRM-01 case. I also read a load of reviews. All of the videos and most of the reviews mentioned that the case was moderately difficult to build in. People mentioned many difficulties with screws, etc, due to angles and tight spots. I found ALL of the complaints to be unfounded.In one video, the guy was complaining about lack of space but had installed the motherboard with CPU BEFORE the power supply LOL This case requires the PSU to go in FIRST
I've seen people build PC's, and I've watched my son (14) build PC's. The biggest lesson I learned from watching is that you need to have the right tools, have the reference material handy (motherboard diagrams, etc), and have the patience to take your time and do a good job.
I built this with my son, and I did the majority of the work. This case, while small, is NOT difficult to build in. If you take your time and run your wires in a systematic manner, you'll be fine. We started from the bottom of the motherboard and connected cables and wiring from there up, organizing all cables and wires while we went. This drove my son nuts at times, but he respected that I wanted to make things look nice. Overall, I have a mantra: "I want to do something once and in order to do that I need to do it right." I didn't care how long it took me. I just wanted everything perfect the first time.
First, we installed the power supply. Then we mounted the CPU (w/Wraith fan) onto the motherboard, and mounted the motherboard to the inside of the base. Then we installed the RAM. From there, we dealt with all cables and wiring BEFORE we installed the GPU. We did this because we knew the GPU would take up space and in a case as small as the SRM-01, we needed to keep things open for cabling and organizing.
A cool feature of the Rosewill SRM-01 is the hard drive swing arm that's in the case. When you open the side of the case, there's a rectangular "gate or door" right there. You can unscrew to screws and the door swings open to the outside. This door has two spots for installing HDD's or SSD's. The mounting is simple, and it looks cool as hell. We installed two SSD's. One of them I already owned (a 120gb Samsung that I use for just Windows 10 Pro).
After installing all the cables and wires, I tied things up with twist ties to keep things organized to looking neat. We then moved onto the GPU, which was a snap (literally, SNAP) into place, and then installed the power line to it.
From there we put the sides back on and hooked the PC up to a monitor and did a ritualistic "Dance of Hope" praying everything went smoothly. And it did. It fired right up.
I installed Windows 10 Pro and got an activation key off eBay for $3.99. Please, don't buy a full version of Windows for $100 plus dollars. There are people who have keys available that will save you loads of money.
Over all, this was such an amazingly positive experience. My son and I took our time, made sure to read the diagrams, and we did things the slow and steady way. We bonded over this, and then we both were ecstatic to get it up and running. And now we game together :)
In terms of performance, I'm finding I can play ALL games on High to Ultra settings with this set up. I have a 4k monitor and I can run 4k at medium to high settings, too. I'm quite pleased with this. And with all of my deals on parts and buying a Windows key for $3.99, I paid $533 and change (includes tax and shipping fees) to build this. Which is crazy, right? I mean, an Xbox One X will cost that after tax. Yet, the Xbox One X has NOTHING on this build.
And now this build has created a monster.... because I can't wait to build another PC. I have two younger kids and I feel like they need their own PC's now, too. I'm right, right? :)