First things first, this is my very first build and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Not much for aesthetics, but it is a very functional workhorse.
Price: Machine - $457
Peripherals - $176
Total - $633
RAM Upgrade - $38
PCIe WiFi/Bluetooth Card - $34
Roccat KONE Pure Owl-Eye - $33
Grand Total: $738
Processor: i5-8400 - $110
CPU Fan: Thermaltake Gravity i2 - $9
Motherboard: Gigabyte B360M DS3H mATX - $52
Case: Rosewill FBM-X1 mATX Mini Tower Case - $18
Power Supply: Corsair CX450M (2015) 450W 80+ Bronze - $25
RAM: G.Skill Aegis 8 GB DDR4-3000 - $38
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 250GB SSD - $55 (+128GB Samsung M.2 SSD from previous laptop)
Graphics Card: MSI VENTUS XS 6GB NVIDIA GTX 1660ti - $150
While this is my first build, I have done a lot of research on components and the build processes. My build/thought processes are detailed more below if you would like to read. Thanks for checking out my build and thanks for reading!
For this build, I wanted to start building a PC that I would upgrade over time, but I wanted it usable as I was building it. I had a watch list of parts that I bought over time as things went on sale, and I found good deals on used marketplaces (Facebook/Ebay). Patience is key if you want a higher performance budget build.
Tips for finding deals:
Amazon Warehouse Deals (open box)
Newegg Open Box
Ebay (from well-reviewed/trustworthy sellers only)
Processor Selection: i5-8400 - $110 (Facebook Marketplace)
Due to the high cost of graphics cards, integrated graphics was a must have in order to use the PC before a graphics card was added to the build. I did consider AMD Ryzen, but I've always been an Intel fan and with the performance boost from 7th gen to 8th gen being so significant, not to mention the 2 extra cores on the i5 models I decided on the i5-8400 or i5-8500 (whichever I could find at the best deal). Being that this was my first build I didn't want to mess with overclocking so the 8600k was not considered. Initially, the i3-8100 was also considered, but with 6 cores now in the i5's the price difference was worth the extra performance. Now that the 9th gen has been released, the i5-9400 gives a slight performance increase, with little-to-no cost increase.
CPU Fan Selection: Thermaltake Gravity i2 - $9 (Ebay)
I initially had a Rosewill RCX-Z90-CP fan, but it was DOA (dead on arrival) and the plastic push-lock clips are terrible (as opposed to a backplate). I have no issue with my fan running full speed all the time, it's not really that loud at 2000rpm. This fan is pretty much the same as the stock cooler and I will probably upgrade eventually, but it does the job for now. ALWAYS purchase a CPU cooler that uses a backplate. This fan (as with most) also comes with pre-applied thermal paste.
Now, with the processor chosen on to the motherboard.
Motherboard Selection: Gigabyte B360M DS3H mATX - $52 (Ebay)
I've always figured "why make things bigger than they need to be," which is why I decided early on that I wanted at least an mATX motherboard. I decided not to go smaller, as going smaller often limits your graphics card choice to the lower memory/single fan models. The 8th generation i5 requires an LGA1151 socket. The Z370 chipset is not needed as I will not be overclocking. The H370 is also a decent option, but the price difference (at the time) between the H370 and B360 was large enough and the B360 still has the feature set I was looking for. Namely:
mATX Form Factor
DDR4 support (x4)
PCIe x16 (x1)
Fan Speed Control
RGB LED Strip Control
One thing to note, using a double-slot graphics card will cover up the PCIe x1 slot.
Case selection: Rosewill FBM-X1 mATX Mini Tower Case - $18 (Newegg)
Rosewill is one of the best budget case makers out there. Many options for cheap cases. When buying a case for an mATX motherboard you have to be careful that you're actually buying a smaller case. Many ATX cases also fit an mATX motherboard. At that point, you may as well have purchased a full size ATX mobo. I chose this model because it has the window. (Proved useful when my first fan stopped working) My only issue with this case is that the rolled-bezel on the PCIe slot gets in the way of display connectors in the bottom rear slot. I trimmed the bottom corner of the extra plastic on my HDMI cables to be able to plug them in. However, had I known about this issue before installing everything I would've cut the bezel off with my Dremel tool.
Power Supply Selection: Corsair CX450M (2015) 450W 80+ Bronze - $25 (Newegg)
The power supply is one place you do not want to cheap out on. Stick with name brands and look for sales/rebates. Corsair is very well known and I'm a huge fan of theirs. 80+ Bronze is a minimum for my PSUs. 450W is more than enough for this system, with and without the graphics card. Modular PSUs are the only way to go.
RAM Selection: G.Skill Aegis 8 GB DDR4-3000 - $38 (Ebay) Upgraded 12/23
Due to the fact that the initial machine did not have a GPU one 8 GB stick of RAM was good enough for the light loads it would be handling. The RAM speed of 3000 is faster than the board's physical limit (2666), but this does not cause issues or increase cost. Easy enough to expand to 16 GB. I have not bought the second stick yet, as I am not that heavy into PC gaming at the moment.
Storage Selection: Samsung 860 Evo 250GB SSD - $55 (Amazon)
In my mind, Samsung is the leader in (affordable - Optane is not an option) highest speed SSDs. These are also purchased fairly often so it's not difficult to find on an open-box website. 256 GB is enough to start with, and with 6 SATA connections on the motherboard, can always be increased.
I also happened to have an extra 128 GB M.2 Samsung SSD from when I upgraded my laptop's memory that I was able to throw in this motherboard's M.2 slot.
Graphics Card Selection: MSI VENTUS XS 6GB NVIDIA GTX 1660ti - $150 (Facebook Marketplace)
When I initially began my search for graphics cards the 1660/1660ti had not yet been released. I had decided on at least a GTX 1060 unless I could find a 1070 at a good price (or ti version of either). I did not know enough about he AMD models to do analyze them and compare to NVIDIA models.
Once the 1660/1660ti came out it was then up to whatever sort of deal I could find between the six cards (1060/1070/1660/ti). My plan was actually to wait for Black Friday, but I was able to find it on Facebook Marketplace before Black Friday and at a much better price. This was the deal of a lifetime! I do not know how I managed to snag this card before somebody else, but man am I glad I did. The 1660/1660ti perfectly fits in the market between the 1060 and 1070 price point. I was actually on the Marketplace looking for a 1060/1070.
Monitor Selection: MSI Optix G24VC - $116 (Amazon)
I was in no hurry to get a new monitor as I was using an old smaller TV that I had lying around for the time being. Amazon Deal Days came around and I grabbed this curved 24" MSI monitor. I had no intentions of trying to game at 4k, but because of the larger aspect ratio if the screen was any bigger I would definitely recommend 4k.
Keyboard Selection: Corsair K70 - $50 (Amazon)
Another Amazon Warehouse Deals buy. (open box) Not an amazing deal or anything, but you get what you pay for and, as I said before, Corsair is one of my favorites. Love the dedicated volume controls and individual key LED program-ability.
Mouse: Victsing - $10 (Amazon) Upgraded 12/30
I am still using a cheapo $10 basic 5 button DPI-adjustable mouse just because it still gets the job done and I'm not that big into gaming at the moment. If it aint broke don't fix it.
RGB Lighting? No
Cooling: Air Cooling
Theme: Video Game
Type: General Build
PCIe WiFi/Bluetooth Card Added
- 860 EVO
Form Factor: 2.5 Inch
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
Capacity: 250 GB
Key Switch Type: Cherry MX Red
Type: Full Size
Estimated total value of this build: