So with the holidays just around the corner, I decided a cool present to get my girlfriend would be a gaming PC. She's really into console gaming, but since dating me has slowly been getting into the PC Master Race.(Slowly but surely, my friends) The main thing that's been holding her back is her family's ancient Dell Inspirion that can barely do the things a computer is supposed to do, let alone play games. So, after pulling some extra hours at work, (and coaxing some money out of my parents) I was able to put together this beauty. The main focus of the build is to be able to play all the e-sport titles she wants to play as well as AAA titles down the line, while still being a proficient office PC. Plus, I put a heavier focus on aesthetics, since this is a gift after all, and I want it to look nice.
CPU: AMD Athlon X4 950
This CPU was a great choice, as it fit within the budget, and has a very solid upgrade path. While it's true, it is a four year old CPU architecture in an AM4 socket, it's performance is still on par with the Pentiums near it's price. And it can overclock! Now that's something you can't say about most sub $100 dollar CPU's.
Motherboard: Asrock AB350M-HDV
I was actually going to go with the Pro4 mobo from Asrock, as it better fit the color scheme and had 4 dimm slots, but the rebate ended on it just before I bought the components. So, this was the cheapest B350 motherboard at the time.
RAM: Crucial Ballisitx Sport LT 8GB
Right now, DDR4 ram prices are pretty all over the place, so I just picked the cheapest 8GB kit and got it. I was even considering dropping down to 4GB just save money, but I had room in the budget, so decided against it.
GPU: Asus Dual GTX 1050 Ti
I was originally planning on getting the non Ti version of this card, but after a miraculous influx in cash (thanks Dad) I bumped up to this. This card's dual fan setup allows for cool and quiet performance, while also having one of the higher boost clock speeds on a 1050 Ti. Plus, it fits perfectly with the color scheme.
Storage: Crucial MX300 275GB M.2 and a WD Blue 1TB HDD
Since this PC was also going to replace her family's current office PC, I thought it wise to equip it with a combination of fast storage and some mass storage. I think they will all appreciate the lightning fast speeds of the M.2 over the 5400RPM drive they currently are forced to use.
Case: Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1 Tempered Glass
I fell in love with this case the second I laid my eyes on it, and knew it would be a perfect fit for this build. It's cool looks paired with it's small size made it a perfect choice. I wasn't actually planning on getting the Tempered Glass variant, but the acrylic window version was actually more expensive than the TG case at the time of buying parts, so I didn't see a reason why not to.
PSU: Corsair CX430
I happened to have this PSU lying around, and since it's a pretty ok one I saw it as an opportunity to save a couple bucks.
Fans: Corsair AF120 white
These are mostly for looks, but the case does only come with one exhaust fan, which I thought was inadequate, considering the solid acrylic front panel hinders airflow.
The Problems I Had: First off, I do NOT recommend this motherboard at all. It's cheaply made, has awkward fan header placement, and just looks plain ugly. I think it would have been worth the extra $5-10 for a slightly nicer B350 mobo. Secondly, please do not use this power supply. Ever. I would have liked a nicer and newer power supply, but considering this one was free, it was hard to say no. That being said, I think it's obvious to see from the pictures the ugly cables ruin the look of the build, as although most of cables are well hidden. that big motherboard 24 pin cable sticks out like a sore thumb. The other problem we had was the cables being just too short to hide them as much as I wanted. Considering this is a small form factor case, and they're too short to effectively cable manage, is sad.If there was one thing I would change in this build, I would have bought a power supply with all black cables.
Overall, I think this build turned out very well. I haven't done any overclocking as I think it's a bit unnecessary, but also because the stock cooler included with the A-series CPU's is just terrible. I'm also worried this cheap B350 motherboard will cause issues with overclocking, despite it technically supporting it. Other than that, and the problems I stated earlier, The build went smoothly, and I love the way it looks! Hopefully my girlfriend agrees!
Just successfully overclocked the GPU to 1759 with MSI Afterburner! Based on the temps I'm seeing under load, I would guess I could go higher, but I'm averaging well over 60 FPS in all games varying between high and max graphical settings, so I do not really see a reason to right now. Thanks for all the positive comments!