Description

This was my first build. I set out to build a compact and budget-friendly PC for gaming and software development.

Snappy performance, minimal interior & exterior, stays cool & quiet under load. Love it!

How does she run?

  • Takes 20 seconds from turned off -> Google Chrome, flies past load screens due to SSD.
  • Very quiet (though it's hard to hear anything else with a Cherry MX blue keyboard, it's significantly quieter than my Macbook Air under load).
  • Stays cool (never goes above 60C)
  • Witcher 3 was the most demanding game I tried, where it runs ~55FPS @1080p with max settings and AA. Just disabling Nvidia Hairworks pushes it past 60FPS.

I think this is a perfect build if you have a 1080p 60Hz monitor like most 24" IPS displays. For more future proofing, or higher resolutions/refresh rate, I would go with GTX 1070 or 1080 instead (with 100-200W higher PSU).
Nothing else in this build will bottleneck you for a long time except maybe the CPU if you're playing a bad console port (e.g. BF1). But even then, you'll only be about 10% behind a 6700 which is $100 more and your money is likely better spent on upgrading the GPU.

Note: Part prices are a bit inflated due to where I live, so check your local prices instead.

Part Reviews

CPU

No intention of overclocking, and I had my sights set on the i5 6500 initially. The small price bump ($20) for the 6600 instead of the 6500 felt worthwhile to me as I cared about single-threaded performance for tasks like compilation and the performance gains for your money diminish significantly on 6600K and above unless you overclock. If it was just for gaming I would have gone with the 6500 or even the 6100 as it really doesn't make a difference.

Comes with an initial application of thermal paste and a great stock cooler. Handled a bunch of stress tests including Intel Burn Test with no problems.

Motherboard

Sleek and friendly BIOS, AI suite software with smart fan control, RGB LEDs with breathing effect, comes with LEDs that diagnose boot errors (tells you which of CPU/RAM/OS fails to boot), uses Intel Gigabit Ethernet instead of Realtek/Killer.

The WiFi worked without needing any drivers or plugging in the antenna, which was a godsend as the Ethernet required drivers but I didn't have a CD drive to install them from the included CD.

Memory

They look really good, especially on motherboards with red accents. No issues with heatsink size.

Got these even though my motherboard's chipset (B150) only supports 2133 as I couldn't find the 2133 version in stock and the price difference was negligible.

Storage

Sleek, light, comes with good software (Samsung Magician) and has impressive benchmarks for a consumer SSD. These hold up in real world use as well, it flies past game load screens and I can go from PC turned off -> Google Chrome in 20 seconds.

Unfortunately I broke its SATA port when I bent the plugged in SATA cable too much. I wish it came with its own SATA cables, as an L-type cable would have avoided the issue for me.

Video Card

Overclocked, comfortable dimensions for my mini-ITX case (FD Core 500) and big, quiet fans.

Case

It's bigger than you may expect. Minimalist design, space-efficient, magnetic air filters all over, comes with a quiet 120mm fan, and you should be able to fit most parts in here with no compromise (except for very large PSUs or GPUs). My only (minor) gripe is that putting the case back on can be annoying.

Power Supply

A bit on the heavy side, but it looks like it's built to last. Semi-modular design really helped with cable management, especially for builds with such few parts like mine. Nice packaging, comes with niceties like zipties, cable straps, a drawbag, and stickers to label your cables.

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.

Comments

  • 39 months ago
  • 3 points

Props for anyone building in the 500. Great case. Putting the cover back on is a pain.

  • 39 months ago
  • 3 points

You did a nice job with the partslist. Very quality parts in a budget-friendly build. Nice work!

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

How does she run? I use "she" when describing cars and computers.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

I just added it to the description!

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello, I am planning on using this case in my build that I will be doing later this year. I am having trouble figuring out whether or not the graphics card would fit. I saw you had an ATX power supply. I wanted to know how well the graphics card fit. On Fractal’s website, it says it cannot fit a graphics card over 170 mm in length with an ATX power supply that is 170 mm or more in length. I got a little confused over the website but I saw that you were using the same graphics card that I plan to use I just wanted to ask because I am utterly confused. Thank you.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the long message.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

The graphics card I want to use is only ten mm’s shorter, but I don’t know if it will fit. Thank you.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

I won’t be available to talk until tomorrow, June 1st or later today, when the post is sent out