Description

My entry-level gaming rig, mainly used for casual gaming and emulation. Performance is fine for my standards, but it's not very future-proofed. A bigger budget and a bit more patience would have gone a long way.

Good timing and sales means I got the whole thing for around $450, which isn't terrible.

Important lessons for aspiring builders: 1) Stock CPU cooler was somewhat noisy, and requiremed a replacement. 2) Non-modular PSU made cable-management a hassle. Semi-modular PSU's are definitely worth a look. 3) Not very future-proofed, I would have preferred to go with a Skylake mobo instead. 4) Start with an SSD, then upgrade your internal storage later.

Part Reviews

CPU

The chip itself is perfectly acceptable for what it is. Stock cooler runs loud and hot. Replace it if possible.

A note for first-timers, who, like me, probably came here from the PCMR builds page: This CPU came out in 2014. If you're buying brand-new, I'd highly suggest something newer. Stick with Intel's current budget options, or wait for the low-end Zen to be released. Either one will last you a lot longer. Condemning yourself to DDR3 memory and an FM2+ board will just cost you more later.

Still, if you have your heart set on the FM2+ socket, buy an 880K instead. It's nearly the same price (depending on market fluctuations and sales), but also meets the minimum spec for Vive and Rift VR, and should come with a nicer cooler.

CPU Cooler

Somewhat quieter than the Athlon stock cooler, and cheap. The FM2 mount uses a tricky sea-saw hinge, which makes installation pretty hard. Make sure it covers the cpu heat-spreader all the way!

Motherboard

Very cheap board, maybe look for something else. On an aging socket like this, I absolutely recommend the A88 chipset for overclocking.

Also, watch out! The cooler screws are located in an orientation that will force most tower coolers (I've used both the Hyper T2 and Noctua NF-U9B) to push air vertically (from the back of the GPU towards the top of the case) rather than horizontally (from the front to the back of the case) which may lead to worsened airflow.

BIOS works fine, but the drivers and software are pretty terrible. When I first started, it properly detected by front and back panel audio jacks as different devices with their own volume settings. Since then, something has changed and now it always merges them together, which means calibrating the volume to use headphones comfortably is a nightmare.

USB 3.0 connector is very difficult to remove during maintenance, and lead me to accidentally tear off the plastic housing around the pins. Nothing was damaged, but annoying none-the-less.

UPDATE I'm about ten months into ownership now, and I believe this thing might be failing. CPU is reaching 75 C at idle. I'm still investigating this, however, as my PSU has also failed.

Memory

I'd have preferred one with a heat-spreader, but this was the cheapest at the time.

Storage

Cheap and functional. Hasn't broken yet.

Video Card

Not bad for what it is, just don't buy it for more than $100 USD, or at least get the 4GB version. Its large size may prevent you from upgrading into smaller cases. Definitely buy a Pascal or Polaris card if you can.

And who's the moron at EVGA's marketing team who came up with "Super Super-Clocked"?

Case

This case is very hit-and-miss. For $60 USD, you can do a whole lot better.

My complaints:

  • Cable management is pretty rough. Not a lot of space behind mobo.
  • Only one blue LED fan, no hub or controller
  • No screws for mounting power supply.
  • Thumbscrews are easy to lose, and ones that attach the side panels are different sizes from the ones that attach the drive cage.
  • Top vents are unfiltered and don't ship with anything to cover them
  • PCI slot covers are non-replacable. You may cut yourself while breaking them off.
  • Fans were very hard to properly screw in, but maybe I'm just stupid
  • The 5.25" cage is not tool-less. Don't be an idiot like me or your ODD will slide out of the front.
  • Front panel is very difficult to remove, and the intake filters are mounted directly to it.

Power Supply

Useable, but not worth more than $30. Cables are thick and ugly, and the SATA connectors are installed at a weird angle that requires you to bend them harshly to install more than one hard-drive. It was cheap however, and has yet to catch fire.

If this is your first-build, PLEASE opt for at least a semi-modular power-supply. Those extra MOLEX connectors will sit forever wadded up in a little ball at the front of your case. You'll save a LOT of trouble, especially if your GPU doesn't need PCI-E power, or you're not using an optical disk-drive.

Keyboard

Pretty passable. Don't pay more than $50. The knock-off Kalih Blues are inconsistent across the board (some feel stiff and linear, while others are soft and clicky.) It's an improvement over any membrane keyboard, but certainly not ideal.

The RGB LED's leave a bit to be desired. The configuration software is a clunky nightmare, and none of the stock color settings are particularly pretty. Note that you can only change the color of the entire board, not the individual keys. The "white" has a clear blue-green tint to it.

It's also got an absurdly confusing "Gaming Mode". Here's how that works:

  1. You have 5 custom profiles. Each profile can have different keybinds, macro settings, and its own LED color. Whenever you're using one of these profiles, the Win-key will be disabled, and a "G" LED next to the Scroll-Lock and Caps-Lock will illuminate.
  2. The only way to turn it off is to switch into "PC Mode" which colors your entire keyboard an unchangeable shade of magenta.

In the end, I've resorted to disabling all the LED's, and wishing I'd bought a non-RGB keyboard with white lights instead.

Mouse

Overall, not awful. The side-buttons are kinda mushy, and there are way too many of them if you're not looking to exclusively play MMO's. Software is pretty clunky, and only supports 5 different profiles. Precice slider and color adjustments are very difficult, and it includes a vague "sensitivity" slider that is different from your OS's and the DPI setting.

Speakers

Not much to say here. To the untrained ear, they sound completely acceptable.

My main gripes:

  1. For some reason, the volume knob on the right side rotates in the opposite direction than would be intuitive. To raise the volume, you rotate it clock-wise, downwards. To lower the volume, you rotate it counter-clockwise, upwards.

  2. They're attached by two unremovable cables that are stringy and ugly. Managing the cables with these things was a nightmare. On the plus-side, they use a D/C power-plug rather than a brick, so if you use a power-strip, it'll fit in easier.

  3. Toggling the power button (not a common occurence mind you, but annoying none-the-less) will always create an audible pop.

Ultimately, I replaced these a few weeks later with another pair I had lying around and was much happier.

Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point
Noice little build. (I was eating a mozzarella pizza while was looking at your build, got shocked :O)

+1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Very solid budget build +1

There were a couple of painful things to see, like the biostar motherboard and the case. I've never been able to bring myself to trust a board from biostar, they are cheap to a fault. I was also shocked to see a corsair case under performing. Usually their cases are top notch. You would have been much better served with a 200R: https://pcpartpicker.com/product/cTQypg/corsair-case-200r

Overall though, I'll think it will do nicely until you decide to upgrade.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I got the same case on sale for 50, I did it with the same PSU, it wasn't that bad and it looks great. The overall appeal of the case for the price I got it at still works.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

If you edit the build, but wanna go low price: an fx 4350 gives better performance in games than a 6300 (games only use 4 cores, the extra 2 are for rendering and ****) and an am3+ mobo so you can upgrade in the future. Or if you wanna spend more go i3 6100 and a cheap ASRock (my preference) board

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

nice little gaming machine.

I like how you said to first go with ssd and hdd later (if needed). That's exactly what I do! SSD and then if needed add hdd.

For my own use I am now going ssd only. Removed all hdd when built my skylake earlier this year, all storage goes on the network (nas). If I need more room I'll add another... ssd. If NAS need more room I'll change the disks or add another nas.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I got the same case on sale for 50, I did it with the same PSU, it wasn't that bad and it looks great.

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