Description

My old Windows i3-4030U laptop suddenly died, so I figured it was a good opportunity to finally tackle my first ever PC build. This is a practical, budget-ish (around $900 CAD) build for productivity, occasional 1080p gaming (got a great deal on the GPU) and sparse Lightroom editing, not many extra bells and whistles. After these photos were first taken, I've since added another 8GB ram, a Seagate 2TB HDD drive, flipped the PSU fan to the bottom, cleaned up the cable management and plan to upgrade the stock cooler (I have a Noctua in my cart).

Overall, I really enjoyed the building process and outcome of my first custom PC, she runs great for my needs. However, I'm already thinking of even further upgrades or just a newer, more powerful build altogether, ha.

Part Reviews

CPU

Didn't have the need or budget for a 3000 series processor, picked up the 2600 for great price-to-performance.

Motherboard

Solid quality board at its price point with enough connectivity and i/o options for my needs. Decent BIOS and ready to go for my 2600

Memory

Honestly, this was on sale at my local computer shop and I was on a budget. Suits my needs

Storage

Boot disk - cheap, cheerful and reliable

Storage

Mostly for docs, photos and games. A bit louder than expected at times, but generally happy with it

Video Card

Best score of my build IMHO, bought slightly used for $155 CAD+tax and runs very well at this price. I haven't put this card through heavier testing or more intensive games yet, but happy with performance so far

Case

This was the toughest part of my build. I bought this brand new from a well-known retailer, but it came without a paper manual inside the box, digital manual on the manufacturer's website and never got one after I emailed them directly requesting a copy. I bought this on sale and was anxious to get this build going, so I moved ahead without one. The 3.5" cage (bottom) and optical drive cage (top) are pop riveted, no M3 screws. I can only add one 120mm fan on the front panel, potentially two if I remove the drive cages. Thermals and airflow are OK considering this sees moderate use. The cable management inside the case is OK but may add cable supports around the motherboard. But at less than $50 I expected some compromises, so ¯\(ツ)

Power Supply

Solid build quality, lower noise levels even at load, enough power for potential upgrades down the road. This was one part of my build I was told not to scrimp on (fully modular, 80 gold), and I'm glad I stuck with it. Being fully modular made working with the harder-to-cable-manage case much easier

Case Fan

Low to moderate noise levels and decent performance. On sale at $12 each, they're fine

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Comments

  • 7 months ago
  • 3 points

That's a solid, sensible build. Nice work!

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

"Solid and sensible" was exactly what I was going for this first go around. As much as I drool over appreciate RGB lighting and higher-end rigs, I wanted to prove to myself I could build a no-frills PC that could keep pace both in its lighter weight class and for my user needs. Thanks and cheers

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

I love it! Very clean and functional looking!

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The case was tricky to build in (navigating my first build, using a smaller micro ATX case with finicky cable management, chunky stock PSU cables), so this is affirming

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

I’m looking to build my first ever gaming pc. Would this be a good build.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes this is a very nice starting point for pc build in 2019. It will handle 1080p gaming on almost all titles. The only thing that I would recommend really, is make sure you get a rx 580 that has 8 gb of vram. 4 gb just doesn’t really cut it anymore for more modern titles.

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Ok thanks for replying and the tip

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Second this recommendation for 8GB vs 4GB. Out of curiousity, I tried running both Doom (2016) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p on medium. GPU ran pretty hot after 20-30 minutes (sorry, forgot to note temps), so I'd be cautious running a longer session without changing settings or using different hardware altogether. Your mileage may vary, but this setup works for me as I'm more of a Stardew Valley and Sims kind of gamer ;-)

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

If you're starting fresh and on a budget, then yes. You could probably get most of these parts at the same price or for less (at least in Canada) f.e. the CPU and mobo have gone down in price since I purchased my parts this past August. I was about to go for the Ryzen 5 3400g in a mini ITX case to start, but then I found the used RX 580 4G and went this route instead. With this setup eSports titles are generally fine, but I'd take on AAA games with more caution, if at all. Your results may vary depending on your parts and needs, so research and happy building!

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

You should try overclocking your ram, those sticks should be micron revE and are awesome at overclocking! buildzoid has OC guide's on his YouTube channel (actual hardcore overclocking) using the same ram that you have.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Did you have any issues putting the video card in with this case? I have the same case and having major issues, mind you I havent touched a PC in over 10 years, not sure how forceful to be with it, but the sticky out metal bit seems to be getting in the way, when inserting.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

The case was the biggest headache for me- I wrote about my issues in the main case description and also mentioned the issue with the PCI-E slot in my reply to Soulseez's comment. I ended up taking a pair of needle nose pliers to uncurl and flatten out the top slot to create extra room for the GPU inputs. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD as I've ripped into the slot and there's now a small, jagged piece of metal sticking out of my case. If you have the space I'd recommend using a PCI-E riser instead

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks man, my issues weren't as bad as i first thought. Though it would've helped if the case came with instructions especially for people like me who haven't touched a PC for like 12-15 years (been on Mac). My graphics card did fit, I didn't realise you had to unscrew the back bit so there's room for it to slot in. I was being a right idiot.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

was thinking of building my first pc with that case. would you recommend it or is it worth looking for another case. i am doing it as a budget build, so do you think there would be any better options?

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Depends on your use case and priorities. If you specifically need a budget micro atx case, this is a contender at its current sale price of $40 CAD/$30 USD (normally $50 CAD in my area)

Thumbs up: Overall build quality (better than most Rosewill and other budget cases in this price range); an actual side glass panel vs. acrylic or sheet metal (much rarer at this price point). I really wanted a glass panel as acrylic scratches and this is what I found at this price

Compromises: Airflow could be an issue (only 1 x 120mm fan support in front, 1 x 120mm rear. No fan mounts up top or bottom). This mattered less since I don't run intensive games and tasks for long periods. GPU clearance is a much shorter 250 mm length limit with the 3.5-inch drive bays in the way, but it wasn't an issue for my specific video card. You could can drill out the 3.5-inch drive bay's pop rivets to create more clearance and maybe another front fan mount, but then you lose all your 3.5-inch drive storage and one of two 2.5-inch SATA drive bays. Rear PCI input clearance the top row for cable input is pretty narrow, so you either get video cables with a thinner connector width on the end or use the second row of DP/HDMI/etc. inputs instead

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm rebuilding my old ITX system into a new case since I just built a new rig recently and was getting scared that the ITX wasn't going to work out on this case but I found this build and faith has been restored! I'm getting my Matrexx 30 in next week cant wait to redo my old faithful system :D