First, let me say THANK YOU!!!!! to the PCPP community for the answers to my questions, suggestions, and information that made this build possible.
The title is from a friend at work who I had been discussing this project with since it started back in Nov. '15. As each part evolved to a higher level and expanded from a narrow purpose to a broad use and the budget just kept going higher. Finally he reminded me that this won't be the build to end all builds, and after a certain point it just became bragging rights. In other words 'Sometimes Good Enough Is Good Enough'.
This build started out far, far different than what it ended up being. The only two parts that stayed the same from the beginning were the HDD (since I already owned them) and the motherboard. I had originally wanted to build a modest budget build that could surf the 'Net, play W.O.W. , and a few older games. It has turned into a mid-level gaming machine that can handle any number of other tasks. Some of the parts I have are slightly off balance, and that is due to price, availability, or that I changed my mind so many times as I gathered parts as budget allowed. Having admitted that, I think this has turned out far better than I had originally planned.
CPU: I had originally planned on going with an i3-6100. I was particularly interested in the fact that when I was getting started, SKYOC was available and people were achieving stable OC's of 4.5Ghz and higher. This seemed like the best of both worlds, until Intel put the kibosh on it. Since the CPU was one of the last things I bought, I figured that If I couldn't OC the I3 (without jumping through a lot of hoops) an I5 would be the best bet, so I went with the 6500.
CPU Cooler: The Raijintek Aidos Black is a nice unit. The heat sink is large enough to do the job and the fan. while only 92mm keeps my CPU cool. Performance is on par with the CM 212 EVO, but about $7 less at the time of purchase. The fan is quiet and installation was as easy as could ask for. The only criticism I have is that the paste cane in a little foil packet (think ketchup) instead of a syringe. Glad I chose this unit as you can see in the photos, anything larger would have completely blocked the #1 RAM slot.
Motherboard: ASRock was my top choice of company but I had a couple other models in mind at first. I knew I wanted a Z170 board for possibly OC'ing a I3-6100 (when it was possible) and that several reviewers had shown how using higher speed RAM with the 6100 had marked performance improvement from stock DDR4-2133. This mobo went on sale, and at the time it was the lowest price it had ever been, and I jumped on it. It's not pretty, and it's not supposed to be. This is a stripped down, no frills mobo perfect for my use as my case has no window. Installation was painless and it's worked well so far. Only gripe is that the Molex connector for the case fan controller is smack in the middle of the board. There is no graceful way to route the cable to it without going across the whole thing, in front of God and everybody. The BIOS is very nice, with two versions; Easy Mode and Advanced. Easy mode is pretty and for minor tweaks is perfect. Advanced mode is closer to old school BIOS (like Phoenix was back in the day) but still very user friendly. ASRock's A Tuner allows adjustments to performance from inside Windows including Easy OC for those with K chips. There's also the ASRock App Store for other things like driver updates and such. Not too shabby for a sub $100 Z170 motherboard.
RAM: It's RAM. I used 3200 instead of 2133 because it was a $5 difference in price and a significant performance upgrade for I3 CPUs vs 2133. I like the low profile heat spreader, and G. Skill has a good rep.
Storage: First is A-Data 240GB SSD. It's fast and price was nice. Not as popular as Samsung, but cheaper. The two Seagate HDD are from my previous laptop computer. They are over 8yrs old and are as good today as when I first used them. I'll get a larger HDD at some point in the future, but these will do for now.
GPU: This was another part that changed, and changed, and changed again. At first I was going to go with a GTX 950, since that was all I needed. Then after seeing that newer games were needing more horsepower to get desired performance, I looked at the GTX 960. Oh, but wait! the R9 380 beats the GTX 960 and is sometimes cheaper. No the 380X is the way to go. Hey look, R9 290s are still around for the same price. No, no, Nvidia had better drivers. And on, and on, and on. When the money came available this card was on sale and I had a slight discount with buying it with a couple of unrelated items, so that's what I went with. I don't regret the choice. I think this is where I couldn't have made a bad choice, since AMD makes great GPUs as well and they all perform well. Install was a breeze, and I downloaded EVGA Precision X (just like MSI Afterburner) to go with it. Came with a poster, stickers, and a nice case badge. I really like that case badge.
Case: This was a pain in the posterior. Lower priced cases were either deficient for cable management, or were uglier than Jimmy's little sister. If I wanted a case that looked like a neon freak show, I'd just go buy an Alienware P.O.S. If I found a case I liked it either spiked in price or went unavailable. Was about to bite the bullet and cough up for an Enthoo when this case came available on Newegg. It's well built, solid as a rock, has plenty of space behind the motherboard wall for cables, and holes all over for cable access. With three fans included and a fan controller, plus room for two more fans (and plugs in the controller for them), USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and a multi-size SD card reader, for under $60?! Yeah, I jumped on it. This case obviously took it's cues from the Define series and/or Noxonia, but so what. DIYPC built a winner with this one. Most of their other cases are ........juvenile, but this one is great for those who just want a nice solid case. There's no side window, but I don't mind since all the action is on the monitor, right? Only downside is that the door isn't reversible.
PSU: This was the first item I bought for this project. I had been researching parts and at the time here on PCPP the fur had been flying over PSU choices and how folks were reacting to those choices. There were few PSUs that were generally regarded as acceptable, but this was one of them. JonnyGuru had put out it's review of the B2 units with a grade of 9/10. I got mine on sale from Amazon on a price drop at a price I just couldn't pass up. 750 watts is overkill for this system, even at full tilt I might only use 65-70% capacity. However, this is a solid unit, well built with a 5 year warranty. Semi-modular to boot. I know full modular is cooler, but the hard wired lines are the ones I'd have had to use anyway. Unit came with black sleeved cables and some nice Velcro strips for cable management.
ODD: The part itself is nice. The vendor I bought it from on Newegg, RIP-OFF!!!!!!!!! The description had been worded so to give the impression of including software along with the ODD, so the price looked reasonable. Come to find out the price was for the unit all on it's own (it's an OEM, but wasn't described as such). I could have gotten the same part for @ $20-30 cheaper. I didn't return it since it was my own stupidity for buying it, not Newegg's. Chalk it up to a learning lesson. It performs as expected.
Other Parts: I already had Windows 7 Ultimate, and the trackball. The wifi card does what it's supposed to do. The keyboard was a cheap one on Newegg. Only noteworthy thing is that it's P/S 2 (needed it for initial set up), but it works well, and types nice.
The build process it's self was so smooth and easy I was suspicious that something was wrong. Everything went like buttah, POSTed no problem, Windows installed no hassle. Whole thing took maybe two hours, with a couple of revisions when taking care of the cables behind the motherboard. Still not satisfied with them but it works and it's not bad, just not perfect. Gotta get a monitor, as right now I'm using a 720p LED t.v. It's ok but a true monitor (1080p or better) will be an improvement.
Questions, comments, and such are welcomed.
The Raijintek Aidos Black is a nice unit. The heat sink is large enough to do the job and the fan. while only 92mm keeps my CPU cool. Performance is on par with the CM 212 EVO, but about $7 less at the time of purchase. The fan is quiet and installation was as easy as could ask for. The only criticism I have is that the paste cane in a little foil packet (think ketchup) instead of a syringe.
One of, if not the least expensive Z170 motherboards out there, but it works great. Plenty of features, but stripped down so you're not paying for toys you'll never use. Only down side is the Molex port for a fan controller is located in the middle of the board just under the CPU, so there's no hiding that cable.
Fast, no problems, and no drama. Exactly what I want from a hard drive, and even more so from an SSD boot drive. It's not a Samsung EVO but for the money it's just as good.
The price doesn't reflect the value, since these drives are approaching 9 years old as of Oct 2016, and have been in constant service all that time. On their own they rate closer to 3.5 star (they are just average drives), but for 9 years of use with no hassle, that gets you the other 1.5 stars.
It's been getting the job done, though I haven't taxed it's limits yet.
Solidly built with lots of room and routing holes for cable management. Insulated for quiet operation. Has USB 3.0 & 2.0 ports, and a multi-size SD card reader. The accessory card slots (video card/sound card/wifi card etc) are replaceable, so no awkward holes if you remove a card later. It can mount up to 5 fans (three come with the case) and comes with a magnetic dust filter, and a PSU shroud. It's a great case with lots of room (can handle an EATX mobo).
It's overkill for this build. That said, it's worked like a champ from day 1. Excellent build quality, great price, great reviews, and a good warranty.
Nice panel, speakers are o.k., but you can't find a better monitor in this size for under $100 (USD) brand new.
Build quality is nice, headset is light weight but sturdy. Sound is a little light on the bass, but was corrected to my satisfaction by adjusting sound properties in the OS. Ear-cuffs are cotton soft and feel good while wearing. There's only the USB connection and works just fine in USB 3.0 ports (though it's meant for 2.0). The cable is heavy duty thick and @ 7 foot long so plenty of tether and not likely to kink or break easily. Volume control is on the back of the left cup, but no mute for the mic at all. Also no way to turn off LEDs except to unplug from your computer (even when off).