The goal of this build was to get a triple-screen iRacing setup as cheaply as possible. What I ended up with was a slightly more capable gaming machine than I planned, that was still pretty cheap.
I had been wanting to build something for quite a while, but refused because I'm cheap and my MBP kind of runs iRacing. A friend of mine had been trying to convince me by offering me his spare 970 to use, but the tipping point was when I found a deal on craigslist for these three monitors for $100. After that I spent about two months searching for deals on the absolute cheapest components (of sufficient quality) to get the job done. The prices I paid are listed on the left. For $400 invested, I'm incredibly happy with the results. Factoring in the GPU, I guess it's a $600 build.
Performance is awesome, despite the generation-old hardware. This is my first gaming computer, and first ssd-equipped machine, and it is glorious. I haven't been able to set up the third screen yet (my desk at school is too small!), but iRacing isn't demanding and this thing is barely above idle running it on one. It's even rock solid running BF1 on ultra, with the slight OC to cure a small stutter on the largest conquest matches. What a stunning game to look at. I didn't plan to build something this capable, but I'm definitely glad it turned out that way! And within budget too.
More notes on the budget:
-Obviously, no regard was given to color scheme.
-OS is Windows Server 2016. I get a free license for it from my university, so why not? It's basically Windows 10 without the app store or a bunch of other crap. It's been working flawlessly as a desktop OS so far.
-No one needs optical drives in 2k17.
-Yes, I skipped a HDD. I only keep a couple games installed at one, since I don't have time for more anyway. Sitting at about 60gb free with no pressing need to install anything else... I'm sure I'll have to grab a 1TB blue eventually when they're $40 again, though.
- Spare keyboard from our prebuilt Asus - free! I don't get the love affair with mechanicals, but I'll admit I've only used a Rosewill. Regardless, I like this chiclet one.
-Newegg's monthly free Rosewill fans are a blessing. They're not quiet, but I'm running four of them! Yes, the blue LED one is tacky, I'll probably replace it with another free one.
Feel free to leave comments on what I did wrong, where I spent too much money, or what critical items I missed. This was my first build and I spent a decent amount of time trying to get the best bang for my buck, but I won't claim to know what I'm doing.
Solid CPU. Got it for this price on eBay as open box new. It performs admirably. BF1 on ultra just barely maxes it at stock clock, bumping it to 3.7GHz keeps even the largest conquest matches running smoothly. I've had it to 4.4GHz without issue, but for the sake of my cheap motherboard, turned it back down. With the M9i it's only just getting to 70C at 4.4 with the cpu fan still at idle. I think that's impressive?
This little cooler does a great job! At stock clock it doesn't break 55C. And it was cheap. What more can you ask? I used Prolimatech PK-1 with it.
I'm not an expert on motherboards, but I know this one is quality and has all the features I need - quality audio with 5ch output, 4 ram slots, and a version of the bios is available with non-Z overclocking capability! Epic.
I got this used for $45 (for the 16gb). It's the wrong color, my MB only supports 1600, but it was cheap and it works fine!
My first SSD. This thing is awesome. Got it for a pretty decent price. This is supposed to be one of the better "value" class SSDs, and the couple GB of extra space over the competition is nice, too.
This is a pretty great card, even for late 2016 titles. First video card I've dealt with in years, so I have no basis of comparison. However, BF1 on Vsync'd ultra doesn't quite max it at stock clocks, I guess it should hold me for a few years still. Reference, yes, but I can't hear it over my array of Rosewill case fans. Plus, I got it for free. That kinda pushes the value rating toward infinity.
Ten dollar case! Thank you, sales and mail-in rebates (that actually work!). Definitely the best-looking case available for under $20. Cable management exists. No SSD mount, mine is currently restrained by gravity (soon to be zip-tied!). It has a PSU filter! The back also has a convenient headphone cord guide as you can see in my last pic. The fan mounting locations in the window are kind of ugly, but I digress. The fact that it holds my components makes it worth the price I paid, everything else is a bonus.
Outfitted with four Rosewill fans, all free after MIR from Newegg. Yes, it's loud. No, I don't care. It gets great airflow.
It works? I'm not enough of an expert to tell you more about a power supply. It's enough juice for this build and EVGA stuff has always been good to me.
For the price, fantastic. Looks pretty good for a non-LED LCD from 2012. Bezels are a little big compared to the Acer R240 we have at home - that thing is gorgeous (gotta love LED, IPS, & tiny bezel). I can ignore that difference when I'm staring at three of these for the price of one of those, though.
It's always worth the couple extra bucks to go with a Logitech over the off-brand crap, even on an ultra-budget build. Perfect basic mouse. It's light, accurate, feels quality, and should last.