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Extreme Couponing: Mid-Range PC Edition

by eharvey328


Part List View full price breakdown


CPU Clock Rate

3.5 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

16.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

980 MHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

1.355 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

41.0° C


UPDATE: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/K9k

Okay, it isn't too extreme of a discount, but ~$300 off is still pretty good. (Discount based on purchase date, obviously). Take into consideration the tower itself cost me only $700.

This is my first home-built computer and its purpose is strictly for gaming. Previously I was running on a couple year old laptop which would crash from low settings on Minecraft. So I set out as the jobless teenager I am, and sold...a lot. eBay became a dear friend of mine throughout this process, both from selling and buying. Once I had some money this site was a great help to organize and research the parts I wanted. Over the next three months I did a heap of research and scouted for the best prices until everything was finally purchased. I will talk more about my choices and feelings upon owning them later but overall I am happy, and glad I can finally delve into the PC gaming experience.

CPU: I don't have really any complaints for this processor. I got a great bundle deal from Microcenter and heard many good reviews about the 6300- it is a good CPU. Definitely get this over any other FX-Series 4xxx or 6xxx. I haven't dabbled into overclocking yet- that day will come when I get a cooler. I originally wanted the i5 but the budget wouldn't allow for it, and the same thing goes for the 8 core AMD. But again I am happy with this guy.

MOBO: Again the low price was from the bundle deal from Microcenter. One issue seems to be a bit of a whine (really, really faint) that appears under load. Not a big deal since I have my headphones, but still a negative. As for the how the board looks, it is pretty nice. Don't be fooled by flash pictures, the board looks black, not brown. I liked the big heatsinks by the CPU and the paint finish looks good. Also the ASUS UEFI Bios are nice. With fastboot on and the bios splash screen disable I have cut my boot time to ~5 seconds from windows screen and ~15 seconds from power button press.

RAM: Newegg was having a sale so I picked this up. It ticked all my necessary boxes: 8GB, DDR3-1600, 9 CAS, and it matches the board well. No complaints, no issues, just good memory- and I like the Corsair brand.

SSD: Alright so I didn't get the M4, its the Micron C400, but it is still the same thing (Micron owns Crucial). I got this off eBay for a good price and I like the M4. It is a very reliable and reasonably fast SSD (I boot in ~11 seconds). Definitely get 120+ GB for an SSD because windows alone takes about 20GB of it, and when you add on a few games and large programs 64GB is gone in a flash. I found now that 120GB is not enough for a single drive and will be getting a storage drive soon.

GPU: Ahhh yes, the money drain. This is where the bulk of my earnings went. I was going to get the 7870XT but I read a post somewhere that said "If you are deciding between two GPUs not that different in price always get the upgrade, you'll be kicking yourself otherwise". So I though about it and I wanted Crysis 3 with my Never Settle bundle rather than Tombraider, and the 3GB aspect was nice so I bought the upgrade. It is a great card, XFX has good quality, but this is annoyingly loud. It is easily the loudest fan in my case, including the stock cpu fan. I can't say this card 'destroyes everything' but it is still very good. In Crysis 3 I have to turn a couple settings down a bit but everything else has run quite well. It's a very good bang for buck.

WIFI: You see, we have our router in the basement of my house (so my Dad's PC can be direct connected) and I am set up on the 2nd story in my room. Wifi was an issue. With the d-link duel band something I was only getting about 2-3 bars, but we upgraded to the ASUS AC1750 and now I'm getting 5 bars everywhere. However this is partly due to my receiver( i think) since my xbox and blueray which are near my PC can't get nearly as strong of a signal. I would recomend this for long distance wifi, but make sure you have a good enough router.

Case: Got a great deal from TigerDirect, but man was this a hassle to get here. Had to jump through a few hoops but I finally shipped. TigerDirect was nice about it though, they are still my preferred retailer. The case offers great cooling, although I haven't taken full use of it yet (I need more fans). The 2 negatives I have are: the side panel grates, which are not that bad but deter from the sleekness, and the insufficient space for dual 120 rad. Other than that It is a great case; it looks good, has a nice finish, and is the perfect size.

Optical Drive: Yep...Past-proof

Windows 8: "Eww Windows 8". Yes, stock Windows 8 is a bit "eww". However with Startisback I love it. I need my start button and not have it take me to the modern UI. Also, all those blasted hover charms are disabled (yay). This was a last second purchase, I though I was for sure going to get 7 but nope, I wanted a change of pace and couldn't be happier. It is faster than Windows 7, it has much better menu options and details, and I think it looks better. When you install Startisback it turns into a refined, upgraded Windows 7 rather than the overhaul that Microsoft is pushing. Oh and oddly Amazon gave me an unadvertised discount when I went to check out, maybe because I'm a prime member? Also, am I the only one who buys windows anymore, every other build log says "got windows ultimate/pro free ;]". If there is something I wouldn't torrent it would be my dang OS.

Monitor: Love the look of this thing. Got an amazing deal on eBay (probably my best deal), and it is wonderful. IPS is great, colors look bright and true, whites are bright and blacks are deep. The 5ms is not a big deal, from a side by side test there is the same amount of ghosting as my Dad's 1.5ms monitor. It is dubbed a "frameless" monitor, which is technically true, but it really be called a bezel-less monitor since there is a boarder. But I still love it, frankly it is the smallest frame you are going to get on the market without spending your first born.

Keyboard: I picked it up real quick at staples. It is semi-temporary, there are other things I prioritize to get down the road but it has the standard layout I like. The keys feel a bit cheap, but again, it is cheap.

PSU: This was another eBay item I bought and did with very little research. The bid was ending and I saw a modular Corsair >500 watt and it was reviewed as being really quiet. I got a pretty good deal on it at $22 +shipping so it = $34. The cables look really good, you can't see though to the colored wires (unlike the CX series). It is really quiet and does what it needs to but I'm worried a bit about it's age. I do plan on taking off that horrible bright yellow side sticker that sticks out like a sore thumb. I will probably upgrade down the road and get some individually sleeved cables.

Later Upgrades (in order-ish): fans (2 front 2 top), LED strip(s), individually sleeved cables, better PSU (one that matches).

Completed upgrades (I will take pictures when I have done more to it): Changed side panel to completely clear (no vents), painted 7950 plaque from red to ASUS blue (going to print label onto it in soon), added a WD Blue 1TB, an H80i, grabbed a g602 mouse and cm storm quickfire ultimate keyboard.

Sorry for the term paper sized description :].

Comments Sorted by:

DjArtifact 16 points 70 months ago

Oh man that is a sexy PC, good job.

That0rangeGuy 9 points 70 months ago

Sweet cable management, How is that monitor?

kenh536 2 Builds 7 points 70 months ago

I am loving that monitor. Tiny bezel, decent size, IPS, 5ms, for THAT price?! Man makes me cry over my 21.5 asus now haha. But nice build great choices and good cable management.

DjArtifact 4 points 70 months ago

Too bad it is glossy and not matte.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 4 points 70 months ago

agreed, but I come from one glossy screen to another so it isn't much of a bother.

Krewe 1 Build 3 points 70 months ago

That was my thought as well... Stupid glare.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 3 points 70 months ago

Thank you very much! I about cried of joy when I saw the monitor price on eBay. And I had to really force that right side panel for it to close but it turned out decent in the end.

Destrokk 2 Builds 3 points 70 months ago

Agreed. Looking for a 27" or 30" in it now :P

Mediciu5 3 Builds 6 points 66 months ago

Just saw your build doing research on the CPU. Your cable management was very nice. Super clean inside. As someone that converses everyday for work via email I really appreciated how nicely you kept your part topics separated. As I'm still not familiar with your part choices (haven't fully researched AMD parts yet) So I'm giving you a +1 for how nice it was to read your "term paper description".

I'd give you another +1 for price if I could. That was pretty good in my mind.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 3 points 65 months ago

Thank you very much. My goal was to help those researching understand my thoughts on the individual products.

My 6300 is superb for the price, plus a good 970/990 chipset board are much cheaper than comparative z77/z87 intel boards. Your choice depends heavily on the purpose of your build. If you need a bang for your buck gaming PC with a CPU capable enough for some rendering, than the 6300 is a great choice.

Glad you liked my build. Much has changed with it and I hope to do an update here soon.

Javanode 1 Build 2 points 70 months ago

DAT monitor! gosh it looks so vivid even from here!

Destrokk 2 Builds 2 points 70 months ago

In my opinion, term paper sized descriptions reduce the amount of questions and criticisms we can ask/make. :P Nice build.

AlejandroLariz 1 Build 2 points 58 months ago

Looks great, nice job on cable management also

miniclipgamer 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Well done, my friend, well done.

I admire your cable management there, too. As for your upgrades, I think you should maybe look into doing a custom liquid cooling loop, check out the NZXT HUE, and definitely find a hard drive to use.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

I agree, just those custom loops can get expensive, but they looks so good. http://img11.hostingpics.net/pics/184784IMGP1090.jpg <<< This picture played a large role in my case decision. As for the HUE, I do really like that thing but it uses a drive bay and if I do a loop + optical drive + hue then I can't have a fan controller or a card reader.

miniclipgamer 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Theres an XSPC Raystorm 750 RS240, you can use that, but get better tubing. I could imagine that you could modify the HUE to just have the knobs in, say, a PCI slot or something.

Chrisfromnorwood 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Nice build man!

aragorn98 1 point 70 months ago

Nice job. Very good cable management. Ahh that monitor!!!!!!

killsburydouboy 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Nice build. I am running the same CPU and ram I built about 3 months ago. Also, if you watch slickdeals.net you might be able to get some of your upgrades for cheap since you are on a tight budget. Lastly, kudo's to you for working and saving up for it. Many teenagers do not do that at all.

Marcopolo 1 point 70 months ago

Wow very good deal ! Looks very good. Only thing to do now is replacing dat ugly stock fan xD Well actualy its not that bad looking :)

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Oh it's for sure ugly and loud! Haha, thank you.

Dead-Xilence 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

It looks so professional... * golf claps *

elkay648 1 point 70 months ago

you should overclock the monitor for games you get more than 60 fps in

ardechey 1 point 70 months ago

That monitor looks amazing

bode927 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Extremely nice build for what you paid for it, but hey, that was the goal right?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Thanks! Exactly :)

Ggadget 1 point 70 months ago

If there is space in your case I highly recommend getting the xigmatek dark knight 2 cooler instead of the h80. It cools better, and isn't that loud. I think it's cheaper than the h80 too.

omni72 5 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Nicely done! :) Well-balanced, primo cable management, awesome write-up, AND high marks for the extreme value-hunting. Bravo!

hunter32tz 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Give me your wallpaper NAO

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

http://wallbase.cc/wallpaper/2648308 wallbase is without question the best place for wallpapers.

hunter32tz 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

Thank you kind sir.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 65 months ago

Just realized the link is broken. Here is the updated one: http://i.imgur.com/ISZPZzY.jpg?1 - I can't find it on wallbase again, sorry.

Elvenazn 1 point 70 months ago

Sweet build! Great job! :D

JTsComputer 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

any update on the XFX 7950?

found one for a steal, but did some searching around and everyone says they are extremely loud and hot...definitely not a good combo to the point of scaring me off it despite the uber deal

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

This is my first build so I don't have previous knowledge of other cards to compare it to. With that said I still complain that the fans are noticeable even when not under load. My case doesn't have the best of cooling but when I did an overclock to 960/1320 (stock 900/1250) the temps get up to 77C under load- those fans then spin up to turbine like speeds.

Still, the card is a beautiful card. The red plate on the front can be easily removed and painted (I painted mine blue to match). It also performs great but I guess that would be consistent with all 7950s.

So yes, the fans are loud but it isn't really that horrible- I can live with it. I would still recommend the card. However, if I were to do it again I would probably get the vaper-x or the IceQ. I would pay $30 more for the silence and OC capability. But if you found the XFX for that much of a discount I would go for it.

JTsComputer 1 Build 1 point 70 months ago

just realized the one i was looking at is the core model (single fan) so even worse...but for $210 still dunno lol

DforDarkon 1 Build 1 point 69 months ago

Just a quickie, i've got the same case as you and the top-mount for fans can fit either 2x 120mm or 2x 140mm, you can fit a 240 or 280mm Rad in there, so easily a H100i :)

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 69 months ago

Good! I have seen people do it before, but they said there is low clearance so I might have to swap my high profile ram. Thanks for the info!

Mattios 1 point 68 months ago

Hey! Nice build; can I ask what software did you use on the second last photo?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 68 months ago

Thank you! The software is the free version of 3dMark 11. I just took a screenshot of my result page. You can download it at http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark11

Sprocket30 2 Builds 1 point 68 months ago

Date build ? and Final price ?

For sure a plus +1 , Sexy build

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 68 months ago

I finished it around mid May 2013, before Nvidia 700 or Haswell, and the final cost was just over $900.

MrNoNo 1 point 68 months ago

Where did you order this from? :O

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 67 months ago

CPU, motherboard and optical drive from Microcenter. RAM and wireless adapter from Newegg. GPU, PSU, and case from Tigerdirect. Monitor and SSD from eBay. OS from Amazon, and keyboard from Staples.

eBay is where the big deals are. As for the major sites (Newegg, Tigerdirect, ect.) just look out for some daily/weekly deals; http://slickdeals.net is a good place to check.

tshombe123 1 Build 1 point 67 months ago

Nice build! Does the motherboard come with sound?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 67 months ago

Thanks! and yes it does.

idma 1 point 67 months ago

Built very similar to yours.

Firstly, good on ya for getting the XFX 7950 double d. I hear the single fan version is pretty prone to over heating. And yes, the 7950, as far as gaming goes, destroys everything. Too bad you didn't build this 3 months later (July-august) cause I built mine during that time and everything you have up there was on sale. So i got mine for 200 cheaper

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 67 months ago

Thanks, that is so true what you said. Wish I could have waited a bit but hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

jekhari.lovett 1 point 67 months ago

Ok I know I'm like 3 months late on the questions game but it might benefit me that i am. I am doing a very simular build using the same CPU and a simular GPU...... HOW DOES IT PLAY!

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 67 months ago

It is a great setup. Whenever I first launch a game I get excited to max all the settings to ultra with 16x anisotropic and 8x AA. I am fussy about my FPS, some people can play on 30-40, I cannot, I need 50-60 FPS and this delivers that.

Bioshock Infinite full ultra: ~60 fps Battlefield 3 full ultra: ~50 fps Borderlands 2: ~60fps Skyrim with 100 mods (including an enb): ~50 fps. The only thing I've come across which I needed to turn things down was Crysis 3 which I get 25-35 fps on full

jekhari.lovett 1 point 67 months ago

Awesome because you named two of my fave's maxed out i will be sure to credit you in the build under parts support thanks man

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 67 months ago

Thank, no problem. I'm happy to assist. Have fun building your new PC! I wish I could relive it.

GamingGuru93 1 Build 1 point 66 months ago

I do not torrent the OS either i don't get why people do it lol. Awesome build the only complaint i have is the mouse and keyboard but i have been jobless so i get it good work.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 65 months ago

Thank! I'm not a big fan of the mouse/keyboard either, but I wanted all funds to go towards the tower. I will hopefully be upgrading soon.

raheemjan 1 point 65 months ago

Hey, did you ever put those led strips in? i want to see some picture of how it looks now please.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 65 months ago

That's the next step. Contemplating hue or not but it shouldn't be long before I complete it. However I still have a new desk to get for it yet :).

raheemjan 1 point 65 months ago

ok. let me know how it goes

redflaggaming 1 point 64 months ago

Hey guys. Nice build dude! I need some help. I need to know if this build has any bottlenecks or poor choice of components. I already have the OS and optical drive also. Also, if need be I can salvage wires or parts from other old PCs that I have. Thanks for the help in advance! http://pcpartpicker.com/user/redflaggaming/saved/2WNY

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 64 months ago

So far as I know, there aren't any bottlenecks with setup. Your PSU wattage is fine and the 6300 can easily keep up with your GPU. However, there may be a few better options for parts. This is my opinion and if you or anyone else thinks I'm wrong then don't hesitate to reply.

1) I would swap your 1GB 650ti for a 2GB 7850. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/msi-video-card-r7850twinfrozr2gd5oc -MSI TF http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-video-card-hd7850dc22gd5v2 -ASUS There's about a 10FPS difference and the 2GB will come in handy.

2) Are you bundling your CPU with your motherboard through Microcenter? If so, I think there are better combos out there: 8320 + 970A-G46 for $129.99 total. If not, there are better motherboard options for the price. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/msi-motherboard-970ag43 970 chipset, full ATX.

Lastly I have just a few questions: Why the 1866 memory? Why $80 on fans?

redflaggaming 1 point 64 months ago

Thanks for the suggestions! I made the switch of the GPU like you recommended. As to the RAM speed, I want to be able to use these parts later on in other builds also. So if I have an APU build I want faster RAM for it, and also I want more speed. And to the fans, those are the best there is(besides the ugly Noctuas). And with that cooling setup the parts will stay cool which will therefore preserve the longevity of my components.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 64 months ago

Ya that makes sense, haha. I only quickly did some research on the 7850 so make sure that is the one you want before you jump the gun. perhaps look at the new r7 or maybe you can find a good black friday deal. Best of luck!

redflaggaming 1 point 64 months ago

Thanks! I think I'll stick with the Radeon you talked about or even go to a higher one(like the 7950). Thanks for the help!

Padpo 1 Build 1 point 63 months ago

I love it :-)

PapaRay90 1 point 63 months ago

Very sweet and clean build.

WWarriorz51 1 Build 1 point 63 months ago

this is just my personal experience but id suggest a different gpu cuz the last xfx i had gave us problem after problem and we just returned but it may just have been bad luck but nice build im drooling over that monitor!!

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 63 months ago

Thanks, little late for that now, haha. I haven't had any issue yet fingers crossed.

bballcyril 1 point 63 months ago

did u have to flash the bios with that processor?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 63 months ago

I did not.

KingOFCRuel_ 1 point 63 months ago


dguzman57@gmail.com 1 point 63 months ago

hey man i got 2 questions. do you have bf4 and if yed how much fps are you getting on high setting .

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 63 months ago

I don't but BF3 gets around 45-60

Eco212 1 point 62 months ago

Sick build bro. Sounds like for what it's worth you got quite a few bargains from eBay! I hate to squeeze in an ad, but how's mine looking? http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/Eco212/saved/3tJa

noinrave 2 Builds 1 point 62 months ago

dude oc the chip mine is running at 4.4 on a noctua cooler with plenty left in it. Not sure what the vrm on the mobo is like I have a asus m5a99x evo and i'm glad i spent the extra cash on it. All in all one great build, enjoy!!

ravengpitts 1 point 59 months ago

If you ever see this comment or remember (lol) where did you get that background on your desktop?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 59 months ago

I found it on wallbase.cc though I can't find it on there now. I re-uploaded it to imgur and posted the link in an earlier comment.

bradkerwood 1 point 59 months ago

Just wondering how you like the mobo? I'm in the middle of a build right now and I bought the same one. Like it?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 59 months ago

I think it is pretty good. Nothing too fancy on it but it does what I need. UEFI interface is quite nice.

RoboBird 1 point 58 months ago

Oh snap. That monitor. I must get it.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 58 months ago

I'd argue, for the price, it is the best out there. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

septiczz 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

How is the mobo?

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 58 months ago

I cannot accurately describe the overclocking potential, since it is not something I have felt the need to do yet. Other than that it does what it needs to---nothing too fancy, though. The UEFI BIOS interface is great and the fastboot options are wonderful. There is really nothing to hate, but there is not much to absolutely love. Don't misinterpret that however; it is still a very capable motherboard for it's price.

ShamarHoltz 1 Build 1 point 54 months ago

+1 for those nice *** picture! I love your build! but I would say that is better than a Mid ranged gaming rig.

KernelKaramilk 1 point 54 months ago

How is this motherboard with OC'ing? Also, does the BIOS have mouse control like some MSI boards?

KnobleKnives 1 point 54 months ago

Mmmm, that monitor, though.

RRRilind 1 point 53 months ago

ur wallpaper pls?

Tentons01 1 point 52 months ago

Looks great!

Nice beaches by the way :D I have the same pair

jumboworms 1 Build 1 point 51 months ago

Was this monitor okay for gaming?

Acidic07 1 point 51 months ago

Did you have to update the bios with that mobo? Just curious, I was thinking of getting that mobo as well. +1 nice build.

Reyjkl 1 point 45 months ago

I love the build and you got a damn good deal on the monitor. I'll probably look for one on eBay also. The only thing I didn't like about the build was the graphics card. You could've gotten a gtx 960 4gb for less. Here's the link to the build http://pcpartpicker.com/p/zKfwf7 I'm looking for a dual monitor setup so I can do something else while playing league. I'll probably use an old 780p monitor I have and buy a new one for gaming. Any suggestions as to where I can get the monitor besides eBay? Thanks

jackbauer24 1 point 37 months ago

Very nice build. Made very good choices in parts.

PickItApart 0 points 70 months ago

For less than $1000 you got everything? Amazing. I really like the build.

I'm not sure about that mobo but you gotta overclock that fx-6300. You should be getting 4.4GHz or so out of it. It is a really good processor but you need good cooling too. I'd be a little concerned with how well that mobo can overclock.

ninjustice 1 Build 0 points 56 months ago

I like all of it except the storage. Western digital caviar blue is the best for any budget PC.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 56 months ago

Do you mean you would have preferred a blue over an ssd?

ninjustice 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

yes. sorry.

eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 56 months ago

You're right, it would have saved a good bit of money; though I believe any "new" computer should have an ssd at this point. That's just my opinion, and you are entitled to your own.

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eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Thank you, I'm glad that you said that. I was hoping that I didn't over-buy on the GPU.

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eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 68 months ago

I had a $30 MIR on the GPU and a $10 one on the case. The other deals were from bundling (like the CPU and MOBO)and the other parts were just on random sales. Also, eBay played a big role in finding used, but heavily discounted, parts.

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eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 66 months ago

I'd love to help...but your parts list is private for me :).

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eharvey328 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Haha I assume that. Really, just that first paragraph is 'description', the rest is just for those who want to know my consumer review on the individual parts.