$800 Budget build PC designed for WordPress website design, email, Citrix access into the work network, word processing for homework, and secretly play some games (no Arma III for now). But more importantly, I wanted it to be easy to upgrade in the future when I can convince the wife the let me spend more money. I basically followed Lifehacker's guidelines for a $600 PC with an upgrade to the graphics card, 2 additional 120mm intake fans (I know I don't need them right now but I got the itch for the LEDs and couldn't wait), and had to toss in the OS hence the price difference. It seems like Lifehacker just pulled the parts with the best/most reviews given a price point on PCPartPicker but I don't have a problem with that since it saved me some research.

I paid an additional $9.22 for the cables plus $5.90 for shipping from plus $12.99 for shipping of the tower (everything else was free shipping) so total price less tax came out to $777.90. Don't hate on the cheap keyboard, my normal keyboard is at another house and I couldn't wait to build this tower so I bought the cheapest one I could find at Fry's. I'll toss that as soon as I pickup my other keyboard.

Overall, I needed to make a website quickly and our iPad just wasn't going to cut it for that so seeing as it was a relatively quick decision to buy (read didn't have months to plan my build and select the best parts/combo/price), I'm happy with the build. After messing around with Windows 8, I've got no real complaints. It did take an hour or so to get used to the new keyboard shortcuts and how it switches from desktop mode to the Metro UI (or whatever they call it these days) but it's not like I was ever completely lost in the sauce. The absence of the Start menu takes some getting used to though. If you can operate a Windows machine and have any iOS product at home, you'll be fine. The best I can sum it up is this: It's half iOS, half Windows 7. I think this makes a nice compromise for my wife who can navigate our iPad just fine and doesn't need to tweak the Windows settings so she can stick with the Metro UI whereas I can easily switch to the desktop and take care of my business.

Gripes: As many people have mentioned, the mobo is not a standard ATX size so the mounting screws for the far right don't mount to a standard ATX case mounting points. As such, it's just flapping in the wind as it were which meant that when plugging in the cord for power as well as the RAM, I felt like I was going to snap the board in half just to seat them properly. I ended up seating the RAM prior to installing the mobo in the case. As for the case, I love it except for the thumb screws that secure the left and right side panels. It feels like every time I screw them back in, I'm stripping something and I think that somewhere down the road, I actually will and I won't be able to secure the side panels anymore.

Next upgrade (1.5-2 years) will be an i7 CPU, more RAM, 1 120mm intake fans, 1 140mm ouput fan, fan controller, and overclock. Aagin, trying to make this easy to upgrade in the future so I took the hit on some items like the mobo but went cheap on other stuff that I know I'll replace in the future like CPU.

I'll post pictures and stats tomorrow morning after I put the video card in since that came in last night and I was too busy messing around with Windows 8 to get to installing the card.

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  • 78 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome build! I just did a very similar build myself using the same processor and MOBO, (the i3-3220 and the ASRock Z77 Extreme4). Same amount of RAM too but no discrete GPU yet, that's planned for another upgrade in the future.

Very similar builds we have here. I also built this with the intent to upgrade in the future. I plan on upgrading the CPU probably to an i7, adding additional RAM and adding 1-2 discrete GPUs.

The prices came out almost the same too except mine was around $826 after getting everything on Amazon.

Also super funny about the fans, I added 3 additional case fans as well even though I don't need them yet but I figured since they are so cheap I might as well use them for the LED effects now and when I add the GPUs and better CPU I will already have them.

One last similarity, I am a Web Developer as well, been doing web development for almost 9 years now and love it.

+1 For a great build!

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. Every time I see an i7 computer on Dell or at Costco for about the same price, I always wonder if I did the right thing in going custom but it's nice to see someone else had essentially the same idea/build as me.

I'm probably going to check Cyber Monday deals to see if I can boost my memory on the cheap next.

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

You did do the right thing, the i7's at costco are either running on onboard graphics, or a 100$ graphics card. This will severely bottleneck

  • 72 months ago
  • 0 points

are you talking mobile i7s or desktop i7s there is a big difference