Description had a z170 motherboard for a price so low that I had to buy it. The downside being ddr3 RAM. It was still too good a deal to pass up. I had no use for it so it ended up in my closet and sat there until I finally decided on a project: the most rock bottom low price new-parts-only PC I could cobble together. I wanted to keep it under $400 for core components without including a graphics card. Final price after rebates and discounts was $412. I fell short of the goal, but ended up with a low-mid-to-mid performance PC for a very low budget.

The SSD, case, case fans, PSU, wifi adapter, and cpu cooler are priced after mail in rebate. Price before rebates for the entire project was $486. Rebates accounted for $75, or 15.5%, savings. CPU, cooler, case, SSD, and wifi adapter were purchased from frys online. RAM, PSU, and case fans from Newegg. Bluetooth from eBay. Motherboard from Jet.

The i5 6600k was the cheapest available CPU I considered when I made the purchase. An i5 6500 would have been a better choice and kept the total price well below $400 with only a negligible sacrifice in performance. (An i3 would have been cheaper still, but dropping even lower in terms of overall performance was contrary to the point of the project. Though a $250 i3 build does sound like an interesting project.)

I am satisfied with the rest of the components. The PC does run rather warm (maxed at 58C during small FFT in Prime95 v28.5), though I didn't expect much when the case, cpu cooler, and 5 case fans cost $36.00AR total. Temperature under load would be unacceptable to the enthusiast, but would be fine for budget builder who would consider a PC like this for actual use. I don't believe that Antec included cable ties with the case. so I have an unsightly rat's nest that would need to be cleaned up at some point. I didn't have time to buy cable ties, which would add up to $2 to cost of build.

I did miss my target price, but I don't consider the experiment a total failure. This PC could is usable in its current state and could work as a low to low-mid performance gaming PC with minimal additional spending ($200 for GPU and $50 HDD for extra storage.), which does show that PC gaming is possible on a shoestring budget.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Very tall. Doesn't block RAM slots. Adequate cooling. Install can be annoying as fasteners on bracket move and end up not lining up with mount points.


Nice budget RAM, especially if you need something for a ddr3l Skylake build and don't want to spend a lot of money. No issues at all (though RAM is rarely a problem).


Nice low-cost HDD replacement. Speeds are okay overall, but good for the price. Have several in various PCs with no issues.


Good budget case. Found no sharp edges. though fit and finish leaves something to be desired (side panels not being flush in corners, for example). SSD mounting requires a screwdriver. Second ssd installs next to PSU on bottom of case. HDD installation requires attaching plastic rails.

Wireless Network Adapter

Range only okay. Requires driver download to function with newer versions of Windows. No bluetooth. Very inexpensive when on sale.


  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Huh... most interesting build I've seen in a while +1

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

does it game