This is my first build after 3 years worth of researching, but I had only started saving 6 months prior to building this PC. As a 15 year old that saved up all his money, I’m pretty damn proud of this build, even if it isn’t as powerful as other builds on this site. This build's got quite a bit of history, so here's the story:
Chapter 1: The Interest
I was in grade 7 when I first took an interest in PCs. I had an Xbox 360 at that time, and while I was enjoying it, it was my friend that gave me the little nudge to start exploring the PC Master Race. And when I saw the PCs, I was hooked. I would always dream of myself getting the best computers available at that time, but even a mediocre build would suffice. At that time, I didn’t know how to build a PC so I would look into builders like ibuypower and CyberPowerPC.
I was seriously considering getting this PC from CyberPowerPC one day, and I think the specs were a GTX 950, 8 GB DDR4, and I forgot what processor it was. It was going for around $800, which was a pretty bad deal looking back. I showed it to my father and he said that I already had an Xbox, and getting another PC would be useless since we already have a Mac. (Btw, the Mac beside the monitor is the Mac he was talking about). I tried telling him that it would be good for schoolwork, but he wasn’t going for that bs. He was right, and I couldn’t argue with him. Up to this point, all of my schoolwork had been completed on the Mac.
I never really got to buy the PC, so I just forgot about it afterward and continued playing on my Xbox.
By the time my grade 8 graduation rolled around, my Xbox 360 was getting old, and I was laying eyes on the Xbox One S. My mother promised me that if I got an award at my graduation and graduated with good marks, she will get me what I wanted. I fulfilled my end of the deal, and after about a week, a brand new Xbox One came to our doorstep. I was full of joy, forgetting all about PCs for about a year. I played all summer long and throughout grade 9 with my Xbox One. Looking back, I should have just gotten myself a computer instead. It was the perfect opportunity and I missed it.
When the end of grade 9 approached, my interest in PCs had spiked. This time, however, I was more interested in the building process and watched videos to gain knowledge on how to build PCs. In the summer of 2018, I started looking for a job to save up. I had made this custom build on PCPartPicker that had an i7-8700K, a GTX 1080 Ti, and 16 GB of RAM. Naive me thought I would get an odd job, save up for a few months, and get this $2000 rig. My hopes were soon crushed after applying to many fast food chains and not getting a single response. I lost all hope of saving enough for a PC (I only get like 30 dollars a month lol) but one day my mother came and told me to start freelancing. My father was a graphic designer, and I decided to become a freelance graphic designer. I thought to myself, “Man, I’m a dumbass for not realizing this before.”. It was perfect. There was no age limit, and if you knew where to look, there was lots of money to be made.
Chapter 2: Saving Up
When summer came around, I started to self-teach myself on how to become a graphic designer. I had no previous skills, so I was starting from scratch. I watched a lot of videos on logo design and artwork on youtube, and before you knew it, I was a “self-taught” graphic designer ready to take on work. I signed up on Freelancer.com and Upwork, but I was getting no jobs/gig awards because I was competing with much more experienced and better freelancers. No matter how hard I lowered my prices to get an edge over the competition, I would not get selected for work.
My father recommended that I start advertising my services on Kijiji and craigslist, and his advice served me well. I whipped up a quick advert saying that I will do free logo designs to build my portfolio, and while I got 2 people to give me a chance, I was excited because it was a start to my freelancing business.
After that, I started to charge people for my services, and I would charge someone $30 for a simple logo design. I was getting many inquiries, but almost all of them didn’t respond when I gave them a quote. Finally, I got my first REAL client after charging them $45 for a logo and $30 for a banner. I did the work and they were satisfied, and soon they Interac’d me $75. I was full of joy because I had earned my first salary. It was those first $75 that really motivated me to continue this show.
I got some more clients here and there during the months of July to November, but it was really during late September to October that business was booming. I got 8 clients during that time period and earning a lot of money.
I had waited around Black Friday to order all my parts, and combine that with a $100 Amazon gift card, I had saved just enough to buy all my parts. I had like 2 dollars left when I finished ordering.
I had saved up $500 CAD, which is barely enough to buy all of this, excluding the graphics card. I got the graphics card late last year when my grandmother gave me $220 as a gift. And boy, was the building day a good day.
Chapter 3: The Build Process
I had ordered all my parts on Amazon, and they came within 3 days. All parts came on a Tuesday, with the motherboard coming on Wednesday. I know that’s only one day, but it was a little infuriating because I couldn’t put my parts together without the motherboard. I just stared at them until my motherboard came in the next day.
I was constantly checking my Amazon order for my motherboard that day, and when the status of the order updated to “Shipped”, I couldn’t wait to get home. Sadly enough, the day felt the longest day in the year, but finally, school ended and I raced home to get started on my build.
As for the build process itself, it went fairly smoothly, and the only part I had trouble was with the I/O Shield and the front panel connectors. I spent 3 hours building the PC and when it was finally done I hooked it up to my TV and powered it on. After a little praying, I pushed the power button and it turned on! Now the only thing left was installing Windows.
The Windows installation process was difficult. Remember how I said my family only used Macs? Well, that was a problem in trying to get the Windows installation media on a USB drive. I had just moved to another city, so I knew nobody that was near me who had a Windows computer to make the installation media. I ended up downloading Parallels on my Mac so I could create the installation media. That proved another tedious task. I had to first install Windows on the Mac, which took a long time, and on top of that, creating the Installation media also took a long time. But it was all worth it when the media was finally created, and I plugged it into my PC so I could install Windows.
After installing Windows, I got to downloading some games and organizing my files. Remember, I was on integrated graphics, so I wasn’t looking into buying games just yet. I only bought Overwatch because I really wanted that game, and I got Destiny 2 for free, but I was getting around 30-40 FPS on all low settings, so I really didn’t play that game much until my graphics card arrived later.
Chapter 4: Troubleshooting and Headaches
After my PC was up and running, I tried overclocking my hardware via the BIOS, which proved to be a mistake for rookies like me. I don’t know what I did, but after restarting my system, there would be no video output to the monitor. At first, I got scared because I thought I had messed something up and the PC won’t work, but someone suggested that I reset the BIOS by taking out the battery and putting it back in. I tried this method and it worked. After that episode, I stayed away from overclocking and haven’t done it since.
Sometimes when I would move my PC to another room, the same thing would happen again, where there would be no video output. I honestly don’t know why this happens, but after a quick BIOS reset, everything works fine.
So there’s the story of my build. Let’s move on to the actual build, now shall we?
The build itself works fine. I can play all games on high (sometimes ultra) settings and maintain a consistent 60 FPS at all times, which is really what I was looking for. I am more than satisfied with the performance the build’s been giving me.
CPU: Ryzen 3 2200G
Good little processor. Got it for $151, tax included. Get this processor if you’re on a budget and will get a graphics card later down the road like me. It’ll give you good performance in most games. However, if you’re looking for the 60 FPS mark like me, you’ll have to lower down the settings to low.
RAM: Patriot Viper Elite 8 GB DDR4-2666
Good set of RAM that I got for $87. It’s cheap and gets the job done. However, keep in mind that you can’t overclock this kit, or at least you can’t overclock it on my PC. I tried setting the frequency to 3000Mhz, but I would get the same no video output issue.
MOBO: Gigabyte B450M DS3H MicroATX
An excellent motherboard for an excellent price. I got it for $113 with tax and it gives you everything you possibly need. 4 SATA ports, an M.2 slot, 4 DIMM slots, and much more. I recommend this motherboard for anyone on a budget, it’s cheap and it’s good.
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB
A good hard drive, and it has fairly good speeds. 1 TB may not be enough for some people, but it is enough for me.
GPU: XFX Radeon RX 570
Best graphics card for ~$200 CAD. It’s the equivalent of a GTX 1060 3 GB, and I couldn’t be happier with this beast (It’s a beast to me, lol). I can run games on high to ultra on all games I play and still get a stable 60 FPS.
Case: Rosewill SRM-01
I got this case because it was the cheapest MicroATX available at that time. I got it for $20, which is a steal considering the prices of other cases. The price definitely shows, though. It’s made from cheap plastic and metal that will bend if you press hard enough. The looks don’t bother me, it has a clean minimalistic look that I really appreciate. PSU is mounted on the top, which means hard cable management for the front panel connectors. There is only 1-1.5 inches of space between my GPU to the bottom of the case, which isn’t the best for airflow. I’d recommend saving a bit more and getting a better case, but at this price point, I can’t really complain.
PSU: EVGA 500W 80+
This PSU is great for any build. I don’t really care about 80+ ratings, as long as its 80+ I’m good. When I first opened the PSU it had a faint electrical smell, and at first I thought the PSU had burned out, but it turns out that was just the smell that came from extreme testing by the manufacturer. I think you’ll be able to fit in up to a 1070 and have headroom left. For $40, it’s a great power supply.
So there you have it. My first ever PC build. Honestly, it was quite a journey, but I finally pulled it off. Like I said before in this piece of text, I'm pretty damn proud of what I've done. I'll be using this PC for a long time.
I believe that behind every custom built PC is a story of how it came to be. I’ve just shared my story of how this PC came together, but I’m sure there’s much more examples out there.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped me along this journey, especially the mates at the r/buildapc subreddit, everyone here at PCPartPicker, and not to mention people who helped me on Tom’s Hardware and the Linus Tech Tips forums. I’d also like to thank Quora and YouTube for helping me with my research.
I’m looking to buy an SSD, Keyboard, and a 144Hz monitor for my next purchases.
Good day, and thanks for reading. :)