Description

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.

Conclusion

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. :)

Comments

  • 10 months ago
  • 4 points

Really great write up on the history of getting this build together. I see many more PCs in your future now that you're a budding graphic designer.

Couple of notes on the overclocking: First, I had the same experience as you where the first attempt at overclocking via the BIOS made me believe I FUBAR'ed the PC. However, the manual showed me there is a way to reset the bios using a jumper setting. Check your Gigabyte manual to see if it's got one as well.

Second, try overclocking using the proprietary overclocking utility from within Windows itself. I usually find these work a lot better nowadays and less chance of messing everything up.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I checked the manual of the motherboard, and my motherboard does have a jumper to reset the BIOS. However, I find that just removing the battery and putting it back in is much faster for me anyway.

I don't know what you mean by the proprietary overclocking utility from within Windows. Does Windows have its own built-in overclocking software? I only used Ryzen Master and MSI Afterburner to overclock my hardware but stopped because a) I didn't really need to, and b) I would get BSoDs and my temps would get really high.

Do you happen to know why my PC would react that way when I overclock from the BIOS? Like the no video output issue?

Thanks for tips!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Does your motherboard come with overclocking software? I use an ASRock and I find it's F- Stream Tuning software pretty good. It runs from Windows. However, do take note of LemmingSlayer's contrary stance to mine.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, Gigabyte does have its own overclocking software, and its called Gigabyte Xtreme. I personally haven't used it, I'm happy with Ryzen Master and MSI Afterburner.

[comment deleted]
  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree. Auto overclocking is scary.

  • 10 months ago
  • 4 points

Great build. Only one thing. Get a SSD. 10 times faster than mecanical drive. No, seriously, 10x according to the specs, not an exaggeration. Load Windows and programs to SSD. All files like games, pics, movies, school work ect go on the mechanical drive. A small dollar upgrade. SSD''s are dirt cheap right now. Good luck

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

You're absolutely right. Budget has been kind of tight lately, but I plan to get a 500 GB SSD as soon as I have the funds.

  • 10 months ago
  • 4 points

AMAZING WRITEUP!!

How long did it take to write all of that?

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Honestly, not that long. It only really took me about 45 minutes to write the entire thing, planning included.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Excellent writeup, and congratulations on your first build.

Of course, since it’s 80+, this means that you’ll only be really getting ~400 watts of power...

That isn't how power supplies work. Though in practice, you don't want to fully load a PSU, anyway.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Hmm... I don't understand. Since it's 80% efficient, wouldn't that mean only 400 watts? (If you multiply 500 by 0.8)

I must have been misinformed then.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Tmk it's how much it needs to draw from the wall to give out the wattage it's rated for.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

loved the story, it reminds me not all kids are hopeless! I've been a kid too, I need to remember that (always).

like Ninja said, the 80 rating is telling you how good your psu is at converting your AC current into DC current, when loaded with typical load of 50% of the capacity, meaning with 250 watts load in your case. You can stop reading here or continue for more explanations ;)

Let's do some math. Let's assume your computer will need 250w and that you have that 500w psu 80+ certified. You are now 80% efficient in converting the AC current you pull from the wall. Computer needs 250w of DC current from your psu, so you need to convert it at 80% efficiency thus incurring a loss of 20%. You should be pulling approx 312w from the wall to feed your computer because you waste 20% during the conversion from AC to DC.

If you had a 80+ Titanium, the rating would have been 94% for the same setup so you'd be pulling approx 266w from the wall to supply your computer with 250w from the psu.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

I see. That really cleared up things for me, I had the misunderstanding of the percentage affecting how much power your computer will receive. Thanks for the clarification, and I have edited the OP to reflect that.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

I had the same misunderstanding at first.

Also keep in mind every brand makes a wide range of psu, some better than others. Don't judge a psu ONLY by the 80+ certification. Higher ratings does not ALWAYS mean higher quality.

reality is much more complicated than what the labels say!

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Good bedtime story :D

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, I just had to write out the entire storyline of how this build came to be. Sweet dreams :P

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

damn did i just read some kind of book

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Not really a book, but almost like a written documentary on how the build came together :)

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Also, tell your dad that Apple sucks.

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Yeah, I've tried that many times, but he's so stubborn about being an Apple fanboy :P

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

I really appreciate the story to go along with it, great read.

R3 2200g + rx 570 pair! Got it myself, very nice. Genuinely suprised me just how well the 570 performs for it's price (cheaper then a 1050ti in Aus).

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I know right! It's a really good combo. By the way, some people say that the pcie slot is only limited to x8 with the 2200g, just wanted to confirm if that's the case with you. If so, then the 570 is being capped by the pcie slot.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd never heard about this?

Google reckons it either has minimal or no performance decrease though, otherwise forums would probably be filled with people saying it's a bad CPU/GPU combo.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, people are saying that it does have a little performance decrease, but it's really only a few FPS. Still, that fact bothers me, on how I could've gotten a few more frames out of the card...

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

You could've used the R3 1300X. It is roughly the same price ( at least in India it is quite a bit cheaper) and it does allow a x16 slot. As an added bonus, it has a higher boost clock and an X in its name. Still, a very good build.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Excellent write up – especially the freelance graphic design. That's how I started, with an Atari Mega ST, 30 years ago. I made enough money out of it to buy my first house in my early 20s. Opportunities are always out there. Well done for grabbing hold of one.

Great PC build too!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Honestly, becoming a freelance graphic designer is behind all of this. The picture of the final build in my head was kept me motivated throughout saving up.

When I felt that I was getting no clients, I just pictured my PC sitting there on my desk and that's really what made me push harder to achieve my goal.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

This is really cool. I had basically the same story you have. I ordered my parts a few days ago and almost all of them are here. I'm still waiting on the GPU and case. I have the exact same specs as you have and I'm just so excited to build it tomorrow.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

That's great!

Best of luck on your build man, and if you have any problems with your build feel free to PM me :)

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

If I could give you two up-votes, I would. Wonderful story, solid build.

As others have pointed out and I know you're eyeing, get an SSD boot disk ASAP. Highly recommend throwing $20-25 at a Team Group 120-ish GB SSD when you have the chance. They have DRAM and are often some of the cheapest SSD's you can buy - perfect budget OS disk. Make sure to get the L5 3D version as the LITE version is DRAM-less.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

You're right about getting an SSD boot disk; however, if I were to get an SSD, I'd like to invest in a larger drive, preferably 500 GB or more, considering I already have only a 1 TB HDD and the fact that it's running out of space.

Thanks for the information, I'll be sure to consider those models when shopping!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Loved the story behind the build- I can relate as a former Xbox player who played on a 1080p 144hz Ultra build and couldn’t go back to console after gaming like that. Also not getting a job to get the 2,000 dollar PC of my dreams. A solid build in its own right, I’m glad all of your hard work paid off and I hope graphic designing will too.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

Couldn't agree more with what you said. After playing some shooters on my PC, I just couldn't play with a controller when I went back on my Xbox. And for that 2 000 dollar PC, well we can always dream as kids, right? Anyway, I hope you got your PC of your dreams. This little bad boy will suffice for me for quite a while.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm kind of actually in some what the same situation that you've been in dude, I'm a 14 year old rn and I've been researching on PCs for about almost a year now, the parts of your build are the same as I chose without the graphics card and the hdd, everything else are about the same stats. Rn, I'm trying to figure out a way for myself to save some money so I thought of a car washing job where I would wash about 4 cars everyday, (excepts on the weekends cuz I'm still a kid), for about 5CAD, at the end it should amass to about 700$ and I get about 150$ extra from my mom giving me money to do everyday chores like mowing lawns, dishes and evrything else. This job of mine is starting when summer comes in, so I'm really hoping that I get enough money for this PC. Aside from that, I really hope the best for your PC and hopefully you get the rest of the purchases, especially that 144hz monitor, I've heard that those are beast-like...

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Good luck with saving up man :P

I did the same thing as you, I was using integrated graphics and as soon as I had the funds I got my graphics card.

If you need any help with anything, feel free to just message me and I'll help you out.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

thanks man, really appreciate it!!

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build and write up, im only 12 so i know that money dosent come easy work i.e: when it was snowing outside i woke up early to start shoveling and stayed out the whole day in freezing rain and slush to shovel, but i only made 50$, im still saving up to build my pc.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

this is inspiring and imma build a pc now

  • 6 hours ago
  • 1 point

A little late to the party, but DUDE I didn't expect such a thorough story full of positivity behind a build. I really appreciate people like you who work for what they want and remain thankful for what they've achieved. Well done!

  • 7 months ago
  • 0 points

despite what the title is attempting to imply, this really is just an average build with nothing really that crazy

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

It doesn't matter that it is an entry level build. It matters that he actually put in the effort to create this awesome PC. I know if I were his age I would be pretty damn proud. I myself am saving up for a PC not much better than his.

[comment deleted]
  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! After the performance this build has been giving me, I've now officially turned into an AMD fanboy, and probably won't look at Intel or Nvidia again. (Not that they're bad, its just that AMD is cheaper)

  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

Welcome to the club. Ha-ha! You're right, they don't make bad products (generally speaking), but they do often have bad prices and/or engage in anti-consumer, anti-competitive, and even illegal business practices. That's why I won't buy their products new (from stores/retailers) anymore. We need AMD to get a better foothold in the market to keep the big tech companies like Intel and Nvidia from exploiting their position and consumers.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 10 months ago
  • 3 points

the psu is fine. there is no reason why it wont power this build just fine. This build would run just fine on a 400 watt psu let alone a 500 watt. There are no problems with reliability with these.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I know. Obviously that PSU isn't good compared to those high end Gold or Titanium power supplies, but considering that I'm on a budget, it's more than I could ask for.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Funny b/c jonnyguru reviewer's "Wolf" said that the Evga 500 w1 is an acceptable power supply. Pretty average power supply that uses old designs but gets the job done. http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story6&reid=384

Also, Wolf did retire 3 months ago so don't expect alot of new reviews any time soon

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Nah, you're fine. It was partly my fault for getting the facts wrong, and you just said what was true.