So I wanted to buy a notebook for gaming & soft. programming few months back & I was browsing the best notebook for the budget (Rs.50,000 or 760 USD). After extensive research I realised that for the money I had,there were barely any decent gaming laptops in the market in India.I was getting a 940m gpu at that price. So I dropped the idea of getting a notebook & decided to build a PC instead. This is the result. Parts chosen are restricted by the prices & their availability in India. Big thanks to pcpartpicker for helping me with compatible components. Websites like these help a lot to first time PC builders. :) :)
Cinebench Benchmarks in the images
CPU : I wanted a processor with at least 4 actual cores (thread & cores are different !). My options were Intel i5 4440 & AMD FX-6300. I could have gone for an i5 but it was out of budget as I also wanted a potent GPU. Plus, 6 cores do help in multi-threaded gaming & programming, especially when considering Dx12/Mantle/Vulkan games coming in near future.
CPU Cooler : Hyper 212 evo costs about $45 in India, so it did not made much sense to me.Hence,I opted for its little brother for $24 instead.Good built quality, small & lighter than other big heatsinks .Comes with additional mounts if you wish to install another fan for a Push-pull config .
Motherboard : I didn't want to skimp on the motherboard although I know it does not affect the in-game fps. I liked this one the most because it had good features for the price & looks good as well.However, the USB 3.0 header position on this mobo is such that when you install this in the NZXT s340 case, the USB cable covers one of the SSD trays. Other gripe I have about this mobo is that once you install the 8 pin CPU power cable on the mobo, it takes a significant effort to take it back out as there is barely any room to insert your fingers between the mobo heatsink & I/O panel.
RAM : Low profile RAMs from a reliable brand for a fair price. I asked the retailer to send me Red coloured ones but he sent me blue instead. I was already bummed about the case being white instead of black which I realised just before the RAMs were delivered when I called the only NZXT retailer in India so I did not want to bother about the color of the RAM anymore.
Storage : 1 TeraByte HDD from WD. This had better reviews than Seagate Barracuda.
GPU : Before you say, "You should have gone for an R9 280x or R9 380 bruh !!" , I'll let you know that the Asus GTX 960 costs about $260 whereas the R9 380/280x costs over $330 in India. And the MGS5 offer made the deal even sweeter. The reason why I went with Asus instead of any other brand is because I have had good experience with Asus products before.And I like how small,tidy & sober this looks.Plus, this was the cheapest 960 with a backplate. :) Note: The OpenGL score decreased significantly when GeForce experience was not running in the background.
Case : First I had my eyes on the Corsair Carbide 300. Then I came across the ONLY NZXT retailer in the country with reasonably priced products. (There are other major online retailers with obnoxious prices of over $180 for NZXT cases that cost in the neighbourhood of $60 in US.Crazy, right?) Anyway, as i mentioned earlier,initially I ordered a black colored case but after calling them I realised that they don't have any black s340 & it would take about 3 months to import them. They had white one available so I settled for the white one. :/ But when the case got delivered & I looked at it in person, I was delighted !! It looks super sexy & clean in white. :)
PSU : This was my first build so I did not know how hard the PSU cables actually are. It took a fair amount of strategy & muscle to route the cables. Reason for this specific PSU : 80+ Gold from Corsair.Semi modular.Clean looks. Good rating at jonnyguru.You might also look at CX500.
Case Fan : I use this as an exhaust fan as the pre-installed white fans did not compliment the Red & Black theme I was going for.So I use the stock fans for intake where they are not visible.The CM XtraFlo fan looks good with red LEDs & a peak cfm of 92(as declared on the box at least) The top exhaust fan mount is not being used at the moment. I'll install another fan later.
Monitor : The best bang for the buck IPS panel with a rating of over 4.5/5 (over 2000 ratings). The response time is not the best at 7 ms gtg,but I don't make a living by competitive gaming. And I'd rather have crisp vibrant visuals in 100s of games than having an edge of about 4 ms over other players in a handful of games by looking at mediocre visuals.The screen however is glossy so I'll have to take care of reflections in the room but that is not a big deal. Coming from a 15" TN panel laptop,the 21.5" looks amazing!
Total money spent : Rs.56000 or $850 (excluding monitor). I went a little over my initial budget,but it's alright I guess.I spent a considerable time for cable management & I am proud about it, especially with the PCIe cable.
Awesome value for money CPU out there even in 2015 ! ANd the value will only increase with Dx12/Mantle/Vulkan API. Cinebench Score with no OC & a hyper TX3 evo & a GTX960 = 410cb.
Great Value aftermarket cooler. IF your case cannot accommodate a 212 evo, then this may be a good alternative. CPU idle temps on my fx6300 = 27 Celsius & 47 under load.
Great value mobo with a good set of features & looks. Although, you might want to consider low profile RAMs when using with aftermarket air coolers as my Hyper TX3 evo covers the first RAM slot. Kingston Hyperx Fury fits fine.
Low profile good looking RAMs from a good brand.
Cinebech OpenGL score = 80.94 with no OC & AMD FX 6300. Small,sober looking,quiet GPU with good power efficiency. Perfect for 1080p gaming.
Beautiful case. Looks awesome in both Black & white color. Easy to work with.Strategically placed slots for efficient cable routing .Absolutely no flex whatsoever. Plenty of scope for modding.Requires to be careful with the side panel as it can get scratched fairly easily.
Good airflow & aesthetics. Comes with a very short wire though.
7 ms GTG.1080p@60Hz IPS. Great Value. Good & easy to use UI. Very thin bezels. Comes with a lot of presets for gaming, movie, reading,etc.Strong stand with tilt facility. Looks clean.