Description

It was a cool early spring morning and I found myself quietly contemplating why I had become a console peasant and how it was possible that I had fallen to this new low. After what seemed like several hours of deep meditation (turned out it was roughly 2 minutes 37 seconds) I came to conclusion that I needed to fill this void I was feeling in my life and that it could only be filled with a “budget friendly” gaming pc. My heart had spoken and decided that I needed to put together a nice budget build for some casual 1080p gaming. Just the thought of this new gaming pc brought me a feeling of peace that I had not known since converting to console gaming. I started to plan out this “budget friendly” build but, as they often do when building a pc, things began moving quickly and I found myself wanting more power. It all started with the Acer Predator monitor... Oh Acer. A close friend of mine decided to get out of pc gaming (in favor of a Nintendo Wii U of all things!!) and in doing so was looking to unload his fairly new Acer Predator monitor. He had some bad experiences selling monitors on ebay in the past so he offered it to me for $300!! He knew I was looking for a new monitor and that the $300 price tag was a great deal that I would not be able to pass up. This led me to a new conundrum that threatened to destroy my newly found inner peace. I could not, in good conscience, put together a budget gaming build and connect it to a 1440p IPS 144hz G-Sync monitor. I was left with 2 options. 1.) Lose my newly obtained inner peace and submit myself to a life of console gaming or 2.) Build a proper gaming pc capable of 1440p gaming and lay claim to true inner peace. The choice was simple but lead to a new struggle; financing.

The sale of my Xbox One along with other funds I had saved set me up with a budget around $600 (not including the monitor) so I was a bit short of a glorious gaming pc build. With limited talents I returned to a life of repairing computers to start to finance my dream. For many years (probably like 12) I had repaired computers on the side and I vowed never to return to this previous life. But… desperate times.... I slowly worked towards my new budget but it was taking too long so I looked for other means. After multiple failed attempts soliciting the sale of one of my kidneys I decided to "donate" plasma to help offset the extra costs. After a couple months of having the life sucked out of me (and part of it then pumped back in) I was closing in on my dream. Incidentally I do not recommend watching any of the more graphically violent episodes of The Walking Dead while donating plasma. You get some strange looks and if you ever get woozy at the sight of blood (as I sometimes do) it is a bad idea to combine the 2 things. But back to the story; After taking a forced week off from donating plasma (if you black out while donating plasma they make you “rest” for a week before donating again) I only had one more donation to go before reaching my goal. I made my final deposit at this “blood bank of dreams” and proceeded to order my carefully selected components.

All in all the build came together very nicely and I am very happy with the end results. The Cryorig H5 was a bit tricky to install but my CPU temps are outstanding especially for an ITX build. I considered an AIO liquid cooler but opted for air based on price/performance comparisons. The ASUS board it the best available Z270 ITX board right now and it has been great. I tried the MSI board in a previous build and had issues with it so I definitely recommend the ASUS. Because of the clearance issues with the PSU I decided to go with a FE 1070. So far temps are great. I ran into a little trouble with cable management space in the back panel area so I was forced to bundle up some of the PSU cables inside the case; oh well. I added an 2nd Fractal 140mm fan in the front for intake and I definitely recommend low profile memory with these components. Initially I bought an i5 7400 (got it for $120) for this build but I was running into issues with frame rates (cpu was constantly at 100%) so I decided to go with the 7700K.

Part Reviews

CPU

Best CPU you can get right now for the money. Sure Ryzen 7 1800X is great but at $499.99 its not really affordable for a gaming build and when you can the i7 7700K for around $300 it's hard to justify the cost of Ryzen. With the proper cooling this is an outstanding CPU.

CPU Cooler

Outstanding cooler! In many of my other builds I have used the Hyper 212 EVO but this thing is my new favorite. I was skeptical but this thing really performs and looks great! Mounting was a bit tricky in an ITX build but it was manageable and the results speak for them-self.

Motherboard

From my experiences this is the best Z270 ITX motherboard you can get. The MSI Carbon is also pretty good but this performs better and works with more CPU Coolers (MSI board does not properly fit some CPU Cooler mounting brackets). 2x m.2 ssd slots is also great. I just wish it had more fan headers

Memory

Corsair has long been my favorite memory brand and with my ITX builds I always use low profile memory.

Storage

I got a good price on this but I was underwhelmed by the performance; the larger capacity variants are faster but this one is not great. If you get it for the right price it is not bad

Storage

great 7200RPM drive. I would never go buy a 500GB drive right now but I had this from an older laptop and it did the job

Video Card

excellent GPU and for this case a blower style GPU is highly recommended. The performance is outstanding and it looks great!

Case

For the money it is hard to beat this ITX case. I thought about using the NZXT Manta but it cost twice as much as this and does not have that much more to offer (plus it is huge for an ITX case)

Power Supply

EVGA support is 2nd to none and the new smaller G3 PSUs are outstanding in build quality.

Monitor

Excellent monitor; once you go g-sync there is no going back

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Comments

  • 37 months ago
  • 3 points

This looks very very nice! 1+! i love sff builds and this is are really really nice one!

  • 37 months ago
  • 3 points

thanks! The Define Nano S is a great ITX case

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

:D yes i think so too!

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

How are the noise levels? Is the founders edition loud? I'm planning a build very similar to this.

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

noise levels are actually quite good. I have this on my desk near my monitor and the noise does not bother me. This case has sound dampening and you can tell. Also, for this case I would HIGHLY recommend a FE (or other blower style) card because of the tight space/limited airflow to the GPU. With that said I wish you the best of luck finding a GPU right now that is not ridiculously overpriced because of the current cryptocurrency mining craze that is driving GPU prices through the roof!

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

This is good to hear! (Literally lol) I will probably wait the prices out. I hear some board partners are coming out with mining specific cards to alleviate the situation.

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

for sure; yeah the GPU situation right now is like nothing I have ever seen. super crazy

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Why do you have Win 10 listed as $0?

I really like the build btw, probably going to do one based on this, Might bump the SSD up a bit, but I found a good base list :)

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

I had a previously purchased license for Windows 10 that I used. For this build I listed the actual prices I paid NOT the current retail prices

  • 37 months ago
  • 2 points

yeah, this SSD is nothing special but not bad for the price. As this started out as a "budget build" I went with a cheaper SSD. My next build will have a 960 EVO

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Didn't you have any problem with the Asus Z270i heatsink near the IO ports? I tried using Cryorig R1 Universal, unfortunately the heat pipes keeps on hitting the heatsink on all orientation. So, I was wondering if I can replace it with H5 Universal without actually removing the heatsink near the IO ports. Because as far as I know it is not advisable to remove the heatsink in the Z270i.

  • 36 months ago
  • 3 points

no trouble at all but it was a little tricky getting the cooler installed as I have large hands. I did not need to remove any heatsinks on the motherboard though.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Oww okay. Thanks a lot man.

[comment deleted]
  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

I LOVE the story that you made over how this came to come I also have high hopes for the build I just wanna ask did you just get 500g of ram for the price I enjoy the entire build but I'm new to pc hopping over from ps3 plebs XD

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

500GB is my hard drive not my RAM but when I completed this build RAM prices were way lower than they are now. I was able to get 16GB of used DDR4 memory for $89.99 at that time but now that same memory goes for close to $200. Unfortunately right now is a TERRIBLE time to build a gaming pc as memory and GPU prices are at an all time high because of shortages and mining :-(

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah prices are crazy an im just getting into pc in the middle of it. sorry for my mistype tough

  • 35 months ago
  • 0 points

How did you get the monitor for $300

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

I bought it used from a friend; I know it was a great deal!!

  • 37 months ago
  • -2 points

1440p for just 300$ liar ?

  • 37 months ago
  • 4 points

you did not read the entire "story" haha. I listed the prices that I paid for the parts not what they are currently selling for. I bought the monitor used from a friend for $300 (an amazing deal I know)

  • 37 months ago
  • -3 points

Also, you list the monitor for $300, it looks like its closer to 800 for that monitor. I'm not fond of the mislabeling of prices. The more I look into this build, the more I'm realizing it isn't "1518" total listed on the part list. Little disappointed by this.

  • 37 months ago
  • 5 points

you did not read the entire "story" haha. I listed the prices that I paid for the parts not what they are currently selling for. I bought the monitor used from a friend for $300 (an amazing deal I know)