Built for my young nephew. This build alone cost only $445.81, including the straps, fan splitter and paint. A huge grand thanks goes to my parents and grandma who helped pitch in for what he needed for school and the peripherals. My parents bought the printer and monitor. My grandma bought the keyboard, mouse-pad and unexpectedly the Velcro straps that I was supposed to buy myself. I thank my loving family since they wanted to help support his first custom computer.
Most of the parts were bought at August between September. I only covered the parts, OS, painted the front mesh red because there was no red originally on this case. Plus he likes the color red. Also that I couldn't spend a lot on a full red case, so this was my solution to give some red. Though the date basically reflects upon when the last time I touched inside this PC.
The request of his mother was to make sure it was not expensive for his first build. And that it could play two of his games: Minecraft and Civilization V. More important is he needs a computer to type up his papers for homework assignments, and print them out.
The final result of the build is photo #s 1-31. Photo #s 32-36 was his 2016 Christmas Present. Photo #s 37-140 is the building process and changing parts.
Next up is the two cents:
Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor – Overclocked @ 3.8GHz
This processor was bought for $49 even from Amazon. Came with everything despite I saw the description order mentioning the processor had 4 imperfection markings. The 4 imperfect markings were true but I’m happy to replace the Celeron G1840 for my nephew. Not saying the Celeron is not great but it did lag on games unless you are OK with that. To myself this would be a disservice if I did this to my nephew.
Obviously it is a dual core but do not underestimate this processor. If you can snatch this $50 or under then you won’t regret it. It’s great for starter builds and can game Minecraft with this processor for certain. I overclocked successfully to really 3.9GHz but could not get a stable overclock at 4.0~4.2GHz. I took it back to 3.8GHz, due to temps remained under 60° C for over 48 hours when gamed and tested Valley Benchmark.
Rosewill RCX-Z300 CPU Cooler
- It runs quiet, even when it’s cranked to 2,000rpm so it’s impressive on how quiet it is. Far more quiet then Rosewill's RCX-Z90-CP. It also has a cooper ring, which is what I need for overclocking this amazing Pentium. The stockfan that comes with the G3258 also has a cooper ring so it’s not a must to replace the stockfan. The reason I did it was because of the fan being red and affordable. If you are looking for a reasonable price, quiet CPU fan then this fan may be for you.
Gigabyte GA-B85N PHOENIX-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard
I had a fun time with this MOBO, a lot. I had to replace the original first MOBO because of my klutzy force of smashing the BIOS chips, literally! I was using a flathead when I couldn’t uninstall an improper install of the GPU since it was such a tight gap. Learn from my mistake, make sure to use your pinky finger to push down the PCIE’s latch or use your other hand to protect the MOBO if have to use something to push down the PCIE’s latch.
In working terms, it’s a very basic Gigabyte BIOS. Easy to navigate and adjust specific settings when needed. The WiFi works great, an impressive signal when over 80 feet away from a WiFi router. Also the WiFi is magnetize so can adjust the antenna for a better placement and signal. The most interesting thing about this MOBO, which I had no clue about it, is the orange LED pulsating.
I know the RAM slots and LED is only orange but wanted a decent MOBO with good WiFi already in it. It was affordable at the time and definitely not flimsy. If do not care for the pulsating LED, one could always shut it off or turn off the pulsate effect from the BIOS’ peripherals settings.
Kingston Savage 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
- No overclocking required, and since it looks savage it does the job well. Now keep in mind the MHz is capped at 1400 because of the CPU, not just the MOBO since it supports 1333 and 1600MHz of RAM. I think one needs a Z97 MOBO to break this limitation of course. The option to add another 1x8GB of the same RAM is available when needed.
A-Data Premier Pro SP600 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
- A great budget friendly SSD, boots 3 seconds and takes about 7~9 seconds to load Windows. It’s a MLC type which is good for longer endurance when transferring data or erasing. Plenty remaining, last I saw it around 80GB. The SSD Tool was installed for checking its health status and trim when needed. I would recommend this SSD if on a very tight budget.
Seagate 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
- Got this for very cheap on Amazon's warehouse deals so it was used but it was easy to remove the previous OS. It gives plenty of GB for the games. It works great and will provide enough for now since it has two Steam games and some additional games that is appropriate for his age.
MSI Radeon R7 250X 1GB Video Card
MSI Gaming X, GTX 1050 2GB @ December 2016: I given this as a Christmas present. No idea what it looks like in person nor how it performs with his games, but it's definitely an upgrade with his current uses. I was able to compare the box size with my GTX 1070. Paid about $130 for it.
This part was bought early of Summer, 2015. A good starter GPU for games and keep in mind that the R7 250X is its counterpart, the HD 7770. Tested quite a bit of games, especially Minecraft which was very important. Can get Medium between High graphics and will sustain in 55~61 FPS in Minecraft, lowest it dropped was 43 FPS. When playing games for about 4 hours, the GPU will reach about 45~63° C the most.
The simulators make it run hotter versus Minecraft. It’s not spectacular like a mid-high end GPU but it holds its own weight with surprising results. It used to reach over 80° C when testing with Valley Benchmark but then again this is partially due with the case as well. I did change out the thermal compound pad with some Arctic Silver 5 and it ironically helped some despite it has not broken down much yet. When tested again in Valley Benchmark it is now settled in the 70~75° C instead of 83~85° C which is an improvement.
And yes AMD’s Crimson driver has been installed too. Though had no real issues with the Catalysts driver but one game, Angry Birds, has a minor rendering issue with the blue birds. It has some kind of graphic fusion with the sling and the blue bird until the sling decides to go behind the bird, eventually.
NOTE: This GPU cannot run dual-graphics with any APU. Again, all versions of the R7 2##X cannot run dual-graphics with an APU; however, dual-graphics can work with Radeon's HD 6000 series, HD 7000 series, the R7 240, and the R7 250.
Rosewill Neutron Mini ITX Desktop Case
An easy case to work in but weighs about twenty pounds and is taller then the average ITX. Cable management wise, a bit tricky but possible to work with. Cannot say I was super great with the velcro straps and some zip-ties but it did help a lot. It’s very easy to pull off the front mesh and filters inside the case when need to clean them. The front mesh and the PSU filter is magnetize while the top filter is secured by clips.
It has some odd placements with some of the external ports, such as the USB. Plenty of USBs at the side but I wonder why it was placed there. Maybe I am used to having USB ports near the power and reset button but at least they gave two 3.0 USB and 2.0 USB ports at the side.
One thing I really did not like about this case, is how the GPU is setup in a tight space with no breathable holes on the side. It lacks expelling heat majorly for the GPU. An idea is to drill some holes on the window’s case. However, the rest of the fans were good enough though they can get loud if cranked around 1,200rpm.
The back case fan was connected by Molex and switched to 5v instead of the default 12v to make it quiet. Thank you snorkel12068 for your help. I owe you a big thank you and credit goes to you for the solution of my dilemma with only having 1 system fan connector on the MOBO.
XFX TS 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
- Got a rebate from this and I wanted a good PSU for his computer. Especially a decent amount of wattage and plenty connectors since it gives an opportunity to upgrade the processor, GPU and allows to add in additional RAM and a Hard Drive or SSD in the future. Now it is obvious that it’s a No Modular so it can be tricky to cable manage, depending upon the case. So far it worked well, fan spinning was not loud. Happy to get this PSU and would recommend it for gaming intentions.
LG GH24NSC0B DVD/CD Writer
- I got this optical on sale and it works great for the basic CD/DVD burn and reading discs. He can watch DVD movies since VLC Media player is there for this. Painted the front with a flat black paint.
Sceptre E205W-1600 60Hz 20.0" Monitor
- Great price and was on sale at the time. The monitor is a great starting one and I know it is a 900p but it’s a 20” and does the job well. Been impressed with it and it can adjust the angle, up or downward if need be. Three type of connectors, VGA, HDMI and DVI. Keep in mind that this monitor does not include an audio cable so if you use the VGA that comes with it, you be better off with an HDMI or have to buy or find a spare audio cable. Currently it's connected as HDMI and the sound works great for a starting build.
Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard
- It’s basic but a great keyboard. Feels comfortable and it’s a good standard keyboard. Has retractable stands underneath if need to raise it. Keys are not too audible and responses great with each key pressed. I would recommend this but if you can find a good deal online or a clearance then that would be the best.
Cobra cobra II Wired Optical Mouse
- A basic gaming mouse but has a cool red LED glow. It responds easily, navigates well when moving it across a basic mousepad. May not be the fanciest mouse but with this price it should please my nephew with joy. The red LED will remain ON when the computer is powered down. Unless the PSU is turned off or the power goes out then it takes about five seconds for it to go completely off.
I swapped out a bit of parts, the G1840, Hyper X Kingston of 4GB 1600MHz, EVGA 430w PSU, GT 720 1GB GPU, and the Seagate 250GB 7200rpm Hard Drive. I had to replace the MOBO for my horrible klutzy moment of smacking the BIOS chips with a flathead when I was trying to uninstall the GPU. These were gradually changed from September between November. And I was hoping for good deals to occur for much better parts before I shipped his PC out which I did.
Despite the changes of hardware that was done to this build, it was a great experience. I truly enjoyed testing bare minimum hardware to the famous Pentium. Also the joy of painting to adjust its appearance to give a black and red color scheme. Even though I couldn’t do that with the MOBO, it turned out pretty well I think. More important it’s a great starter build for his school and current gaming purposes, especially for Minecraft. Knowing he loves this PC was worth building it. And I am very grateful for the help of my family’s contributions for this build.
His mom will help on what to upgrade parts when the time comes. Yes I did receive a phone call on Christmas, they were very thankful and my nephew was extremely shocked and happy about having his very own computer. It makes me thankful and happy to know this.
Thank you for reading this description. Please leave any comments, questions and constructive criticism.