(Note: Parts list is current as of Afterbuild Upgrades section.)
Impromptu kitchen floor photographs (using a low-end at the time let alone now 2012 phone) including wonderful, truly beautiful cable management. Lay yer eyes upon those wires. Don't ask why I used my old SATA cables instead of the ones with the motherboard because I don't know either. Also I should have flipped the AMD logo around but luckily this value RAM has no heat spreader and can even be taken out with the cooler on the wrong direction - take that Samsung B die RAM stick users!
After using PCPartPicker for the first time I opened up my case to check my PSU real quick, went downstairs to have breakfast and a cuppa, came back upstairs and managed to get a single, tiny drop of tea on the very edge of the motherboard... And fried it. ****.
I had about £300 on hand to make a new PC and I'd been wanting to make a low-end or better gaming PC for a while so I saw this as my chance to finally get one as even at the lower end I'd probably build my own cheaper than buying it. Or I mean, I thought that at the time, but it matters not regardless and it was fun.
Started with an i3-8100 for £110 but realised I could get a Ryzen 3 1200 with not too much worse single core performance for £54. I also found an overclock capable B450 board with a low-end VRM for £45, that's £2 cheaper than the cheapest i3-8100 board. The memory was the cheapest non-sketchy stick I could find; managed to get it for £36 and even ended up with Hynix AFR instead of MFR somehow - more on the performance of these parts later.
Western Digital Blue 1TB (2012) had the best value and good read/write speeds for a mechanical hard-drive. The be quiet! System Power 9 500 W was the best I could get without putting in a significant bit more money and it'll do me for now, and I also got a cheap 120mm fan for the front of the £23 budget case I got. The case is not very good but it all fit into the case and it even has an intake on the bottom for the graphics card which was surprising.
Performance and Mistakes:
/Ryzen 3 1200:/ My lil' Ryzen 1200 doesn't do very well when overclocked so I'm afraid it is not long for this world of high-performance gaming. This CPU wasn't a mistake as I wasn't planning on anything more than a GTX 1060 anyway and I can replace it with something like a 3600 or maybe a cheap used 2600 as people upgrade to the 3rd Gen Ryzens.
/ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0:/ I know I had other options at the time so this was not a great choice of board mostly because the VRM isn't the pinnacle of quality, however it'll do me fine for the rest of the system's lifetime. This was a mistake though because I could even get an earlier B450M-HDV revision with better VRM cooling for around the same price.
/G.Skill Aegis 8 GB DDR4-3000:/ Honestly no complaints here. It does as advertised, my stick happened to have Hynix AFR on it, and I can even get some (little) extra CPU performance out of the chips by tweaking timings and frequency. I'm still searching for stable settings but likely around 3133 MHz with tweaked but not maxed timings.
/Palit 2GB GTX 650:/ The only graphics card I already had at the time. It works for a decent chunk of indie games with usually atleast 30 FPS if you put the settings very low and the Ryzen 3 1200 has no iGPU to watch videos with and the such.
/Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB (2012):/ Yep. It's a hard-drive. It's got good speeds and I set an outer partition exclusively to store all my games in so the read-writes have higher bandwidth, they'll always have the same latency though because it all spins at the same speed.
2019/Oct/07: Bought a used, refurbished 2GB GTX 760 with a 2-year warranty from CeX U.K, it only cost £45 and I have a lower resolution monitor anyway so fair 'nuff.
2019/Oct/10: It arrived and ran really hot. I cracked it open and saw almost no thermal paste on the poor ******* so I gave it some of my Arctic Silver and it no longer throttles, though I also put the thermal limit to 84°C and made a custom fan curve. My case is small even for mATX and the thing is choking on cables and it has something like half an inch either side of the heatsink to blow air away. Now it runs at 80°C constant under load which for an MSI TwinFrozr GTX 760 is kinda horrible. A good, proper case with cable management is something that can last many years so I suppose a spacious and cable-friendly case, some quiet fans, and an SSD is the next target. I feel guilty for the pain I am causing it.
You don't want to buy a Ryzen 3 1200 if you have the money to spare towards a better CPU such as atleast the six-core Ryzen 5 1600, and that's because as graphics cards get stronger, the stronger the CPU needs to be too. And quad-cores as of 2019 are on their last legs for use with 'blockbuster' games because both the games and the graphics cards now need strong CPU's.
The humble Ryzen 1200 is still a choice for other things such as a budget gaming PC. Right now the processor can just about handle a GTX 1060 / RX 570 and if given a B350/B450 or better board and overclocked it usually gets to atleast 3600 MHz. Unfortunately it probably won't last as long in the very-budget range like the dual-cores did as core count is speeding up again.
Basically you'd buy this CPU then as soon you try and upgrade your graphics card you would have to replace your CPU too. So if you're going for a gaming PC avoid it if you can. Four stars because for the price it's being sold where I live it's a good deal as long as you remember it doesn't have integrated graphics, and it also definitely does fine in a normal desktop alongside just about any £20 ultralow-end graphics card.
I don't really know what I'm on about but it looks to be a budget B450 board. It has a meagre VRM and the ATX12V connector has had a temper for both me and a couple other people too, you need to take out the RAM stick to get a good (and careful) grip to actually take out the power connector.
The M.2 SSD slot is an M key so make sure you get the right kind of M.2 SSD. The headset I own (an X12) has noise coming out of it so I can't really say anything about the audio. Oh right - the BIOS is not high end but you can change CPU clockspeed and Vcore, and VSOC too. You can change RAM clockspeed, voltage, primary and secondary timings, and it also lets you change the CAD_BUS and termination settings. No VCCIO or VCCSA but I can't imagine if you're buying this board you're going to do limit pushing overclocks.
To summarise: Budget, cheap, and mostly only useful to squeeze a few hundred MHz out of the system.
I'm happy with this RAM stick. It's technically low range RAM but the timings for this speed are decent and the clock speed is good for 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen processors atleast.
If you get it for a cheap price and your motherboard is compatible with it (be careful about that!) then it'll do you fine.
Haven't used any other 120mm fans before but for a budget build this fan was bought for £5 and hasn't disappointed me. It's not a silent fan but it is quiet at low speeds and pushes a decent bit of air. At high speed you'll absolutely be hearing it though. Also comes with a 'PST' connector that lets you share the speed control signal with other PST fans even if they're not hooked up to a 4-pin (3-pin + PWM control pin) fan connector.
If it's priced properly, you don't want a silent system, and you don't use speakers (or just don't care about it at high speed) then yeah, it'd work.
It works, it's done me fine for years of usage and I haven't had any issues come up besides the stand snapping off when it got hooked behind something and I pulled on it. I honestly have no idea about keyboards so that's about as much as I can say, it games fine as bog-standard keyboard. No backlight as you'd probably expect.
This is in the 'standard' keyboard category so I think four-stars suits it.
These have a problem where the right-side band will first stop fitting properly and then will break after about a year of usage. It has a little slight bit of white noise coming off of it at idle and there's some noise at max volume although the latter might be due to
my computer, or both my computer and my headset it's definitely the headset. The microphone is pretty bad but people can atleast hear your voice... And atleast it isn't a speakerphone.
They'd be great it it weren't for the right-side band problem, I've had a few and seen several of these headsets and they all had the same problem, I've seen people on the internet all with the same problem, almost always the same place in the band. The speaker quality is apparently (although I have little experience elsewise) actually very good for the price you'd usually get them at so it kind of sucks to have the band problem. Did you know that the bands break so often a company actually makes a repair part specifically for these headsets?