Description

So what is this thing? Well, I needed to build a computer to fit the following needs:

1) Replace the Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, etc. apps on my Visio TV, which blows chunks. 2) Play retro games via emulation, and light-weight titles on my big TV, like Fallout New Vegas (a favorite of mine), as well as playing some newer games at lower settings. 3) Give me something to screw with. I also use older computers on occasion -- like an Apple IIc and some Tandy 102s -- and I don't want to bog down my main rig with disk images, documentation, etc. 4) Give me something to stuff some bigger drives in later for archiving.

The following constraints were necessary: 1) Cheap as hell -- cheapest processor, cheapest motherboard, cheapest GPU and cheapest RAM that could do the job, using an existing MATX case, PSU, Blu-ray drive, HDD (for now), etc. 2) Be totally drop-in upgradeable -- more CPU (I have an i5-6500 in another computer that I'll eventually put an i7 in), more RAM (same computer has 16GB, and I'll probably upgrade that eventually, too), more storage, faster graphics, etc. Basically, I'm looking for something that will do the dirty work for at least 5 years.

So lets walk through this thing...

CPU: A Celeron G3900, the cheapest Skylake CPU. Why? Because in the next year I'll dump $300 for an i7-6700k for my editing/gaming rig, and this machine will get the i5-6500 out of my main computer. No point in splurging on something I'm going to hock in 12 months, is there? And this Celeron seems to be running well enough for now. BTW, the cooler on this chip is the stock i5 cooler -- better fan, more surface area on the heat sink. The stock one is in the box for resale whenever I get around to upgrading my main rig.

MOBO: The cheapest MATX motherboard that would support my hardware. Why? Because it was on wicked sale (before a rebate, too) and it fit in the case. USB 3 front header isn't being used, but oh well. It's there if I upgrade the case (see point about drop-in upgrade requirements for the build)

RAM: Two mismatched 4GB DDR4-2133 sticks (Corsair is a placeholder). Why? Because I bought one (originally planned for just one) and then I won an eBay bid for a similar spec'ed stick for stupidly cheap. Like $10.

STORAGE: An old laptop hard drive. Why? Because I had it laying around. $0 added to the build. An SSD will be a purchase in a month or so (Black Friday sales coming up). Not a fancy one, either. I'm not blowing any more money on this thing than I have to.

GPU: I have a theory to buying video cards: The best performance in my ironclad price range (set when I plan a build) at the time I buy. I bought a reference RX 480 8GB for my main rig on launch day for MSRP because it did the job and cost less than a GTX 970. Had the GTX 1060 been out then, I probably would have bought that (but that was months off). For $10 more than an RX 460 -- not that many RX 460s or GTX 1050s are actually available at MSRP, but whatever -- I found an MSRP GTX 1050 with more than 10 percent better performance. My price limit was $125, and $109 was the price on the 1050. $15 under budget. Sold.

CASE An old eMachines case, beat to hell, covered with stickers and with a giant hole cut in the side for a 120mm fan. Why? Because I had it laying around. Note the random collection of stickers and the handle -- a drawer pull off of a trashed mid-century office desk. Note the cost of $0... you'll notice a pattern forming here. There's also a 2-bay HDD tray sitting in a box here, so it'll take two more hard drives without any real work.

PSU: A cheap refurbished non-modular EVGA I originally had in my main rig. A bit more power than needed, but at the price of $0, it fit the build well (PSUs are usually more efficient with smaller loads, too). I pulled this PSU out of that build (also here on PCPP) when I found a modular Seasonic at a stupidly low price (before rebate, too...)

A slight digression... I hate rebates. Rebates are evil. But I bought two things with rebates in the last two months because they were already on sale for an acceptable price before rebate. With stupid rules about where to staple UPC labels, don't ever expect to get a rebate back without waiting 6 months. ...enough of that digression...

OPTICAL DRIVE, ETC. --A Blu-ray player. Why? I wanna eventually get some new Star Wars movies, and Blu-ray is a lot cheaper than it used to be. I also don't own a Blu-ray player.

--A cheap 802.11n WiFi card. Why? Because I don't wanna screw around with ethernet all the time (girlfriend's house has WiFi, but limited Ethernet access, and this will go back and forth on occasion). Also, my router only supports N speeds. And the card was on sale for under $10.

OS: I originally tried Ubuntu, but I couldn't get the graphics card drivers to work -- it just wouldn't recognize the card. Don't know if it was card or motherboard related, or just software. After two days of messing around, I slipped my Win 10 USB stick in it (uhh...) and went with Windows. Sorry, Ubuntu, I tried, but you couldn't get the job done. Off to Windows we go (with a "Activate me" watermark until next paycheck).

PICS: 1) The case. Yucky-ucky... There's a reason it lives behind a speaker in my living room...

2) The insides. Note the lack of cable management spots, and how tiny the motherboard is! It only uses two rows of standoffs, instead of 3 like a "full size" MATX.

3) The CPU and video card. Isn't the Zotac just so adorable?!? I just wanna pinch it's widdle cheekie-weekies...

--smack--

OK, I'm back.

4) The only crap I actually bought for this build. Far less than what the total says ($500? LOL...)

EDITS: Some clarifications, tweaks to wording and a wiener joke or two. Thanks for the feedback, folks...

Comments

  • 36 months ago
  • 3 points

I will probably save up for a 1050 myself. Better than my current GPU

GT 730

LMAO.

What do you expect? I'm poor.

Nah, jk.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Now, now be grateful for what you have, your not on APU. Your only GTX 730 poor and there people APU poor or even GTX 460 poor. JK.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

¯_(ツ)_/¯

I'm probably gonna get a GTX 1050 Ti :D

That feeling when PCPP won't display your shrug correctly. D:

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Good Choice. I love MINI versions, so small and yet packs a punch

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I'm looking around at benchmarks so I can make my final decision.

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Add a little intake and exhaust fan and youve got a fairly decent little sleeper build. +1

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice little budget build. Fwiw, the G3900 is a surprisingly competent CPU.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

How's that PSU? i'm considering upgrading to it and i need some opinions.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Not the best, but it's worked so far (did fine in my other rig for 6 months). If I were upgrading from something else, I'd wait until Friday to see if I could find something with a higher efficiency rating and modular design.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

ok thanks

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

More stickers for more horsepower!

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Exactly what I was going for! MOAR POWAH!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

What stopped you from getting the graphics card drivers to work with your 1050 on ubuntu? Driver 375.20 just got released a few days ago and supports the card. Does using the software updater and changing the driver to the newly downloaded 375.20 driver not let you use your system properly?

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Even after installation, Ubuntu wouldn't recognize my video card. No matter what I did, it just wouldn't find it. So finally I pulled out my Win 10 USB key from my last build and threw it on. Figure it also has better software support, so I'll live with the stupid intermittent watermark for a week or so.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey... Don't be rude... Specs ARE NOT ugly hehe

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Like the carry handle? It's off a mid-century desk drawer somebody was throwing away ;)... Who knows? Maybe I'll find a sale this weekend and the eMachines case can go back in the attic.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

GPU: love your theory, it's what I put in practice, too!

rebates: I don't even ever consider rebates in the price. If it works it's a bonus.

stickers: you can probably add more stickers for a higher degree of customization on this case!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Why would you need a 500W PSU? I don't think that requires 500W.

Either way, +1

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Had it lying around. That's the only reason -- purchase cost of $0 :)

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, I see. At least it didn't cost you anything. Great build.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Heeey nice build, my build in a month is gonna be almost the same thing. How does the Celeron perform in games? Got any benchmarks?

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

How's the combo of GPU and CPU going? Im looking at buying this cpu and some other gpu similar to the 1050. Nice build but!

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Working much better since I threw a cheap SSD in it. There was some lag on startup, opening Chrome, etc., but not now. Purrs like a kitten, and if I didn't need my Adobe CC for video and photo work, I'd probably be happy with it as my main computer.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not a mirror!

Just kidding. =-)

  • 36 months ago
  • -3 points

The RX 460 smokes the 1050......

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

and it's $100 not $115

  • 36 months ago
  • 0 points

I can't believe somebody smart enough to have that good of cable management in such a bad case would make such a stupid uninformed decision like this

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Also, even if you put in the "K" i5, a 1080, and a beefy aftermarket cooler, and OCed everything, you still wouldn't need 500w

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Please show the benchmarks, because everything I've seen is the RX 460 has between 5 to 15 % lower fps except for a few DX12 games -- and this is being used for video watching and playing old games, as my gaming rig is 15 feet away. Also, very few RX 460s are being sold at $100 -- like one here at PCPP -- just like I had to search high and low for a 1050 at $109 (Newegg has it on sale for $99 now).

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I have to find the exact comparisons, but the RX 460 beats the 1050 in eSports games(tf2, csgo, overwatch, Lol, dota) as well as casual multiplayers(gta). I'm not sure about the benchmarks for fallout

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

https://youtu.be/TuJZ1hbBV4I

This is a video from hardware unboxed directly comparing the two. He says around a minute in, before getting into the benchmarks, that he would pick the RX 460 in every situation over the GTX 1050. Important to note that he rambles a lot in this vid so using the time stamps in the description is recommended

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I think he was talking about the RX 460 compared to the GTX 950... as that's the Nvidia card he talked about earlier in that sentence. "10 percent more for 18 percent more performance" is the quote comparing the 1050 to the 460 at the end of the review. That same review also shows that, at 11:45, the 1050 has higher frame rates and lower cost per frame — so better performance and a better value, too.

PC World at http://www.pcworld.com/article/3134528/components-graphics/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050-and-gtx-1050-ti-review-the-new-budget-gaming-champions.html?page=10 and PC Gamer at http://www.pcgamer.com/geforce-gtx-1050-review/ show similar results, with PC World saying "It’s not quite R.I.P. Radeon RX 460, but it’s damned close."

  • 36 months ago
  • 3 points

Please do not use link shorteners on our site.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

How do you guys find the builds that break some of the guidelines? A filter or something?