After nearly maxing out my credit cards on my first build, my cousin asked me to build him a gaming PC to replace his PS4. I took this as the perfect opportunity to see what I can do on the opposite end of the spectrum and see how much performance I can squeeze out of a much tighter budget. The goal here was to beat the performance of an Xbox One X without going over $500. This little toaster was the result.
It runs hot and sounds like a tiny vacuum cleaner but I was pleasantly surprised by the performance I was able to get out of it. Both the CPU and GPU overclock pretty well and get a pretty significant boost with that overclock. I have the 2200G stable running 3.9GHz at 1.35V and the RX 570 at 1450MHz.
I haven't done too much game testing yet but, although not the most demanding game, I was able to run Starcraft 2 at 4K high settings between 50-60FPS with dips to 30FPS during cutscenes and at 1080p well over 60FPS sometimes very near triple digit frame rates. In Cinebench the 2200G scored 556 for the multi threaded test and 143 for the single-core test at stock settings. Overclocked to 3.9 scored a 617 multi threaded and 162 single core.
The early stages of the build were not pretty so I ended up making a few design changes along the way to make it more personalized. In it's entirety the build took close to a year thanks to a couple road blocks and lack of funds (who would've guessed it?). In the time it took to finish, I moved into a new apartment, failed 2 classes, and got a promotion. But hey, it's done now and it turned out better than I expected and I expect my cousin will enjoy it much more than his PS4.
Possibly one of if not the best budget options for the entry-level gamer. This can match a Skylake i5 at less than half the price, comes with an included cooler, has an iGPU that should be enough to handle modern games at low settings if a discrete GPU is not an option, and is overclockable.
This was the cheapest B350 motherboard at the time. Nothing flashy here. Lacks some of the features of other B350 chipset boards but is still functional. Allows decent overclocking, no RGB but does have an LED strip near the IO that you can set the color in the BIOS. It does have addressable RGB headers if you plan to use addressable RGB light strips or fans. Has m.2 support which is great at this price point. The BIOS isn't the best but it's functional and fairly user-friendly to navigate and does have an "easy mode" for anyone who is intimidated messing with BIOS settings. The drawbacks: 1. Pretty minor but, in pictures the PCB looks dark grey but it's actually brown. 2. There are only 2 fan headers. One for a CPU fan and one for a case fan. So plan to invest in a fan splitter if using multiple case fans. And 3. I think the m.2 slot would've have been better placed under the top PCIE slot. The top PCIE slot on this mobo is fairly low and in my case left the GPU uncomfortably close to the floor of the case which is restricting airflow to the GPU and looks somehwat awkward as well. Overall though, pretty fair for what you get at the price.
Could not find anywhere that stated whether it would be compatible with Ryzen but I took the chance on it since it was the cheapest 8GB kit at the time that was faster than 2400MHz and it worked without a hitch. Take note, by default it will run at 2133MHz so you'll need to enable XMP in the BIOS. In my case, I enabled XMP, rebooted, and it was running at 3000MHz without a problem. I only wish I paid more attention to the memory market and waited to pick it up after the recent price drops.
One of the cheaper SSDs on the market and still make a solid boot drive. Not the fastest read/write speeds but still significantly faster than any HDD.
Had this sitting around from my first build. The way I treated this thing it should have failed on me a long time ago but it's still running solid. These guys are reliable as hell. Western Digital. Can't go wrong.
I had no idea what to expect with this since it was one of the cheapest and newest RX 570s on the market and I hadn't seen any reviews on it but I gave it a chance anyway. And I am pleasantly surprised. I would never have expected to be able to run anything at 4K resolution (given the game I tried was Starcraft 2) on a $139.99 GPU but with 8GB of VRAM this can actually handle it much better than I thought. I wouldn't recommend trying most AAA titles at 4K with this card of course. It's pretty compact for a dual fan card so it works pretty well for smaller form factor builds. I do also quite like the aesthetic of the card although I would have liked a backplate. But you can't really expect that it this price point. My major gripes with this card are that it runs HOT and LOUD. When overlocked to 1450MHz it was reaching 90C and the fans at full speed ramp up to 3000RPM. Overall f you don't the sound of a tiny vacuum when you're gaming, this card gives solid performance at the price.
This case.. The first thing to keep in mind is that this is one of the cheapest cases available on Newegg. So you can guess that cable management is going to be a struggle but BOY did I underestimate how bad it would be. Behind the motherboard tray you almost do not have enough room for 24-pin and 8-pin PSU cables without having to force the side panel on. There is one tiny cutout above the motherboard for the 8-pin cable that require quite a bit of maneuvering to get the cable through, one cutout to route PSU cables behind the motherboard tray, and other than that only one cutout to route all other cables throughout the case. For hard drive mounting, there's room to screw a single 2.5" drive and a single 3.5" drive to the side of the case, and a spot to screw in another 3.5" drive in the 5.25" drive bay. Also this case has little to no airflow with only a single opening in the bottom of the case for any intake. So with a system under load this thing turns into a little toaster. With all that being said, there are SOME pluses you get for a case this cheap. You do have two included fans (one 120mm intake and one 80mm exhaust), a side window, and an included case speaker for beep codes. But even with that I would not recommend this case to anybody. If there is anything I would change about this build, this case would be the first thing.
Reliable, fair price, more than enough power for this build, semi-modular. In 2019, I feel there's no reason to get any non-modular PSU.