It may be a little deceiving to describe a $1500+ worth of components as budget build (all listed prices include tax), but my aim with this PC was to maximise savings on a solid set of components that should last me for the foreseeable future. I hadn't built a PC for at least ten years, so there was a fair learning curve involved at the start. I have to thank both this site and /r/buildapc for initially steering me in the right direction.
I believe my purchasing started at the very beginning of April for the i7-6700k and MSI Z170A-G45 combo from B&H, and ever since then I have been waiting for the prices to drop to their lowest level for the rest of the components. Thanks to a trusty combination of PCPartPicker, /r/buildapcsales, SlickDeals, CamelCamelCamel, Zapier and Telegram I have been able to keep track of price drops as and when they happen. All of the listed resources have been invaluable.
In terms of purchasing it was a tricky time especially for graphics cards with the recent releases from both Nvidia and AMD. In retrospect I believe it actually played in my favour but there were definitely a couple of times where I could have pulled the trigger on deals that I would have definitely come to regret later on. With that being said, the highlight of my component search was managing to snag both the MSI GeForce 980 Ti Golden Edition for $336 and EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti CLASSIFIED ACX 2.0+ w/ Backplate for $260. Ideally I would have purchased two of the same cards, but there you go. As for the future I'm going to wait and see what the 1080 Ti ends up looking like, but for now i'm delighted that I have a dual 980 Ti setup for less than the 1080 MSRP of $699.
The toughest purchase out of the lot was when I dropped $189.99 on the newly released Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass. I was mulling over both the Fractal Design R5 and the Corsair Carbide 400C which would have been at least half the price, but my reasoning was that this is at least one of the components that could be reused in a future build. Plus this thing is very easy to work with and absolutely stunning to boot.
When it came to putting the thing together it was generally a pretty smooth process but I did have a couple of hiccups on the way:
- I couldn't seem to get the watercooling working. The CPU temperature was ballooning on startup and it took me a while to figure out that there was a single USB cable that hadn't been attached. Idiot.
- When it came to installing the 980 Ti Golden Edition I had no clue what I had to when attaching power. Obviously now I see that it required me to attach two 8-pin connectors but I have to say that the user manual from MSI was absolutely useless on that front. In comparison the directions given from EVGA were very clear and easy to understand. It's a shame that they arrived in the wrong order.
- My Gigabyte Wireless Adapter has an external aerial that is attached through two screw in connectors. One day I wanted to open up the case to tidy some of the cabling and I totally forgot they were still attached. I wrenched the PC away from the wall only to find that I had totally split both cables in-two. Thankfully I still get a decent wireless signal with nothing attached whilst I wait for the Gigabyte RMA on the aerial which they graciously accepted.
The build is deliciously fast compared the work laptop which I have been camping out on for the past year, and I'm delighted to see that I can crank up basically all of my favourite games to Ultra on 3440x1400. I have to say that I really enjoyed snagging a lot of these deals which was probably more fun than actually putting it together in the end.
Please excuse the lame photos. If anyone is looking for help with grabbing any future deals - i'm more than happy to help.