+ Total (United States):
It's pronounced ay'ohs.
On a college student budget, I decided to build a desktop to the tune of $500, avoiding mail-in rebates and maximizing savings where I could.
Also included (but not present) is a
Sceptre X322BV-HDR Westinghouse WD32HB1120 television monitor, given to me in exchange for work helping to prep a house for sale (pulling out carpets, cleaning out sheds, etc). I have a lot of peripherals lying around, so I'm recycling my keyboard and mouse.
FYI: I chose the name because personally, it is the dawn for a new era of computing, etc.. It also sounds very modern.
Updated July 29, 2016
Early 2014, a friend steered me towards building my own PC, advocating that I could get better performance for the same price as a retail PC. Starting in late July 2014, I began to build lists and dreaming of the day I'd put together my PC and run whatever I wanted to. Now is that time.
CPU: an AMD Athlon X4 860K Quad-core CPU. The then-newest release in the Athlon line, top-of-the-line. Intel CPUs were too expensive for my price point and anything under four cores I figured was inappropriate for any PC that I wanted to build and use.
CPU Cooler: an Cooler Master Hyper TX3. This was an after-thought. A friend chastised me for not getting the EVO 212, but I didn't feel the need to spend an extra $12 on an extra 3 cm and slight temperature difference.
Motherboard: an ASRock FM2A88X Extreme 4+ motherboard. The only ATX-sized FM2+ motherboard with decent reviews. It was also under $80... a risk that was well-taken. Very well taken.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM from Newegg. Cheapest RAM I was able to find at $50 at the time. (As of late July 2016, prices have dropped to $30 and lower, which suuuuuucks.)
HDD: a Western Digital Caviar Blue drive. $45 from Best Buy (+local tax). Worst shopping experience. Thanks to two ice storms and incompetence from both UPS and Best Buy, I received it nineteen days after I ordered it. On the upside, I ended up receiving one for free after my troubles.
GPU: a HIS IceQ Radeon HD 7950 Boost, a R9 280 equivalent. 3GB of memory at 925 MHz, drawing 200W. It's 11.75 inches long, but my case can take this beast. I bought this refurbished from gpuShack, and it saved me a boat-load of cash.
Case: Fractal Design Core 3300 ATX Mid-tower. This thing is huuuuge. 9in. wide, 17.75in tall, and 20.35in deep. Usually retails for $75, but got it for a steal (along with the CPU) at NCIX for $35. Would've never bought it for retail, just doesn't seem worth the price.
PSU: an EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze certified PSU. I'll admit that I bought this before I decided on the 7950, so not having enough power is a problem, but I have yet to run into that wall. Ran into a problem where the fan kept hitting the grate, but flipping it over did the trick.
OS: Windows 8.1 Professional. I was able to back-arm my college into giving me Windows for free. As of this writing (Jul 29, 2016), Windows 10 has become more stable and the Anniversary Update is right around the corner.
I had planned on EOS being the inexpensive build in which you bought all parts and a discrete GPU but I'm unsure of that due to my Windows OS "freebie" and a lack of optical drive. To split hairs, you don't necessarily have to install Windows or have an optical drive to install an OS. You can do so much with Ubuntu and a flash drive.
All parts (sans CPU cooler and MRP): $424.75
Benchmarks (CPU/GPU temps on-demand):
Under $75, quad-core, x64 compatible. Need I say more?
This CPU is the A10-7850K without an integrated GPU, and I must say, runs damn well. Very speedy and DTF... down to function. I can run Premier Pro without a hitch and render a full HD video within minutes. After some research, it's not too far off the FX-6300, a real big reason why I went for it. For benchmark scores, please see my completed build page.
I will state that the stock cooler is absolute rubbish. Without an OS installed, idle temps rose to 65C; I didn't measure at-load temps, but they were probably higher. The Cooler Master Hyper TX3 is a great reasonably priced cooler for this CPU.
If you want a quick CPU that won't break the bank (and are willing to buy a GPU), this is the CPU for you. Five stars.
Easy installation on my Athlon X4 860K (FM2+ socket), dropping my idle temps from a whopping 60C to 36C. It's loud in a quiet room, but with headphones on, you don't even notice it.
If you don't feel like a paying an extra $13 for an extra three centimeters and have an appropriate CPU, this is cooler for you.
It's RAM, and it's been working great so far. Five stars.
One word: ROOMY. The case feels sturdy, the metal nice and brushed, satisfactorily thick to me.
I bought it for $30 (originally $35, down to $30 with a $10 NCIX coupon code) and underestimated its size. Nine inches wide, 17 3/4 inches tall, and 20 1/3 inches deep. Comes with two 3-pin 140mm Fractal Design case fans, although it can hold up to six fans of either 120/140mm size. It can also do radiators, one on the front and the other on the top. At $14 a pieceNewegg, this case under $40 is very worthwhile.
It comes with a HDD plate. One side holds 3.5" drives, SDDs on the other; six in total, plus two behind the mobo plate. The HDD plate is very sturdy once everything is screwed in, so no trouble there. The optical drive bay covers are removable and replaceable.
BTW, my GPU is 11.75in. and this case can take it no problem. It can handle up to 16 inches. Even with a HDD installed in the middle place, there's about a half-inch clearance between the two.
One troubling this about this case is the length of the HD Audio cable. HDA pins are located on the left lower corner of my ATX motherboard, and the supplied cable only reaches when taken out from behind the mobo place and placed around my GPU. Also, the top metal does arc in a little, but under a desk, who cares?
Overall, if you can find this case for under $40, GET IT. GET IT NOW. You will probably never EVER run out of room in this case. Five stars from this budget builder.
Works like a PSU should, really. Although with mine, the fan was hitting the metallic grate that covers the fan. It would sound like someone running a stick across a wooden fence. Solution: turned it over, so now, NO NOISE.