Description

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.


Deals/Discounts

  • CPU & Case: Used "new customer" coupon code for $10 off a purchase of $100 or more at NCIX. Divided b/w CPU and case.
  • RAM: Sleuthed on /r/BuildAPCSales and came upon a $5 Newegg discount on G.Skill Ripjaws RAM.
  • HDD: Bought for a slight discount from Best Buy and paid for it with my time.
  • GPU: Bought from gpuShack, used a $10 off coupon code.
  • PSU: Bought for $35, but saved $15 using a mail-in rebate (processing time: a month)

All parts (sans CPU cooler and MRP): $424.75


Benchmarks (CPU/GPU temps on-demand):

3DMark

Unigine Heaven

Part Reviews

CPU

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.

CPU Cooler

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.

Memory

It's RAM, and it's been working great so far. Five stars.

Case

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.

Power Supply

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.

Comments

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for the awesome description and great component selection! AMD was a good choice at this price point, you definitely did your research!

  • 57 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks! I did a ton of research to stay under my budget, but also did a lot of sleuthing. /r/buildapcsales and gpuShack really saved me a ton of money in the end.

Was afraid I was too wordy, but guess not haha

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 For research and nice build. I do have one question though. How is the performance of that cooler? I'm thinking about getting it for my first build and would love to know.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

For the cooler, It runs pretty well, honestly. It's leagues better than the AMD stock cooler, and like I wrote, dropped my idle temps 55%. While running the Unigine and 3DMark benchmarks, it kept my CPU under 60C. It's a fantastic cooler, although it is loud. It's sitting maybe about a foot-and-a-half from it, and it's like a background hum.

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the reply! I don't think the hum will be a problem due to the fact that I'm a headphone user but its good to know it keeps temps down.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem! After a while, you don't even notice the hum. Good luck on your build!

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

was the MB bios compatible out of the box or did you have to up date the bios?

  • 57 months ago
  • 2 points

It was compatible right out of the box. I was surprised myself, but it booted straight up. Not sure if I want to update it since it functions fine.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Update: This mobo has an internet flash-update service, and I did it, and it survived.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

That is like the Asus board I went with. They call it flashback. Very helpful feature. I am loving the 860k how about you?

  • 55 months ago
  • 2 points

It's much better than I had ever anticipated. Still runs hot, which I think is one of its drawbacks, but for the price I got it for and the performance I'm getting out of it, it's completely worth it.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

How does your build perform in the more demanding games? It looks like a pretty nice build for sure though

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly, I don't really play games on EOS. Although I've been tempted to because I notice that the GPU isn't really doing what I thought was going to do. (If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear 'em.)

At the moment, I've only rendered videos and it's an all CPU affair.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Alright, I was just wondering. I range it you are happy with it though?

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I'm pretty happy with it. It's much better than a Dell that it replaced. Only thing I really dislike about it, and I'm unsure if it has to do with the motherboard or OS, is that if you put it into sleep or hibernation, it'll spontaneously turn on minutes later. Other than that, I love it.

-AB

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

probably is a mixture, you could always just turn it off though... Glad you like it though!

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Found out the hard way it was. It took a PC refresh but it doesn't do it anymore, haha.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

You should get a Asus r9 380 4 GB is does not bottleneck the cpu or the CPU to the GPU

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't play many games on EOS, so I don't really see any kind of bottleneck honestly. I am considering upgrading though, just a way to take advantage of lower prices and possibly either trade my 7950 or sell it. I'll have to see as the year goes by.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree but it seems like a worthy upgrade nut if you really want bang for your buck you should Co sired on checking the rx 460

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

A friend has offered me his R9 380 (either 3 or 4Gb) for about $50 when he upgrades, so I'll probably take it off his hands and provide that upgrade to my own rig. And "cosired"?

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

hoping to build an 860k rig in the future nice pc m8

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, and I hope it goes well. To save some cash, I recommend using /r/BuildaPCSalesUK and possibly GPUshack for a great refurb GPU. Shipping is USD$25/£20 but you may have to pay custom duties on it, so it depends really.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

(As of late July 2016, prices have dropped to $30 and lower, which suuuuuucks.) and now their at $40+ D:

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I know there's a transition between DDR3 and DDR4, but I'm pretty sure they haven't bottomed out yet. It's coming, just depends on when.