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Mom & kids 1st build, $600 Gaming Machine
by mayalass
Permalink:   (71 comments)

The kids, 8 and 10 years old, and I decided our 6 year old Gateway wasn't cutting it anymore and that we would make a project of building a new computer. I had never done anything like this before and so had to do a lot of reading! The kids did most of he assembly and I did most of the cabling and Windows installation, dirvers, etc. We used the monitor, keyboard and mouse from the old machine to cut costs.

It is used for gaming, nothing too hardcore, Minecraft modding, various Steam games. I wanted it to be as future-proofed as much as possible, since I'm sure their gaming is just going to expand. It is SO much faster and responsive than the old machine which locked and lagged. The graphics are a huge improvement. We are very happy so far!

Any feedback or suggestions are welcome. I'm sure I made mistakes.... We had a strict budget and I plugged in the components here and waited for the price to hit our magic number. PCpartpicker is awesome.

UPDATE 2: As summer heated up this year, our new computer started shutting down, and after installing Speedfan, I realized it was overheating. We installed a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, and it completely solved the problem. CPU temps went from 80-82 (!!) to 67-70. AND it runs more quietly now, the fan going at half the RPMs but dropping the temp by 10-15 degrees. I highly recommend adding this cooler to the original build as the original cooler just didn't do the job.

Also, hubby has been playing Skyrim lately---fantastic graphics, excellent response, no lag. Couldn't be more pleased.

UPDATED: Wow, thanks everyone so much for the comments!!!! !
Some quick replies: I don't think we're going to be overclocking, but I did have my eye on the coolers mentioned, mostly for the quiet. However, the fans on this case are super quiet already. I'm sitting right beside it and can't hear it.

Hair-tie: good idea!!

I will check the mobo/RAM settings, thanks for the tip.

Cable management: that big cord was super stiff. I tried to route it behind but I couldn't get it to bend easily and decided to leave it out front. I agree that it looks messy that way!

Our old monitor is decent, 2048x1152, a close-out we got a couple of years ago when the Gateway monitor died.

And as for Windows, I had purchased the upgrade disk a couple of years ago when we went from XP to 7 on the old machine.

Again, thanks so much! I'm relieved to hear we did all right with our selection.

Part List
AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.5GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle-
CPU Temperature Under Load-
Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.05Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate4.8GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
jake_burlock [2 Builds] 52 points 7 months ago

What a mom!

IsaacA 1 point 20 days ago

agreed :)

JohnTsams [1 Build] 21 points 7 months ago

My mom could never do this. Great value you got there.

IsaacA 1 point 20 days ago


PickItApart 17 points 7 months ago

Excellent build for the price. Great parts selection. no gripes here.

If you want tips or ideas. 1) Grab a Cooler Master Evo and overclock the fx-6300. However this will take a little reading to do so safely. By doing so you'll get an extra boost in performance. 2) You can try to put cables behind the mobo or behind the HDD trays (between HDD trays and rear wall) on the bottom.

rar [2 Builds] 7 points 7 months ago

Great Job!!! This system should run anything that an 8 and 10 year old should want (or you'll allow).
It will run games better then the system I just built with my kids (10 & 12) by probably 20% or more (if we just compare the GPUs)

Over-clocking the CPU is not necessary ... I wouldn't bother if your just trying to make your games run faster ... but if your want to dive into learning how a computer works and how timing effects performance and heat ... it's is a great adventure. Although I think your kids are still a bit young to really have the background and patients to get into that. My experience so far is that my 10 year old doesn't care about how things work only playing games (which may just be his interest right now rather then his age). My 12 year old is more interested but does not seem to have the patients (or maybe it's just Dad's lecturing). I think I jumped the gun on trying to teach them how computers work (even though they were excited to learn it as we picked out parts and built the machine) ... hopefully that will change over the next year or two.

Over-clocking the GPU will make your frame rates faster but with a HD7870 I don't think your will need to for a while. The downside is that it does generate a lot of heat. BTW the HD7870 is a great card for OC if you decide to do it.

In any case, I think you chose well and I'm sure everyone is going to have a blast with it. +1 (as everyone here seems to say ... )

SethMatrix 4 points 7 months ago

very nice +1

talby [8 Builds] 4 points 7 months ago

+1 great selection of parts and prices (yes I agree, pcpartpicker is a great enabler for this purpose)

Living relatively close to a MicroCenter is just as deadly, they have some awesome bundle deals to be had - as my wife has reminded me over the past 15 years :)

I have a couple of builds using the source 210 here and here if you want to see some examples of cable cleanup in that case.

Firecrackers [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

Looks like she's ready to stream minecraft. +1

SgtTherin [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

Very sweet. I wish my mom had done that growing up. +1 because I can't give anymore than that like I'd like to. Goodjob

Attacker3 [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

Hmmm, 7870 for minecraft? :D jk +1 great build!

IsaacA 1 point 20 days ago

7870 is way too overkill for Miecraft but she mentioned that the kids also play steam games

Spirafall [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

Very educational for the kids and a very nice way to spend time together! The part choices are very sound, and definitely good patience with the prices.

One suggestion I have for any future builds, is to tie back your hair! XD I've had the unfortunate experience of a single hair falling under the heatsink, so hahaha.

I read some reviews about the mobo where the ram doesn't run at 1866, so it might be a good idea to check your RAM speed if you haven't already. It might run at a default 1333 or 1600, which is no problem, but just thought I'd mention it.

revotivo44 3 points 7 months ago

This is amazing, wonderful job Mom. Not only did you give them a physical object but you also gave them a memory that they will always remember and hopefully pass onto their kids.

chowsownsomepizza 3 points 7 months ago

Great Job for a starter! By great I mean AWESOME! You did a very good job at cable managing, budgeting and researching on parts.

p.s That is not a moderate gaming machine, its an EXTREME build able to run next-gen games at ultra!

BlastXin 0 points 3 months ago

that's a bit too emphasized. It may run on Ultra but with lower resolution and/or FPS depending how graphically intense games are.

mat_tech 2 points 3 months ago


JohnTsams [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

You could add a thin client to one of the monitors so that both kids can play minecraft at the same time.


Seagull4111 1 point 24 days ago

oh! That would be an interesting idea...

Spencer1012 [2 Builds] 2 points 7 months ago

Good build. I'd just put the big fat 24 pin connector and the 4 or 8 pin CPU power connector (depends on the board) behind the motherboard tray. It would look SO much cleaner that way and airflow would be a bit better, I suppose. It only takes a minute and that's what those holes are for right next to the power supply :-)

Great parts though.

Zeus [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

Great build! Should suite your kids' intended uses fine.

dhswanson1987 2 points 7 months ago

Good gaming machine for $600! If you get tired of your old mouse, I highly recommend Gigabyte's M8000X USB laser mouse. Also, you're visual experience could look a lot better with a purdy new monitor. Now is the time to get one while Black Friday deals are going on. I've seen an Asus 23.6" 1080P LED-LCD go for $109.99 w/free shipping! The only problem with that is that the 7870 will struggle @ 1080P in some games whereas graphics with more memory bandwitdh will shine. That's really only with today's more graphically intense games, though. Again, nice build!

JTsComputer [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

where did you find that deal on the monitor?

dhswanson1987 1 point 7 months ago

Newegg.com via their e-mail promos.

JTsComputer [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

ah .com vs .ca....so much worse deals here :(

fsma92 [2 Builds] 2 points 6 months ago

Somehow I missed this build, but this is fantastic! This must have been a really fun project to do with your kids, I'm you they appreciate more than you realize, not just because they got a PC but because they got to spend time with their mom. Builds like this are really heart warming. Props to you mom!

gokufighther 2 points 1 month ago

couldve went with a quad core and you got wayyy to expensive of a video card, but the pc will last like 10 yrs and will play all games made today and within 5yrs i think

Zequill 1 point 7 months ago

Very nice build +1

xx116xx [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Gonna be building something EXTREMELY similar to this very soon for myself... personally I think this part list is the best for the budget.

Xxmg98xX [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

For that price everything is perfect. +1

aludka [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Very nice. For what you intend on using the PC for your parts look fine. I love it when a parent takes the time and initiative to involve their children. If I could give +2 I would.

flyboy88 1 point 7 months ago

Nice. Better stats then the xbone. Also +1 for family projects, please route that 24 pin behind the mobo though.

canders [6 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

Nice build. +1 for the head lamp!

ravagex 1 point 7 months ago

Outstanding build for the money. Big ++++++ for the family effort!

Apach3 [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

first off, if the system is gonna be on a desk, flip the power supply so that the fan is on the bottom, therefore allowing it to draw fresh air from outside. second, i would spend an hour or so tucking the cables behind the motherboard if at all possible; with the power supply flipped, your cables would be that much closer to the rest of the components that need it.

other than that, it's an incredible system for only $600.

polykow [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Mom of the Year Award!

( Alex from the Unschooling_Gamers Group!)

Harleysmoke 1 point 7 months ago

Gonna need some serious upgrades if you wanna play minesweeper on their. Wooh... this couldn't even run it on bear minimum settings. Jk good build.

Ordies 1 point 7 months ago

From just the last picture of MineCraft, I understood what RP your son is using. It's a very good one, too.

Tyl3r 1 point 7 months ago

Kudos :)

coryjamesking [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

i always find myself being the 100th like lol. Nice build!

Emre_A. [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

I am actually thinking of making a build similar to this but with more processing power instead of graphics, the parts list is great, and is pretty future proofed for what they will be playing in the future.

good job!

Padpo 1 point 6 months ago

Well my experience with the computer I have now is that if you spend more on your graphics card than your processor you will get better performance than getting a better processor than graphics card.

Str8jakt 1 point 5 months ago

Mom of the year award goes too mayalass

humaid 1 point 5 months ago

Oh Minecraft, it is a MUST!

bankesjunior 1 point 5 months ago

better than my pc :(

metherul 1 point 5 months ago

You are a cool mom, I can tell you that. My mother thinks even touching a computer will cause your brain ti implode...

Deano_Awesome 1 point 4 months ago

Well done super mum +1

EPICGUY23 1 point 4 months ago

That is so cool! I wish my mom would have done that with me. Nice choice of parts for a budget build +1.

shredz 1 point 4 months ago

What a great project. It looks awesome! Who cares about that cable. Just enjoy your masterpiece and the satisfaction that you did it together. Great Mom!

lucas1945 1 point 4 months ago

I don't know where I went wrong. Most of my prices were the same for my computer, but I had a 7770... :(

Just checked... It was windows... Where did you guys get the windows from? Was it free?

SneakyBastardSword 1 point 4 months ago

I'm building something very similar, actually(http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3fEUA). looking at your build, your GPU was probably a little too powerful, and the processor might bottleneck a little, just judging by the price and brand. otherwise looks to be a pretty solid build, especially for a first-timer.

BlastXin 1 point 3 months ago

Awesome Mom!

Blaster5968 1 point 3 months ago

My mom not that cool

Mr.Curiou5 1 point 3 months ago

+1 for an awesome mom and a nice build, good luck and enjoy!

8BitPhoenix [2 Builds] 1 point 2 months ago

I want you for my mum! My mum tells me off for looking at PCPartPicker...She says it's not a 'normal' thing for teenagers to do. I say she hasn't been a teenager for 40 years!

Seagull4111 1 point 24 days ago

Same here... I don't get told off but I sort of isolate myself in my bedroom

andrei68 1 point 2 months ago

I'm impressed ! I would have gone with a GTX 660 which would have been able to play more games at high quality , but ... I'm really impressed ! What a mom ! Hope you and your kids will enjoy this build !

EpicBro101 [1 Build] 1 point 1 month ago

this will be nice when the kids start getting into more advanced games like battlefeild and cod

GamerDeso [1 Build] 1 point 1 month ago

My mom couldn't do this even if her life depended on it. You are one awesome mom!

RoboBird 1 point 1 month ago

(bats eye and mutters) gaming machine, minecraft, psh

[comment deleted by staff]
kjrsmith 1 point 17 days ago

Best mom ever. Doing similar with my son. Not sure who's having more fun him or me.

YTBeasty 1 point 11 days ago

that 7870 is an awesome card!

Iron_Hero_ 1 point 5 days ago

AWESOME mon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CosMcG 1 point 4 days ago

Could you put an SSD drive into this rig?

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