EDIT: New graphics card has arrived! A great addition, I can run BF3 on max settings, 60FPS - but resolution only 1280x1024. 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark was ~11,000.
Recently my grandad's PC, which had been left neglected for years, just stopped working. It was an old system, with an E6700 and an HD 5450, but it had been left on 24/7 for months at a time, and had eventually clogged itself with dust and stopped working. Having built a few computers before, I decided to step up and build him a new PC from scratch.
The computer is used by my grandad simply to check his emails, manage his bank account and do his budget on a spreadsheet, so the emphasis wasn't really on performance. Every now and then, when I'm over, I'll play some games on the PC, so I chose to include a really cheap (but solid performing) graphics card.
The build was unfortunately full of issues! I ordered an extra case fan to mount in the front, an Arctic Cooling F12 PWM. Anyway, it was a right pain to mount with the screws provided with the case - they just wouldn't go in! After I had spent over 15 minutes fiddling with a single case fan, I realised...the PWM fan header on the motherboard was too far away! So I had to unscrew both the included rear exhaust fan and the new fan, swap them both around (another 30 minutes spent!) and plug them into the nearest headers.
Next was another issue with the case. The case has no mounts for 2.5 inch SSDs, at all. There is supposedly a mount on the floor of the HDD cage, but once you fit the SSD, there's no room to fit the SATA cables in! This lead me to resting the SSD on the bottom of the optical drive cage. After installing Windows onto the SSD, I tried to install the old hard drive, inherited from the previous computer. However, the hard drive would not fit into the drive bays! This lead to another drive being rested in the optical drive cages. Luckily, I had some foam pads spare from the packaging of the processor, and could insulate both drives from the metal cage with them.
Lastly, and certianly not least, was the graphics card. It turns out it was DOA. After many hours of troubleshooting, I just couldn't get the PC to boot with the graphics card installed. I've sent for a replacement off Amazon, hopefully it should be here pretty soon!
As far as the parts go, it was a pretty straightforward to choose them. Nothing that my grandad does requires more than a single core, and therefore decent single thread performance was needed. The PC would be on most of the time, so a quiet cooler was needed. Aesthetics was important, as the case had to fit in with the room.
Cable management was quite hard. With only two very short zip ties included, and only 20mm of space behind the motherboard tray, getting the build to look neat and putting on the side panel again is frustrating! I had to combine the two zip ties to form one bigger one, that's how short they were.
Anyway, the build works fine, I've got a modest overclock on the processor, nothing too extreme. Just waiting for the replacement graphics card to arrive!
A fantastic little chip! Very good single thread performance, and overclocks very well. I'm not hitting more than 54C under a Prime95 torture test at 4.2GHz. Perfect for any entry level build.
Surprisingly good little cooler. According to TechPowerUp, it performs as well as the Hyper 212 Evo, and is much, much smaller. With only a 92mm fan, the tower is very small, but it cools really well! Messed up with the thermal paste, though - whoever thought a tiny packet would be easier to apply than a pipette?
Cheap motherboard, basic features, nothing more to say. Didn't need anything more than the bare minimum, so the motherboard was a good choice. Slightly weird fan header placement!
Very cheap, low latency RAM. Heatspreader looks decent. 2x2GB kit for the most performance at 4GB.
Fantastic SSD! Solid performer, very fast and looks great as well. Very cheap in comparison to the other high end SSDs.
Old hard drive, pretty slow. Only used as a mass storage drive, no OS or games.
After the first one was DOA, the second one was great! 3DMark Sky Diver hits 11,000, which is 5.2 times more than a typical office PC we could have bought for £350! Can max out most games, but only at 1280x1024.
Looks fantastic, good manufacturer...shame the case isn't very good. No SSD drive bays, hard drives don't fit properly. Only two zip ties provided! Getting the side panel on with only two zip ties to hold down cables is incredibly frustrating.
Love it. Black sleeved cables, high quality caps, great voltage regulation - and only £34!