It was a cool early spring morning and I found myself quietly contemplating why I had become a console peasant and how it was possible that I had fallen to this new low. After what seemed like several hours of deep meditation (turned out it was roughly 2 minutes 37 seconds) I came to conclusion that I needed to fill this void I was feeling in my life and that it could only be filled with a “budget friendly” gaming pc. My heart had spoken and decided that I needed to put together a nice budget build for some casual 1080p gaming. Just the thought of this new gaming pc brought me a feeling of peace that I had not known since converting to console gaming. I started to plan out this “budget friendly” build but, as they often do when building a pc, things began moving quickly and I found myself wanting more power. It all started with the Acer Predator monitor... Oh Acer. A close friend of mine decided to get out of pc gaming (in favor of a Nintendo Wii U of all things!!) and in doing so was looking to unload his fairly new Acer Predator monitor. He had some bad experiences selling monitors on ebay in the past so he offered it to me for $300!! He knew I was looking for a new monitor and that the $300 price tag was a great deal that I would not be able to pass up. This led me to a new conundrum that threatened to destroy my newly found inner peace. I could not, in good conscience, put together a budget gaming build and connect it to a 1440p IPS 144hz G-Sync monitor. I was left with 2 options. 1.) Lose my newly obtained inner peace and submit myself to a life of console gaming or 2.) Build a proper gaming pc capable of 1440p gaming and lay claim to true inner peace. The choice was simple but lead to a new struggle; financing.
The sale of my Xbox One along with other funds I had saved set me up with a budget around $600 (not including the monitor) so I was a bit short of a glorious gaming pc build. With limited talents I returned to a life of repairing computers to start to finance my dream. For many years (probably like 12) I had repaired computers on the side and I vowed never to return to this previous life. But… desperate times.... I slowly worked towards my new budget but it was taking too long so I looked for other means. After multiple failed attempts soliciting the sale of one of my kidneys I decided to "donate" plasma to help offset the extra costs. After a couple months of having the life sucked out of me (and part of it then pumped back in) I was closing in on my dream. Incidentally I do not recommend watching any of the more graphically violent episodes of The Walking Dead while donating plasma. You get some strange looks and if you ever get woozy at the sight of blood (as I sometimes do) it is a bad idea to combine the 2 things. But back to the story; After taking a forced week off from donating plasma (if you black out while donating plasma they make you “rest” for a week before donating again) I only had one more donation to go before reaching my goal. I made my final deposit at this “blood bank of dreams” and proceeded to order my carefully selected components.
All in all the build came together very nicely and I am very happy with the end results. The Cryorig H5 was a bit tricky to install but my CPU temps are outstanding especially for an ITX build. I considered an AIO liquid cooler but opted for air based on price/performance comparisons. The ASUS board it the best available Z270 ITX board right now and it has been great. I tried the MSI board in a previous build and had issues with it so I definitely recommend the ASUS. Because of the clearance issues with the PSU I decided to go with a FE 1070. So far temps are great. I ran into a little trouble with cable management space in the back panel area so I was forced to bundle up some of the PSU cables inside the case; oh well. I added an 2nd Fractal 140mm fan in the front for intake and I definitely recommend low profile memory with these components. Initially I bought an i5 7400 (got it for $120) for this build but I was running into issues with frame rates (cpu was constantly at 100%) so I decided to go with the 7700K.
Best CPU you can get right now for the money. Sure Ryzen 7 1800X is great but at $499.99 its not really affordable for a gaming build and when you can the i7 7700K for around $300 it's hard to justify the cost of Ryzen. With the proper cooling this is an outstanding CPU.
Outstanding cooler! In many of my other builds I have used the Hyper 212 EVO but this thing is my new favorite. I was skeptical but this thing really performs and looks great! Mounting was a bit tricky in an ITX build but it was manageable and the results speak for them-self.
From my experiences this is the best Z270 ITX motherboard you can get. The MSI Carbon is also pretty good but this performs better and works with more CPU Coolers (MSI board does not properly fit some CPU Cooler mounting brackets). 2x m.2 ssd slots is also great. I just wish it had more fan headers
Corsair has long been my favorite memory brand and with my ITX builds I always use low profile memory.
I got a good price on this but I was underwhelmed by the performance; the larger capacity variants are faster but this one is not great. If you get it for the right price it is not bad
great 7200RPM drive. I would never go buy a 500GB drive right now but I had this from an older laptop and it did the job
excellent GPU and for this case a blower style GPU is highly recommended. The performance is outstanding and it looks great!
For the money it is hard to beat this ITX case. I thought about using the NZXT Manta but it cost twice as much as this and does not have that much more to offer (plus it is huge for an ITX case)
EVGA support is 2nd to none and the new smaller G3 PSUs are outstanding in build quality.
Excellent monitor; once you go g-sync there is no going back