This build originally started as a way to get my 7 year old son into Minecraft on the PC after playing it on the Xbox and Android. I also wanted him to be able to edit videos, do homework, and just about anything he could ever want to do on a computer. We always had a great computer growing up, and I attribute my appreciation (and my line of work) to being able to experience great hardware doing what you want! Although I had never built a computer from scratch, I have worked on, in, and around computers my whole life. I figured building one with my son would harbor a deep appreciation for all that goes into our marvelous machines.
It started as a simple (but decent) build, and slowly but surely, I wanted better and better gear, knowing full well that I would be using it as much as him. I wanted to build something great, but reasonable, and slowly over the course of 3 months, I acquired each piece, one at a time.
My original budget was $1200, but it moved up to $1500, then I used about $500 in certificates I had earned over the years to keep my out of pocket expense within budget. It was a labor of love and in the end, this is the fastest machine I have ever used in my life, all for MUCH less than I expected to pay for this level of gear.
Retail for every part at the time it was built was around $3500, here's how I built it for under $2k, in the order I got the pieces. (Keyboard and mouse I had purchased on deals, months ago and were just waiting)
- CPU and MOBO. There was a package deal for the two at $420 after rebate.
- RAM. 10% off at Newegg, and there was a $20 difference between the fastest my board could handle and average sticks. I spent the extra $20.
- SSD. NVMe was available, and I was not going to skimp on the primary drive. $315 - Jet 's new customer $30 off, + no free returns = $280 shipped to my door. Worth EVERY ******* penny!!!!!!!!!
- CPU Cooler. Best Buy had a clearance on the H100i GTX for $100. I wanted good cooling, and this was not too much over the price of a great air cooler.
- PSU. This was a Newegg lightning deal for $129 - $30 rebate. $99 for a Platinum PSU. Thank you!
- The Case was a Fry's Promo Code deal, marked down to $69 + a $20 MIR. Not my ideal case, but for $50, I could afford to take a gamble!
- GPU. Here's where it gets interesting. Woot had a deal for a refub HP Envy with an i7-6700, 16Gb RAM, 2tb HDD, a 300w PSU and a 980 Ti. Something didn't seem right (since you can't get the 300w PSU with the 980ti) but I took a chance anyways. The deal was up for about 30 seconds after being posted on reddit.com/r/buildapcdeals and I got in on one! The computer came a few days later and lo and behold, there was a glistening green 980ti nestled under a 500 W Delta PSU. I pulled out the card, put a 128gb SSD I had laying around in the puter, migrated the OS to the SSD and resold the computer for $650. BAM! a 980ti for $100!!!
- A stock HP 980ti, I have to assume is the worst of the best, so I added a hybrid EVGA water cooler to it, purchased as an Amazon special for $60. Total for the 980ti Hybrid - $160. :-)
- Windows was an upgrade to a Windows 7 key I had from a buisness build I didn't need.
- Finally, The monitor. I had AcerRecertified.com bookmarked on my phone and would check it from time to time. I had already purchased a 27" refurb 1440p G-sync monitor from Best Buy, but it came with a bright pixel smack in the middle. It was going back, and I was keeping an eye out for a replacement. One morning, while making lunches, up popped the 34" Predator widescreen G-sync IPS 100hz beast for $648!!!!!! It was ordered within 10 seconds of seeing the link, and I am now typing up this report on the flawless screen in front of me!
So there you go. It was a long and laborious process to get to where I'm at today, but I appreciate every single moment of it. I let my son install the RAM, the SSD, the CPU Cooler, Windows and every other thing he was willing or able to do. He now has an incredible machine that will do anything and everything we can dream of and that is an investment in his future that will pay for itself many many times over.