Intel/AMD $300 Gaming PC Build 2017!
Howdy howdy guys, Ponchato here, and welcome to my Sleeper Gaming Build. [intro] This beauty is my newest gaming build. Take a look. So why do I call it the Sleeper Build? Because when the cover is on, this is what it looks like. I took my childhood computer, gutted the case, cut a 140mm fan hole in the front, and painted the inside flat black. I’ll have videos detailing all of that, which I’ll link to through cards in the upper right hand of this screen and links in the description. This build was a ton of fun, my first time modding and painting a case, and the first time a computer build has actually gone completely without a hitch. Here’s how I put it together. First, I had to prep the case. It still had all the parts from when I was a kid; a 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4, 1GB of DDR (just “DDR”), a massive 80GB PATA (not SATA) hard drive, and a crazy powerful Radeon X1600 PRO running on an AGP slot. Yup. I was gaming before PCI express was a thing. I removed all these old parts from the case so I could start prepping it for modding.
Surprisingly, the guts still work so I’m saving them for a future video. I wonder if they’ll run Crysis… I planned to add a 140mm intake fan to the front of the case, since it only came with a 92mm rear exhaust fan. I cut the hole for the fan and drilled holes for mounting screws, and checked to make sure the fan fit. It did, so I got to work painting. I used a painter/primer combo in flat black. I’d used this before for a different project and knew it covers, applies, and cures well. Once I taped off the important bits, I set it on some cardboard and started spraying. I also sprayed the inside of the side cover, just because I really don’t like the look of bare metal.
This is just a quick summary of what I did to mod and paint my case, you can watch the complete mod and paint walkthroughs by clicking the cards in the top right or following the links in the description. Before we get into assembly, here’s a walkthrough of all the components. The motherboard. An ASRock B150m Pro4V microATX with the LGA1151 socket. It has 2 PCIe x16 slots, 2 PCIe x1 slots, an M.2 slot that supports NVMe and runs on a PCI express x4 bus. The rear I/O panel has 4 USB ports, a combo PS/2 jack, a DVI, D-SUB, and HDMI port, gigabit Ethernet, and the 3 basic audio jacks. The motherboard comes with a user manual in many different languages, 2 SATA cables (one right angle and one regular), and an M.2 screw for if you’re using an M.2 SSD.
Even though it’s a microATX board, it has 4 DIMM slots with support for up to 64GB of DDR4 2133 memory, if you’re willing to drop $300 on memory… which is actually more than this build cost me. The main reason I chose this motherboard, other than being able to take 4 sticks of RAM and having an M.2 slot, both for future upgrades, is that it has 3 auto-sensing fan headers. What that means is the motherboard can detect whether you’ve plugged in a 3-pin or 4-pin fan, and adjust the control scheme accordingly. Either voltage control or PWM, for 3-pin or 4-pin fans, respectively. After discounts and shipping, this ran me $57.99. The power supply: A Raidmax RX-500XT 500 watt. This is a budget build with low power requirements, and after discounts this power supply only cost $20, so it was a perfect fit. It has a quiet 120mm white fan, which I think is a cool aesthetic choice. It has the 24 pin main ATX connector, 8 pin EPS connector, one 6+2 pin PCIe and one 6 pin, 5 SATA connectors, 2 molex and 1 floppy.
The only ones I needed were the ATX, EPS, and one SATA connector, but this power supply is non-modular so the rest just had to be hidden in the case. The processor. An Intel Pentium G4400, running 2 cores and 2 threads at 3.3GHz. This is built on the Skylake architecture, so it’s a 14nm part and very low power consumption; a mere 54 watt TDP. Plus, I got it during a super sale for only $39 plus tax. It’s cooled by the Deepcool Gammaxx 400 which is one of the best performing tower coolers under $30.
It has blue LEDs, PWM control, and after discounts was only $14.99. The memory. Budget builds demand budget parts, so I simply got the cheapest stick of DDR4 I could find: the Team Elite Plus 4GB DDR4-2133. It comes with a red heat spreader and was only $after a sale on Newegg. I also picked it because it was the cheapest one to have a non-whack appearance. And finally the graphics. In budget builds this is the single most important part, and necessarily where most of the money should be spent. I got an Asus RX 460 2GB with the white dual fan cooler. I didn’t just pick the cheapest RX 460 I could find, because I wanted to have one with a decent cooling solution (ie 2 fans) and not require a PCIe power connector, since cable management in this case was going to be tough to begin with. Personally, I think this is a very attractive design for a cooler.
After discounts this cost me $82.99. Note as of recently, that is, mid-February 2017, the whole AMD lineup has been going on massive sales. I’ve seen RX 460s as low as $73, in some cases. The last two parts I didn’t have to purchase since I had them lying around. A 1TB, 7200RPM Samsung hard drive taken from Desktop2010, which is what I’ve taken to calling my main rig, and the case from my childhood computer. I have no idea what model it is, or even what brand, but I really wish I did. If anyone can identify it in the comments, I’d love you forever. I started assembly outside the case. The first thing I did was install the processor. The LGA1151 socket makes this extremely easy compared to sockets in the past, and doesn’t require any tools whatsoever. You just push down on the lever and unhook it from under the retention clip. Swing it back, and the socket is exposed. You then line up the two notches on the processor with the notches on the socket, and drop it in.
Remove the socket cover, swing the lever down and push it back under the retention clip. The CPU’s installed. If I were using the stock Intel cooler, I would simply place it over the processor and press in the clips. However, I’m using the DeepCool Gammaxx 400, so it’s more complicated. Like, very slightly more complicated. First, the LGA115x arms need to be installed on the cooler. They’re attached with two small screws, one pair on either side, and then the cooler’s ready to go. I took off the fan for installation to make it a bit easier. For a very long time Arctic Silver was the best available thermal compound, but these days you have to go for exotic European or Asian compounds that cost like 20 bucks for a 1 ounce tube. However, since this is a very low power processor, and it can’t be overclocked, I just used the thermal paste that came with the cooler and added a pea size drop to the center of the processor.
The Gammaxx 400 uses the same clips as the Intel cooler, so installation is, fairly literally, a snap. Push the pins into the motherboard, turn them to lock them in place, and the cooler is installed. I clipped the fan back in place and plugged in the 4-pin wire to the motherboard’s CPU fan header to finish it off. Next, installing the memory. The interesting thing about ASRock’s B150M Pro4V is that the DIMM slots don’t have the normal clips on both sides; one side has a clip, while the other is just a stationary hook.
I lined up the notch on the memory with the notch in the DIMM slot, pushed it in and wiggled it a bit, and pushed the clip closed. There’s just enough room in front of the Gammaxx 400’s fan to fit memory into the first slot. That’s some careful design. Back to the case, because I removed the fans for modding and painting, they needed to be reattached. They’re simply held in place with screws. I installed the 140mm fan in the opening I made in the front of the case, and the rear 92mm fan into its mounting spot on the rear. Next, I installed the motherboard standoffs based on where the holes were on the motherboard. Here, that simply meant leaving out the full ATX standoffs near the bottom of the case.
Getting them hand tight and then tightening a little further with a pair of pliers is the way to go. They don’t need to and shouldn’t be death-grip tight, but it’s better for the standoffs to hold tighter to the case than the motherboard screws do to the standoffs. Just make sure you don’t forget to install the standoffs! That’s a quick way to kill your motherboard. I pushed the rear I/O panel into place and felt along each edge to make sure it was clipped in. Next, I installed the power supply. It drops into place and then 4 screws on the rear hold it. I needed to install the power supply first because otherwise the tower cooler on the processor would block it. I continued by installing the hard drive. This is where I had to perform some trickery. Normally in this case, hard drives are installed with the power and data ports facing out. I didn’t want the cables sticking out and ruining my view, so I installed the hard drive with those facing in. By using the right angle SATA cable that came with the motherboard, I was able to have the drive sit nearly-flush with the right side of the case.
One issue, though: the SATA cable would be aimed down, into the hard drive cage. To get it to aim up and be able to route the cable right up against the right side of the case, I needed to install the drive flipped. So ultimately, it’s installed upside down and backwards, for the sake of cable management. Next up, putting the motherboard in the case. This just required some wiggling to get it underneath all the wires and lined up with the standoffs. Once it was resting on the standoffs, I slid it into place and secured the first screw. I added the second screw by pushing the motherboard to make sure it was pressed up against the rear I/O panel and all the standoffs were aligned. Once the second screw is in place, it’s a lot easier to add the rest since the motherboard is basically held in the correct spot. When you’re building a computer, make sure that the motherboard screws aren’t death grip tight. There’s not only no reason to do this, but it also makes your job much harder when you need to replace that motherboard in the future.
And now the front panel headers. One downside of using such an old case is that the wires are an ugly beige color and very short. I plugged the USB ports into the USB header on the motherboard, which is close enough to the front that those are fine. The front panel audio cables, on the other hand, are just barely long enough to reach the HD audio header on the motherboard. This is one thing I’ve never understood about motherboard design: why the hell are the audio headers placed at the bottom left hand corner, literally the furthest they could possibly be from the front panel? Anyway, you’ll have to consult your motherboard’s manual to see the pin connections and how to hook them up. Next, I added the Asus RX 460. First, the expansion screws needed to be removed so the card could be installed.
This motherboard’s PCIe retention clips aren’t the flexible type that you bend out of the way to release the card, which is what most motherboards use. Instead, it has tiny retainers that slide into place. I like this design much better, because you aren’t at risk of bending a piece of plastic too much and breaking it. I lined up the card with the PCIe slot and pushed it in. You’ll probably need to wiggle it a bit to make sure it’s seated all the way into the slot.
I screwed in the two expansion screws, and the card was installed. Finally, the power wires. Because the RX 460 runs off only the power from the PCIe slot, the only two cables I needed to install were the main 24 pin ATX and 8 pin EPS connectors. Once those were installed, assembly was complete and the computer was ready to boot. Before I did that though, I needed to add a few more finishing touches. First, the old CD and floppy drives were going back in because they really add to the ‘sleeper’ look. Also because I don’t have the front drive bay covers, so if I didn’t install them the front of my computer would just have open holes. Next, cable management. This is where spending a few extra minutes can make your computing experience way better. I tied the cable clump coming out of the power supply so it would stay in a neat bundle. Next, I wrapped the rear fan’s cable with Velcro to keep it tight and pressed up against the back side of the fan, out of view.
I hooked the end of the loop around one of the fan screws so the wires would be held tight. For the front fan, I simply routed the cable underneath the hard drive SATA cable and front USB cables, and then pushed all the excess in a tiny space between the back of the drive cage and the right side of the case. The power button, power LED, and hard drive activity LED are directly next to the hard drive cage, so I routed those wires through it. That let me keep all the excess wire pushed to the back of the hard drive cage, out of sight, and kept the wire coming out to the motherboard, fairly close to the case. Generally, when you’re doing cable management, you want to have the fewest number of “free floating” wires possible.
Wherever you can, have them tied or pressed against the case or parts in the case. This keeps them out of the airflow channels and, maybe more importantly, keeps it from looking like a lazy build. The build was nearly ready, and the last piece of the puzzle was the front bezel. It’s held in place with 6 spring clips. I lined them up with the holes, made sure the CD and floppy drives were lined up, and popped it in place. Giving the front bezel firm taps along the edges ensures that the clips are fully inserted. And that’s it. The build is ready to (hopefully) boot up and get started. I brought out a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to test it. Plugged everything in, flipped the button on the power switch, and then crossed my fingers and pressed the power button.
It’s always such a relief when a system boots. Plus, this was a boot on first try! The gods of luck have smiled upon me. I switched a few options in BIOS er- I guess now we have UEFI. I’m not that old, but having to learn all these new computer terms when I’ve only been out of the loop for like 5 years makes me feel like a grandpa who can’t figure out how to open internet explorer. Anyway, the feature I cared most about was ASRock’s fan control utility, which lets you set a fan speed curve with 4 temperatures and speeds, based on either the CPU or motherboard temperatures. Since I always prefer a quieter system, I set the minimum speeds to 0. There’s really no reason to have fans spinning at all if you’re just sitting idle on the desktop or some low-intensity task like web browsing or word processing. The last step was installing Windows 10. I still had the USB drive configured for Windows installation that I used on my main desktop when I got an SSD, so I just plugged that in to install Windows on this build.
After it finished copying files, I entered advanced/custom setup. ALWAYS choose the custom setup and opt out of everything. Pretty much every item on this list is some form of personal datamining. There’s no reason to waste your computers resources to help invade your own privacy. After a few more reboots, I finally made it. The Windows desktop. It’s funny how I still get extremely relieved once I know the computer is completely finished and fully working.
Now you’re probably wondering about the price. How much did I pay for this system, in total? After all discounts, rebates, and shipping, here’s the breakdown: The processor, an Intel G4400, was $42.12. The motherboard, an ASRock B150M Pro4V, was $57.99. The CPU cooler, a Deepcool Gammaxx 400, was $14.99. The power supply from Raidmax, an RX-500XT: $19.99. Memory from Team Elite, 4GB of DDR4-2133: for $23.39. The graphics card, an Asus RX 460 2GB came in at $82.99. Case and hard drive, free. In total, this build cost me $241.47. However, if I didn’t have the hard drive lying around, and didn’t have this case, here’s what I’d use. For the case, I would’ve gotten a Xion XON-310_BK for $on Amazon. It comes with a blue LED 120mm fan up front. Super inexpensive, highly functional, and in my opinion, the subdued styling is a major plus. For the hard drive, a Western Digital Blue 1TB. It’s a 7200RPM, SATA III, 64MB cache drive, comes from a trusted name with a two year warranty, and it’s 50 bucks.
Storage isn’t something I really play it risky with, since reinstalling Windows and all your programs sucks. You… have backed up your data, haven’t you? With the Xion case and Western Digital hard drive, the total would be just over $300 at $314.45. That is not a bad price for a computer with a modern, efficient processor and graphics card. If you want to get any of the parts I mentioned, including the case and hard drive, links are in the description. After this video, I’ll be making a ton more: gaming performance, benchmarks, noise level, how I modded the case, and what I did for painting. I picked up GTA V, Battlefield 1, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Just Cause 3, so I’ll be able to give you guys a good rundown of how well this system performs.
I have high expectations and high hopes, and regardless of the results, this will still be a great learning experience and excellent practice. If you liked this video hit the like button, if the things I mentioned sound interesting hit subscribe and if you have any questions about the build or the components, ask them in the comments below. Thanks for watching, I hope it was interesting, and I’ll see you in the next video.