Building a PC

How do we do this in 2020?

I intend to build a budget gamer PC for Siglet Secundus in the next few months; I will inherit his machine, which I originally rebuilt for my own use as a budget gamer about 4 years ago. (It’s had a video card upgrade in the last year.) I think I’m going to wait for the Ryzen 3 3300x CPU and the associated new B550 chipset motherboards to start becoming available, but other than that I’ve not really decided on much.

While I wait for that, I need to replace the case his current computer is in; we have had it since shortly before Siglet Primus was born in early 2008, and it’s showing its age. (All of the ports in the front are busted, for one.) What’s a decent budget case these days? (This is the motherboard that has to fit.)

What are the sites we use to figure out the answers to these questions?

A lot of it depends on how much RGB you want, I think. I use Amazon, NewEgg and PCPartsPicker when I’ve built stuff. For the latter it can help ‘sanity check’ decisions.

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I love this page.

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Just built my wife a computer. Can’t recommend PCPartPicker enough. Also, highly recommend NZXT cases. I just find them to be well-built and easy to work with.


For cases I like the BitFenix Prodigy line aesthetically, but I have no idea how horrible they are to work with. May not be intended for ATX boards.

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I’ll keep this in mind. I found another computer tucked away in a closet and thought, hey, this should work for some of the Windows stuff I want to do.

No. It either failed because it was sitting off too long or because it’s showing solidarity for the other computer that decided to shuffle off the mortal coil. Either that, or it’s on strike because there’s a Linux computer in the house now.

After a bunch of reading and soul-searching (because I worry about this stuff way more than it really warrants), I went with the NZXT H510 to replace our old case. We’ll see how it goes when it arrives.


Case arrived yesterday. Spent a few hours moving things over. A LOT of space for the liquid cooling (I assume) that I’m not bothering with. Still smaller than my old CoolerMaster tower. Kiddo likes the window; I might have to add some lighting.

I will definitely consider this brand when I build the new one.


That is a nice looking case. Part of me prefers when there is a recess in the back, so the expansion cards are locked down from the inside, but in practice, having them stick out the back works just fine.

Lighting, or I do kind of like being builds where people add little dioramas of legos or whatever to empty space in the case…


Add a minature motorised hamster and hamster wheel with a “link” to the power supply. :grin:


OK, so he’s super happy with the new case, especially since I also cleaned up and reapplied the CPU thermal paste and the crashing issues have entirely stopped. In fact, he has expressed irritation that I’m going to take this machine away and build him a new one because it works perfectly fine and he doesn’t really need a new computer, thanks.

I… OK, son.

But I still have to build another machine so we have something solid for music production and also so I can play Skyrim and old BioWare games. However, if that’s all I’m really doing, I can get by with integrated graphics.

So I ordered stuff today.

  • AMD Ryzen 5 3400G (CPU with integrated graphics)
  • ASRock B450M PRO4 motherboard
  • GAMEMAX VP-600-M-RGB semi modular 600W RGB power supply (I hope I don’t regret this, but it was relatively cheap, semi modular, and got good reviews.)
  • Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC Micro ATX Cube
  • WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB Internal SSD
  • Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD
  • Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16
  • Windows 10 Pro

With the OS, it came to $660 plus shipping and tax (split between NewEgg and Amazon). I also splurged and ordered another Corsair K55 keyboard (which younger son has and I have been envying for a while).

Next is to actually build the stupid thing, make it work, and then I need to pick a proper audio interface. I’m currently leaning toward the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB (for another $109). I currently use a Zoom H4NPro digital audio recorder, which can plug in USB and be seen as a sound card, but it’s an older piece of kit and the latency is insanely frustrating. Also, sometimes it just decides it’s done in the middle of recording. I’m not a fan of that.


(also, when if the time comes, I can add a graphics card to get some more life out of it. Probably hand-me-down when I upgrade the kids.)

So, what kind of upgrades are you looking at performing on your children?


Looking at making them a bit taller and self-sufficient, and loading some history, math, and civics libraries. It takes a while.

I just realized I can fit a low power, low profile PCIE video card into my existing small form factor desktop I’ve been using for work and that would probably be more than adequate for Skyrim. So I dropped 50 bucks to do that, too.

And I bought the PreSonus AudioBox instead of the Scarlett interface, since it comes with the new Studio One Artist 5 that I was planning to buy anyway for the same cost.


I’m trying to decide if I should build a SteamOS box out of spare parts and minimal investment. Something I can put under in the living room entertainment center for the maybe 4 hours a week I play games there. I think I ended up with a spare motherboard and some other parts from the Hackintosh project.

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(Slightly less likely, as “I have a spare motherboard” is up there with “We can fix the car up, I have a set of spare floor mats somewhere around” in things that don’t really save that much money in the end.)

Aaaaand I got looking at the wrong PC’s specs somehow and, no, there is no place to put a low profile GeForce GT710 card. That’s annoying. Trying to think if I have any use for this object at all. It wasn’t a LOT but probably worth sending back.

I’ve got a mini-atx motherboard you can have for the price of shipping if you want it. Goes for anyone here, really. It’s not the newest but is new in box.

It’s a Gigabyte Intel board.

I realized if I wanted no to do a SteamOS machine for the entertainment center I’d need to do low-ish profile and it would probably be cheaper to just buy new to get a cheapies my AMD cup and motherboard for as much as a ‘good’ Intel processor would cost for this. The cooler leftovers all need a ‘tall’ case which might not fit in the space I have.

For my 2-4 hours a week of random living room video gaming I think I’m just hooking the Wii up and maybe trying to get back on the horse for passing a cert as a way to earn buying a newer console.


I’ve got a couple of those languishing in tiny cases that I never got around to playing with. I seem to have a lot of time right now. Maybe I should look into SteamOS. Probably not going to work very well with the onboard graphics, though.