In 2015 I begun building my own PC with scrap parts I had collected. At the time, it was a duel core i3 processor with a stock cooler in a common Dell OptiPlex chassis. I was a sophomore in college at the time and was hooked on the custom PC building bug. My friend and I had scavenged the parts from some local junk yards and garage sales. It’s surprising how many computer parts you can find in north Philadelphia.

This was my computer for a while. It ran ubuntu and was used to store files, browse the internet and write code. During that year, we found a core i5 processor and upgraded some of the RAM and hard drives. In late 2015 I got my first real job at SAP and immediately purchased a better case for this rig. From 2015 to 2016 I did everything I could to turn this PC into a real work station.

The first parts I purchased with my job and the setup I had for my new rig

I was holding off on purchasing a GPU at the time, mainly for financial reasons. This was the worst mistake I made on this journey. After Bitcoin became the phenomenon that it is today, GPU prices skyrocketed. This left me a powerful workstation without the ability to play AAA video games.

There were many times I considered purchasing a mid-tier GPU and calling it a day. I couldn’t justify the cost of a GPU until the Nvidia RTX series came out. When I saw the power of ray tracing, I knew it was time. It took 4 years for me to save up enough money to purchase the Nvidia RTX 2070 super and the LG 4k monitor to go with it.

Now, I have a powerhouse of a PC and I feel like I can accomplish anything with it. I will forever continue to build and modify this machine. I have plans to perform some better cable management and upgrade the power supply unit. Eventually, I will want to attempt a custom water loop. This hobby has become a lifestyle and I want to remain on the cutting edge of custom-built PC’s.

Breakfast at my workstation

In total I spent $1300 building and configuring my setup. For a comparison, an Origin PC with similar specs starts at $2420 and that does not include the screen or keyboard. I highly recommend building your own computer if you are interested in the best performance for the lowest cost.

Parts used in this PC build

  • Intel Core i7-6700K 4 GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • NZXT Kraken X31 69.5 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Asus Z170-DELUXE ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
  • Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
  • Kingston A400 480 GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB Video Card
  • Fractal Design Define R5 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case
  • Corsair HX Platinum 750 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit
  • LG 34UC88 34.0″ 3440×1440 60 Hz Monitor