Jesse Sheehan

New Build, Who Dis?



It’s been about 10 years since I last built a PC for myself. In that time I’ve sold my previous build when I needed the money and bought several modest laptops over the years to replace it. My last build was some AMD Bulldozer with 8 GB of memory if I recall correctly. I was disappointed with the performance of that machine as I was replacing my AMD Phenom II and expected there to be a noticable difference in how quickly I could do things. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good machine, but I felt like the dollar per performance was lacking compared to the Phenom.

My current daily driver is currently a Lenovo ThinkPad T410 with a whopping 6 GB of memory (4 GB + 2 GB 😂) and that handles most of the workloads that I need it for. Programming, web-browsing, and emails are great but gaming is not!. My T410 has integrated graphics in its first-generation Intel i5 processor. As you can probably imagine, it’s not that great for anything too intensive. Although it has no problems with Netflix or YouTube, I would like to be able to play Steam games such as Factorio or Firewatch on it.

I figured it was about time to build myself a new desktop. My goal for this build is value for money. I’m well aware of the global chip shortage and crypto-currency miners driving the price of graphics cards up so I had to take those into account when considering my requirements. I already own a monitor, keyboard, and trackball so I don’t need to budget for that. If at all possible, I would prefer to keep the cost to below $1000.

For all of that, I have the following requirements:

Part Notes
CPU With integrated graphics.
RAM >= 16 GB
SSD >= 250 GB
Power Supply
Wifi Card 802.11n
OS Linux


I ordered most of these parts from PB Tech because they were having their “Black Friday” sale. You know, Black Friday, that one Friday that apparently lasts all of November? Yeah! That one!

Since the motherboard, power supply, and case have unconstrained requirements, I’ll leave those for last. The SSD will largely depend on what the motherboard can offer, as does the memory. Thefore, the CPU is a good place to start.


After looking at what is available on the New Zealand market, I had narrowed it down to either the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G or the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G. Both chips have very similar specs but differ in their compute power. The 5700G is also $100 more than the 5600G. After considering this and looking at some benchmark results, I decided on the 5700G. Unsurprisingly, at $499.00, this ended up being the most expensive component in the build, by far!


Next stop, motherboard! The 5700G uses an AM4 socket and there are 3 current chipsets available: The A520, B550, and the X570. The motherboards that support these seem to scale in price, with the A520 motherboards at the cheaper end of the scale and the X570 motherboards at the more expensive end. The X570 are far too expensive for my budget so they’re out! The main difference between the A520 and the B550 chipsets is that the former only supports PCIe 3.0 and the latter supports PCIe 4.0. Since the 5700G doesn’t actually support PCIe 4.0, I have no need for the B550 chipset unless I think I would want to upgrade to an X-series CPU + discrete GPU combo in the future.

At this risk of shooting myself in the foot and not allowing for a decent upgrade path, I opted for the Gigabyte A520M DS3H AC for $143.69. This board has the added benefit of coming with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth so I don’t need to fork out for the extra peripherals.


The motherboard supports 4x DDR4 DIMMs with a maximum (non-overclocked) frequency of 3200 MHz. I’m not really too fussed about overclocking so we’ll ignore the higher frequencies that can be attained by it. The Kingston FURY Beast 16 GB kit (2x 8 GB), at $98.99, fits the bill.


I haven’t had any experience with NVMe before going into this build. And, wow! If ever there was a confusing mess of product descriptions! I figured it out though, and emerged from the fray with a 500 GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus for $98.99. With a bit of luck, I may have even picked something that is compatible with the rest of the system!

Power Supply

I personally don’t really care too much about the extra offerings that come with power supplies these days. A simple ATX PSU will be fine. Look! Here’s one 👀: The Cooler Master MWE 450W for $59.00. It’s not modular, but it is pretty inexpensive!


I’ve left the case for last because I don’t really care about what it is or what it looks like. Once it’s out of sight, I won’t see it again. Best case scenario is that it will remain under the desk until some post-apocolyptic wanderer pushes it aside, in search of spare parts for their ham radio. To that end, I found a second hand Cooler Master Elite 341 case on TradeMe for $1.00.

It’s a little beat up but seems to come with all the front panel headers and even a DVD drive (honestly, I would have given that away too)! I’m considering repainting it to remove the scratches on the side but I still haven’t decided just yet.


In short, I’ve spent $912.17 (including shipping) for the build. This comes $90 under the budget that I set out and exceeds my requirements in some areas. I consider this a win. Of course, the fact that I already have a monitor, keyboard, and trackball helps this along. And I don’t need to fork out $166 (on special) for a copy of Windows 10, which keeps the price down. The final specs follow:

Part Details
AMD Ryzen 7 5700G 8 cores, 16 threads. Max. 4.6 GHz. Integrated graphics.
Kingston FURY Beast 16GB RAM 2x 16 GB DIMMs. 3200 MHz clock.
Gigabyte A520M DS3H AC A520 chipset. WiFi AC + Bluetooth 4.2.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500 GB NVMe PCIe 3.0
Cooler Master MWE 450 W Just what it says on the tin.

The Build

The build process went off with a few hitches. These were mostly due to the case being second-hand and not coming with some of the pieces that I needed.

Unfortunately, the case didn’t come with any motherboard screws. However, I was able to cannibalize another broken desktop that I had in the garage for its screws. I count myself lucky that the case did come with standoffs, at least! The case also didn’t come with any fans, I still don’t have any case fans for this PC but am looking to pick some up when I see them available cheaply. Neither the case, not the motherboard came with a piezo speaker for POST beeping. I’ll have to source one of these when I can.

Attaching the Wraith Stealth cooler that came with the CPU was more difficult than I expected. The instructions were somewhat sparse and you have to kind of screw all 4 screws in evenly. But the screws have springs on them to help them keep tension, which works against you. It was just a bit difficult and I was relieved when I finally got them all in.

After getting it all built up it booted on the first go!


The first thing I did was update the BIOS using the Q-Flash program built into the BIOS. This involved downloading the latest BIOS update from Gigabyte’s website and putting it on a USB drive. Q-Flash would then detect this and update the BIOS. Pretty painless 😺.

I initially tried to install Arch Linux but I had difficulty with the iwlwifi driver crashing on some unknown interrupt. So, I installed the (IMO) next best thing: Manjaro Linux (GNOME edition). Manjaro is based on Arch but makes it easier to install and use. For some reason, Manjaro had no issues with the WiFi driver 🤷.


All in all, I’m fairly happy with how this build turned out. It’s playing all the games that I’m interested in playing and runs quicker than any computer I’ve ever owned. I hope that it’ll continue to provide good value for money over the next 10 years!

My new budget desktop, all built up and running under my desk where I don’t have to look at it 😊.
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