Tell us about your first build!


Welcome to Micro Center Asks! We’ll be checking in fairly regularly with questions about the future, the past, and, of course, the now.

This week, we’re introducing the first of our Micro Center Asks posts by asking about your first computer build! What went into it, what’d you do with it, and when did you retire it?


My first build was built for gaming, cobbled together from open boxes and sales over a few months while I scraped together the cash in college back in 2015. It’s technically still my main PC, but so much has been swapped out and upgraded, can I really call it the same PC?

CPU: i7-4790K

GPU: 660Ti

Ram: 8 gigs of DDR3

OS: Windows 7


  • AlexS
    Well my first "gaming" PC was an old Sony Vaio (2003-2008)
    • Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz Single Core Processor
    • 1GB of RAM
    • ATI Radeon 9200 64MB (later upgraded to ATI Radeon 9550 256MB Video Card) - both AGP cards

    My first PC I built was composed of parts purchased from Micro Center (2015) and was around $750
    • CPU: AMD FX-6300
    • Mobo: ASRock AM3+ Board
    • RAM: 8GB DDR3 Memory
    • GPU: GTX 960
    • OS: Win 7
  • Drag0nB0i
    My First Ever PC that I have built was a fairly cheap (around $450) and not so powerful, but it still got the job done for everything I needed and hey, I was pretty proud of myself when I built it.  It consisted of:

    CPU: Intel i7 6700T
    GPU: A Hammydown GTX 1050Ti 
    Ram:  G.skill Aegis 8 Gigs DDR4 2133mhz
    PSU: Very sketchy XT Series 500W
    Mobo: Gigabyte H110M-A
    Storage: Western Digital 1TB HDD
    Case: Fractal Core 1000
    To be honest, never go all out on your first ever PC build.  You should always start from the bottom, and make your way to the top.  Starting off with a slow PC made me really thankful for what I have now!  
  • Full_Medical
    Ah yes, I remember when I finally gave up and built my first PC. It was a pretty fun machine to get going back in the day. I built it to run Windows 7 - but later turned it into a Hackintosh using Netkas' AMD kernel for OS X. 

    CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 Rana 425 @ 2.7Ghz
    MOBO: Gigabyte Mini ITX
    GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8200 PCI w/1Gb RAM
    HDD: 80GB Seagate IDE HDD
    The PSU and case were some HP pre-built home computer case and PSU that I salvaged to make into something better. 
  • mcpeen
    My first pc was built in late 2014. After months of painstaking research and frustration trying to play Bioshock Infinite on my horrendously underpowered 2010 Macbook (I beat the game but it was a basically slideshow), I vowed that I would never scald my thighs with an aluminum laptop chassis ever again. I didn't know much about computers at the time, and now I have a home server (unRAID Plex server), a gaming pc for me, a pc for my wife, and lots of dusty, aged hardware that would likely be unattractive to secondhand market buyers. 

    It all started with my first build:
    CPU: AMD fx-8320 @ 3.5GHz
    MOBO:  Asus M5A97 LE 2.0 (full ATX) 
    RAM: 8GB (2x4GB kit) G.Skill Sniper DDR3-1866
    HDD: 1TB WD Caviar Blue 
    GPU: Sapphire R9 280X Tri-X 3GB
    PSU: Rosewill ARC series 650W 80+ Bronze (definitely too much wattage for this build)
    CASE: NZXT Source 210 ATX Mid Tower

    I played a ton of games on this old beast (Bioshock Infinite at 60fps, Dying Light, Batman Arkham City, Portal 2, L4D2, CS:GO, etc.) 
    Over the years it incrementally became unrecognizable in a "grandfather's axe" kind of way; I'd add my first SSD, and a few months later realize I needed more RAM. If I'm upgrading my GPU to a newly released reference RX 480, perhaps I should try a new CPU, which would require a new motherboard... might as well get a new case while I'm at it... 

    This is what hardware addiction looks like. 
    I still live pretty close to a Micro Center, but my wife keeps an eye on the finances so I can't blow my paychecks in one trip like I used to. 
  • Ian
    The first build I had would be about 2013-2014? I don't really recall too well.
    It had a FX-6350 processor, 8GB of RAM, and I believe a GTX 950.
  • shtiffee
    I built my first computer spring semester of sophomore year in high school 2004 after starting a Comp TIA class.
    The only thing I can remember was it was a fully acrylic case with an ASUS Mobo, AMD Athlon 64, and tacky RGB strips.  This was back before they moved PSU's to the bottom of the case and the heat generated was crazy.  I upgraded that rig all the way through college until the MB finally gave out.  Lots of CS 1.6, CS: Source, Guild Wars, and Everquest were played on that thing.  It may still be on display at the computer shop I donated it to back in Texas.  Wish I had it as a showcase piece for my home.  I just built my most recent rig last year my first since my first build, 15 years ago.  It didn't feel as frustrating as I remember, still somewhat, but not as much.
  • TSPhillipT
    TSPhillipT admin
    5 Likes First Anniversary Photogenic First Comment
    edited December 2020
    My first Gaming PC was a prebuilt one, the PowerSpec G426.  Prior to this, I was using some HP Prebuilt that I forgot the specs on. 

    The PowerSpec G426 had a:
    CPU: i7 6700k
    MB: ASRock Z170
    Ram: 2x8Gb 3200Mhz
    GPU: MSI Gaming X GTX 1080
    PSU: 750W 80+

    Was a good build, but I noticed that most modern gaming PCs had a see through panel on the left side and I would love to be able to see my hardware.  So I looked into getting a new case and swapping things out.  I also noticed an issue for a capture card that it wasn't receiving power sometimes from the motherboard.  After realizing I need a new motherboard and a case, I decided to get a fully new build.

    My first full build is
    CPU: i9 9900k
    Cooling: Corsair H115 AIO Cooler
    MB: AORUS Ultra Z390
    RAM: 4x8Gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 3200Mhz
    GPU: MSI Gaming X GTX 1080 -> ASUS ROG 2080 Super 
    PSU: Corsair RMx 850W
    Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D Special Edition
    Fans: another set of LL120s so I can match with the one that comes with the case.

    I later added more RGB to the build via the LED strips on the Corsair Lightning Node Pro.
    Build is still going strong and hasn't retired
  • MC-DM
    MC-DM ✭✭
    5 Likes First Comment
    edited December 2020
    My first PC was done with mostly Micro Center components. A bit of an odd switch as I've always been a console gamer so I didn't need a PC (I used my laptop to browse online). I was/am still learning so no judgement pls. It honestly still works great! :)
    CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 
    GPU: (Honestly, don't know, but can update when I find out)
    HDD: Toshiba P300 2TB 
    RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4
    PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 550 G2
    Case: NZXT S340 Elite ATX Mid-Tower
  • dhunch

    The first PC I built was several years ago, it was a 286 processor, and the memory was DIP,  the small 20 pin chips that you stuck on the mother board.

    But my first PC was a Tandy 2000 in the mid 80s.  The computer and a dot matrix printer and a daisy wheel printer costs $9500.00.  A box of 5 ¼ floppy disks  cost 120 for 12. 

  • Stefano238
    I don't have my full part list, but do remember it was about 8 years ago.
    I believe I had an i5-3rd gen processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a Corsair case and a terrible GPU I stripped out of my parent's old HP prebuilt from around 2007.
    Luckily about 2 years later I upgraded my build to a 5th gen i5, 24GB of RAM(yes 24GB, it ran very well) and I replaced the terrible GPU I had with a 980ti. Also stepped up the PSU up to a Corsair AX650w. I just retired this system in January of this year.
  • BananaCultLeader
    edited December 2020
    My first PC that i had was just last year.
    Intel i5-4960k 
    Asus gtx 970 turbo
    16GB DDR3
    Now i have upgraded the CPU to an i7-4790, and a Nvidia gtx 1660ti. waiting to get the 3060ti ;)
  • TSTonyV
    TSTonyV ✭✭✭✭✭
    First Anniversary 5 Likes First Comment First Answer
    edited December 2020
    The very first PC I ever built, I very specifically built so I could play Battlefield 3 on high settings with decent framerate. I can't find the link anymore, but there was an article I read through and I followed it exactly. 

    MSI GTX 560
    Intel i5-2500k
    MSI P67A-G45
    8GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3-1600 RAM
    Cooler Master Masterwatt Lite 500W 80+ Bronze PSU
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
    Antec 300 Illusion Black case

     I got a good five years out of that build before I finally upgraded. I got a whole 40 FPS on Caspian Border in BF3 on High settings. Was able to overclock the 2500k to 4.3GHz with ease on that Hyper 212. 

    I still have all those parts actually. 
  • TS_Watthew
    My first PC ever to have as my own was a PowerSpec that my parents purchase sometime in the 90's. Awe a 4GB HDD and Windows 98 First Edition

    Then we got high speed internet and we decided to get me an upgrade to a used Compaq DeskPro with Windows XP Home. Messes with that for awhile until the case power button had to be "replaced" multiple times. So I started looking at Micro Center to build one.
    My first PC I built was from Micro Center (2011-12) and was around $400
    • CPU: AMD FX-4100
    • Motherboard: Gigabyte AM3+ GA-78LMT
    • RAM: 4GB DDR3 Memory
    • GPU: NO GPU!!!
    • Case: I don't remember exactly, I think a cheap ThermalTake Case
    • PSU: Cheap PSU that came with the case
    • Storage: 500GB HDD for boot and a 1TB for storage, later upgraded to my first SSD, a Toshiba 120GB SSD
    • OS: Windows 7 Home
  • TS_HunterL
    I've yet to do my own build just yet, but I'm in the process of doing one now! It's mostly going to be used for high end gaming - think Cyberpunk 2077 - and potentially some streaming, but also some CAD software and 3D printing purposes. I'm going for a space-like theme and will be using purple/blue/white LED's in an almost all black build.
    Ryzen 9 5900x
    ASUS X570 TUF Gaming Plus (WIFI)
    Gigabyte 3070 Aorus OC - Silver
    Gigabyte Aorus 1TB M.2
    G.Skill Trident Z Royal 32GB
    G.Skill 850W 80 Plus Gold
    Fractal Design Meshify C - Black
    ASUS ROG Strix LC 240mm RGB water cooling
  • my first build was an oldie but a goodie
    CPU:Intel® Core™ i5-8400 Processor
    Mobo: ASUS B360M-A System Board
    Ram: 16GB Intel® Optane™ Memory + 4GB DRAM
    Hard Drive: No Brand 1TB 7200 RPM 
    GPU:NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1050Ti PCI Express
    OS: WIN 10

  • PamNorde
    My first full build was back in ~2008.  It was in a chassis that looked like @Watthew, but the side was taken off and had an old pink box fan for "airflow"  

    CPU: AMD's triple-core Phenom II X3 (My friend helped turn into a quad core with some BIOS change)
    GPU: Radeon HD something... I think maybe 3650 or something like that.  Had a really cool 3D graphic on the box that looks like garbage today
    Mother:  Something akin to ketchup and mustard from BIOSTAR (I only know that because of BIOS screen) I think its A785G3, but I could be wrong
    My power supply was something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy today.  I am confident it could burst into flames at any point...

  • TS_Watthew
    @PamNorde I wish I had that case back. I want to do a new sleeper build in one.
  • JS_MC
    My first build full build was back in 2012. I'd upgraded the family computer to its limit and decided that it was time to build my own!
    • Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz LGA 1155 Boxed Processor
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked+
    • ASUS P8Z77-V PRO LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard
    • WD Blue 1TB 7,200 RPM HDD
    • Corsair Vengeance 8GB 2 x 4GB DDR3-1600
    • Corsair HX Series HX750 750 Watt
    • Cooler Master CM Storm Trooper Full Tower

    Ugly as it was. It was mine, and I loved it! I did later cable manage it, but I can't seem to find any pics.
    In 2014 I upgraded the storage (120GB SSD) and RAM to 16GB and I also added a Corsair AIO!
    I also upgraded the GPU in 2016 to an EVGA GTX 1070 SC Gaming and then again in 2018 to an ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming OC.
    At the end of 2019, I built a whole new rig to get rid of that nasty CPU bottleneck.
    All in all, it was a great build that lasted over 6 years.
  • WGossettt
    My 1st computer build was n 1988. It was a Zenith PC, with Windows 95, 1GB RAM, 64KB HDD, and a "turbo switch" that made it jump from 4.77MHZ to 8MHz.  Since then I have built over 50 PCs, With all Windows versions since Windows 95.
  • SimiusV
    SimiusV ✭✭
    First Comment Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited January 2021
    The first completely custom build was an Ivy Bridge PC.
    • i5 3570k
    • Maximus V Gene
    • EVGA GTX 680
    • 16gb G-Skill
    I still remember being in my college class refreshing the EVGA page trying to get that video card due to shortages (Though, nothing like it is now, this is horrendous). I also got a call form someone at EVGA needing to confirm my purchase info (I made sure he was legit, don't worry) because they only had a handful of cards per day and were making sure they weren't selling to scalpers.
    Before that, I had an HP tower that I stuck videos cards into haha. First an EVGA 8800GS (carry over), then an MSI GTS250.
  • Paul_2
    Paul_2 ✭✭
    Name Dropper First Comment
    edited February 2021
    My first aspirational / virtual builds were scouring through the Computer Shopper magazine (inch thick monthly catalog of mail order computer parts) in 1986, and building part lists for a 386 that I would then beg my mom for (I was only 9) without any success.
    My first upgrade, in 1990, was the RAM and hard-drive on my Magnavox Headstart 386sx.
    My first build was in 1996 around the cheaper then Intel, but compatible Cyrix 6x86.
    I honestly don't remember much of the specs, but it had the 3dfx voodoo graphics card, and it played Doom well, so I was happy!

  • TS_EmileC
    TS_EmileC admin
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Likes First Answer
    edited February 2021

    I can't even recall my first build as it was almost 15 years ago. It was an Intel i5 with 8gigs and would crash from Limewire downloads from ripping my favorite albums in the early 2000s. After having enough from the agonizing pain, I decided to build from scratch last year. B450 Tomahawk, 3600X, GT710 with 32GB of RAM G.SKill. 3060 coming soon!

  • termin

    My first build was kinda a a mess but nothing bad. Didn't have a complete thought or final mind of my build so kept returning things.

  • Capricorn1

    I'm not sure I recall all the details, but this is close:

    • AMD K6-2 350Mhz CPU
    • PC Chips Socket 7 motherboard (not great)
    • Don't recall the original graphics card. Upgraded to an Nvidia GeForce3 Ti 200 (AGP) after a couple of years.
    • I think it had a whole 1GB of SDRAM (maybe 2GB)
    • One of the original Creative Sound Blaster audio cards (PCI probably)
    • Some generic beige case
    • I'm sure it had a PSU

    This was around 1999-2001 and lasted until about 2003 when I gave it to a friend.

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