Picking Parts For Your Own Build
This project demonstrates several things. To begin, so long as you don’t buy too much graphics card (as in, a board that's far more powerful than the rest of the platform), an overclocked Pentium G3258 is a great value, even if it's never going to be a truly high-end processor. Cap your goal at a reasonable 4.4 GHz or so and you'll find that little effort needs to go into overclocking.
Once again, we want to emphasize that a reasonable balance between graphics card performance and the CPU should be sought.
MSI's H97M-G43 is a relatively inexpensive option for overclocking the Pentium if you don’t want to spend more money on a Z97-based board. Granted, the firmware that allows overclocking is an unofficial, leaked version, so going down this path is not without risks. And if you want to save even more money, there's always the B81-based MSI motherboard used previously in our Pentium overclocking experiment, which sells for a scant $45.
With that, the CPU, motherboard, and graphics card are a great match. Anything else?
It's certainly not going to appeal to everyone, but Deepcool's Steam Castle is at least something different. Whether you plan to mod it or not, functionality-wise, this is a good case. It sports plenty of nifty details, and we enjoyed building with it. Conversely, the externally-facing 3.5" drive bay is unnecessary and would prefer the audio jacks to be marked. We also found that the front fan slightly rumbles at low RPMs.
We wish we could say it was possible to build an identical copy of this system. However, some of the components that are readily available oversees haven't shown up yet in the U.S. Still, the ideas we're presented translate over. In every country, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 750 Ti is an efficient little card that's plenty fast, even if you're forced to pay a premium for its compact dimensions and Maxwell architecture. Intel's Pentium G3258 makes for an idea complement. And going any faster on the graphics side with such a mainstream platform just wouldn't make sense. Keep balance in mind as you build.
Deepcool's Steam Castle is a visually interesting case that offers some interesting features. You can't get the Maelstrom 120 here, though even if you could, we're not convinced you'd want to spend big on closed-loop liquid cooling for a $70 CPU anyway. Our already-published experiments show you can hit 4.4 GHz using Intel's bundled cooler with a bit of luck.
Regardless of which way you go with your own components, there's lot of fun to be had building your own entry-level PC. It doesn't always have to be all about high-end hardware.