Very awesome! In my opinion, these "low-budget" (relative to some of the monsters here) builds, especially yours, often end up being better than those that cost much more in my opinion. The reason is that (with exceptions of course) the amount of time, creativity, ingenuity, recycling of parts/materials, and sheer willpower and determination typically show themselves much better in builds that are done with budgetary constraints, as opposed to simply throwing $100 bills at a case and screaming "grow, dammit!". Don't get me wrong, I love the out-of-this-world awesome-crazy-ridiculously-insane mods, especially the water cooled ones, but it's just....different.
I agree that perhaps MotM should have a Class Structure, such as:***note that software costs including OS are not factored into the budget, and any parts acquired for free will not add to overall build cost (provided proof can be provided that the part was received at no charge), with the exception of sponsored builders in which case the item's MSRP will be used (NOT the current retail price!)***
- "Fat Wallet
" Class: No Budgetary Restrictions
- "Nothing Exceeds Like...
" Class: Maximum of $4000 for system (not counting I/O)
" Class: Water Cooling Only, must total less than $2500 for the system (not counting input/output, i.e. keyboards/mice/speakers/monitors don't factor into budget)
- "Modding's a Breeze
" Class: Air Cooling Only, must total less than $2000 for the system (input/output not calculated into budget; reduced cost is due to the inherent lower-cost of air cooling)
- "Questionable Identity
" Class: Sealed-Liquid-Cooling Systems, a mix of water-cooled and air-cooled GPU's/CPU('s), etc; must cost less than $2200 for the system (I/O not counted)
- "Outside the Box
" Class: Max Budget of $10,000; must be a truly custom case, made from the ground-up by the builder; cannot use any pre-existing case for anything (i.e. custom computer-in-desk builds)
- "Ballin' on a Budget
" Class: Maximum of $1250 for system (not counting I/O); special category in judging for "creativity", "recycling of parts", "uniqueness", and so forth to reward those who are able to more with less
I am sure that those could be condensed, but it's just an idea/overview.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that you have done a truly awesome job! You have earned every single bit of praise you've received, and then some. I know how it feels to try and feed this addiction, err, hobby without a steady income, as I am currently unemployed (back in school again and Psychopharmacology doesn't leave much time for work outside of the classroom/lab) and slowly finishing my build. You definitely have my respect, as very few could have pulled something off this nice with no budgetary constraints, much less do so while unemployed!!!!!!
I really hope you find employment soon, as I want to see this bad boy (girl?) with some REAL water cooling equipment inside!
Best of luck in the competition, and I will keep my fingers crossed for you