Recently I have built myself a new computer out of spare parts that I have collected over the years. Not every part was spare, but overall, you could call this a low budget rig....a $250 or so rig.
Now before I began with my long story of how I acquired all the parts and the description of the case mod I did, with all the pictures (lots of pictures); first let me explain the title. You see, my very first computer was an HP Pavilion laptop I called Nessy. Then I came into the possession of another laptop (pretty cheap, bought it off a friend for $60) which I called Nessy2. Afterwards a year later I built my "dream machine" (back then it was a pretty quick-*** rig....still is IMO) which I called NIV (Nessy4). Stop! "What happened to Nessy3 is the question?" you might be asking. Well Nessy3 would be my modded xbox (which is unofficially called Nessbox, officially Nessy3). So this new rig that I have built out of spare parts, this would be officially Nessy5, unofficially Spareness, or as I like to call it "Spares".
So now that I have told you the story of the names of my computers, and have you convinced that I am an over obsessed mad man, let me begin what I have really come here to post (which would be my kick *** spares rig ;) )
First, let's start with how I got my main parts and how my idea started. I have a buddy of mine that decided that he was going to open up his computer and check out his heatsinks. This little scenario ended up with him yanking the CPU heatsink off without uncliping it first and resulted in the ultimate death of his MOBO and CPU. Of course this story was unknown to me until I actually went over to his house to install the new CPU (I had picked out for him to order) and realised the computer would still not boot. Since his old Sempron could not be the cause of the problem (which had 3 pins bent, and 2 ripped out), the PSU seemed to be working, everything seemed to be working besides the MOBO (this might be where he cracked the CPU socket holder on the mobo and the area around it). Anyway, to sum it up, he had a brand new AMD Athlon 754 3000+ which he had ordered for $127 and no computer to use it with. I brought home is computer and told him I would test all the parts. Well...I told him that I thought it was the mobo and that if he wanted to I could help him pick out a MicroATX for a cheap price. He said he didn't want to spend anymore money on it and that I should find someone to sell his computer for $300. I told him that no one wanted some crap-*** computer with an 80gb HD and a DVD-ROM/CD-Writer (couldn't even write DVDs) for $300. I said he should just try and sell his opened, but never been used before, CPU for $100 or so. Anyway, months passed and his computer was still at my house. I told him every week to pick it up but he said he couldn't because of this or that. Anyway, a year latter and the piece of crap was still laying around in my room. I got an idea, told him I sold his entire computer including the CPU for $50 total and that he could have $30, which he accepted and didn't question twice about the topic. Mean? Evil? Not my fault! So that is how I came to posses a MicroATX Compaq Presario case and a perfectly good CPU (all for $30). The AMD Athlon 64 3000+ clocked @ 2.0ghz is nowhere near top of the line, but will do for what I had intended for it.
So I quickly went on newegg and picked out a cheap, socket 754, mATX mobo with overclocking abilities. I ended up by the most expensive one for $60, the Biostar T-6100. With onboard audio and graphics this thing practically has and does it all. Overclocking is practically child's play with built in automatic settings (the V6 automatic overclock engine, the V8 and of course, the V12), but of course manual overclocking will more than likely get you better results like it did with me. Not to mention, the mobo looks cool too :D Oh yeah, and that IS a PCI-x16 slot your looking at buddy, which brings me to my next part...
....But, I decided early on that I would use this rig, instead of my main rig, for LAN parties (smaller, lighter, less expensive stuff for chance to destroy). So I needed a graphics card...a cheap graphics card....a $60 graphics card, the Radeon X550. "The Radeon what-the-motha 6600 8 pixel pipeline you fool" Yes, yes, I know. I do relies that the 550X is only equipped with 4 pixel pipelines while the 6600 comes with 8, however at the time I ordered it I decided that I would rather go with the extra 128mb of onboard ram and DDR2 instead of DDR. Bad choice? I don't know, however, the card works great, silent, and is a nice overclock as well.
The ram was really pure luck and good timing. A year or so ago my step dad decided that it was time for my sister to have a computer was well. So we bought her a Gateway. He also decided that he was going to order her a 1gb stick of ram to speed up the computer a bit (which ran on 2x256mb sticks). So he got me to pick out a stick for her, which I did, the Corsair Value Select 1gb. We never ended up installing it into her computer however. After all, what good is more ram if you're not going to abuse every last byte of it? And let's face it, surfing the internet and using MS Word doesn't require all that much computer power. So, after a year and a half I asked my step dad if I could have the ram and that's how I came into possession of this piece.
So now for the power supply unit. If there was going to be one thing keeping me from overclocking it was probably going to be this part, but thing's didn't work out the way I wanted them to. You see the two spare PSUs I had laying around where all 20pin and the mobo that I had ordered was in fact 24pin. A small but costly detail I overlooked. LAN was approaching at my house, I needed my computer in working condition, so I had to find the best solution at Fry's Electronics. The ThermalTake Pure Power 430W unit for $40. I could have ordered some better ones from newegg for the same price, but time was short and I needed a working rig. None the less, the PSU has so far worked great, is pretty silent IMO considering it runs on 2x80mm fans, instead of the commonly used 120mm fan used now-a-days. The monster comes with a ton of cables, most of which I have tucked into a spare 5.25" bay drive and have it covered up with a piece of card board.
Now for the cooling. I decided I was going to use the stock AMD cooler at first, but after hearing the vibration that a stock AMD cooler caused on a friends pf mines case I decided that the extra $$ where worth to buy the Arctic Cooling Alpine 64, which is cheap and very effective for low-medium end rigs. Came with a sticker as well. I also ordered a 90mm exhaust fan for the back of the case, also Arctic Cooling (also a sticker :) ). As for the side panel fans I would be using, I ordered a 4-pack of thermal take 80mm fans. All from performance-pcs.com. The Alpine 64 came with it's own thermal paste, which took about 5 layers of 70% Alcohol to remove. What for? For Arctic Silver 5 of course! :D
The case is the same case that my buddy had. It's a mATX Compaq Presario. The thing was so un-used that the little plastic covers where still over the 5.25" bay drive covers and the front logo. The case however in itself is a pretty genius design. The metal is strong as hell (was a pain in the *** cutting it with a dremel), and it comes with it's own set of air holes near the HD, CPU, and PSU. I cut out two 80mm fan holes on top of the CPU (direct air from the outside being pushed in, and sucked down by the Alpine 64, exhausted to the side, and sucked out by the 90mm exhaust fan) and near the graphics card and northbridge (also near the HD). However, it was hard keeping the dremel on track especially near the CPU fanhole because the little air holes did not allow for a accurate cutout. In the end both fanholes ended up being piss-poor jobs, but nothing that prevented functionality. I also drilled holes into the expansion slot plates near the graphics card to allow the hot air to be released instead of built up. And yes, I also added two vibration dampning pads to the fans and a PSU vibration dampening pad as well. The case had the AMD Sempron sticker at the front of it, which I neatly removed by using a hairdryer, and put the 2 AC stickers on top of it. Sadly I did not have the A64 sticker that my buddy had received with the CPU. Oh and let's not forget that the case also came with the memory card reader slots, front audio ports, 3 USB 2.0 port, and a Firewire port as well :o
As for the inside of the case, I used plastic tubing to neatly organize the cables. All the excess PSU cables are tucked away into a spare 5.25" bay drive hidden by a piece of cardboard. The 90mm exhaust, Alpine 64, and 5v power cord are all hidden inside one strip of tubing making the least amount of resistance around the cooler (although the exhaust and Alpine 64 did come with sleeved cables it looks much cooler and neater this way). I had never rounded any IDE cables but that wasn't about stop me either. As you can see I also got those suckers to fit into the plastic tubing. The black background and side padding is vibration dampning padding from Thermaltake. Luckily the PSU's cables where sleeved so I didn't have to take care of that.
As for the rest? My stepdad wanted a new CRT which I picked out for him and I got his old one. The keyboard is an old PS2 that my computer science teacher let me have from school, and the wireless mouse is from when I used it with my laptop. The mouse pad was just laying around my house and I had once spilled a bottle of Bawls on it :D
Overclock? Hell yes!
CPU Stock: 2.0Ghz
RAM Stock: DDR400 3-3-3-8
GPU Stock: 400/250 (core/mem)
CPU OC: 2.4Ghz
RAM OC: DDR400 3-3-3-5
GPU OC: 445/320 (core/mem)
Half Life 2 @ 1024x768; All High; Trillinear filtering - 60-70fps
CS: Source Stress Test @ 1024x768; All High; Trillinear filtering - 54fps
WoW @ 1024x768; All High - 25-35fps
Pi to 1m - 38s
excellent tweaking work :o
Very resourceful :)
Nice work!! It is fun to put one together with older and used parts. As far as that ThermalTake 430 goes I am running one with my latest build and it's rails are solid under any load I give them! That is a P5N-E SLI , E6400 Allendale, 2 X 1gig G.Skill 6400HZ, Pencil modded 7900GT 6 lit fans, DVD-RW,
Floppy 160gig hdd and a cold cathode light . It kicks it right up to 462fsb for a speed of 3700mhz like it's nothing. good little psu.
Again nice build!!!
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