The mysterious and complicated tale about building a computer 🖥 from used parts

in #technology2 months ago

This is a story like many of mine with many twists and turns, but it all started thanks to Rishi556 posting this link in the Hive-Engine Witness channel (5th December 2022)

The video itself is very interesting, basically about cloud renting a full gaming capable pc that you can use on any device (mobile, tablet, basic low powered laptop) and play even the highest specification needing games on any of them. (You have to buy the games still first of course) and the video shows the data centres for these virtual computer builds - which are entirely water cooled.

What led me down a virtual rabbit hole however was not so much the video (I have more then enough physical computer hardware available) but that it was from Linus Tech Tips - and I used to watch the channel going back 5 years ago when it was just starting to grow. Somehow I forgot or lost track of it, although I remember Scrapyard wars was especially my favourite where two teams of them would try and make the best gaming rig from a tiny budget by sourcing the cheapest (and in some cases free) computer bits they could find in second hand market places - and the winner would be decided by playing games against each other on the built systems.

So that one link sent me down a path of evenings watching through the channel content, super entertaining I love watching the pc builds and learning more about developing pc technology - there is some really amazing new technology coming out like an hidden wiring system where all the wire connection points are on the back of the motherboard - making looking into a glass side panel system even more clean because no wires all over the place.

A few weeks after I started binge watching pc building content, it had to be fate that my main office admin worker mentioned his PC was starting to run sluggish. Normally I would just search through refurbished office systems with a decent size ram upgrade from the existing one and purchase one ready to run to replace it. But after watching all the Linus Tech Tips pc building videos - here was a chance to build a pc again myself (it’s not like I have not done that many times before, but the last one was my boys latest gaming rid and it was a year ago, plus new knowledge to deploy!) Other good reasons to build were I happened to have a spare Tower case lying around (in fact the original gaming pc I built for my boy in 2017, when I built his new system a year ago I took all the hardware out of his old case and put it in a new flashy RGB case for my own gaming rig) and I had many spare PSU’s including some very suitable 750w Corsairs left over from long given up Bitcoin mining.

IMG_0786.jpeg

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(replacement case for my boys old, now my gaming pc, the rgb fan lighting pulses so always changes colour and it loops/spins around the fan so constantly rotating and changing colours - very pleasing to look at.

PSU (Power Supply Unit) are expensive, so having supplies available already means the cost is already reduced considerably, and with no case cost - the idea begins - just how cheap can I build a fully working office PC that is faster running then the one it is replacing.

So a good starting point is looking at the old PC to see where the bottleneck is. Straight away it has just 4gb Ram - which for a Windows PC (it’s running 10) is enough - just. On a fresh boot it is nearly using all 4gb just for the OS - so once you start opening a few apps and browsers with a few tabs it’s going to fall back on Swap Ram stored on the boot drive. The boot drive is an SSD which is good for faster then spinning hard drive access - but as this PC has been in use for a few years it will no longer be at it’s best. I could have just doubled the ram on the old system, and maybe it would have helped a little - but the other goal here is redundancy, because by setting the old one aside as just a Server for the accounts software, it is still available as a spare as well should there be an issue with one of the live machines the office staff use - with 3 people needing daily access to the accounts software to do their work - having a back up ready to switch out in a moment is far better then spending a morning trying to troubleshoot issues with a system.

For reference I then looked at the cost of buying a ready to run refurbished system, eBay is chock full of refurbished office pc’s that were obviously dumped during large business upgrades, and since Covid and remote working becoming more prevalent I think there are many big businesses that just ended up with desk based staff systems that were no longer relevant so they just pay for someone to pull the drives (for security) and take away the chassis. But many of these are compact or micro systems (for an office an environment it is often easier to have a compact that sits flat under the display) but are not comparable to my full tower build. So a good reference I found is this one

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143954765058?hash=item21845f6502:g:~BAAAOSwS2djfbKd&amdata=enc%3AAQAHAAAA8P0x2fXLi3HMy1GclDdQwQQzx6XuHXkNpfZAaVdiz7Rm5uN3MG16G%2FPjmP4jyTF2%2FhUqbl5KAxclUB20kqzKt%2FELtSqiDiXs7Sb4RDcZaNS5auBEVGq5YF6k%2BOt9CooWHMFDKPqt%2Ftctq%2F9JQgwzL0UflqwMhRa469qBfl85xbLanjjntK2QDGGyjfdrXy1xu1sE9ey15fuSpJ%2By8Uj2qDntt%2BNQjN3aVo4ReBfz470r0quL9AHKag4YsNJ%2BnZGK53tKpfA24f6fpPxNoZxX%2F3sUzHv6U00i9N78m3nYwjFE%2BAva6c%2BUL6ahqYKpeU7njQ%3D%3D%7Ctkp%3ABFBMgJeayLVh

240gb SSD, 8gb of Ram, Intel I5 but it has no graphics card so the processor is also providing display processing which will choke it a little, Windows 11 Activated - £195

You can go a fair bit cheaper with a compact case and Windows 10, but I wanted to go for Windows 11 if I could because it’s the latest of course, and I’m building a full size tower so I have loads of spare drive bays for extra hard drives - I have a few 3.5’ drives in external enclosures which would be better locked up in a Tower - and compacts just have no room for anything but the main boot drive - maybe if you a lucky a second 2.5” drive.

Challenge accepted, build a full size tower PC for less than £195. Starting point is the motherboard, as that is going to dictate what processor we need that will fit in it. Now for super fast read and write access speeds, the latest PCIE M2 NVME motherboard based drives can not be beat - but they also are on found on relatively very recent release motherboards and that will drive the price up. A SATA based SSD is still quick enough for office use, and that is all we would get in our reference machine anyway. So the aim is full size Motherboard with plenty of SATA ports for adding in extra drives (that 750 watt power supply I already have can run many many drives). After hunting through many options I found this which was just too good to let up

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 18.51.00.png

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195516331977

A GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R which might be quite old now, but had many advanced features for the time and looking up even used boards still go for £80 to £100 - and on this listing just £20 plus £2.98 shipping! BUT advertised as system pull, untested no warranty or returns. So it’s cheap, but could be totally dead or have some random fault -so a total gamble maybe it will be the bargain of the year, or a useless decoration. But for £22.98 I was willing to take the risk, the could be the bargain build of the century.

After ordering my super deal Motherboard, I needed a CPU that would fit in it. Looking up the specifications for the board it uses the Intel LGA 1366/Socket B CPU socket - so I just need a CPU that will fit that. Given that the build is just for office applications, a few browsers running it does not need to be an incredibly fast top end processor - so I found the following used CPU which seemed great value for performance

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 18.52.47.png

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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/225231250525

Intel Xeon X5675 3.06GHz SLBYL 6-Hex Core 12 Thread LGA1366 CPU Processor 12MB - it will fit and just £13.50 delivered

So with Motherboard and CPU ordered now we need something to cool the CPU, generally buying a brand new CPU it will come with it’s own cooler which is fine for most usage. Buying used it is just a CPU, so a cooler that will fit it’s socket type is needed - this is super important because CPU sizes are different, the socket mounting points are different so you need to get the right cooler that will mount on your Motherboard.

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 18.54.53.png

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/275407306894

Not pretty but it’s cheap and will fit my socket - I paid £13.61 delivered although it has gone up since then.

Ram, again we need to match the ram to motherboard and socket - this pc building lark needs some serious head scratching to get right - maybe that ready to run rebuild was a better idea after all.

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 19.01.10.png

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/273745664144

Some more hunting on eBay and this 8gb stick came up as the best price that would fit - and It’s new sealed - RAM can be the single biggest problem in pc building and a bad stick could leave you going around in circles for hours getting nowhere. I would have liked to maybe go for 2 x 4gb so worst case is one stick fails you have the other as back up, or even 4 x 2gb as the board has 4 free slots - but a single 8gb stick was by far the best value - and sealed new should be reliable. £16.14 delivered.

Now for the boot drive, I want an SSD and to be honest you can’t beat Amazon for new storage prices. If you value your data and OS reliability - you don’t want to cheap out on a used hard drive, as soon as they are plugged in they are already starting to fail (well not technically true but even SSD storage degrades over time) so if you want to rely on your storage or OS buy new.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0781VSXBP?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

The Amazon reviews are generally a good mark of a good piece of kit, the greater the positive reviews you know it is going to be trustworthy. Crucial is a trusted brand in Ram and Hard Drives, and what you need to look for is the read / write speeds and DRAM caching (Described in the listing as Dynamic write acceleration delivers faster saves and file transfers) - I only know about DRAM from watching so much Linus Tech Tips - so you can go super cheap on an SSD without realising it has no DRAM - and it will actually perform slower then a cheaper traditional spinning disk hard drive) 250gb SSD Sata Hard drive ordered, and we know it will perform well - for our reference pre-built there is no indication on specs just 250gb SSD and you can bet they got the cheapest they could. For our build Crucial 250gb SSD brand new £31.98

So at this point the Total cost to build a Tower PC with a reasonably fast processor, 8gb Ram and 250gb SSD £98.21

Now I had to wait, as this idea happened at just a week and a half before Christmas when every carrier is already maxed out - plus Royal Mail had many strikes on - my bits of PC took a while to arrive. But as this was my shut down for Christmas project to do while the business was shut between Christmas and New Year there was not so much of a rush.

The first item to arrive was the Motherboard, solid purpose size plain brown box, padded with foam and the motherboard safely stored in an anti-static bag, with the IO plate in a separate antic static bag - all good these guys are obviously shipping fragile tech pros. I removed my new purchase to admire it’s technological beauty - and it has some nice touches like the blue polished aluminum die heat sinks, loads of on board IO, and loads of options on the back IO piece except it had no VGA or comparable graphics out port…..

So here is a lesson to learn, while CPU’s can come in many speeds relating to cores and threads - they also come in two distinct types - some will provide “Onboard Graphics” that is the CPU can also provide display out removing the need for a stand alone graphics card - and the motherboard for these chips will have a built in VGA or other display out port included in the back IO port. The other type will not have a display out on the motherboard - like my bargain find - and so you must have an seperate graphics card to get display out. So now my build has a new cost - a graphics card. But is that bad? Because when a CPU also does graphics it is working harder all the time - trying to do two jobs at once and that slows it down. A dedicated CPU is just doing it’s computing work, so for the extra cost of a graphics card the overall pc build will be faster.

https://techguided.com/dedicated-graphics-card-vs-integrated-graphics/

Now I needed a graphics card to do anything with this build, and with Christmas fast approaching getting a used one was not an option because it would just not arrive in time for me to work on the build over Christmas. So I fell back to Amazon and Prime Delivery

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 19.03.45.png

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08NW3W6VF?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

Not cheap at £43.15 and not good, but it would at least get me started testing the build.

Next to arrive was the CPU, now I bought used and you take the risks - it turned up in an envelope - the sort of envelope you might send a Christmas Card in if you don’t just use MoonPig or send a text to friends or family with a Santa and Christmas Tree emoji at the end (Didn’t we get a Christmas Card from Robert this year? Oh we did yes let me open the text and stick my mobile on the mantelpiece so you can admire it - even has an Santa and Christmas tree for extra festive-ness)

I’m not an expert in CPU’s but everything I know (mostly from Linus Tech Tips) is they are super fragile, have to be handled with extreme care and are normally packaged in super solid protective packaging. So an envelope, containing a CPU in anti stack ram sleeve that was just sort of triple wrapped around it - kind of shouted out to me this thing is toast before I even opened it. Given it would have been banged and bounced around the postal system on it’s way to me, the chances for damage are high. On inspection the important base looked fine (fortunately the pins that connect to it are on the motherboard for this type of CPU) but the top had a small nick out of it - kind of looked like someone had rammed a flat head screw driver into it. Only way to find out is try it, so I popped the CPU into the slot on the Motherboard (it fitted at least) and carried on waiting for more bits.

The rubbish graphics card arrived next day thanks to prime, and the day after the ram turned up. Slotted the ram into the second slot from the CPU (because it was a different colour to the rest) and fitted the motherboard into the tower. But now I had a new problem, the only thing I was missing was the CPU cooler, and according to the tracking it had not even left yet! Now this was going to seriously delay the build, unless I could hunt through my collection of scrapped pc’s and find a cooler that might even half fit. Hunting through the PC graveyard I found a few coolers that were too small and had no feasible way of mounting, a few slightly too big and no suitable way of mounting - and then result a round cooler with four pin fan attached that fitted the CPU cooler pins fitted and the holes looked like they might line up. And they nearly did, but it was just a few mm too narrow so the plastic push fit mounts would just not connect. So frustrating, close and yet so far away. BUT a CPU cooler just needs to press against the CPU, with lashings of thermal paste which I have many many tubes of from previous builds maybe I can just rig up something to hold the cooler in place.

So here the idea unfolds, I have bags of small cable ties we use for sealing bags of green coffee, if I push them thin end first through the back of the motherboard the fat end will hold fast against it. Then ditch the plastic push fits on the slightly too small cooler I found, pass the sticking out of the motherboard thin ends of the cables ties through the mounting holes, and then slide a second cable tie fat end down the motherboard sticking out cable ties to lock it all into place. MacGyver solution yes. Did it work yes. Would I permanently run a pc like that - definitely no but it worked for the short term while I waited for the correct fixing cooler to arrive.

Finally I had all the parts to test the build, Motherboard and PSU in the tower, cables carefully managed according to Linus Tech Tips advice (sadly the old tower case does not have top slots to pass the CPU power cable through neatly, so it had to come up from the bottom across the board - but then nobody is looking inside this despite the clear side panel) and with a monitor attached to the anaemic graphics card it was time for the first power on. Fans ran which is good - but no BIOS post on the display - bad. Motherboard had a row of lights lit, two green, two amber one red. Time for some google tips. Most of what I found suggested this board was fussy about PSU’s, and having spares I just disconnected my internal one and plugged in an alternative externally - same Corsair 750watt - same result. Tried a Corsair 550watt and..same result so pretty sure not the power supply. Removed ram and refitted same result. Moved ram one slot left same result. Left it shut off, went home for an evening trouble shooting. Maybe just buying a ready out of the box refurb is a better solution after all.

Many more google searches later I found one forum thread someone mentioned if you use only one ram stick make sure it is in the slot nearest the CPU. Every build I have done has had two sticks which had to be in two and four, on this motherboard as slot two was coloured and all the rest were white I just presumed slot two was the starting point - and previous experience of using 2 and 4 said the same. Next day I moved the ram into slot one, power it up with the original fitted inside PSU and it posted straight away! My build lives, I made something from bits and it works - now this reward is far far better then buying something refurbed and ready to work.

But we are a long way from a usable PC, the BIOS posts and shows 8gb ram, now we have to try and install Windows 11 on the SSD. For anyone that has yet to try and install Windows 11, it is incredibly fussy on hardware and pretty much will always tell you “Your device is not yet compatible with Windows 11” - what this actually means is it most likely will work fine but as they have not tested your Motherboard and CPU configuration with it for issues they would rather just say it will not work. If you are willing to try there are various methods you can use to bypass the checks, I prefer booting the Windows 11 installer and then using RegEdit to add the bypass keys for the check. So I did that, went off to to do something else for a few minutes and then came back and it was back at the Windows 11 installer start off screen again. It was only a few minutes the installer must have crashed part way through and rebooted the pc, oh well let’s just build a Windows 10 usb and try that as it will be more reliable for older hardware. Removed the USB key and stuck it in another computer to create a windows 10 installer, I was half way through that when I decided to reboot the build instead of it being on the Windows 11 installer screen…and it booted into setting up Windows 11. Amazingly the scrap parts build pc had installed Window 11 to the SSD IN A FEW MINUTES and because I wasn’t there to remove the USB and I set the Bios to default boot from USB it just went back to the installer.

With Windows 11 installed and set up I now had a very fast responsive pc running, amazingly the CPU I would have laid bets on not working ran fine, checking my favourite SpeedFan tool the CPU was running a little warm at idle on late 50 degrees Celsius but this was not surprising as it was being cooled by the wrong size cable tied on cooler. First job is always to install Chrome browser, Firefox browser and Brave browser - all super quick. And of course Splashtop Streamer so I can remote log into it from home over Christmas and install all our business apps and test the stability just in case that Motherboard has some weird fault.

Of course you can run Windows 10 or 11 unactivated for free, but the activation watermark get’s boring quick and you really want to be activated to get the best security. Just don’t buy a licence key from Microsoft, so over priced - there are so many key resellers you can literally buy a key from and get it in minutes - I have used https://softkeys.uk and https://www.cdkeysales.com
And for under ten pounds you can get a full Windows Licence Key. On my budget build, remembering the motherboard is really old and only cost £22.98 - when I went to activation it said Windows 11 is activated on this device! Since Windows 10 and 11 the licence is bound to the motherboard - so basically when you use a Windows 10 or 11 licence key it binds the key to the motherboard serial number. This is really convenient - because if you buy a new bigger hard drive (SSD, NVME or whatever) and fresh install Windows it auto activates because it recognises the Motherboard serial number. If you are unlucky and your Motherboard dies, then you would have a problem - because your key is linked to the now deceased motherboard - I have no idea if you can ask Microsoft to release your key binding for you. And if you decide to upgrade your Motherboard - you are going to have to buy a new Windows licence key for it - unless you can ask Microsoft to release your key from the old board.

None of that really matters, because my super cheap Motherboard had previously been activated on Windows 11 and just auto activated itself on my clean install - saving me paying for a new Windows 11 licence - bargain!

By this point I was very pleased with my build a pc on a budget idea, it all ran fine, cost with the graphics card £141.36 which is well below the reference and it also considerably outperforms buying a refurb where you have no idea what the SSD they put it in it is specced like - it could be a super cheap and super slow DRAM less nightmare. Plus choosing a CPU to fit the motherboard socket turned out I inadvertently bought a Server grade CPU instead of a consumer one - so faster and more reliable. In fact testing in GeekBench my budget build outperforms most of the existing motherboard results for CPU - amazing when the CPU cost £13.50 and turned up in an envelope!

My cable tied on CPU cooler was still a problem though, three weeks after ordering the correct cooler Yodel managed to decide to put it out for delivery on the Thursday I had to be in work for the new telephone system install - finally I could cut the cables ties and remove the botched on cooler. The thermal paste showed the incorrect cooler only contacted a centre circle on the CPU - leaving top and bottom of it uncooled. Generally a CPU will have processing at the core middle, and leave the outer parts for PCIE slots and Sata drives - so leaving those areas uncooled could have caused issues. Clean off the thermal paste, apply fresh, click fit the morning support for the new cooler, clip in place the cooler and - it has a 3 pin fan header and the cpu fan header needs 4 pin! Arrrgh why so much torment. So I can connect the 3 pin fan header to a motherboard case fan header and the fan will run, but there will be no control of fan speed and most likely every boot the BIOS will warn the CPU fan is not connected. Now the make do and mend round cooler I cable tied in place has a fan clipped on with a four pin header, and it unclips really easy - even more amazing it clips onto the correct cooler which is square no problem. So now I have a cpu cooling fan that connects to the cpu fan header on the motherboard and will ramp up if the CPU warms up, but what to do with the fan that came with the cooler? Simple - take it off the CPU heat sink, reverse it and reattach - connect it to a system fan header. Now that big CPU cooling radiator has a fan controlled by the motherboard for cpu pulling fresh air into the radiator, and a fan connected to the system fan header that is sucking hot air out of the radiator. As the CPU cooler I chose has a dual radiator set up this works perfectly because the gap in the middle allows one side fan to suck in fresh air while the other side fan is pulling out hot air. Compared to the late 50 degrees at idle my cable tied effort managed, the correct cooler with two fans keeps the cpu at early to mid 30 degrees while idling.

Now this story is not all Pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows, while remote logged in setting it up the screen froze in Outlook and I could not access it until I next called in work and hard reset the PC. It happened again a few days later while setting up a browser, so I tweaked the Splashtop settings. But to be honest I thought the real issue was the last minute graphics card, which just looked rubbish out of the box. And knowing I could return it as it was brand new from Amazon, I went on the hunt for a used decent graphics card.

Screenshot 2023-01-26 at 19.11.32.png

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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/285084374404

This is what I decided on PNY Geforce GTX560 Ti 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-e 2.0 Graphics Card Enthusiast Edition

No good reasons, other then it would be more then capable for my needs, I liked the retro enthusiast edition which felt like I was saving an important piece of computing history from landfill and it was a lot cheaper then the rubbish card I started out with.

When actually back at work testing out the build in person caused complete graphics lock ups on a 21.5’ ASUS display, weirdly disconnected from a display it worked perfectly on remote log in. A few days later the graphics card arrived, it might be old but compared to the skinny little board I bought on Amazon this is a beast - and while the skinny board just powered off PCIE the GTX560 used two sets of four PCI power cables from the PSU. With drivers updated it worked perfectly - no issues either remote logged in or using in person with a display - windows menu fast and snappy, opening browsers fast, switching from accounts software, to browser to other browser - smooth and fast.

Two weeks later deployed in the office for daily use the scrap build outperforms the system it replaced in every way, faster and more responsive, rock solid and reliable. Total cost after being refunded for the Amazon graphics card is £128.21 well below our refurb reference but not including all my tinker time cost (which I do not count as cost because I actually enjoy building pc’s, and it is very rewarding when you end up with something that runs so well)

Could you buy a ready to run refurb for less - yes if you went with a compact form factor - but the refurbs never specify SSD speed, you could get a horribly slow cheap SSD with less benefit then a traditional spinning hard drive. Of course you could hedge your bets, buy a compact refurb and also a decent SSD like the 250gb Crucial I purchased for £31.98 - wipe the supplied boot drive and remove it for back up storage and do a clean install on the Crucial SSD - but then you are adding time to remove and add drives plus fresh install Windows.

Of course my build excludes PSU because I had it available - so add £50, and a case so add maybe £20 being generous - which would then pretty much match up with the reference refurb machine. But you do not get to pick and choose your hardware, the CPU might be clunky slow, is the SSD a refurb, super cheap and slow who knows. And of course you miss that sweet satisfaction of building something from parts and making it work - which is truly priceless.

Now three weeks after deploying it for daily work the system is absolutely flawless, 100% uptime no issues and it has resolved every laggy and clunky problem of the old system - with more ram the employee can now run three browsers at once with multiple tabs open to access all the back ends of my online stores, and still utilise our accounts software making reconciling online orders and payments faster and easier - plus removing a little more work from myself.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where we look at the tower and build inside it, check out the temps and specs in Windows and look at some Benchmark results.

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One hell of a Christmas project @c0ff33a and a lot of fun was had by the look of it. And, well... a decent work PC for £128.21 can't be sniffed at.

This blog took me back to my computer-building days. I used to build (and occasionally fix) PCs for friends, then in 2012 I spent £1.5k on all the parts for a mega beast water-cooled gaming system, and built that in a day. It is still up and running mid/high graphics settings (although that does depend on which game I'm playing 😂) now 11 years later.

It is definitely true that you can get much more bang for your buck building ur own PCs if you know what you're doing.

I do just like meddling with computers, always have. One thing I have never got into is water cooling - it just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen connecting up pipes that pump water with fiddly connectors inside something full of expensive electronics that hate water. That said I do like the new sealed CPU cooler systems - AO I believe they call them where you get the radiator and CPU block already sealed and the pump is in the cpu block - just plug the cable into the cpu fan header and super simple liquid cooling.

Most modern A-list games nowadays need some serious hardware and storage to run, I've been through the Watchdogs series, Shadow of Tomb Raider, Spiderman, Guardians of the Galaxy (love it), Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassins Creed Valhalla and the run surprisingly well on the 2017 build I reclaimed from my boy.

That said I do like the new sealed CPU cooler systems - AO I believe they call them where you get the radiator and CPU block already sealed and the pump is in the cpu block.

Yeah, I bought a water cooling version of this for the gaming rig i built way back when. It was much cheaper (and less scary) than building a bespoke water cooling system 😂 All i had to do was fit the water cooling radiator/reservoir inbetween two fans sucking air from outside the tower, and then attached a connected cooling unit to the cpu. It was all ready built, pipes attached to radiator/reservoir and to the cpu unit.

I wanted to play assassins creed vallhalla when it came out, but my gpu didn't have enough vram. Strangely, cyberpunk 2077 works on my rig, but only at mid graphic settings. Red dead redemption works at mid/high... but overall it runs well for a pc built in 2011. All I've ever upgraded in it since the build is upping my ram to from 8gb to 16gb and i bought a new gpu about 5 years ago. But cause i sold my old one on ebay, the new gpu only ended up costing about £70 if memory serves me right.

I have to admit that my computer building days are probably past me tbh. But it's good to have the knowledge and confidence to take my current system apart to do a deep clean, which i do at least every few years. I'm guessing that's why it's lasted so well.

CPU speed isn't all that important for Windows 10+ (unless you are doing something CPU intensive like video editing or modern gaming) but if you don't have at least 8GB of RAM (16 GB is better) and an SSD, it's going to run like crap. If you have 4GB and a mechanical hard drive, you might as well turn it on in the morning and then come back after lunch because it will take that long before it is responsive.

I agree, although that £13.50 Intel Xeon X5675 runs snappy at 3ghz - I am even more amazed it works at all how it was packaged! I would not go near a mechanical hard drive for boot now, and I think we are seeing a slow phase out as SSD becomes better value. Of course they are now getting replaced with NVME which offers blazing speeds - and as modern motherboards keep supporting multiple NVME drives the days of fiddling with SATA data and power cables are numbered too - I won't miss that!

The X5675 is my favorite CPU from that generation. It was the fastest/had the most cores you could get without going to a hotter/more power hungry model. I still have a dual cpu machine here that has two of them installed.

I don't mind SATA cables too much. They were such a big improvement on IDE :). I think it will be quite a while before SATA goes away though. Solid state drives still aren't really all that economical for storing/backing up large amounts of data (though I suppose this type of thing could go all external...USB or whatever). Just backing up all your videos and photos from your cell phone can take up gobs of space.

You are way to far away. I need you here….. nicely done

I might just have a compulsive disorder for meddling with computers, it's cheaper then Golf still though!

Doesn’t change the fact that I could use your talents here!!!!

Awesome, that sounds like a lot of fun!!!

Thank you, not everyone's cup of tea but taking parts sourced from all over - putting them together and turning it to a fully working reliable computer - fun and rewarding. Plus in a time with everything is so expensive - even the basics of living like gas and electricity - being able to save a little on any cost is a bonus. And that is before the environmental impact of saving old things going to landfill.

Nice, it's a total win, win, win!

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This is super interesting. Was talking to a mate that other day about this. The main point of our conversation was how difficult it is now vs say 20 years ago.. where parts were easily re-appropriated from other electrical devices to build something new.

VS now say - the mobile phone, or even a laptop. Apple solders everything to the dam board not to mention new chips being proprietary for example.

Isn't that the cool thing about YouTube. You can learn to do so so much. I love it!

My son convinced me to build my PC last year. It was a great time we spent together and was a fun experience. I plan to do it DIY from now on.