Description

My brother wanted a pc for photoshop, studying, and some light gaming (minecraft, portal, etc.). I'm might end up throwing in an old 750 ti I have lying around. A couple months ago, I salvaged this workshop pc from certain doom, and now it has been brought back to life.

I build a lot of "sleeper" PCs, mostly because prebuilt cases are super easy to get for free, and many of them have some common traps if you want to build one yourself, so I thought I might list them off here.

  • Many cases you will encounter for free come with athlon 64, pentium 4, core 2 duo, or other old platforms. These old platforms come from a time before hd audio, but the AC 97 front panel connector is the same as the hd audio connector. Make sure that the motherboard you're building with supports AC'97 audio. (asrock is good about that)
  • The cases are (almost) always micro atx
  • Many newer prebuilts come with io shields that are stamped out of the case, making a dremel necessary
  • Stay away from sff prebuilts, especially modern ones. As you get smaller, the odds of any given system having a proprietary power supply goes up exponentially. Also, many new sff PCs come with laptop platforms.
  • Dells are by far the most likely to be the "upside down matx" form factor with the pcie slots above the io shield, making customization impossible
  • Duct tape is your friend when it comes to mounting SSDs
  • Power supply length and video card size are of the utmost importance. Treat your video card choice as if it were 2008.
  • You will get cut
  • Prebuilts' airflow almost always amounts to a single exhaust fan in the back (usually 92mm) and negative air pressure. However, they also almost always have ventilation over where a graphics card goes, meaning you can put in GPUs, just not really hot ones.
  • The cases are usually only about 1cm bigger than the width of the power supply. Keep that in mind when buying a cooler.
  • Front panel connectors are often in a block for ease of manufacturing. If they aren't in the standard configuration, arduino cables work perfectly.

Thanks guys!

Part Reviews

CPU

It acts just like a g4560, but with a vega onboard. The included cooler looks like garbage, but it is actually inaudible. It's not like you're overclocking this thing anyways.

Motherboard

It does work well, and has nvme m.2, and hdmi 2.0. Unfortunately I have been spoiled by the b350. The bios is exactly the same as all of the other modern gigabyte boards.

Memory

I was skeptical when I bought this, but it actually does quite well. I got it overclocked well, and it generally felt high quality.

Power Supply

The same budget hero as before, now with a zero rpm fan mode.

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Comments

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

You will get cut

Doesn't matter modding or not, you must appease the PC gods.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

you certainly wouldn't want to upset them...

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

nice job!

i have two dells-a inspiron gaming 5675 from 2 years ago and a (i think dead) dimension 4550 that's older than me. the inspiron is my rig, i plan to upgrade it with an ssd. the dimension lies there, though i will probably build a sleeper with it.

my friend has some old asus desktop, don't know how old/what it is, but we might build a sleeper in it.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

But can it run Crysis?

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I can't say I've tried

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Dells are by far the most likely to be the "upside down matx" form factor with the pcie slots above the io shield, making customization impossible

That's not true. My optiplex 7010 is a standard matx not upside down. Even if they are upside down you can still put in a PSU and GPU and a new CPU. The only models I can think of are the XPS 720 or 420 and anything similar to that. The vostro is also standard, the newer XPS towers are also standard. Most of them even have standard pop out IO shields. HP is really the worst with customizability. Also I think you could've gotten a better cpu with a used computer for the price you paid for the ram, cpu, and mobo.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

First off, I am speaking from experience. I have encountered standard dells, but I have found more non standard. As for the new parts, I offered an r9 390 and an i5 2500k but he wanted new parts only.

HPs also suck, but at least in my area they are far less common in the first place.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, that r9 390 and i5 would've blown this thing outta the water, that's a lose for your brother

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! For some reason, these old Compaq cases seem to have a ton of card reader slots on the front of them.

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, and it isn't just compaq. I also have dell, hp and other cases lying around that also have a bunch of card readers.

It actually still works... usb 2.0 speeds but still.

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  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I know some HP machines are inverted matx too, so keep an eye out for that.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Ok. I've built with both, and they're almost identical.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

They are still different models.

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