Description

Another day, another budget build. I apologize, my picture quality and forgetfulness while building to take the "good" shots both contributed to the few photos before you. That being said, I always enjoy building and what little my customers allow me to show off I appreciate sharing with this community. Now, onto the fun part...

This build is intended, and is appreciably overkill, for a combination of personal entertainment and the Total War series. TW: Attila being foremost of the concern. I think we constrained well within our intended budget ($400 CAD without OS) and achieved a functioning yet pleasing sleeper taste. Despite budget constraints, this machine scored very well for it's weight class. A locked Sandy Bridge 4 Core Hyperthreaded coupled with a neat and beautiful Dual BIOS MSI GTX 680 Lightning scored slightly higher than I even anticipated. Firestrike was with no Overclocks.

The case itself, was not truly a disappointment for the price point. For $30, I feel you get more than what you pay for. You just can't reasonably compare this to a $90 Phanteks or NZXT and be fair. Cable management was acceptable, Airflow is not commendable but manageable. Front panel looks very sleek and modern with the brushed finish. All in all for the $ inside this case, it is holding it's own very well. The other delightful part of this build was seeing that gorgeous Lightning powered up with it's onboard PCB LED's and Logo LED Inside this black cave enclosure. I used to own one before so to reminisce was lovely.

Also, sidenote. Ignore the 2.5" drive in the photo's. That's my bench/builder drive. A little precaution I use to make sure the system is operating before a fresh slate for the customer.

Hope you all enjoy the build and now onto reviews!

Part Reviews

CPU

Snappy Ole Sandy. 8 Threads for real cheap. Honestly only about a 12-15% loss in performance to an i7-6700 for a little more TDP... will take the trade. Pulled from a Dell Workstation that was dead like doornail

CPU Cooler

Quiet...ish. Bit of a whine at high RPM but for a purple note, won't complain. Only ramps up at power up due to UEFI test before boot. Bought from a buddy open box

Motherboard

Had to buy new. Actually the VG4 model. Luckily this was at NCIX with a nice rebate and free shipping. Lack of fan control and no USB 2-3 adapter (granted not expected) 3.5 stars

Memory

Same Dell Workstation... lucky they didn't fry. MemTest reported all good, no errors during burn in either. Originally had a new 8GB HyperX 1600 but it WAS faulty out of the box... yarrr

Storage

Old HDD with OS from his HP Pavillion. Was slightly hesitant to use due to a break on the SATA side connector, but holds firm and is the only true hold back to this system. Client will eventually update to SSD. For now, he's good with the Storage over speed.

Video Card

Rarer Dual BIOS model. What I love about the 680 is in reality, short of DX 12 it's a R9 380/GTX 960 2GB with SO MUCH MORE aesthetically. Plus... you know... $80. Thank you Kijiji

Case

For $30... really... no complaints for THIS price point. Complaints in general? yes. Only rear 80mm fan included, no front airflow, tight mounting the HDD and PSU for space. The good? Surprising cable management. Lightweight yet not really "cheap" lightweight. Great size and form factor, nearly EHTPC sized. Would I buy for $50? Probably not. but for $30? Heck yeah. New from Newegg

Power Supply

Refurb from Newegg. Cheap, warranty. Non Modular. But EVGA... so not too worried. Plus Total draw of this system never even hits 400W. Plenty of room to feel comfy.

Operating System

OS... the thing you need for AAA titles... 7 cause no need for DX 12

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Comments

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome and still a valid gaming machine.

Thumbs up.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

You aren't kidding. This outscored another client's (unposted machine) by about 500 on Firestrike. He has an FX 8320E and GTX 960 2GB. Physics score makes the mark there though.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

I took out my youngest son's gtx760 and put in his older brother's old gtx 680. That was a huge difference ecen with the 2GB. Scored lower 1000s in Heaven benchmark with a little overclock everthing maxed at 1920x1080. Still a good old card.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup, love how people think you need a GTX 1070/1080 just to be modern. Honestly, at the cost of 2k/4k monitors vs the little difference non-purists notice... 1080p is the market that is standard today for a good gaming experience. Even a GTX 660Ti or 750Ti can handle that just fine at playable graphic settings. And if you buy a GTX 1070 for 1080p gaming... well... cough :P

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol true

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

Really nice bang for your buck rig!

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

So nice, so clean! I couldn't do that cable management even having an S340 lmao

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. I pride myself on cable management. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it has to be ugly

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

Love your pics and cable management

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I am completely new to this whole PC building so quick question, how do I manage to buy a core i7 processor for that price when it is usually 300+ USD?

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Used in a dead system... Lol. But honestly you will still find lots of HP and Dell workstations that will have core i5/7 second gens for decent prices, then just disassemble and take what you need

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

I would love to find i7 k for 1155 on kijiji but no luck!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

This is very close to what I'm looking into doing with the parts in my 5 yr old Dell XPS 8300. I could try and move the system to new case but I keep reading about issues with the front connections and the CPU fan are tied to the motherboard.

Thought if I spent an extra $300 I could reuse the i7 2600 in a proper build and sell the rest for parts.

Or I could just sell it and get an i3 6100 and kit that will be better for upgrades.

Decisios...

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

The i7 has more raw power, to be certain. Problem is cheap compatible motherboards. Especially ones to take advantage of the full features on the chipset. If sticking budget, LGA 1150 is still plenty valid. 1151 has a tad more future proofing but all is always at a cost. Also, almost all OEM boards will have quirks, but Dell I have found in the past have some of the easier boards to move out. If fans are an issue, buy a splitter or controller. Cheap enough alternative

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate advice from a builder that's done this already. I have half of what I need (current GPU GTX 660 not listed). I'm just wondering if price to performance is worth it for old hardware.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor -
CPU Cooler Cooler Master DP6-9EDSA-0L-GP CPU Cooler $9.99
Thermal Compound Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste $9.99
Motherboard Asus P8H61-I R2.0 Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard $99.99 @ Newegg Canada
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory $42.21 @ Amazon Canada
Storage Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $47.99
Case Corsair Carbide SPEC-M2 MicroATX Mid Tower Case $59.24 @ DirectCanada
Power Supply Corsair CSM 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $94.99
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home Full - USB 32/64-bit $130.99 @ PC Canada
Case Fan Cooler Master R4-L2S-122B-GP 39.8 CFM 120mm Fans $10.99 @ Newegg Canada
Other SATA Cable $5.99
Other SSD Bracket $7.99
Other SSD Replacement Warranty $7.28
Other Phanteks 4 pin fan Y adapter $11.88
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $539.52
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-09-29 00:28 EDT-0400
  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Was wondering if the T2 cooler would fit this case. Thank you. Seems like it barely fits though lol.

I have the same case. Tip: Drill holes on the left and right sides on the front. Boom! ALOT More airflow!

Bit Tricky to drill straight lined up holes though!

I added a front fan AND a bottom fan right underneath the graphics card. So a lot more intake now.

Unfortunately this introduced a lot more dust too... Need dust filters.

SRM-01 has problems, but it was fun to try to solve those problems! But probably wouldve been more convenient to spend 50-60 bucks on a case with front fans and dust filters pre-installed.

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  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Even take into account that the Windows cost is his key from his old HP. That makes total cost of this build (minus the larger HDD that was spare too in that HP) $310 CAD or $235 USD.

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