Story Time: (Or you can just skip it, doesn't really matter)
I was originally going to build a completely new system, most likely either an i5/fx-6300 and an R9 380. Sadly, when my part list was made I looked at my wallet, which was about $300 thinner than needed for my build. So then I remembered helping out a few friends add new PSU/GPU combos to their family prebuilt systems, and I wondered "Why not just do that?" Then I began the dive into eBay, where the Pentium 4 is "Fast!" and the HD 5450 is "Powerful!". After searching through the time machine section of eBay, I finally found a couple of computers with decently modern hardware in the $150ish price range. After choosing to go with the i5 3470 instead of a slightly cheaper i5 2500, non-K, I was a very happy camper, bragging to all of my friends who simply went the Xbox one/PS4 route...Karma is a *...
Fast Forward Time:
Once the Lenovo arrived, I figured it would be a good idea to test it out (the one time I did something smart within a whole three or so months). Right off the back, I should've taken the hint, The Pc was supposed to come with a power cord, which it didn't. I figured it wasn't a problem, and just used one from a 1st gen "flat" screen (about three to four inches thick) that wasn't in use. Then, when turning on the PC, I noticed the screen was sitting half off the monitor. I simply figured it was a bad RGB port ( I don't really take a hint, do I?)
The Next Day:
I came back to the computer, and when I tried to turn it on, it began to beep at me from the internal speaker. Me, not having a clue as to why sat there and stared at it such as the dumb ape-like creature my brain was slowly decaying into with ignorance. Out of curiosity, I looked up the problem to find it was a problem with the 1 ram stick not being in all the way. I went to look at the ram stick, which I questioned how it booted the first time, as it was only half in. I then Turned on the PC, which then began to beep at me some more, apparently it beeps at you if it doesn't detect your mouse/keyboard...Ignorance is bliss...
Fast Forward Again:
All the rest of my parts got ordered on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and began to arrive at my doorstep. Out of the, "hey what can go wrong" attitude, I mailed in my rebates without thinking twice, or testing the parts...(insert long depressing sigh sound)... Then I began to move parts from the original Lenovo M92p case to the new Thermaltake. Taking apart the Lenovo system was probably the easiest thing I've ever done, no sharp edges, no extremely wedged in parts, almost everything labeled as how to take it apart. Booted up my system, installed all the drivers, restarted, and went to test it with Fire Strike. My computer wasn't able to even finish the benchmark, no overheats, no errors, just Firestrike kept crashing halfway through. I figured nothing of it, again...I downloaded my games, and one after another, games either would crash immediately, or would give horrible performance. I sat there like, " I got dis', just a bad GPU driver". SPEEDRUN OF DRIVER STUFF...standard uninstall/reinstall=games no work, complete wipe of AMD file/reinstall=games no work, tried same with beta drivers, games kept crashing. Tried fixing .dll files, tried fixing DirectX file, Tried using command prompt to search for window errors, games kept crashing. Used Lenovo's Diagnostics, games crashed. tried upgrading to windows 10 for free, same results all over. At this point, I figured it was bad GPU, since CPU had passed testing. Swap the R9 380 for my Dad's older Hd 5770, not an AMD fanboy, just the way it worked out. Games became playable, but still did worse than 5770's scored. Finally, I resorted to a clean wipe of windows/ reinstall(only reason for doing this last was do to the Lenovo not coming with a recovery disk). Went back to Win 7 :) Reinstalled drivers, it actually ran the games. Put in the 380, games crash again, even after driver updates/uninstalls/reinstalls. Reinstall windows again, doesn't recognize 380. Getting ready to use the warranty on the 380, when it started working a few days later, not a clue why. Games actually ran!
And for anyone who read my ten-page essay, thank you, and feel free to take a cookie.
As for uses, I'm mainly planning on light to moderate gaming, such as battlefield bad co. 2, Skyrim, bf4, league/dota (two sets of friends who hate each other for playing either, although I mainly play league more than dota). Other than gaming/slight bit of recording/editing, I'm going to use this for college programs.
I am planning on drilling out some extra ventilation for the side fan, and some mounting holes instead of tape.
I'm also planning on making a cover for the extra added in USB/audio ports in the front.
A few other things I may do in the future
1.make sleeves for the cables.
1.8.18: Ha, Ha, Ha...work.
2.make a PSU cover.
1.8.18: ref (1.8.18 #1).
3.new CPU cooler/thermal paste.
1.8.18: Maybe...at some point in time...but probably not.
4.plug in the DVD drive.
1.8.18: When funds become available to buy a 90 degree right-angled SATA cable (Funds are available, just I pretend the DVD drive isn't there until I need it).
I ran Firestrike.
The total score was 6959.
Cpu temp maxed at 37 C.
GPU maxed at 39 C.
Placed 70th of all i5 3470/r9 380 combos.
Edit #3: 5/28/16
Finally got around to ordering a four pack of SATA cables for about $5? Not entirely sure about the price, just found them on Amazon, so now the DVD drive works.
Edit #4: 1/8/18
Finally OC'd the GPU. Added 2x2GB ddr3 1066MHz ram in (I know there is a slowdown on the 1600MHz set, it's from the OG M92p). Added in a 512GB SSD as the boot drive. Set the Western Digital as a backup. Also added in a 2.5 inch 1TB laptop drive for mass storage.
From a while ago, but I setup Windows 10 and 7, but Windows 10 decided to eat Windows 7 a while back, so there's that.
Did some more "Pro modding" with a big drill, sandpaper, a wood burner, epoxy, and a hot glue gun. Now the from USB/audio bundle is in its proper place, upside down. Also the plan to continue the hole pattern to allow the 200mm fan to be fully usable failed. Now it looks like someone had some target practice. Also, the DVD drive has been unplugged due to me only having 3 usable SATA slots (the 4th is covered by the GPU, and I don't have a properly angled SATA cable).
How Stuff Runs:
1080p Video Editing goes pretty smoothly. It's not lightning fast, but short clips come out pretty quickly.
20.1MP photos are easy to edit, even with the pc mining in the background.
With the SSD, windows boots up extremely quick, no 10 minute wait for disk 100% to die down.
Fallout 4 @1440p mixture of high-ultra (Cpu struggles a bit with long shadow draw distances in the downtown area, so some settings needed to be dialed back to keep mins around 30fps, and avg about 50fps.
Battlefield 1 @1080p medium averages 60fps. If I went for the 4gig r9 380, high would be doable, but vram issues show up with the 2gig model. Pushed me to put the extra 4 gigs of ram in to avoid random crashes.
Dirt Rally @ 4k medium rarely dips below 50fps. @1080p high-ultra, same story.
Battlefield 4 @ 1080p high/ultra rarely dips below 60fps.
Despite its growing age, still runs great, even with stock cooler.
This, along with the 320Gb hdd, motherboard, and a couple other minor parts came from the Lenovo system.
Simple value ram, does what is needed.
Despite its age, windows boots quicker than expected.
Hasn't given me any problems, runs great.
Great performance and cooling, even when running firestrike, I only hit 39/40 C. Slightly wish I went for the 4Gb for future proofing, although I haven't had a stutter yet.
Great cooling potential/expansion potential, only complaints would be that the stock fan is a little noisy, and very constrained cable management.
Keeps quiet/cool, and a great value psu.
keeps quiet, at least quieter than the included case fan. The case doesn't support 200mm fans, but since it was a $20 case, I just did a slight bit of modding.