Today i saw on Facebook a PC in need of some TLC.
It was a gaming PC from 2011 and it was originally priced £800. Sadly it has since died on the original owner she took it to a computer shop who said it was the motherboard.
After looking at it’s specs online and the price it was up for i decided to buy it as it was a cheap machine for the price even if the machine is broken. It cost me a total of £30 and she was even kind enough to deliver it to me. I’ve just moved and have a bit of time on my hands so i wanted to build a PC which can play a game called DayZ which is an online survival MMO based on a zombie apocalypse.
The specs are:
Intel Core i5 2nd Gen quad core 2500k 3.3ghz/6MB cache
ATI (Yes, still ATI back then) 5770 1GB PCI-E graphics card
Artic Freezer 13 CPU cooler
Cooler Master case with 120mm fans
4GB DDR 3 RAM
750W 80 plus certified PSU
Here is the machine as it arrived to me…
A quick plug in and power on test showed the machine was actually tripping the electric! I’ve only just moved into a new place and a few days in I’m tripping electric… sounds about right for me haha!
I removed anything not needed just the PSU and mainboard running to see if it was anything inside causing it.
Sadly same result so i wired up the PSU to run without a switch and turned it on to see if it was the PSU itself.
After this quick power on test it was indeed the PSU. So i ordered another online and I’m waiting for that to arrive. Hopefully the failed PSU hasn’t damaged the motherboard. The PC shop she took it too said the motherboard was the fault so it could very well be damaged.
While i had the machine apart i gave it a good clean up.
The CPU is rather nice! A little old now but still very capable.
I also cleaned the graphics card out. Once i either turn this machine on and get it working or swap out the motherboard and get it working i will likely upgrade this as it’s pretty dated now.
It’s all ready waiting for new thermal paste and PSU now. Fingers crossed the motherboard works as it’s quite a nice board. If it doesn’t though, a replacement board will be easily sourced.
Thermal paste arrived so i went ahead and applied it to the CPU and GPU. The motherboard may well be broken but i will do this anyway to test it. I have plenty left if i need to do it again with a new board.
All done ready for the PSU to arrive. Fingers crossed the motherboard works as it’s a very nice board but if it’s not, I can grab another.
Power supply arrived, moment of truth time!
All fitted and ready to test.
YES! The board surivived! Funny how “PC shops” always misdiagnose things.
Bios and temps:
All running great!
I’ve now ordered some other bits for the machine after looking at the manual for the motherboard to check what this board can handle.
G Skill 8GB DDR 3 RAM kit, PC3-14900 1866Mhz
A Toshiba 60GB SATA 3 Solid State Drive (550MB/s read & 475 MB/s write).
an Nvidia GTX 960 graphics card
Edimax Wireless AC dongle
And an SSD bracket
I’ve also ordered a 80mm fan and 120mm fan for the side panel and front panel.
New parts arrived today. Time to build the beast!
Firstly, the RAM arrived.
After putting these in i went into the BIOS and setup the speeds and Intel XMP profile. It’s now running at 1866Mhz, pretty damn fast!!
Next, came the 120mm case fan and the almighty Nvidia GTX 960!
Shes a beast!!!
Installed and ready to go!
Then, Royal Mail arrived!
SSD installed to it’s new adaptor ready to go into the PC
Installed SSD and also the 120mm fan in the front.
While Windows 10 Pro was installing i went ahead and did the side case fan
Windows now installed…
Nvidia GTX 960 driver installation…
All done! Time to see what it can do with a benchmark…
Silky smooth graphics! I had perfect 60fps throughout this test at 1920×1080 extreme settings and full AA/Tessellation. I was likely limiting the test as I have vsync enabled which locks the FPS to the refresh rate which in my case is 60hz. Very happy with the results.
So i spent hours last night playing DayZ on this machine. It runs at 60fps solid and more if i disable vsync. Amazing what this machine can do!
Another thing to note is the temps are absolutely fantastic!
That was within windows but in games it is literally the same aside from the GPU which runs at around 58c to 60c. The CPU stays very cool indeed!
Another thing i took note of was power use. This is the power consumption within DayZ everything maxed out at 1080p.
Just shy of 200 watts… not bad at all considering what it’s doing. Other power use listed below:
Idle in windows: 71w
CPU maxed out: 90w
Gaming max settings 191w
Compared to my other i5 laptop:
Idle (screen on) 24w
Idle (screen off) 17w
Screen on and maxed CPU 41w
Huge power saving using my laptop as my main machine aside from gaming and also a second screen too.
Overall, very happy with it, for a machine which a week ago was junk… it’s done me proud!