Description

Build #2

Date of Build: July 2016

Name: Meiko is a Vocaloid. Her signature color is red. Seems fitting enough.

Recipient: My Sister

Purpose: Casual Gaming (Windows-only Titles, etc.)

Special Notes: Motherboard, CPU, and OS License came from a surplus 1U Rack-mount Server. Originally came with Windows 7 Pro license but has since been upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. The Power Supply, Hard Drive, WiFi Adapter, and Mouse were all purchased long before I planned this build. The rear case fan died and has since been replaced.

The Story Behind it: My sister had a MacBook Air and I had gifted her one too may Windows-only games by accident. I scraped up what little money I had left from my tax returns and took her to Surplus Gizmos. After careful consideration and a thorough search of the store, I decided on a half-open rackmount server than had a Core 2 Quad, 1GB of DDR2, a full-copper server heatsink, Micro-ATX motherboard, a 1U Seasonic power supply, and a Windows 7 Pro license for just $40.

We then went to Goodwill and picked out a 16:10, 1050p $15 monitor and headed home. (It was later replaced with a smaller monitor, also from Goodwill, because my sister was short on desk space.) Boy that thing was loud! Two tiny fans spinning at God knows how fast. The computer booted just fine and I was able to install Linux Mint. I still needed at least 2GB of RAM in order to install Windows 7, so I went ahead and ordered a 2x2GB kit. I also ordered a new CPU cooler since I knew that server one wouldn't work once I put the motherboard in a proper desktop case. The power supply was acting a bit weird, so I replaced it with the Corsair CX I had left over from upgrading my own PC.

The RAM arrived and I was able to install Windows 7. Realizing that 5GB wasn't quite enough, I ordered another 2x2GB kit. After Windows 7 completed all its updates, I installed the Windows 10 Upgrade Manager and got my free upgrade. I was a bit low on money at this point so I asked my sister to pay for half of the case and graphics card. The GT 620 was really all I could afford at the time. It would at be enough to run Shantae and Minecraft, so I wasn't too worried about its performance.

Installing everything in the tiny budget case was quite the challenge, but not overly difficult. The CPU heatsink was the absolute worst though. First, it was missing a screw so I had to go down to ACE Hardware to find a spare. Second, the metal fan brackets that Raijintek provided did not want to fit on the cooler. No matter how hard I struggled, it almost seemed as if they were the wrong brackets. Third, the alternate vibration-dampening mounts were very hard to insert once the computer was put together and the fan did not seem the most secure once I finally got it on. At least it gets good temps...

Part Reviews

CPU

Still holds up decently eight years after its launch.

CPU Cooler

HATE HATE HATE the mounts. Otherwise it cools well and is an excellent value.

Video Card

Quiet, memory overclocks well, can run most casual games. You'll need an adapter for the mini HDMI port.

Case

Very difficult to build in due to its size. PCI slots are the break-out, non-replaceable kind. Hard drives will be competing with long CPU coolers for space. You will likely need to uninstall your CPU cooler whenever replacing anything but the graphics card.

Power Supply

Not anywhere near as bad as the internet might tell you. Just don't stick it in a high-heat environment and expect it to output all 500 advertised watts.

Optical Drive

Seems a bit flimsier than the regular ASUS model. There is a super bright green light that flashes incessantly when there is disk activity.

Operating System

My only gripe is the telemetry. This version can defer upgrades.

Case Fan

Quiet, inexpensive, lots of airflow.

Keyboard

A very decent wireless keyboard with a touch-pad. Keys are fairly mushy though.

Headphones

Cheap headphones, comes with separate jacks for speakers and microphone.

Custom

Height adjustment, USB hub, DVI and VGA connectors. Great for small desks and Raspberry Pi's. No HDMI though, so remember to get an adapter.

Custom

It's RAM and it works. Despite the photo, the kits I got were half-height models.

Comments

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

"Slow and cheap" quite the right description for an old laptop HDD :)

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Meiko is a Vocaloid.

It seems you like vocaloids :))

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

The GT 620 is such a handy dandy GPU, I like it.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I wouldn't recommend it. Sure it's small and cute, but this one can't use a low-profile bracket. Even after overclocking, it'll only ever amount to the graphics prowess of an Intel HD 2000 HD 4000, and that's being generous.

Edited after realizing mistake.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually play some games with an Intel HD 2000, and it's horrible.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

a cheap SSD even like the Kingston V300 which everybody hates on do wonders with OS boot and games loadings

SATA2 may limit the SSD speed but you will feel a hell lot from a slow HDD

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I considered a small SSD for a while, but she keeps the computer on 24/7, so I decided it wasn't worth it.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

depends on the use case i guess

but HDD running 24/7 are known to fail after around 3 years of use.

just today i troubleshooted a desktop with a HDD that got bad sectors which is also running 24/7 except it locked on weekends.