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My old-but-still-current-but-not-for-long PC (built 2003)

by lenoz

63
37 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

  • Storage

  • Monitor

  • Keyboard

  • Custom

    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.2 GHz)
  • Custom

    Motherboard: MSI K8N Neo Platinum nForce3 250 (Socket 754)
  • Custom

    Memory: 3GB Kingston ValuRAM PC-3200 (400 MHz)
  • Custom

    Video Card: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3850 512MB AGP
  • Custom

    Storage: Maxtor MaXLine 300GB 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (SATA1.5)
  • Custom

    Optical Drive: NEC ND-3500AG DVD-RW
  • Custom

    Optical Drive: LiteOn IHAS624-32 24x DVD-RW
  • Custom

    Sound Card: Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS
  • Custom

    Speakers: Creative Inspire T7700 7.1
  • Custom

    Monitor: LG W2242S 22" Black
  • Custom

    Other: NEWLink 7 in 1 Internal Card Reader
  • Custom

    Other: Akasa AK FC-06SL Fan Controller Junior - Silver
  • Custom

    Case Fans: 3x Akasa Blue LED 80mm Chassis Fan
  • Custom

    Other: 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive - Silver
  • Custom

    Case: Galaxy II Bubble Light - Silver ATX Midi Tower
  • Custom

    Other: FireWire PCI Controller Card
  • Custom

    Power Supply: 500W ATX P4 Golden Power Supply
    • $224.78

      Total:

Details

Description

Just before I get round to posting my new machine, I thought I'd let you all see what I have had to work with for the last 10 years, although obviously it's not always been this dusty, this messy, and this full of cables.

Originally built for around £800 in 2003, the only upgrades it has received that are worth mentioning are moving from an initial 1GB to the current 3GB of RAM, and through a couple of iterations of graphics card. I started originally with an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB, then I'm sure I switched over to an Nvidia GeForce card (I think it was 200-series) but I can't find record of it other than the PNY sticker on the front of the case (!), and then finally to the Radeon HD 3850 as listed.

The 3850 was as far as I could go - the best graphics card you could buy that supported the AGP architecture (certainly at the time, and everything became PCI shortly after so possibly nothing better was ever released either). The CPU from the start was the best/fastest the motherboard could handle too. So basically for at least the last 7 years I have had no major upgrades (replaced a dead PSU, added hard drive space) and been limited to what you see in the list below.

The thing has been very faithful, a generally solid performer but one that for the last five years or so has been HOT and LOUD. Now that I've got back into PC building (as mentioned, new build will be published here soon) I now realise what I didn't know at the time, that cable management could really have helped me keep the system in a better shape. However, I'm fairly sure that case designers didn't know that at the time either, and certainly this particular case, for all its fancy windows and front bubble lights, has zero in the way of cable management support.

As you can imagine I haven't used it for mainstream gaming since, hmm, Call of Duty Modern Warfare. Grid, F.E.A.R., even the first Crysis all ran perfectly nicely. I remember installing GTA 4 and getting an unplayable frame rate and since then haven't been able to consider myself a gamer for some time. So it's a work (web design and development mainly) and media storing (big mp3 collection, tons of D-SLR photos, and just started with my digital HD camcorder) PC and down the years has been a study/university PC too, along with lots of Photoshop image processing and even Premiere Pro video editing.

And there we have it. I know it's a bit awkward posting PCs this old, but it's also a bit of fun. I don't expect upvotes for it! (Though trust me, at the time I built it this thing kicked ***.) And no, I'm not doing benchmarks either :)

Stickers: PNY, Threadless, I <3 Webgeek, Steel Series, Sapphire ATI, AMD 64, DC Shoes, Dephect, Vans
Other modifications: silver painted the original NEC optical drive and the card reader, never got round to doing the LiteOn drive!

Comments Sorted by:

fsma92 2 Builds 9 points 25 months ago

I thought dinosaurs were instinct lol XD

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 6 points 25 months ago

This bad boy still has a bit of bite!

Djangosp2 1 Build 5 points 25 months ago

Nice old build. Looking forward to seeing the new build.

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 6 points 25 months ago

Thanks. I actually can't wait to get it on here too, I love this site so much it feels like a build can't be completed until it is done on here :)

Sato 4 points 25 months ago

Interesting to see the difference in builds from so long ago compared to today! Seems like it's pretty resilient too :P

Odd question, Don't suppose you'd be filling to give up that floppy drive when you get a new build? I'm looking to play DOS games a little more authentically, it would be nice to have :P

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 2 points 25 months ago

I could probably make that happen Sato! I haven't used it in 7 or 8 years so I can only assume it still works, maybe I could get round to taking it out soon (I make mention of that as the PC as a whole probably won't be turned off permanently for another month or so while I continue transferring my life to my new one!).

All that said, taking into account the postage, can't you get them just as cheaply on eBay, or are they hard to find these days? Let me know - would love to help if it makes sense for both of us. Oh, and what games are you planning to play? Hopefully some classics I used to love...

Sato 2 points 25 months ago

Doom. A hell load of Doom! And all the other iD software games if I can get them cheap enough :P And whatever I can find in top 100 lists online (I've played a bit of Albion which was pretty good).

I've had a look around, and will continue to do so, however it'd probably end up cheaper buying from you :P

Thanks for replying, good luck with your new build! I'll contact you if I'm still interested :P

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 2 points 25 months ago

You wouldn't need to buy from me. It's a gift. Just cover the postage. You are in the UK, right?

The new build is done by the way, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Sit tight, I'll get it on here as soon as I can...

Sato 1 point 25 months ago

I am indeed in the UK :P How much do you suppose postage would cost for it?

And I look forward to seeing the new one :D

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 2 points 25 months ago

I honestly can't remember if it's particularly heavy or not, it shouldn't be, right? Probably just a couple of quid. I'll let you know when I can. Assuming I take it out before Philip adds PMs, you got an email address you can give me?

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 3 points 25 months ago

Ha. Someone downvoted already. Sigh.

Sato 7 points 25 months ago

Upvoted to balance it out :)

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 3 points 25 months ago

Kindly appreciated! Didn't take long before I went positive again, thankfully the large majority of users on this site were enough to restore my faith.

gseyffert 1 Build 2 points 25 months ago

That's hardcore man. I'm building a new computer soon, can only hope it'll last as long as this beast did! Still running Win XP?

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Hell no! Windows 7 64-bit baby - handles it with ease! (mostly) :)

And before XP, I think I started with the classic Windows Me.

gseyffert 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Haha very nice!

hunter32tz 1 Build 2 points 25 months ago

This is a classic example of a great build that lasts for years. Good job (in 2003).

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Thanks man. It really doesn't look much does it but it's done an incredible job, and really still does. I've been meaning to build/buy my new PC for at least three years, and it's testament to this guy that I have been able to put it off that long and not really suffered to much for it (other than having to give up gaming).

Enlyten 1 Build 2 points 25 months ago

I had a 64 3200+ in my first build xD. Socket 939 sucked, as did single-cores. Upvote for a brother.

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

I think when I built this I didn't even know what cores were! Not even sure if I understood sockets either :)

Thanks for the upvote. I hope you'll join me in pouring out some liquor for this homie when he finally passes on...

Enlyten 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Tip a forty to my homies xD

hunterawsm007 2 points 25 months ago

You should get a can of compressed air in there; it's really dusty

Nice antique build (not sarcasm :), it kicks my old Gateway's butt

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Hehe, thanks. I actually might just get round to the compressed air. Seems crazy to do it now when I've needed it for years but at least it would give some interesting comparisons on heat and sound improvements that are possible with a clean PC!

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

In fact this thing is so robust usually I take a vacuum cleaner to it! As you can see, been a while...

th3m4dh4tt3r 1 Build 2 points 25 months ago

Ah, I love when people post old builds...wish someone would post one with Voodoo SLI though.

candy 2 Builds 2 points 25 months ago
th3m4dh4tt3r 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Aaaah, I remember that build! Forgot about the videocard though :) thanks for posting!

miniclipgamer 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Not much I can say about this, seeing as though I don't know much about these older parts.

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 2 points 25 months ago

Yeah they are a range of ages too.

And there are quirks - the LiteOn IHAS624 is a BETTER drive than the LiteOn IHAS124, which is the most popular/highest rated DVD writer listed on this site! But it seems impossible to buy (here in the UK anyway) these days. Really odd.

miniclipgamer 2 Builds 0 points 25 months ago

Hmm, how so?

lenoz submitter 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

The IHAS124 is just your basic DVD-RW drive. The IHAS624 adds a couple of other technologies like LightScribe, LabelTag, and SmartErase. Hence the extra graphics on the front of the drive!

I just bought a new IHAS124 for my recent build at about £11 and I don't think I paid more than £15 for the 624 about five years ago.

miniclipgamer 2 Builds 0 points 25 months ago

Ahh, thats nice. I hardly use my optical drive anyways, so the basic drive would do for me.

HunterRollinger 0 points 17 months ago

lets be honest here... who uses disc drives anyway?

Reyjkl 1 point 5 hours ago

How does that thing get any airflow with all those wires bunched up in the front???? Not to mention the mountain of dust xD.