I built this on December 19 and 20, 2014 for my Dad.

He was using an HP Desktop from the early 2000s. (It was using some single-core AMD Athlon 64) It was painful for me to watch him press the "on" button, go get some coffee, go to the bathroom, walk outside a little bit, come back to his computer, and still have to wait for it to finish turning on.

I know this is mostly from Hard Drive slowness, but it also took a while to pull up internet pages and applications that were loaded in RAM didn't run well either. Also, AutoCad wasn't working very well for him.

Our neighbor was kind enough to give us a free Dell Desktop with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and an ATI Radeon HD3470. We put Windows 7 on it, and it ran fairly well, but it still had issues running AutoCad. Also, while it was turned off, the computer would randomly whirl up (you could hear the HDD spin up, the fans turn on, and see the lights turn on) and turn off (No output to display during this process).

I told him I wanted to build a computer for him. At first, he wasn't so sure, but I was able to convince him. I wasn't home when he picked the parts, and he didn't want to spend more than $400.

I wasn't with him when he picked the parts, but over email, we settled on an i5, a z97 mobo, 8GB of RAM, an SSD, and a case of his choice.

The original build was: CPU: i5 4690k Mobo: Asrock Fatality z97x killer RAM: Team Vulcan 8GB Storage: Crucial MX100 Case: Rosewill Challenger-U3 PSU: Some Bestec 350W from his old HP Optical Drive: We had to buy one from a local shop (Computer Direct Outlet) because the old ones used IDE, not SATA OS: The same Windows 7 we bought for the Dell Monitor: Some really old 4:3 Sony monitor

Now, the computer boots REALLY fast (15 seconds. No fast boot (BIOS screen still comes on, etc)) and is really snappy. It runs his AutoCad 2D very well, and his CPU usage normally stays below 5%.

Upgrades: 1.We went to a tiger direct store, and saw a good deal on that Corsair Vengeance RAM, so we bought some. ($40) 2.He still has 85GB left on his SSD, but for storing backups and pictures, we bought the 1tb HDD. We use the Asrock HDD Saver feature on this HDD so it's more resistant to viruses and doesn't get unnecessary use. 3. I convinced him it was time for a new monitor. He had stayed away from getting a new one for a while because he wanted to have a monitor that was big enough vertically that it fit a document nicely. (Documents are narrow and long, not short and wide). What made him change his mind was when I pointed out that he could get a big enough 1080p monitor that he had the same vertical distance, but also a lot more width.

This monitor (bought from BestBuy) is actually slightly larger than his old one vertically, and is much wider. Now he can have his email on one side and AutoCad on another or 2 PDFs side-by-side.

  1. PSU upgrade to EVGA 750 B2. This is a tier 2 unit, and we got it at a great price. I didn't think that Bestec had much left in it, and didn't want his new computer getting hurt by it, so we bought a quality PSU. (Also increases upgradability)

  2. Bought a Card Reader from CDO. Now the family can load pictures from an SD card with ease.

Now all he needs is a gtx 980, and he's golden for 3D AutoCad and any games!

P.S. The pics are really poorly taken, but I don't have any other ones, so... The first pic is of the old Dell. Don't have one of the old HP (plan on turning this into a VPN on Linux though) Also, the cable management in those pictures is really bad because the PSU cables were too short to route properly. With the new PSU, the cable management is MUCH nicer, but I don't have a picture of that yet.

Part Reviews


Does the job perfectly. Haven't seen it go above 75% on 2D AutoCad or anything else. Most of the time, it stays under 5% usage.

Because of this, the intel stock cooler doesn't have to work hard, so it stays pretty cool and quiet.

The integrated Intel HD 4600 graphics provides plenty of power for 1080p 2D Auto Cad. It even provides enough power to play War Thunder on Medium settings.


Full of features. Everything works nicely with it. Plenty of ports. I know AsRock is said to be low quality, but I haven't had any issues yet.

Its UEFI is easy to navigate.

Haven't tried overclocking with it yet.


1600mhz cas 9. Works. Bang for buck


Fast and enough storage for basic usage and one OS.


Cons: The stock fans are loud. The cable management space is so narrow that the side panel bows outward just from the 24 pin ATX PSU cable being flush against the back of the mobo tray. Plastic front feels cheap / fragile.

Pros: Dust Filters, it comes with 3 fans (good airflow), most of the body is metal (fairly sturdy). Plenty of room for all sorts of Drives, enough room for graphics card. Big enough to build in (except the cable management side), while being small enough to not be obtrusive.

Power Supply

Great! But a little loud.

Optical Drive

Cheap and gets the job done (installing OS and very rare CD/DVD usage) Really loud while it is being used.


Fantastic, but limited range of tilt and no height adjustment. (Knock off a half star for that) Viewing angles, color, brightness are all great.


  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

By the way, it's my first build. I may build a computer for myself when Kaby Lake comes out.

Any suggestions are welcome.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Let me first say that I enjoy seeing builds like this where individuals use their knowledge/ passion to help out others (always nice to see kids helping their parents)...... That gets a +1

Next I am confused on the memory..... So you now are running 4 x 4GB ?? Two sticks of Team and two of Corsair? But no photos with the Corsair installed. According to your parts list you have all memory at 1600mHz and 1.5v with a CAS 9. I hope it will remain running stable for you (your Dad)

You also bought a Z97 motherboard and a 4690K CPU which on the surface would make me think you are going to overclock but you only have the stock heatsink. I am not sure what features the Z97 motherboard has that your Dad will take advantage of but may I suggest looking at B85 or H97 boards and a non "K" CPU. I think those may have served you well.

At the end of the day all that really matters is.......... Is Dad happy with the PC?? I'll bet he is !!

  • 50 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you for your appreciation.

We are now using 4 x 4 and don't have any stability issues. He does not need more than 8GB RAM, but we got such a deal on the corsair RAM that we bought it and put it in. If it causes issues, I'll remove the Team. They are the same CAS latency.

We are slowly upgrading this machine. We may overclock it in a couple years, but he doesn't need to right now. I actually told him to get h97 and a 4460 to save money, but he wanted the 4690k.

He is very happy with the PC and now sees how building our own computer is much better than buying a prebuilt.

Next time I come home and clean the dust out of it (there's not normally much), I'll take pictures of it with the new PSU (and better cable management) and RAM.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Can't wait to see the new photos!

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Just updated with new pics.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Really wanting to see the new photo's, that old PSU in with those nice components makes me cringe and then the cables flying everywhere is a double cringe.

Look forward to seeing the completed PC in all its cable managed better PSU glory :) +1

  • 50 months ago
  • 2 points

Just updated with new pics.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Much better :)

[comment deleted]
  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

First pic is of the Dell that replaced the HP. (Thought it'd be interesting to compare a BTX machine to ATX)

The other pics are (left to right) the motherboard fully assembled, the mobo in the case, the mobo connected to stuff in the case, the front of the case while it's on.

I don't have pictures of it with the new PSU and better cable management. These pictures had the original PSU, whose cables were so short the 24 pin cable barely stretched to the slot on the mobo.