As I work on assembling my new machine, I thought I'd take this time to acknowledge and celebrate the FrankenPC that's been getting me by the past few months. I originally threw this thing together as an experiment, and was pleasantly surprised when it was actually functional as a gaming PC.
Background Info: Strapped for cash, but wanting to get back into PC gaming, I decided to resurrect and modify this old HP dc7600 that I had bought in a used office supply sale back in 2010 for about $100. Here's a PC Mag article reviewing the original machine from 2006: HP dc7600 Review
Here's the specs after I upgraded and modified the machine:
*CPU: Pentium D 950, 3.4 GHz, dual-core Original CPU from the HP dc7600. It may have been impressive back in its time, but it runs hot and definitely caused some bottlenecks. That being said, it held up much better than I expected when playing new-ish games.
*Mobo: HP LGA 775 micro-ATX Original motherboard. Not much to say about this other than it caused me to have to stick to DDR2 RAM.
*Case: HP dc7600 Convertible Mini-Tower For an old office PC, I actually really like the case. It's huge for a mATX case, so there was plenty of room for upgrades. I also like that I can orient it horizontally, so that it'll fit on my TV stand. Since the poor old Pentium D had to run at 100% the entire time I was playing games, I modified the case to increase the airflow. I cut and drilled some holes so that I could install one of the Kingwin 120mm fans on top as a blowhole and the other Kingwin fan as an intake in front vent. I also removed the optical drive bays in order to add another fan mount for the Cooler Master intake fan. With these mods I was able to keep the CPU under 65C at full load,even though I was still using the original CPU cooler. I also spray painted the whole front panel black.
*RAM: 4GB Kingston DDR2 The cheapest stuff I could find on eBay. I didn't feel like spending much on DDR2, since I wouldn't be using it in a future build.
*GPU: Radeon R9 270x I saw a good deal on this, so I jumped on it. More than adequate for most games, and I'll ultimately be using it for my upcoming build. It was bottle-necked by the CPU, but still managed to make this old heap a functional gaming machine.
*Storage: Sandisk 240GB SSD Another situation where there was a deal that was too good to pass up. Even though the mobo doesn't feature SATA3 headers, the increase in read-write speed of the SSD compared to the original HDD seemed to help reduce some of the bottle-necking issues. I'll also be transferring this to my upcoming build.
*PSU: Corsair CX750 The original PSU was pretty weak, so I figured I'd rather play it safe and get something that could definitely output enough juice for the GPU. I've been pretty happy with it for the the price, and it will also be getting transferred into the next machine.
Overall, I was pretty happy with how this experiment turned out. Probably the most impressive feat I was able to get it to pull off was running Hitman Absolution on medium, 1280x720, ~30 FPS. I also got decent results with Guild Wars 2 on low-medium at 1280x720. Other than the DDR2 RAM, I'll be reusing all the other upgraded parts, so I don't really feel like I wasted any money.
The future build I talk about earlier in this build description has been completed. Many of the parts in this machine were transferred to the new build. See Sweet Gaming Subwoofer for more info.