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drop-in upgrade for my 9yo son

by talby



CPU Clock Rate



So my son's current build, a i3-530 / TH55XE / HD 5670, started having some issues, and just decided to upgrade the whole schlemiel, some parts new and some old.

He plays a lot of older titles like hl2, tf2, garry's mod, scribblenauts, killing floor, amnesia, terraria, dead island, portal 2, payday, crysis2, borderlands, orcs must die, dota 2, etc. so this is what he wound up with.

new: cpu & mobo from Microcenter

not really old but not really new: memory & power supply - both are about 6 months ~ 1 year old

kind of old: case & gpu - 3~4 years at least for both

The pics have a set of Team 2 x 2Gb 1333 installed, I used those to do the build, test/burnin w/ slax linux bootable usb and do the initial windows install, to minimize downtime since his current PC was working just crashed once in a while.

Once I was done, and he was asleep, I took his hdd out and copied over his steam dir so he didnt' have to re-download (works wonderfully, once you change ownership to "system" and enable permissions for all users) and swapped out the memory.

The case not having any cable management was a bit of annoyance, so the current wiring just kind of to be zip-tied to itself to not be in the way of the bottom fan or airflow, and behind the mobo was not an option since the side panel is a really tight squeeze, and didn't want to have aunt bunny sit on my side panel just so I can slide the panel onto the case. The only place you can put slack is by the HDD mounts or in the 5.25" bays, I chose the former.

I am sure I will be knocked down a bit for the i3, because we all know how much better the fx-6300 is at multithreaded apps and can overclock... However, isn't that just saying the i3 is a good choice for single-threaded apps non-overclocked?

Comments Sorted by:

Zeus 1 Build 5 points 49 months ago

For those older games you will find an i3 will actually perform better than a non-overclocked 6300 because of its higher single threaded performance. +1 for a well thought build

talby submitter 10 Builds 5 points 49 months ago

thanks, and yes once I started looking at the benchmarks and noticed this was running at 3.6Ghz was actually excited to get one!

Mediciu5 3 Builds 4 points 49 months ago

I guess I've never played Gmod, but know of others who have. Is it something I should familiarize myself with once my boys tire of reproducing Ancient Greece in Minecraft? They really likes mod-friendly games (Minecraft, Dungeon Defenders, etc).

Also, nice upgrade for a reasonable price.

26henry 1 point 27 months ago

Yes but don't let them talk to the people there. There animals over there. Animals.

Starlana 2 Builds 4 points 48 months ago

+1 to the nice dad with the gamer son. :)

animusvox54 3 points 49 months ago

Ah, gmod... Possibly the best game I have ever played. Build looks good, +1 for gmod :D

talby submitter 10 Builds 2 points 49 months ago

thanks, he can play gmod all day, it's all about the mods! I think that is his favorite one.

TheEpicness92 2 points 49 months ago

Nice PC, but you let your 9yo son play Borderlands, Amnesia, and Dead Island?

talby submitter 10 Builds 5 points 49 months ago

thanks, I do draw the line with "certain" content in m-rated games, but with violent ones as long as he can separate it from the real-world it's not a problem - all his teachers say he's one of the kindest and most considerate ones in the class...

Crit 4 points 48 months ago

Just like dexter...

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ProxYang 1 point 34 months ago


Gooberdad 7 Builds 2 points 49 months ago

Cool deal, man. The old 260 still run well? I "loaned" my daughter, my old gtx 260 until I can find her a good deal on a new video card for her pc. She hasn't complained a bit about the 260. I hope she will be shocked by the difference whenever I can get her a 760 or 770 to replace it.

talby submitter 10 Builds 3 points 49 months ago

yea it actually was a good upgrade from his hd 5670 / ddr5 / 1Gb so he is really happy. It may not be the most power efficient card so the i3 haswell does bring balance to the overall noise and heat.

Gooberdad 7 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

Guess that old card did suck down some power. When I got the pc with that particular card in it I could warm my feet at the back of the case in the winter, while playing. Man, it puts out some heat.

uca1 3 points 48 months ago

I wish my parents would loan me gpu's...

Gooberdad 7 Builds 1 point 48 months ago

If you were my kid I would. It was left over from my old Hp. It did come with the 1.8 gb so whoopwhoop double ram! She will be happy when I can find her an upgrade, I'm sure.

What computer are you using and/or building uca1?

the13yearoldgenius 1 point 48 months ago

i can take it as an upgrade for my nvidia 5600

the13yearoldgenius 1 point 48 months ago


Gooberdad 7 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

Lol ok let's start the adoption process.

LeMonarque 3 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

Your cable management is awesome considering how bad the case is for it! Great resourcefulness.

EDIT: It looks like you've got something mounted in one of the 3.5" bays, besides the HDD, but I can't figure out what it is. Care to share?

talby submitter 10 Builds 2 points 48 months ago

thanks, its just an old floppy drive, I could not find the panel so I just threw it in to keep dust out lol - same with the old CDRW in the 5.25" bay just to fill in the hole until I can find the panel cover.

Probably in a box in my basement, needle in a haystack at this point :)

dimasimr 2 points 45 months ago

I am helping some friends with REALLY budget based PC. I like 1600 DIMM, but how do you find the 1333?

Also, this looks nice andyou said to check this out. I did and I like it.

talby submitter 10 Builds 2 points 45 months ago

thanks, the 1333 I just used for the install and would probably work just fine in this system if I left it in there, the performance difference is really minimal between the 1333 and 1666 speed, the bigger difference is the 4gb to 8gb jump since he runs the standalone gmod multi-player servers all the time as well as the client to join the game with his group.

So the 1333 is just fine for a budget intel rig, for AMD APU the 1666 will benefit more since the graphics performance will be improved. I see a lot of 1866 ram in APU builds to accomodate overclocking.


dimasimr 1 point 45 months ago

That's good to know. I just put together a very budget friendly rig and 1333 is too much less expensive than 1600, so I figured that I didn't need to reduce to a 1333; although, with some RAM, 1333 isn't really reducing, and she's mostly plays some lower syestem-requiring games, so 4-8 gb of any ram should be fine.

W1nnie101 2 points 27 months ago

Sweet as cable management for this case, congrats man :) Hope your son kicks arse in Dota, I friekin love that game ahha

Firecrackers 1 Build 1 point 48 months ago

If that 260 runs Crysis 2, I don't have as much worry for the future now :P

JacksonMurphy 1 point 34 months ago

I love that tiny motherboard in that case.

tussiez 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

How hard was it for you to instal the Intel Processor? I heard it was hard.

talby submitter 10 Builds 2 points 3 months ago

It's not so bad, you just have to line up the arrows, good pic of it here where the arrow on the board corresponds to the arrow on the chip - once you line that up it sits in the socket nice and snug, and pushing down on the bracket takes a bit of force (a bit scary the first time I admit!).

The next pain is installing the stock heatsink, you have to make sure the pushpins are lined up correctly so it does not push through as you are installing it - good pic of it here - as mentioned in the article just make sure they are turned clockwise before you push down on them.


tussiez 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago


In my experience when I installed a CPU (AMD) I finished putting it in BUT I FORGOT TO OPEN THE BRACKET. heh

tussiez 1 Build 1 point 3 months ago

slips a lot

the they're just circles of gold contacts