Description

  • Excluding the OS, everything combined cost a total of $564.27. Technically I built this computer in June 2016 to help me work through my pet cockatiel passing away. Cosmo lived about 20 years so having him for 19 years in my life was quite difficult for me to say goodbye, but I knew it was time. He was a stubborn bird until the very end. It may be a sad and a strange excuse to have as a coping mechanism, but when I was building this computer and revising gradually it helped me process.

  • Again, this computer went through many changes. Starting from the case, AM1 components to an Athlon X4 860K, changing the RAM, case fans, SSDs, GPUs and Hard Drives. Now it has an SSD cover and a GPU Backplate which was purchased in 2017. Color scheme wise was to correlate all of Cosmo’s feathers, except I lost some bit of yellow. The best I could do for now. I suppose it’s taken me a year and half to finalize Cosmo’s transformation.

  • I will not show all the process of this build because I accumulated over 2,300 + photos. I will only show a few transformed versions so you can kind of see on what I meant by "changes."

  • So begs the question, what is its purpose now? It’s a secondary entertainment system and a tester at this point. I’ll make some fun use of this computer for a little while longer until I donate it to someone who needs a computer.

  • Photo numbers 1-10 is the final result. Photo numbers 11-166 is the re-build and installing the GPU backplate process. Other versions of the build is photo numbers 167-170. SSD Mod Cover installation is at the end of the photos: 171-175.


Benchmarks

CPU-Z CPU Single Thread CPU Multi Thread
AMD Athlon™ X4 860k @ 4.0GHz 216 683

Crystal Disk Mark 5 Read [MB/s] Write [MB/s]
All 5, 1GiB C: 19% (46/238 GiB)
Seq Q32T1 539.10 493.76
4K Q32T1 284.29 246.52
Seq 153.47 143.39
4K 28.57 78.52

UserBenchmark Performance Results Gaming Desktop Workstation
Details Jet Ski, 39% Yacht, 51% Sail Boat, 32%

Passmark Rating PT 9.0 CPU Mark 2D Graphics Mark 3D Graphics Mark Memory Mark Disk Mark Hyperlink
2,735.9 5,656.6 446.3 5,339.9 1,217.5 4,433.1 Passmark Result

PCMark Benchmark Score Essentials Productivity Digital Content Creation Details
PCMark 10 3,067 5,049 4,525 3,427 PCMark 10 Result

3DMark Benchmark Score Graphics Test 1 Graphics Test 2 Physics Test Combined Test Details
Firestrike 1.1 5,816 38.57 FPS 32.89 FPS 13.82 FPS 10.2 FPS Firestrike Result
Sky Diver 1.0 13,186 102.1 FPS 93.56 FPS 44.28 FPS Sky Diver Result
Cloud Gate 1.1 10,191 150.18 FPS 140.39 FPS 9.43 FPS Cloud Gate Result
Time Spy 1.0 2,306 16.18 FPS 13.9 FPS Time Spy Result

VRMark Orange Room Benchmark Desktop 1.0 Average Frame Rate Target Frame Rate Oculus Rift Minimum Spec Frame Rate Details
Score: 3,900 85.03 FPS 109.0 FPS 81.0 FPS VRMark Orange Room Result

Valley Benchmark FPS Score Min. FPS Max FPS Mode Preset Quality
DirectX 11 39.2 1,638 11.9 79.9 1920x1080 8xAA fullscreen Extreme HD Ultra

Heaven Benchmark FPS Score Min. FPS Max FPS Mode Preset Quality Tessellation
DirectX 11 49.8 1,254 15.6 93.2 1920x1080 8xAA fullscreen Custom Ultra Disabled

My two cents:

CPU

Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor, TURBO BOOST @ 4.0GHZ

  • Despite its aging architecture this quad-core packs a punch when gaming at 1920 x 1080. I was able to snatch a new 860K from Amazon by April 5th, 2017 for $50.

  • Now I do keep in mind that this was to be better performances over the Pentium G processors. I have been able to play recent 2017 games paired with the GTX 1050 Ti. Not a crazy high amount of FPS when playing Ultra @ 1080p like TEW2 for example, but a 30-40 FPS range is acceptable and playable. Other games can achieve 60 FPS. Temperature wise, it took me a bit of time to pinpoint the range but seeing 65°C as underload with gaming and benchmarking. I don’t have high expectations with this processor so I've been impressed with what it has been able to do.

  • I do highly recommend to go with Ryzen these days, but if you can snatch an Athlon X4 860 paired with a MOBO for very cheap than you won't be disappointed for entertainment and everyday uses.


CPU Cooler

Cooler Master Hyper T2

  • I used my Arctic MX-4 with this CPU cooler. I do admit that it took me three times to properly re-apply the thermal paste since I had to install this particular CPU cooler by only a vertical format for AMD. It works and that’s all I care about at this point. I didn’t want to use their quiet stockfan so I swapped it for a static pressure noctua fan which is more quiet than my 120mm fans. I've been content with my temperatures so all is good.

  • Important to know: I did attempt two different CPU coolers which my M9a’s backplate broke a piece of plastic off from the top-left corner. I’ll need to send the backplate to Cryorig for a replacement… I just been way too busy on my end.

  • I don’t have any ill-say about Cryorig’s product because my motherboard has an unsymmetrical hole from the CPU bracket section which does effect backplate installations. Keep my feedback with a grain of salt since my MSI A68HM-GRENADE MOBO is odd as I never had this problem before until now. The layout of the motherboard isn’t so great for different CPU coolers. It’s extremely tight. Yes, even for my small hands.

  • I also tried Deepcool’s GAMMAXX 200T which was another unsuccessful installation due to the type of mounting method it uses for AMD. I would have most likely harm the CPU if I forced this particular heatsink to be installed. Its awkward shape from the center of the heatsink and how it tries to attach with the CPU brackets is too high which makes any flimsy FM2+ motherboard incapable to work with this CPU cooler. I don't want to harm the processor by forceful pressure from the heatsink as it seems more friendly to an Intel format…


Motherboard

MSI A68HM-GRENADE Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard

  • The weakest part I purchased here. This motherboard is up to date with the BIOS, though I am not shocked about the layout being its weakest link for the graphics card, dimm slots, and the CPU cooler. I mention these because they are extremely close to together and this can halt your re-installations attempts. The CPU cooler would need to be uninstalled first, then the graphics card, and lastly the RAM. I'm also aware that it has a red LED on the motherboard which oddly I cannot turn it off, but personally it’s not a big deal.

  • The question is, does it function well? Yes, for an inexpensive motherboard it does the job. I do like about the connectors and SATA ports being around the edges; however, one other issue I have with this motherboard is the SATA ports is not exactly a good placement if have a large graphics card. You may noticed that I had to relocate one of my SATA cables because it obstructed my GPU to be installed which is a big no-no for me.

  • I’m being honest here, avoid this particular motherboard though you can get away with a smaller graphics card if you're OK with some of these limitations I've mention. The BIOS has everything you would need to adjust and it’s not difficult to navigate. My Turbo Boost is ON, just don’t expect overclocking options for the CPU. AMD Overdrive could bypass this, but I am not going to do this with the lack of motherboard heatsinks.


Memory

Team Dark (2 x 8GB) 16GB DDR3-1600MHz Memory (TDWED316G1600HC9DC01)

  • I purchased these at 2016 from Newegg. I wished I had snatched them when they were $69.99, but I was able to get them for $75. It hasn’t reduce price since then. They do require to be overclocked within the BIOS.

  • The obvious reason I purchased these was because how white they were which I love the color. It might be overkill with certain games, but they work great and don't have to worry about needing more RAM.


SSD

Samsung 850 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive

  • I re-purposed my Samsung 850 Pro which this originally came from my main build. It still boots in 3 seconds and loads everything in about 3~5 seconds with Windows 10. Temperatures can reach 30~33°C, even when gaming for hours.

HDD

Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

  • This was bought from Amazon at 2016. Not quite the best in performance and it’s a noisy hard drive. I’ll probably change this to a new HDD, but it will do for now.

GPU

EVGA GTX 1050 Ti 4GB FTW GAMING ACX 3.0 Video Card

  • Wow, I wasn’t sure on what to expect with this card but I've been happy with this particular GPU. Temperatures haven’t been effected with the custom backplate made by ColdZero. Despite its large size in length paired with the A68HM-GRENADE Micro ATX FM2+ its performance is satisfactory for 1080p gaming. I also do say it performs well paired with Kaby Lake Pentiums and above or at least with a decent processor which helps a bit more. I've been able to achieve High/Ultra graphics with recent between older games.

  • I would recommend this particular GPU and its SC/SSC siblings.


Case

Corsair Carbide Series 88R MicroATX Mid Tower Case

  • My case is used from Amazon which the one minor problem I had right away was not having proper PCI screws to install a graphics card! It took many attempts, same when I had my GTX 750 Ti FTW in this case, but eventually I found some other PCI screws that worked out. Though do try to be gentle with any different PCI screw as it may indent and scratch mark the GPU’s bracket while installing it since they weren’t design for this case. Sadly my GTX 750 Ti FTW's bracket did get scruffy indents and hoping the GTX 1050 Ti is OK.

  • Don't purchase this particular case too high. Try to find it somewhere $40 or below if possible.

  • Otherwise, this case is very easy and fun to work in. I personally had no issues with cable management as some may have mentioned. There’s plenty of ways to route the wires as you see fit and anything excessive is manageable to go under the hard drive cage if necessary.

  • I also like the case is not that heavy and it looks pretty good in design. It’s roomy to some degree which I do like this for installations. I don’t really have too much problems with this case as I have been content with it. I'd be happy to work in it again.

  • There are many options to work with this case and it will depend upon your needs and base upon your budget. Keep in mind this case uses some plastic like the front panel and the tool-free 3.5" and 5.25" drive installation. It only has a PSU filter, one of each 2.0 USB & 3.0 USB frontal ports and a mic-in and headphone frontal ports. It can also support a 120mm or 240mm liquid cooler's radiator at the front of the case or only a 120mm radiator at the back.

  • The common issue is having only one case fan once purchased. You will need to purchase another case fan down the road. I highly suggest to have an intake and an exhaust for this particular case. Of course the case can support up to five 120mm case fans. Lastly, you can install two 2.5” SSDs as well, not just two 3.5" internal hard drives.


PSU

Fractal Design Edison M 450W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply

  • This was my last Edison M 450w that was on my shelf and decided to officially use it. Cable management was easy with this, and I do admit the wires are very long, but in a good way. I tried my best to keep them clean and flat which was no problem thanks to its flat cables. I had to tuck the excess 24-pin under the hard drive cage. I don’t necessarily hear its fan when it runs, and been pleased so far.

Case Fans

2xThermaltake Ring LED Orange 120mm & Noctua NF-B9 redux-1600 PWM 92mm

  • I used to have Bitfenix case fans that were orange LED, but were barely noticeable. I swapped these with the Thermaltake Riings and it made a difference with airflow. Even though I still had to use my 3-pin spiltter it does the job well and I'm happy to have static pressure fans. I also love the LED ring effect that it shows off. They can be a little noisy at times, but it’s not that bad.

  • The 92mm Noctua fan is best for CPU coolers that do use this size. It's a static pressure fan which is best to use for heatsinks or radiators. Noise wise it’s quiet even when I have it crank to the max RPM. (1,600-1,800 RPM).


Custom Mods

EVGA GTX 1050 Ti FTW (Layout 2) Blackplate & SSD Cover TUF (Horizontal) from ColdZero

  • These were my last items to purchase from year 2017. I installed the GPU backplate last which was November 5th.

  • I wanted simple designs, but to maintain the color scheme. They were both very easy to install, though it’s a must have to use their tiny wrench to hold onto the nuts while screwing in with a precision screwdriver for the backplate. Not a process to rush so you don’t drop and lose any tiny part. The SSD cover is the easiest as I only use double-sided tape which is purchasable from a retail store. I did lose my original yellow colors so the SSD cover makes up for it.

  • Here is the website that I purchased for my custom mods: ColdZero.


Personal Notes

  • I've been content with this build and was pleased with its outcome and appearance. It’s as close as I could get for the colors to reflect about Cosmo's feathers which he had some yellow, white, gray/sliver feathers with his red-orange cheeks. It may be an odd color scheme, especially for a pet bird that I used to have, but I’m happy with how it turned out in the end.

  • I’ll continue to play with it from time to time to see how it performs with 1080p gaming or sometimes a backup computer when my main computer is being worked on. That is until I know a good friend or a family member who needs a computer than it'll be donated.

  • Thank you for reading my description. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions, and constructive criticism. I’ll correct any mistakes, typos, or if I forgot to mention something.

Comments

  • 18 months ago
  • 3 points

I've always enjoyed seeing your builds, and I'm sorry about your loss. If building this computer helped you cope with it, then that's a good thing, I would say. Great description and great pictures as always, +1

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey fn230! Thank you so much for your support and kind words. It means a lot coming from you and I feel the same way for your builds too. Always a pleasure to see your computers too.

  • 18 months ago
  • 3 points

Very clean looking build and a very great write up Eltech :)

Pictures are also looking very and so many of them! Nice!

Sorry to hear about your cockatiel though :(

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Very clean looking build and a very great write up Eltech :)

Pictures are also looking very and so many of them! Nice!

Thank you Radox! Your support and kind words is truly appreciative and it means a lot. I tried to use some of my new lighting equipment this time around. I hoped it helped a little because right now the natural lighting goes away too soon. (No Photoshop editing on these photos.)

Sorry to hear about your cockatiel though :(

Thank you. I may miss him at times, but I'm also grateful that I had him too.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Really cool project and a cool story! Thanks for sharing. +1

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you very much. I appreciate the support.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the white backplate! Could use more pics though.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm sorry about that. I did catch an extra photo that I didn't need here so photo #6 is a close-up shot with the GPU backplate inside the case already. I do have more photos, but I'm trying not to add everything I used to have.... 2,300+ photos is a bit overwhelming without seeming to go beyond 300 on a post which I'm trying not to do. lol

There are extra photos of the backplate which begins at photo #84.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Super cool build! I really like the back plate on your GPU.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you so much! I'm glad you like the backplate. I really love ColdZero's backplates, I was relief to select Layout 2 since half of the backplate is covered up by the CPU cooler.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

cool

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

thanks!!!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice work!

With so many photos it'd be nice to see a few more with the side panel on :)

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much!

With so many photos it'd be nice to see a few more with the side panel on :)

I added in a couple of more photos with the acrylic window panel. Photo numbers 9, 10, 165, and 166. Sorry that I didn't have too many of theses in different angles and I wasn't sure if others would want to see the panel, but a few more are on here now.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice. Clean, organized, and even dustless :D I love your Cosmo build. Great job on it! +1

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice. Clean, organized, and even dustless :D

I am sometimes like an Adrian Monk clean freak when I work on computers. I do wipe clean parts and certain parts of the case within and outside. Also my DataVac makes it easy to blow dust away.

I love your Cosmo build. Great job on it! +1

Aw... thank you, thank you! I appreciate your support very much. :)

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Ah, the Corsair 88R. I'd like to build something in that case sometimes.

Great build as always Eltech, very detailed description and pictures. I like the kind of details you put in here (as in your other builds).

It's a shame that many coolers can only be mounted vertically on AMD platforms, I tend to dislike that orientation, but I guess it was kinda needed in this case because of how close the ram slots are to the CPU socket.

Sorry to hear of your loss, a pet is always a great companion for life and, even though I never had one, I'm sure it's hard to say goodbye.

This would be a great starting build for anybody, so, if you're thinking of giving it away sometimes soon, maybe you might want to consider giving it to some family member or close friend, so you'll get to see it from time to time still, and be remembered of Cosmo :)

Great work, as always.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build as always Eltech, very detailed description and pictures. I like the kind of details you put in here (as in your other builds).

Thank you AlFred. I did my best here. I just had way too much overtime so I did my best to select the most recent photos as the build hasn't changed much since my last time installing the custom backplate on the GTX 1050 Ti.

It's a shame that many coolers can only be mounted vertically on AMD platforms, I tend to dislike that orientation, but I guess it was kinda needed in this case because of how close the ram slots are to the CPU socket.

You are correct, it truly a shame about AMD having this common orientation from many CPU coolers. The other two coolers I tried to attempt were capable of doing horizontal orientations, but my M9a backplate broke for the hexagon pillar to stay in place, thanks to my unsymmetrical motherboard. The Deepcool CPU cooler was just extremely wrong on how it was suppose to install with the default brackets for AMD format, as I can see the processor could be given way too much pressure against the heatsink.

I truly desired my M9a to work, but if I had maybe sent another $10 more on the motherboard I don't think I would had this issue. It's OK though for what I had to do at this point. Just not my most ideal method that I had intended originally.

Sorry to hear of your loss, a pet is always a great companion for life and, even though I never had one, I'm sure it's hard to say goodbye.

Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.

This would be a great starting build for anybody, so, if you're thinking of giving it away sometimes soon, maybe you might want to consider giving it to some family member or close friend, so you'll get to see it from time to time still, and be remembered of Cosmo :)

I'm glad you think so. Yes, that is the plan down the road so you certainly read my mind. When I know a friend or a family member needs a computer then that is where Cosmo is going to be.

Great work, as always.

Thank you for your support. I always appreciate them when it comes from you. :)

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build and memorial to your departed baby bird. Neat to see the changes and how you have improved the design. Thanks for posting your Cosmo build, Ellie.

Thumbs up.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for a late reply on my end. Getting ready for Christmas gets super busy as it's that time of year~

Great build and memorial to your departed baby bird. Neat to see the changes and how you have improved the design. Thanks for posting your Cosmo build, Ellie.

Thank you so much. I appreciate your support, always. I'm glad this was an interesting build and oh my goodness, it was changed so many times. I'm certainly happy with its final outcome. Thank you again so much as it means a lot coming from you.

I'll be posting some more builds after Christmas.
  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

I just read that last line. You've already finished more builds? Awesome.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I have one more. Eventually soon quite a few more, but who knows when I'll post those. A couple of them will be donated for certain.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

I just think it's fantastic you get to do something you love. Do you work on PCs fir a living?

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree with you. Being passionate about something you enjoy doing is worth pursuing. And I wish, but I don't. It's only a hobby.

  • 17 months ago
  • 2 points

Why haven't I seen this?! As usual, you always do an awesome job on your writeup and photos.

Sorry to heard about your pet. +1 :)

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Why haven't I seen this?! As usual, you always do an awesome job on your writeup and photos.

You are too kind Battlestar. Your compliments and lovely support is truly appreciated. I do my best and I'll aim to improve a little more each time.

Sorry to heard about your pet. +1 :)

Thank you. I am grateful for your kind words. Thank you, thank you.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

i looked on cold zero's website and it seems that they only supply backplates for higher end cards, which one did you buy?? i would love to know! Thanks a bunch!

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Coldzero recently updated their website, and it's taken them some time to re-display some of their GTX 1050 Tis (though certain GTX 1050s are not appearing anymore). I also think it depends which manufacturer they had ready, but they can most certainly accommodate any NVIDIA and AMD graphics if it's not showing (or they don't have) on the list of backplates.

Which GPU backplate were you searching for? I can help you search for it and if it's not on their website you can email and request about a custom backplate to your GPU's type, product number, and the dimensions from the back of the GPU. (They might ask for a scanned image of the GPU's back section so they know where the holes are exactly.)

The one I purchased no longer seems to exist but it's the same page and the correct model I had regardless. It seems they added in "FTW" on both of the backplates now.

What I purchased (now has FTW): Evga GTX 1050Ti FTW Gpu Backplate (Layout 2)

I'm certain if you wish to keep the "FTW" off and same for the "SC" text which you can request it by email. Or can also mention this in your "comment" section when you are placing an order. All the colors are changeable too to meet your needs (the base of the backplate, text, adding in your image if you have something you wish, etc.)

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, it seems the original link from my custom backplate of the GTX 1050 Ti I purchased is an error missing page.

Hopefully this link is OK:

They keep updating their website.
  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

when you want to rock that new look but still want to rock windows XP in 2018

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Exactly!

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