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.
|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)|
|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|
|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:
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.