When I build I tend to insert parts into an old computer as a way to build in stages, so that's what's happened here. It's only my second build and I was actually working on this machine for my job until less than a year ago. It's only when you upgrade that you can see the difference in performance. However, with the new parts here a 6+ year old AMD CPU with 6GB of RAM isn't too bad as an HTPC.
Upgraded parts are the SSD, PSU and GPU. Probably could have saved money on the SSD and PSU but I'm thinking ahead to this eventually being an mITX rig. Could have spent a bit more on a graphics card but I really just wanted to save money and get something that would fit into an mITX chassis. Also, the old case fan would have needed a Molex power supply so I installed one I'd got for free when buying something else.
Mainly it's for my girlfriend to watch movies on while she's off work. Gameswise... Super Meat Boy plays great, there was control lag on the GT220. GTA V plays great with the settings turned down, using Fraps it says the average is 65fps but to get that both CPU and GPU get up to 100%. I've added a screenshot of the GPU stats while playing GTA V.
Cable management-wise I haven't done any. My excuses include... The case has the PSU at the top so the SATA power cables are all upside down. The case isn't great for cable management generally. The old HDD is stuck in the bottom slot so I can't take it out or move it. And, I didn't want to waste cable ties, I'll use them in the mITX.
This will end up being a budget/mid HTPC. I'd like to stay with #teamred if there ends up being some cheap mITX boards for the new Ryzen CPUs that are actually available to buy.
I just wanted to post this as an example of upgrading an old computer on a budget. The SSD speeds everything up a lot and GPU upgrade makes games much more playable.
EDIT: I've recently upgraded the HDD and moved it into a new chassis. It works fine but something definitely gets noisy, probably the CPU cooler. That's an easy/affordable thing to upgrade.
EDIT2: Upgraded the CPU cooler to an AIO liquid cooler. Much quieter with the fan in the box, awaiting two new radiator fans for a push/pull that might be even quieter. That's it now until replacing the CPU/mobo/RAM.
Good SSD. Good migration and magician software. Good price. Happy!
Good for the money.
Small for an ATX case but still pretty big. GPU connects to the mobo via a cable. If the GPU is not very long the supports will not be in the right place, my GPU is short so it's just screwed into the bay and not supported. 3.5" bays are plastic, "no screw" and located close to the PSU which is very convenient. Note... requires an SFX form factor power supply, a larger PSU will not fit. Taken a star off due to cable management being non existent and the airflow could be better.