Description

This is a little Craigslist build that I did for my little brother's 11th birthday. He has been gaming on a base model HP laptop with an AMD APU in it. He was getting about 12 FPS on unturned with lowest settings. He's been dying for an upgrade. Now he gets almost 60 on medium settings!

So, I got the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and GPU as a package deal from some kid off Craigslist. I got him down to $120, which means $30 for each piece. I think that I got a pretty good deal! I also got a junk case with the deal, which was trashed. The CD drive was thrown in as well, but those are dirt cheap anyway. Everything was super dusty, but there does not seem to be anything wrong with the hardware, other than the missing SATA on the MB, but it all works well and is pretty fast on the SSD. Also, the Fractal Focus G mini is a pretty cool little case! It's a budget case sure, but it has a lot of room behind the MB and quality materials. The HDD light is stupid bright, so this will likely be his night light. The case is filtered everywhere which was a must for him. And he also needed a CD drive because a lot of his older games are on disc. I wish the case came in other colors, but the RGB kit makes up for it.

This is my first AMD build, so I don't know much about the processor. But 6 "cores" should be good for my bro for a while. The Hyper 212 keeps it super cold, at least in my basement. Even on RealBench, the CPU never got over 50C. I thought AMDs were hot? The HD 6970 GPU is strange, I guess because I am used to GeForce stuff. It uses a ridiculous amount of power to accomplish something about on par with a GTX 1050(?) It puts out some heat too, hence the name. And it sagged something awful, so I made a little black lego brace for it. It sits on top of the drive cage and holds the end of the GPU so the card is level. Looks a lot better.

Wish the cable management was better, but what can you do with a non-modular PSU? I did my best and I think it looks okay. Either way, my bro will love it. Also, the "fan controlling" on the motherboard has to be a joke. All the case fans are basically maxed out all the time. The CPU fan changes some, but not a lot. I don't think he will mind the noise but I can always get a fan controller for the other 5.25 bay.

Not much else to say, but I think it will last him a couple years. Maybe Santa will bring him a 1050Ti or his older brother's 1060? Who knows. He does not have the best track record when it comes to taking care of things, so I would rather he destroy this before I get him a 1050 or something. I would also like to get a modular PSU of course. But we will see how he treats it.

Hope y'all enjoy! Let me know what you think and ask any questions you have. NOTE: anything listed as $0 I already had in my junkyard. Prices in USD.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Works great and will for years. Kinda ugly, but performance makes up for it.

Motherboard

BIOS sucks. Fan "control" sucks. But it was cheap and works. I am just spoiled by my Asus UEFI.

Case

For the price, this thing is sweet. It's small, but not too small. It's built well and has captive thumbscrews too! Cable management space is great, thanks to the bump out back panel, and the included fans are pretty quiet. The only real issue I have is the stupid bright HDD light, but that's as simple as unplugging it.

Operating System

Windows 10 is here to stay, might as well learn to like it. I think it's pretty good, but Windows wouldn't be Windows without strange issues here and there. Somehow, it activated itself on my secondhand motherboard! No complaints there.

Case Fan

Loud. Both in air noise, and motor noise. I took these out of my personal build because it drove me nuts. But the lights are pretty.

Comments

  • 25 months ago
  • 5 points

I think you did well for the $.

"This is my first AMD build, so I don't know much about the processor. But 6 "cores" should be good for my bro for a while. The Hyper 212 keeps it super cold, at least in my basement. Even on RealBench, the CPU never got over 50C."

Good find. The 6 core FX isn't that bad on thermals, and the 212 is a good cooler. It's the FX 9000 series that was infamously bad and pretty much ruined the whole platform's rep. It also came out at a time where having a bazillion cores didn't do much for people, and the performance per core mattered a ton more.

"The HD 6970 GPU is strange, I guess because I am used to GeForce stuff. It uses a ridiculous amount of power to accomplish something about on par with a GTX 1050(?)"

Yeah, I wouldn't necessarily exclude this to AMD either. It's an older GPU and they draw more. But upper end AMD stuff is especially power hungry, no matter the gen.

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the info! I think the 6350 is triple-core, 6-thread but either way it's better than the dual-core laptop chip he's coming from. And relating to the GPU, I just don't know how to compare AMD products to Nvidia products performance wise. I do think that it is cool to literally see how far computer hardware has come.

  • 24 months ago
  • 3 points

Yeah it gets messy when you start talking about modules and stuff.

At the time the HD 6000s were out, Nvidia was doing their GTX 400/500 series with Fermi. Both cards were pretty demanding.

I would say when Nvidia released maxwell in 2014, they really pulled ahead in performance per watt. That's thanks to the die shrinks and better performance per CUDA.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the name of the build "Space Heater" lol. For the price you paid you did decently and for cable management there are tie down points behind the motherboard tray near the cut out holes to tie cables down as you route them around the case. You should be able to tie down the sata power connector going up to the optical drive. Nice choice on case though and getting another white LED fan for the back for cohesion was nice too. I am a bit more partial to Fractal Design cases because of their build quality and for the most part minimalistic aesthetics, not to mentions the features they have.

As for the missing SATA port I am going to guess the old owner didn't know that some SATA cables have clips on them you need to press to release them and perhaps just brute forced it instead.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree that there is defiantly more work to be done on the cables. But I am also waiting to see how he treats the machine before I invest more time in it. Also, it could be a good learning opportunity for him.

Thanks for the kind words though!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

I saw your comment on the Fractal case page on PCP.

Damn, you weren't kidding about the bright HDD light. JFC that's aviation grade brightness.

Edit: Sweet budget build though. :)

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Ha! Aviation grade for sure. Thank you!