I decided to finally build a new gaming PC. I had built just one PC prior to this one, and that was over 10 years ago. The specs for that one were:

  • Antec Sonata Case
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz w/HT (Prescott
  • 2 GB DDR2 memory
  • ATI Radeon 9600XT 128 mb Graphics Card
  • Samsung 120 GB 7200 RPM HDD

I decided I was going to use the same case for this build. The original Antec Sonata is over 10+ years old, but those cases were built really well, and I am attached to it. So going in, I knew cable management and cooling might be an issue. Cooling was an issue with the Pentium 4, but I wasn't sure going in how a Skylake processor would stay cool in this case.

I bought all the parts back in late February/early March this year. Originally, I wanted to get an i5-6600k and OC it with the MSI z170A Sli Plus board, but I found a Core i5-6500 at Frys on a one day promo code deal for $175, so I went that way instead.

I had this build running for about a little less than a month when the motherboard unexpectedly died on me. About two weeks ago, I woke up one morning to find that the board would not post. The MSI CPU debug light was lit. I tried every way I could think of to boot from a USB and reset the BIOS but it was completely gone. In retrospect, two days prior to that I couldn't view my CPU fan speed anymore in the BIOS or in HW Monitor. So maybe that was a signal it was dieing.

Another cause could've been this recent Microsoft Windows Update issue where some users have had a Lenovo H110 chipset BIOS update pushed to them, which has bricked their boards. I actually did a shut down and install Windows Updates the night prior to my motherboard dieing on me. I don't know if I had a BIOS pushed to me or not. But there have been multiple posts on Reddit, Asus Forums, and Microsoft forums about this issue.

So I RMA'd the board to MSI, and per MSI's RMA policy for Graphics Cards and Motherboards, they were gonna send me a refurbished board. I was a little frustrated, as I just bought a board brand new, had it die, then receive a refurbished board to use with all my new components. I received the board 2 days after I was notified they received the defective board.

I decided to use the board they sent me. But if this one dies on me, I will contact them and demand that they send me a brand new board free of charge. If they refuse, I will buy a brand new motherboard from another brand.

I spent a few hours putting this all back together and so far its running pretty well.

I used Artic Silver 5 because I had to remount the CPU heatsink and fan. Temps are slightly 1-2 degrees higher at idle now than when they were when I originally installed the heatsink and fan with stock intel paste, but its still fairly cool at idle (26-27 degrees C). I also have read that Artic Silver might take some time to settle and the temps might be a little higher initially, but I will monitor and figure that out.

I also figured out why my motherboard wasn't reading the CPU fan speed. The wire from the fan itself appears to be cut or the solder is not good enough. The refurbished board MSI sent me isn't reading the CPU fan speed either. Not a big deal, but if the temps do get to be a problem, I will just buy an Evo and throw it on there and that should fix any issues.

I used my original Antec Sonata Case. Really, I probably should've just gone with a new case instead of using a 10+ year old case. It is kinda crappy for cable managing stuff and I'll have to redo most of it whenever I get my blu ray drive. I kinda just stuffed most of it in the 5.25 bays.

I think whenever down the road, hopefully this lasts me a while, but whenever I decide to go with a brand new build, I will get a case from Fractal.

Full specs:

  • Antec Sonata I Case (2003-2004ish)
  • Intel Core i5-6500 3.2 GHZ CPU (I think I still can OC the base clock on the MSI board; I don't think MSI has patched it up yet, but if I do, the stock heatsink and fan will not do)
  • MSI z170A SLI Plus refurbished
  • Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2133 MHz 16 GB
  • Sapphire R9 380 Nitro OC 4 GB (This was sort of a best card for space in the case decision. I don't think this case could handle 10 inch+ cards, even if I remove the 2nd case fan on the HD bay.)
  • Asus PCE-N53 wireless card (Tons of people have had issues with this, but I constantly get 300 MBPS on my 5 GHz wifi)
  • Western Digital Blue 1 GB 7200 RPM HDD
  • Samsung 120 GB 7200 RPM HDD (2003-2004ish; hard drive for my old gaming PC, disconnected in pics)
  • Rosewell CapstoneM 750 W Power Supply
  • 2 Antec 120 MM smart case fans (2004-2005ish)

Future plans:

  • Blu Ray Drive
  • Kingston HyperX m.2 PCI-E x4 SSD (Good SSD and wouldn't require additional cables cluttering the case)
  • 1080p Gaming Monitor

In the pics, the dual fans on the R9 380 aren't running. This is because certain Sapphire Cards have a 0 db cooling solution when temps are low, so the fans don't spin. The card runs fairly cool though, idling at about 41-42 degrees C, and doesn't get above 58-59 degrees C under load. Of course I haven't fully pushed this thing just yet, but it still runs pretty cool.

Part Reviews


Runs very cool with the stock cooler. Has handled everything I've thrown at it.


Good looking board. I didn't need something flashy looking with a bunch of LEDs, and this matte black finish looks amazing. Unfortunately, I did have to RMA my brand new board. The refurbished one does its job so far.


Great memory. XMP support was recognized right away and it performs at its rated specs. Kingston has always been my go to choice for memory. The black look matches the motherboard.


Went with a HDD for now. Will get a m.2 PCI-E SSD eventually.

Video Card

Great card. At 9.3 inches, has no problems fitting into my case. If I went with a newer case, I probably went with a more higher end card, but this has handled everything I've thrown it so far and it stays pretty cool.

Power Supply

Used the same PS from my old build. Didn't have too many hours on it.

Wireless Network Adapter

Cheap Wireless Card. Does the job. Get constant 300 MBPS on my 5 GHz WiFi.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for the great jump from Pentium 4 to Skylake

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

The pentium 4 build lasted me over 10 years and actually still runs. When I had to RMA my motherboard, I put the old build back together and grabbed some of my files off my hard drive using a bootable Linux USB.

If this build lasts me anywhere close to that (motherboard aside because of the issues), I will be very happy.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build. Stepping up from the pentium 4 is a massive improvement!


  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

I originally installed the heatsink and fan with stock intel paste, but its still fairly cool at idle (26-27 degrees C). I also have read that Artic Silver might take some time to settle and the temps might be a little higher initially, but I will monitor and figure that out.

It takes Artic Silver 5 to cure in about 200 hours to be fully effective. If it is properly used that is. That is why others may prefer a more instantaneous idle/under load temps, such as Arctic's MX-2 or slightly better is their MX-4.
Nicely done with such an upgrade. I am also very sorry to hear about your motherboard issues. Thanks for sharing your build and may you enjoy it very much.
  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing jump from the Pentium 4. Nice job!