I was lucky enough to get two nice pieces of machinery given to me earlier this summer: A Dell Optiplex 980 (Small Form Factor) and a GeForce GTX470 graphics card with an aftermarket Zalman cooler. Encouraged by recent Steam sales, I set out to make a budget PC capable of playing new-ish games with cost as the key factor. The 980 came with a decent processor for its age–an i7-860 at 2.8GHz–and 8GB of RAM.
Originally I thought this would entail swapping the stock video card and getting a new power supply to provide enough juice. I went with the Corsair CX600. I got a riser to connect the video card outside of the case, since the Zalman cooler is about as big as the SFF case itself. Dell’s proprietary power supply configuration meant I had to get an adapter and reconfigure the pinout to supply the correct power, and after a couple weeks, this brought about the end of the $35 gaming PC dream: one of the pins I reconfigured came loose and fried the Dell motherboard. I’d have to invest a little more money to get something useable.
Getting a non-Dell motherboard meant I could scrap the weird power supply setup, so I got a used Intel DP55WB and tried to install it in a larger Dell Optiplex 960 MT case (again, trying to save money whenever possible). This time everything fit in the case, but the mATX motherboard was not meant to fit in the proprietary Dell case, and in trying to cram it in, I fried another mobo. Fun!
Deciding that I should just bite the bullet and make a computer that works, I invested in a Rosewill Ranger case, an ASUS P7P55-M motherboard, and a Cooler Master Hyper TX3 fan–the i7-860 is after all a popular processor for overclocking. This time taking extreme caution with my motherboard and power, and testing all components, I got things up and running!
See below for PCPartsPicker.com build sheet, not including the pile of dead parts left in my wake–I’m chalking those up to gaining experience. Everything I bought was pretty heavily discounted (sometimes via rebates) and I’m really enjoying the computer overall. I mostly play Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Rome 2: Total War.
CPU: Intel Core i7-860 2.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($0.00)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99)
Motherboard: Asus P7P55-M Micro ATX LGA1156 Motherboard ($54.99)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($0.00)
Storage: Toshiba 160GB 2.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($0.00)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 470 1.25GB Video Card ($0.00)
Case: Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($42.99)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($37.99)
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-09-03 15:54 EDT-0400