This build is titled Spare Parts because of its nature. My friends were throwing out their old systems so I took what I could to make a full working computer. If I hadn't all of these parts would probably be in a landfill somewhere.
It's far from the most powerful computer ever build but it's more than enough to play my games and run all of my applications. Some of the parts may look familiar from my Frankin-Computer build. All of the peripherals, the graphics card and the power supply were reused. The hard drive was also reused but was formatted and now stores footage from Shadow-play.
That little dew-dad sitting on top of the PSU is a temperature monitor. It is connected to the red exhaust fan at the top of the case. The fan originally used a molex connector and I wanted to use it because of it's high airflow. So I modified the fan and dropped a simple but reliable circuit in between the power and the fan. It's sensing the air temps at the bottom of the case which is where the heat from the GPU tends to build up. This is also the air that is difficult to move out of the case. Having the fan speed up when it senses higher temps actually helps keep the overall temps down.
Reviews for the custom parts
Speakers: Creative Inspire T2900 is a 2.1 sound system that uses a 3.5mm jack as its input. It has a wired remote that lets you control the bass ratio and the volume with two knobs. It can also accept a second input through the remote and also has an output for headphones. I've been hearing a lot of interference coming from the speakers ever since I forced the memory to run at its proper speed.
Headset: Before I had these I was using some generic one ear with a boom mic setup that used the 3.5mm jacks on the front of the computer. Then I switched to some turtle beach X12s but the cord was so long that I would frequently run over it with my chair. They also picked up interference from my cell phone any time I got a text or call, in other words: complete garbage. Now I'm using a set of Wireless HS-1200 that I got used off of Amazon for $10 cheaper than its listed price. They sound outstandingly good for their price and can reach down as far as 30Hz (at least that's as low as I can hear anything). The mic is a much better quality than what was on the generic headset or the turtle beaches. They have a pretty respectable range that is only offset by the fact that my computer is at the far side of the house from everything else. They hold a charge for about 5 to 6 hours depending on how loud I turn them up. I could probably boost the range with a 2.4GHz repeater that I'm looking into to help with the Wi-Fi dead zones in the house.
Monitor: The HP w19b is a monitor that came with an older computer, it was actually the original monitor for Frankin-computer back when it was new. It has very good color quality and a respectable brightness, but it's surface is glossy so it reflects pretty much everything during the day time.
The i5-2500K is an older processor but it is still very capable. I got mine overclocked to 4GHz very easily just by changing its multiplier. I tried pushing it to 4.5 but she wasn't having it. 4.3 seems to be the threshold of stability because sometimes the system will boot and sometimes it won't. I've kept power saving features on however because I like having it wind down to a lower clock when it is idle to save some power.
The Deepcool GAMMAXX 300 was listed in the other system build but never arrived from Newegg. They refunded it and I was able to get that computer cooler through other means. I did order it for this system because I was curious about its performance and it didn't disappoint. The 400 would have kept it cooler but apparently wouldn't have fit in the case. This cooler is a tad loud when the CPU gets hotter but I rarely notice since I'm usually in game.
The motherboard and RAM came with the processor as a bundle. For whatever reason the motherboard keeps trying to run the RAM at 1333 speeds when set to auto so I've had to force it into 1600 mode. This initially caused some stability issues that seems to have gone away. There is some strange audio hiccup coming from the rear audio out that sounds like interference. As odd as it sounds but I can also hear data being moved around the RAM. I'm not sure if this is a motherboard or RAM issue but I originally thought it was just the hard drives. After removing both of the HDD I was still hearing this noise.
The motherboard VRMs don’t come with head sinks installed so I took a block of scrap aluminum and fashioned some heat sinks for them. The TIM is Arctic Silver 5 (same for the CPU and GPU) since it is non-conductive I wasn’t concerned about a short. The heat sinks are held on with some bolts and nylon washers.
Only two of the case fan headers allow for variable speed. Their speed is set in the BIOS and is constant regardless of temps. The other two just run at full speed.
Contrary to what PCPP says, this motherboard does have a single USB 3.0 header at the bottom for front mounted USB ports.
This SSD was listed as $40 on Amazon and I wanted an SSD for some faster boot speeds and because I was having issues with Windows where a full OS reinstall was necessary. I wanted to remove the OS from the data so that I didn't lose everything with each install. This is far from the fastest SSD on the market but I have noticed faster boot and shutdown times and updates now install in a matter of seconds rather than minutes like before.
This HDD has lasted for over 5 years of near constant use. Only downside is its low capacity.
Bought this for storing games to take over for the 500GB Seagate that I had. I wanted something new that would last a long time. It's nearly filled now, I should have gotten a 2TB.
This case comes with a single 120mm fan in the rear for exhaust, but it barely moves any air.
There is space behind the motherboard for cable management but not much, some connectors are pushing out on the side panel and it has to be forced on. The runs for CPU power at the top of the motherboard is extremely narrow and not a comfortable fit at all.
The front has some sound dampening and a dust filter that can hold two 120mm fans. Like most of the case, the fans simply clip into place.
Power supply has its own dust filter and is easy to remove but is a bit more difficult to get back in.
The top of the case comes with perforations for some reason but doesn't have mounting holes for fans or a radiator. After some drilling I was able to get some 120mm fans installed but not comfortably. They are fighting for space with the motherboard.
Airflow near the bottom of the case is very poor, even with the power supply fan side up. Adding the front fans helped slightly but GPU temps still get much higher than I would like to see and there is a noticeable amount of heat buildup. Removing the side panel after a stress test lets you feel all the heat that the GPU is bathing in.
Considering its price point there are definitely some other things that should have been done IMO.
This PSU has a bad rep, but it hasn't blown up and hasn't fried my system yet.
Windows 10 doesn't support Blu-Ray playback but with some third party software I'm able to watch my videos with no problem. The drive is a bit on the loud side while it's running.
WINDOWS, WHY DON'T YOU SUPPORT BLU-RAY PLAYBACK?!
Not the exact fan in my system but it's the closest match.
Normally it uses power through a MOLEX connector and is extremely loud. I cut the wire and dropped in a custom circuit for regulating speed based on temp. I put the circuit with the temp sensor ad the bottom of the case where most of the heat builds up. Since this fan has much higher airflow than the other fans it helps pull out the heat more quickly. It also allows it to run much more quietly than normal, only getting loud while the GPU is under significant load.
Very nice illumination. It's not overpowering like other case fans manage to achieve. It's a bit loud at full speed but at about half speed it is whisper quiet. The corners are rubberized for sound dampening, and they move a respectable amount of air.
Low color quality and low resolution. Even compared to the other monitor of the same resolution, the picture looks fuzzy. The only real thing this monitor is used for is watching videos while in bed and (sometimes) surround gaming.
Sharp color quality and very bright back light with little bleeding.
Wireless keyboard and mouse allowing me to lay in bet and watch shows. Only wish the keyboard used AA instead of AAA