Son's PC to play CS:GO, COD:W@W, and Team Fortress.

Had to replace my son's power supply so I decided to take it apart and do some case mods to improve cooling and redo the cable management. Had a Rocketfish (Huntkey) 700w PSU that I bought back in 2010 for $70 because it was semi modular and had a LED fan that I thought my son would like. When people say don't buy junk PSUs listen to them. Although it survived 6 years it toasted two pins on the 24 pin connector inside the motherboard's ATX connector. The PC started to shutdown randomly or crash for two months until last week it wouldn't even start. I started swapping parts to determine the issue and when I finally unplugged the ATX power cable there was melted plastic inside the motherboard's ATX connector. I chipped at with a sewing needle and was able to get most of the plastic out. I dropped in a Corsair RM 550x PSU that I already had on hand but was too lazy to install.

I have built my own PCs since 2000. Mainly because I was cheap and I liked being able to pick my own parts. However, in the last two years I have started to stop buying the cheapest thing I can get my hands on and actually put together systems that use quality components. I have also become more cooling and noise conscious so I have really put in extra time to maximize air flow while decreasing noise. I used to plug every fan cutout with a 2000 RPM fan but realized that I was blowing air around without increasing cooling and creating a lot of noise for nothing. I mounted the SSD to the floor and added an adapter for the SSHD right above it to keep the airflow going straight through the GPU.

This case design is so old that it has no wire management skills. So I basically tried to pull everything behind the drive cage in parallel lines. Front panel was wired under the PSU and motherboard. Fan cables were wrapped and hidden following straight lines on motherboard. SATA cables were short so they were twist tied to the holes on edge of motherboard tray. I will probably cover that edge up with a corrugated cable cover used to hide wires on the desktop. Otherwise I can't think of anything else to do to clean it up.

So in addition to the PSU, I replaced the CM EVO 212+ fan with a Cougar 120mm PWM 1600 RPM. Thinking that it would give better cooling at lower RPM and noise. However, I swapped out a standard CM 120 mm 1200 RPM 3 Pin case fan for the cooler's original fan. Since it is a PWM fan I attached it to a splitter off of the CPU Fan header on the motherboard that only spins up on high when needed. That fan is mounted to the top forward position of the case as intake with a Silverstone mesh filter. I snipped out the honeycomb to increase air flow on the filter. On the front of the case I snipped off the case and another Silverstone's restrictive honeycomb to increase air for a CM Excalibur PWM fan that I had laying around and connected that to a GPU splitter off of the 7950. The rear fan is an exhaust fan that runs at 1200 RPM and was included with the case. I might put an exhaust fan on the side panel to exhaust the GPU air more quickly but I haven't done that yet. In the rear I don't use any PCIe covers to allow GPU exhaust heat to flow out.

Most parts were either bought used from ebay, spare parts, credit cards rewards and couldn't resist sales at Newegg, Amazon and Microcenter to put this together.

11/25/2016 - Added a Phanteks PH140HP2 fan to replace the Cougar. Much quieter and much cooler than stock or Cougar. Also added a Intel 7260 mPCIe card to a PCIe adapter with Asus magnetic external antenna.

02/11/2017 - Replaced Keyboard, Mouse, and Headset - Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire, Razer Naga Chroma, and Logitech G633.

Part Reviews


CPU | 11-07-2013 | ebay : Used, basic overclock to 3.52 GHz with Turbo to 4.16 GHz and Offset Voltage of .0625v

CPU Cooler

CPU Cooler | 08-10-2009 | Microcenter : Replaced fan with Cougar 120mm 1600 PWM but wound up using the original case fan as an intake anyway; cools CPU under 60C with overclock


Motherboard | 11-14-2013 | ebay : Used, great P55 motherboard that offers full speed SATA 6Gbps and USB 3 ports where other motherboards split the PCIe lanes between them if they even offered it; ASRock fan modulation sucks and it still sucks on even the latest platforms. But otherwise great value.


Memory | 09-11-2015 | Amazon Warehouse : Open box and used credit card rewards to purchase; Heat spreaders are tall and many coolers would not be compatible; has low overclocking potential only goes to 1892 Mhz


Storage 1 | 10-24-2012 | Amazon : used, pull from an old laptop that was retired, the SSD that started Samsung's dominance!


Storage 2 | 10-24-2012 | Dell : used, pull from another old laptop that was retired

Video Card

Video Card | 09-16-2015 | : used, BIOS replaced with 7970 GHz Edition version and running at 1.105 Ghz; hot and loud after BIOS ups the voltage and speed.


Case | 04-03-2010 | Microcenter : doesn't get any cheaper than this, but you get what you pay for, would like to replace with a Phanteks P400S if I don't replace this whole thing outright

Power Supply

PSU | 11-10-2015 | : $69.99 after rebate used credit card rewards to purchase; quiet with the fan never running

Operating System

Best Windows ever...well since Windows NT 4.0.

Wireless Network Adapter

Wireless PCIe | 08-31-2016 | Amazon: Used a miniPCIe 7260 with a Fenvi PCIe adapter, Asus 2T2R magnetic antenna remote mount, provides 250 to 500 Mbps to a Nighthawk R7000 router. Also provides Bluetooth.

Case Fan

CPU Cooler | 08-10-2009 | Microcenter : Old fan fro Hyper 212+ now being used as an intake on PWM splitter with CPU fan from Phanteks. Loud at full speed which is why I replaced it with the Phanteks.

Case Fan

Case Fan 2 | 08-10-2009 | Microcenter : Looked cool when I bought it, is loud at max speed but is PWM

Case Fan

CPU Fan | 09-21-2016 | Amazon : Quiet and great replacement for any 120mm tower heatsink as the fan's mounts are 120mm on a 140mm frame. Keeps the CPU much cooler and with a lot less noise.


Monitor | 08-01-2014 | Staples : Going out of business sale; basic IPS 60 Hz monitor

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Breathing life back into the old girl.

Thumbs up.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I was nervous that the motherboard was dead because that meant I probably would have moved on to a newer platform maybe Haswell.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah those two terminals looked terrible.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Nicely done; a build after my own heart. I just retired my 775 w/771 mod platform that had evolved from C2D 7300 to 8500 to Xeon 5450. Still using an identical HSF combo to yours. Now I want to give your fan splitter technique a go.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, that is an amazing coincidence. Before I bought the i7 it had a C2D 8400 Wolfdale. I then sold the motherboard and RAM to a user on that was going to put the same Xeon in it with the mod. It was a Gigabyte EP45-UD3L. I think those chips were selling for $60 at the time.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the complements. All of my builds use older parts. Mine which is also a Plex server still used a Phenom II X2 555 unlocked and overclocked to X4 3.7 Ghz, with a 7950 too. The beauty of PCs are the iterative changes you make over time.

I should have added the GPU PWM splitter as a custom part. It is from HK. I had to drill a hole in the fan shroud in all of my cards to fit it over the GPU PWM plug. It works great with the case fan. Only powers up when it needs fresh air while gaming. All of my builds now have PWM controlled intake fans separate for CPU and GPU.

Coupon code BTS10 and free shipping till the end of the month.