Discussion Building an "Enthusiast" Grade LGA 775 PC

prince_xaine

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Feb 3, 2018
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So last week I came up with a somewhat ridiculous idea. I wanted to build a powerful LGA775 gaming system. Now if you look around for a minute on YouTube or even in the forums, you'll find guides and evidence of people building LGA775 computers to save money. While most of the low-end parts cost next to nothing, and the best processors only costing between (in USD) $50.00 and $200.00 (depending on where you look), this is definitely a feasible method to get yourself into the water. However - what would happen if you took that same concept and went to the extreme? Building a fast computer out of decade old hardware - that became my mission.

And so I went to the first place that came into mind when I thought about how to get my hands on all of this obsolete junk - eBay. a Q6700 goes for about $20 on eBay but I had to do better than that. After searching around and looking at different options, I learned that some LGA771 processors worked in the LGA775 slot. So I looked into LGA771 to LGA775 modding and it turns out you can place a LGA771 modded Xeon processor into a LGA775 socket with very little effort. With the more intricate details aside, I bought myself a Xeon X5470 - used and already modded - for $40. Not bad. And because intel didn't separate locked processors from unlocked processors until next gen, I decided that the 3.33 GHz chip would just have to go over 4 GHz.

Unfortunately, the X5470 already has a TDP of 120W. Overclocking this processor is not only going to create a ton of heat as wasted power due to low efficiency, but it is also going to increase the TDP by about 15%. And with a thermal envelope of 63C, I needed a cooler that could keep it (at least somewhat close) to this limit. So I decided on getting the Noctua NH-D14 for the processor for a price of about $55. Two components into my venture and I was already near $100. There were somewhat better options out there (depending on who you ask) but the NH-D14 was the best value, with most of the other antique options being impossible to find or otherwise overpriced.

Next, I needed a motherboard that could push my overclock to 4 GHz. So after searching some 5-10 year old threads I found some answers on which motherboards to get. I already knew I needed a motherboard with good power delivery for my overclock, but again - due to the age of the system I was trying to build, it was hard to find a good deal on a decent board. Many of the more "extreme" motherboards were well over $100, some even hitting $200. Yikes. So I settled with a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R P45 for $90. With a decent power delivery on this motherboard, I knew my dream of 4 GHz just might come true.

Then I picked up a power supply I had bought last year and figured out what card I should use from my inventory that wouldn't go over the limit. As it turns out, the power supply was 200W more than I thought it was - a Rosewill Glacier 700W 80+ Bronze model - so I figured, why not just throw in the best card I have on hand and see how the processor holds up? So I decided on the AMD Sapphire R9 Fury 4G card I basically stole off eBay for $100.

For OS storage I decided on the Samsung 850 Evo 500 GB and the Western Digital Blue 1 TB (WD10EZEX) HDD for games. With SATA II being this board's interface - I figured it would bring some interestingly (slow) results.

Last, I got a decent cheap tower I haven't tried yet for $59 - a Daven A540.

So the grand total for this PC was an excruciating cost of $631, with the question being - can it run Crysis...?


Stay tuned to see how my build turns out!
 

prince_xaine

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So here are the final specs:

Chassis: Daven A540 ($60)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R P45 ($90)
Processor: Intel Xeon X5470 @4.15 GHz ($40)
Graphics: Gigabyte Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB ($150)
Memory: 4x4 GB DDR2 PC5300 667 @1008 MHz ($50)
Storage: Samsung 850 Evo 500GB ($85)
Storage: Western Digital Blue 1 TB ($35)
Power: Rosewill Glacier 700W 80+ Bronze ($60)
Total Cost: $570

Now as this isn't the original build I must explain why these changes were necessary.

- The original graphics card I intended to use - R9 Fury 4G - for some reason was not working well in games (maybe due to compatibility issues with the old intel system?) so I had to swap out for a somewhat cheap but similar alternative. This landed me a Gigabyte GTX 1060 6GB.

- The original memory I intended to use - Corsair Dominator 1066 MHz 4x2GB modules (8 GB total) did not like to be overclocked at all - even with raised voltage and adjusted timings. Thus I had to swap out for more generic DDR2 memory (I actually had it on hand) which overclocks fine to the same timings and speed - with an additional 8 GB of memory. It was sad though, losing the cool look of those old modules. All well.

- Beforehand, and the main reason this took so long, is due to the fact I could not get Windows 10 to install on this machine. All of the hardware checked out in other machines, in which I finally figured out that due to the age of the last BIOS update (Pre-2010), it needed a more modern microcode update. I installed a 2015 Bios update for the X5470 by modifying the BIOS microcode, and I was good to go.


Overall, the system performs well considering the age. Tomorrow I will be monitoring several games and I will place the results here. For now, here is a benchmark :)



To demonstrate the power of a more modern machine vs this one, here is a result from a system running a i7-3770K and a GTX 1080 Ti


As you can see, the machine definitely shows it's age when compared to a high-end machine, was this a waste of money...?
 
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