Building an "Enthusiast" Grade LGA 775 PC


Feb 3, 2018
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!

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