Question Ultra Budget Gaming Rig Questions?

Jan 13, 2021
Hi All,

Being quite a young 16-year-old hardware enthusiast, and thus having only a preciously small amount of money to sped on the hobby, I have managed to build my first personal use gaming system. I spent years saving up the £50 I needed searching for free hardware and to find someone stupid enough to sell me the hardware I needed at a price I could afford.

All in all I am quite impressed with my results. I got lucky when I finally found a free desktop PC with an i7 4770 and 8GB of ram, an amazing price for a GPU and cannibalized household appliances for cheap essentials.

The PC consists of:

i7 4770 (locked)
Dell OptiPlex 3020 motherboard
Dell OptiPlex 3020 Case (so heavily modified that it is no longer recognisable)
Dell OptiPlex 3020 250W Gold PSU
Ancient HP XW 6600 650W White PSU (with internal modifications and repairs after its 14 years of service)
2TB HDDs (ripped from old sky boxes along with their sata cables)
8GB 1600Mhz ram
OEM CPU cooler
R9 290 AMD GPU (got it for £10)
1080p Monitor (left for dead because someone "stepped" on it) Works normally.

PC works fine, amazing value for me. The performance on games like Cyberpunk 2077 is simply out of this world at medium settings at this price point. An R9 290 is just the best value for money ever with AAA titles.

Recently I acquired £450 worth of water-cooling components for £20 so I though that I could resell some of it and make a water-cooling loop with the rest for my PC (2 Thermaltake D5 Pacific Reservoir RGB Pumps, two 480mm Coolstream XE EK radiators and a lot of fittings). However, it was missing a CPU water block (among other things) so I built my own using a 3D printer and some scrap copper with perfect perforations.


Unfortunately, I got the threading wrong so sadly it won't fit with my nice Phanteks fittings and I can't test it. Fusion 360 has a nice little threading tool but no matter how hard I have tried, I have been unable to find out exactly what details to put into the tool to get the correct standard 1/4 inch water-cooling fitting threading. If someone knows what I am talking about and if they have the details about the threading which I need, I would be grateful for some help.

Furthermore, I have also printed a delidding tool which was successfully tested on a different haswell chip. I intend to use the tool to delid my i7.


The problem is that my i7 is a locked chip and it doesn't thermal throttle with my current cooler anyway so any effort towards improving the cooling is completely pointless as there will be no performance bump. However, I am aware that locked CPUs can be overclocked anyway if you start messing with the clock generator rather than the locked multiplier, regardless of the motherboard chipset. That is, so long as you have the clock generator. However, my motherboard is a cheap dell OEM motherboard and, despite scouring it for the small crystal, I have been unable to find a clock generator. I don't even really know what I am looking for. However, I did download SetFSB and tried every single clock generator on it to see if any would work. Nothing. There is no point in me wasting precious money on cooling when it wouldn't make a difference anyway, so the ability to overclock the CPU is vital. Especially considering that I will need every clock I can get out of the chip given that I am almost certainly running into CPU bottlenecking in Cyberpunk. There has been a lot of back and forth about if it is possible to overclock on OEM boards on forums and I am pretty sure that it's possible. I just need that sainted clock generator.

A while back I overclocked an i5 2600k past the 5Ghz boundary to prevent it bottlenecking a GTX 970. Given that this i7 boosts to even higher than the i5 before overclocking, I have high hopes for breaking the boundary again, as inscribed on my CPU water block "Aut 5 Ghz, Aut Nillus." Therefore, if anyone can help me overclock this chip through any means at all, I would be very grateful.

The motherboard is the Dell OptiPlex 3020 SSF H81 OEM model. Ref IMG below.


Dell PN: 7DM3J ,Rev:A00


DIH81R/Tigris SSF MB
12125 - 1M

The motherboard also has printed on it:

X1 : 25MHZ
X2 : 25MHZ

The FSB Crystal (shiny long metal thing) has this printed on it:


A black chip nearest to the CPU has this printed on it:


If I know the clock generator, I can manipulate the base clock which the multiplier increases by and thus overclock the chip.

To give you an idea of what we are dealing with, below is a pic of the entire PC in her full glory as of yet.


Quite magnificent. I very much look forward to adding water-cooling and delidding it once I get overclocking with the CPU. Sadly, GPU overclocking is not possible because, while the 250W PSU feeds the motherboard, the upper PSU (yes I have 2, don't ask why) is entirely focused on supplying power to the very hungry 300W GPU. And, even with a heavy undervolt and a ruthless -25% power limit, the PSU is still only barely managing. Old PSU probably. 14 years old actually. Been de-dusted regularly however it has not seemed to help. Still, i should probably be grateful that I was able to undervolt GPU by 53Mv anyway, otherwise the entire thing would have failed.

I think that the Gold rated 250W PSU can probably handle a little more abuse by way of an increased CPU power draw. Can't do much yet though.

Conclusively, I am amazed at how far I have come as a novice but as stated I would like to push my luck further with the performance, so I would appreciate the advice of some veteran hardware enthusiasts on the subject.

I might post my (almost completed) £300 (not my money) budget GPU and CPU water-cooled custom RGB monster build sometime in the future. Wonder if anyone can guess the specs?

Thanks in advance,

The Budgeteer.

P.S, If anyone is looking for someone to work at the NASA jet propulsion laboratory, please get in touch immediately.
Jan 13, 2021

Not an easy thing to do when every single movement could cause a short circuit in the diy wiring. Some of the cables are so short and tight that what you could see was probably the best I could do. Image not very clear though. Regardless, there is not much to which I could zip tie most cables.