Since I can’t come up with a halfway decent introduction, I’ll just be blunt. My Grandmother needed a new computer when she found her old (ohhh so old) Dell
Dimension Opteron becoming increasingly painful to work with. Supposedly Windows 10 killed it. :/ At any rate, after Christmas she asked if I could put together a list of new parts to put together so she can actually get something done on her PC rather than waiting over a minute just for it to turn on.
PCPartPicker to the rescue!
The list on the side is pretty much the end result of what I had come up with. MSI Eco H81M, Celeron G1830, Adata SP550, Seasonic PSU and a Rosewill Case. And, above all else, Windows 10 is the topping on the cake – this time on a system that can actually support it. Old computers pre-2002 seem to have massive issues working with Windows 10.
I planned on grabbing the Windows 10 key from Ebay or another website but the listings I was watching were sold out. I ended up reusing an old decommissioned Windows 7 key from one of my laptops. Good piece of advice for anyone who needs a key - Look around for an old Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 key on your old Laptops or devices and you can use it on any Windows 10 device.
Building the computer was a little different than I’m used to. Firstly, I’ve only built AMD systems in the past (go Team Red!), so this was my first time working under Team Blue [or Cyan?]. That means I wasn’t familiar with how nerve-racking the first time installing an Intel CPU was. I’m sorry, but when the CPU socket creaks when I push down the Retention Arm, I cringe. Always.
Anyhow, other than the new experience with the Intel CPU installation, I was challenged with how to work with a super tight case with absolutely no cable management, and no place for a 2.5” drive. I also didn’t use any extra twist-ties or any zip-ties, all used from the parts that came with them. Essentially, I had never worked with such a small space before; even a server rack I have had more space.
As you could probably tell by the photos (I’m sorry I didn’t take more), I used the Floppy Drive/3.5” Drive bay to uniquely mount the SSD. I wanted it to be accessible, but also mounted securely. I ended up using a 4mm fexible extention rod to make it possible. My Grandmother won’t be needing any upgrades, nor will anyone likely be modifying it, so it certainly almost really doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t.
The only major issue I encountered was cable management – It obviously will happen with a twenty dollar case, but it is still something to mention.
Overall, A successful build! Everything installed the way it was supposed to without problems, and I'm happy with how everything works out.
To Grandmother's House we go!
With Cheesiness aside, the tower was delivered to replace the Opteron as soon as the requirements were in place: Antivirus, Office Suite, and Firefox. Adobe Flash and Java. Windows 10 is a pain sometimes, but hey, whatever; Comes with the business.
With everything hooked up and the computer replaced, I am happy to say that the build was successful. She was so happy to have such an improvement, something like at least 500x better, that glee was written all over her face. Then of course compliments, and the usual.
Regardless, the whole build was a fun experience. I learned something new and I was able to help out the family. I hope this build would serve as a cheap solution for simple family members too - simple meaning low-intensity usage or light gaming.
A decent Low-end Budget CPU. Seems to be unlocked, though haven’t tested overclocking it personally. Don’t expect any super performance out of this chip and use it for more than casual use and light gaming. It literally is a “Budget CPU.” Recommend going for a low-end Pentium in the LGA1151 lineup for a solid upgrade path. However, if you need something cheap and with integrated graphics, not a bad chip to go with. It can easily pull its own weight.
A solid motherboard with one of everything. It follows my major expectations and I plan to keep an eye on this series. The Eco mode is something I will likely use the most out of, as my recent build included (or rather lacked) PCI extensions and this board allows you to cut power to what you don’t need to use. With this in mind, it also is slightly oversized and while connecting the 24-pin connector, it bent a little off the side. Just be careful about that; it is easy to bend it.
It is fairly simple RAM. Nothing special, no heat spreader or nothing, and they work.
A surprisingly high quality SSD for being so cheap. I’ve bought over three of them and each have exceeded expectations over an HDD any day of the week. Enough to stay competitive even next to a Samsung Evo 850, apparently. Recommend going for a higher storage module though, unless you just need one for a boot drive.
A basic case on a budget. No Cable Management options and no 2.5” drive bay. Also sharp edges so beware. All things considered, not bad overall, but I could use some touch-ups.
It works and it is low wattage. Fits for going where I need to be exactly. Just know that the model I picked does NOT have a power cable. You’ll have to source a power cable to connect to it. Very niche use but for low-wattage systems, it really is fine.
Got it on sale on Newegg, and works as advertised. Couldn't be happier.