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I have plans to build a beefy sleeper gaming pc out of a 13 year old desktop pc

Discussion in 'Computers, Science & Technology' started by Turbocks, May 19, 2020.

  1. Turbocks

    Turbocks Active Member

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    For years I have owned a dell dimension e521 that was purchased in 2007 and it ran Windows xp and after support ended in 2014 I used various Linux distros with the latest being Ubuntu server which was used to power a plex media server.

    I also cleaned it out last year after it had been sitting for 12 years with a unopened case on the upper floor in a corner near a dusty wooden desk my dad stored his things in.

    My future plan for this pc is to turn into an absolute beast of a gaming pc but it will be a sleeper pc which means on the outside it will look like a low end pc from the mid 2000s but on the inside it's an absolute gaming powerhouse being able to run the latest games at 4k resolution.

    Also this is my first time building a pc but luckily I know exactly which parts do what and how they look like.

    https://se.pcpartpicker.com/list/hmtcrV

    these will be my parts


    Dell Dimension E521 review: Dell Dimension E521

    this is how the computer looks like on the outside which should not raise any suspicions.

    I will configure all the software and games myself including Windows 10 and all the other important software such as the antivirus programs and drivers.

    I am 19 years old and I have 10+ years of experience working with computers so it should be an easy task.

    *update * the more I researched about that case the more I felt that it would be way too much work for a pc building beginner like me and instead I am going to use this case that is much more air efficient but still keeping that unsuspecting look to it so the sleeper illusion is not ruined.

    Corsair Carbide 200R Svart

    I really do wish I could update that title because now it just feels a bit misleading to the forum users.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
    • Creative Creative x 3
  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Personally I'd spend a little bit more money to get a more up-to-date computer case that is more accommodating in term of airflow. The Dell case you show was adequate for a non-gaming platform.

    However with the hardware (AMD CPU, GeForce GPU and Seagate HDD) you intend to run, it may be best to find a case with better airflow options. You want plenty of incoming air flowing over the CPU's large heatsink and fan.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. Turbocks

    Turbocks Active Member

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    To fix that issue I could simply drill some holes on the back for more airflow or I could use some kind of circle saw to open up a hole in the back which should allow more room for air
     
  4. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Your going to need more than one fan, maybe a few depending on what you build in. Or maybe an external system cooling system of some sort that you hide outside the PC.

    Didn't read Judge's answer at first. I'm essentially saying the same thing. You could put two cases side by side, one for cooling and one for the sleeper system.
    Sounds like a good project.
     
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  5. Turbocks

    Turbocks Active Member

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    I got an idea , what if I installed an external water cooling system outside the case?
    that would be a great solution to the case problem and I would probably not have to install extra fans.

    If I do choose to install extra fans in that case where would I install them?
    I do have a battery powered drill which should be able to drill holes for additional fans so that is not an issue.
     
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  6. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    Many Dell computers use proprietary (non-standard) parts and non-standard size cases. There is a good chance you won't be able to find a motherboard that fits in the case. Even if you could make one fit by sawing off parts of the case, you're much better off buying a standard size case meant for gaming. More fans and better airflow will keep your system cooler and allow it to last longer so a new case will save you money in the long run. Cases are very inexpensive compared to the parts you're planning to buy. Solved: E521 Motherboard Replacement Options - Dell Community

    As far as your parts list, a Ryzen 9 is overkill for a gaming PC since most games are limited by the GPU and aren't very CPU intensive. Also, the motherboard you selected only has 2 RAM slots. Many motherboards have 4 so you can easily add two more sticks instead of having to replace it. If you're going to get a motherboard with only 2 RAM slots, I'd get 32GB of RAM since 16GB probably won't be enough in a year or two since the PS5 is expected to come out this year which will lead to better games with higher requirements.
     
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  7. Jumpback

    Jumpback Well-Known Member

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    Adding to what you’ve said, I had experience where even though a replacement power supply was the right one, the proprietary case was designed around the power supply that it came with, so a higher wattage power supply might not fit. Certain graphics cards or something could potentially have the same problem?

    But if he wants to do this just to do it to for the sake of creativity or a challenge or something, more power to him.

    I guess that I just might recommend buying parts from a computer store and walking in with the case and explains to workers what he is trying to do. Geek minded workers might have fun with the distraction of helping him solve all the logistics of making this work.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  8. Jumpback

    Jumpback Well-Known Member

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    Would another option be to a completely competent gaming PC, but just not go all out? I am not up to date on options, but I know that there have tended to be options in the past of competent parts which are also cheaper and do not require so much cooling, etc

    Like, say, when hot rodders in the past have tried to build sleepers they often don’t go all out on the parts due to various constraints

    Like some sleeper dragsters aren’t the fastest things out there, but they also don’t have things popping out of their hoods or whatever

     
  9. WoodWorkingJoel

    WoodWorkingJoel Active Member

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    Post pics during and after if you can, would love to see the result.
     
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  10. Turbocks

    Turbocks Active Member

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    I made some changes including not going overkill on the cpu and also adding 2 80 milimeter fans which I hope will work out as long as I can find a place to put them in the chassi.

    Yes it is true dell pc's are usually proprietary
    but from what I have found in terms of information regarding which type of motherboard might fit in the case it seems to be micro itx or micro atx.

    I also asked on the pc part picker forums for help regarding which motherboard and parts would work out and he said mini itx motherboards are similair in size to the stock btx motherboard which means it might fit in the case if I drill new holes in the chassi for the mobo and he also gave me a link to a list of parts that might work out.

    I am also thinking of using it for things like editing my youtube videos but also doing regular stuff like watching videos and browsing the web.

    Of course not every game has to be resource intensive to be good and I do have a sweet spot for retro games like Galaga or Pac man.

    Although I do enjoy my fair share of modern games as well such as Team fortress 2 , Undertale , or Minecraft.

    I mostly see it as a fun little project to keep myself occupied during these dark times when I am not focused on taking care of my aquarium fish.
     
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  11. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Looks like the back of the Dell case is metal mesh and has room for running two or three
    small fans one above the other.

    There's a heat sink with a cooler fan on the original AMD dual core processor which you might be able to reuse for something, although it's large, keep the slots as well.

    There was room for two hard drive slots on the original system.

    Power supply and room for it, was an issue with this system, you'll definitely have to change that, preferably with something much smaller but more powerful.

    The media card reader on the front, is probably not usable for anything.
    You could cut the plastic slots for it from the inside, leaving just the external facing as a dummy. If you want to keep it looking like a sleeper system.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
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  12. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    Good points. Dell power supplies tend to be smaller than the standard ATX ones so the case might not be wide enough. RTX 2070 is a big card. It could be too long.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  13. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    I somehow missed the sleeper pc part of your post when I first read it. It sounds like a fun project and I hope it works out. Another thing to consider, like Jumpback said above, is whether the case is wide enough to fit a standard ATX power supply because Dell PSU tend to be smaller to fit smaller cases. I'd also measure to see whether you'll have enough room in the case to fit the RTX 2070 card.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. Turbocks

    Turbocks Active Member

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    Is this PSU small enough to fit the case?

    Corsair CXM 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  15. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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  16. Turbocks

    Turbocks Active Member

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  17. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I was never a fan of the garish cases and multi coloured fans that seem popular in the PC building world. I've always preferred a simple looking case with all the money spent on the hardware inside.

    The same goes for my project cars - people can spend hundreds, if not thousands on tacky aftermarket wheels, body kits, huge spoilers, massive exhaust back boxes, custom headlights, sound systems or wraps. Ironically a lot of these race inspired add ons can negatively impact the cars performance.

    All the money I spend on my project cars are on engine such as high lift camshafts, custom inlet and exhaust manifolds, ported cylinder heads and uprated handling such as poly bushings, coil over suspension and various strut braces.

    To my mind, all these exterior aesthetics look tacky. Tastes have changed as I've gotten older. I prefer subtlety these days with my PC's and cars and I feel like all the attention seeking modifications are rather immature. The thousands I do spend on performance aren't wasted on any exterior gimmicks that add little or nothing to the performance of my rig or car.

    Of course its each to their own, I just find a lot in the PC and car modding world to be gaudy.

    I'm waiting until the next gen of Nvidia cards are released before I plan my next build. I opted for ultra wide-screen monitors the past 2 builds but the forced 16:9 in many in game cut scenes and menus annoyed me no end.

    The next build will be all out. I'm thinking of getting the 65" BFGD Omen monitor to compliment a similar amount spent building my next rig.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
  18. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    I never ran a GPU outside my case so I don't know anything about it other than reading on forums that people have done it. I checked and there are RTX 2070 mini cards that should fit your case.
     
  19. Rotundi

    Rotundi Artist, reader, creator.

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    Cool, what kind of fish do you have?
     
  20. Yeshuasdaughter

    Yeshuasdaughter Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This thread was not what I thought it was going to be about. It just says in the right panel "I have plans to build a beefy..."

    I didn't know if it was going to be about a cow farm, or maybe a really good burrito. Who knew? So I clicked and found out you're designing a video game console. Very very impressive.