My second PC build project - MORE PROBLEMS!

So, because I had to sell my old gaming PC last year due to me needing a brand new laptop for college, I couldn’t enjoy PC gaming for quite a while. I wasn’t able to build a new one because I always run out of cash at the end of the month, and student loans don’t exist here. However, since I now have a university break for three months, that changed and I was able to rack up around 300 bucks to build a PC.

Problem is, as with my old PC build, I encountered some PROBLEMS when trying to build it! Before we go onto that, let’s have a look at the setup:

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU Cooler Deepcool - GAMMAXX 400 74.34 CFM CPU Cooler $24.30
Thermal Compound ARCTIC - MX4 4 g Thermal Paste $7.00
Motherboard Gigabyte - GA-X58A-UD3R ATX LGA1366 Motherboard $90.00
Memory Kingston - HyperX Fury Blue 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $26.80
Storage Western Digital - AV-GP 160 GB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive (*actually 7200RPM) $0.00
Storage Western Digital - Blue 2 TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $0.00
Video Card Gigabyte - Radeon RX 570 4 GB Gaming 4G Video Card $119.99 @ Newegg
Power Supply Corsair - VS 550 W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply $31.70
Custom Intel Xeon X5650 Processor 2.66 GHz 12 MB Cache Socket LGA1366
Custom Lenovo D186WA 1366x768 $0.00
Custom Prebuilt ATX Case $0.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $319.79
Mail-in rebates -$20.00
Total $299.79
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-06 16:27 EDT-0400

Some notes about the “free” items:

Now, let’s talk about why I picked these components. The first thing is the CPU and the motherboard. If you’re wondering why the hell I chose an old X58 platform with a Xeon on it, it’s because these X58 Xeons are so dirt cheap they actually deliver a better price-performance than even the current-gen Ryzen 2200G. The only problem I had was choosing the motherboard. As you might know, X58 boards are quite expensive even today due to high demand driven by these cheap Xeons, which could make them not worth the effort. However, I was lucky enough to find this dude selling a Gigabyte X58 motherboard bundled with an i7-920 (which I could sell later on) for only $100, so I bought that (which is why I put $90 on the PCPP price). Other sellers put too high price tags for this old platform, and they don’t even include a CPU, so I wasn’t too interested.

I was considering a Ryzen 2200G build instead, because they’re much newer, but the problem is, they’re more expensive due to the CPU (which costs around $100 here), so even if the motherboard is at the same price and brand new, I still wouldn’t be able to afford a decent cheap GPU due to the severely limited budget, not to mention it only has 4 cores with no SMT. I also considered a Haswell build too, which is still quite usable, but those CPUs are still way too damn expensive here, even the used ones; a 4770K/4790K still costs around $200 or so and the Xeon E3-1231/1230 v3 I’ve always wanted to buy costs roughly the same despite not being overclockable.

There were some problems when building this rig. After I assembled the whole thing, the PC WOULDN’T boot! I was quite concerned about this because almost all the parts I bought are used, so there’s no way in hell I could do an RMA or something similar to that and returning these parts weren’t an option. Turns out I had to reinstall the bundled i7 CPU in it and update the BIOS first to make it compatible with these Xeons, which wasn’t really fun since I’m kinda wasting my thermal paste here. The last BIOS revision for the motherboard is F8a, which is a beta BIOS that was never finished, and the only one that supports VT-D (need that for GPU passthrough for Linux gaming), while the one on the board is F2.

Another problem is that the Gammaxx 400 I bought was a Chinese version (instead of the international one) that only supports LGA775 and LGA115x CPUs and has this weird ring mounting system, which won’t fit on LGA1366. I’ve got an LGA1366 mounting kit that looks similar to it but the latches simply wouldn’t lock into place, probably because it was designed for a different cooler brand. This results in horrible temps when the CPU is overclocked. I could only hit a stable 3.6GHz after some voltage adjustments when it’s supposed to be able to reach like 4GHz (I know Hyper 212 Evos can do this looking at different forums discussing X58 Xeons, and they perform similarly). I first tried Prime95 with small FFT stress test but it keeps overheating to 100C after a couple of minutes. Turns out Prime95 stresses the CPU with unrealistic loads, so I moved on to an hour of AIDA64 stability test, two hours of IntelBurnTest, and 8 hours of RealBench test, and it passed those tests without overheating, although the temps hit the high 80s sometimes, but at least it never hit 90C+ so I guess that’s fine.

Not only that, the fans are also stuck at 100% even when idle. I had to set up Speedfan just to make it shut up and crank up the fan only when it hits 60 degrees. This kinda solved the problem at least.