Adding a little gaming capability to my media center

Recently a co-worker upgraded his graphics card and agreed to sell me his old GPU+PSU for $10, who could turn that down?

So I’ve stuffed an old GTX 460 768MB and Corsair 600W into my Dell Vostro 230 case, with a salvaged Gateway motherboard and Q6600 CPU.

This thing can play GTAV at 1080p on minimum settings, but more importantly can successfully decode Steam in-home streaming at 1080p from my gaming PC running the game at high settings.

I did learn that stuffing a 105W CPU and 160W GPU into a mini tower case intended to deal with a 65W dual core CPU tends to lead to the whole thing running hot as hell.

Need to add some fans.


Server downgraded

… Wat?

This server was just kind of sitting there hosting a website nobody visits and letting me do SSH related… stuff. So I swapped it out with my HTPC.

New spec:

  • Dell Inc. Vostro 230
  • Intel Pentium(R) Dual-Core  CPU E5400  @ 2.70GHz
  • 4GiB mixed DDR3-1333
  • Intel 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller
  • Western Digital Blue 320GB

Overclocking my gaming PC

System specs:

  • AMD FX-8310 OEM (stock 3.4/3.7GHz 95W)
  • CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo
  • Antec Three Hundred (Original)
  • Anted EarthWatts 650W
  • ADATA Xpg V2 16GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24
  • ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II OC
  • Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3P

I just took my first steps into overclocking this system but I haven’t seriously OC’ed anything since the Athlon XP series. I have worked it up to the following specs prime95 stable:

CPU multiplier: Auto -> 20 (4.0GHz)
Turbo multiplier: Auto -> 24 (4.8 GHz!)
VCore: Auto -> +0.075V
LLC: Auto -> “Extreme”

All I can say is wow. That was incredibly easy. I started by disabling all the power / performance features and pushed up to 4.0GHz. Napkin math says the CPU’s TDP should be ~125W at this speed. This is the official supported limit of my motherboard and the VRMs are plenty hot at this speed. After establishing the full load clock I just started increasing the turbo clock and was really surprised that 4.8GHZ was obtained so easily.

At this point the system is 100% Prime95 stable with these clocks and all power management features active.


Idle clock

Default clock

Turbo clock!

Voltage & Temperature:

View post on

Passmark results:

Passmark comparison

Incredibly happy to see my $110 CPU comparing to a $250 CPU.

Server upgraded

Long overdue server upgrade, salvaged parts total cost $0!

Old specs:

  • Pentium Dual Core E5400 @ 2.7GHz 65W
  • 4GiB DDR3-1333 Samsung OEM RAM
  • Dell ??? Motherboard
  • NVidia Geforce 310 OEM
  • Western Digital Blue 320GB 7200RPM
  • Dell Vostro 230 Case and PSU

New specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 @ 2.5GHz 95W
  • 8GiB (4x2GiB) Samsung+Nanya DDR3 @ 1066MHz
  • Gateway (Acer)  EG43M Motherboard
  • Western Digital Blue 320GB 7200RPM
  • Dell Vostro 230 Case and PSU

I’m quite happy. Beyond the obvious benefits of a quad-core CPU while I’m actually doing something like hosting multiple virtual machines, its average load is about 0.06% and it has integrated graphics – that’s a lot of power savings compared to the discrete NVidia GPU used previously.

The previous owner complained of overheating so I had a feel around while the system was running and nearly burnt myself on the north- and south-bridge chips. I salvaged the pictured large north-bridge heatsink from another Acer motherboard and applied it with some Arctic Silver 3. I salvaged the gold south-bridge heatsink from an old AMD motherboard and applied it with some generic white paste. Both heatsinks are now cool to touch.

Cable management is easy when you have no options.