Last year I posted HTPC Hub, my first ever build in over 10 years after escaping the cult of consoles (shudder) and rejoining the Glorious PC Master Race. I'm now ready to do a brand new HTPC build with a number of major upgrades and which will be posted here on the site as well as soon as its done. So what happens with HTPC Hub 1.0 now? Well I suppose I could've kept it but I decided instead to be a good uncle and give it to my oldest nephew who is a starving student in his first year of college as a sidegrade so he doesn't have to spend thousands on a new PC with a couple of changes.
The (not so) little nephew has a budding interest in photography and needs a photo and video editing workstation but also wants to join the Glorious PC Master Race himself as he's interested in doing some Overwatch and Fortnite online multiplayer as well. Unfortunately, this interest came just as the cryptocurrency craze hit putting graphics cards out of the reach of most working adults, let alone a student in his first year of junior college with just a part time job. So I came to the rescue by salvaging HTPC Hub 1.0 and acquiring some choice used parts.
MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ motherboard. Same as before.
CPU: AM-8350 FX. Same. This 8 core 4.0 gHz chip is overclocked to 4.2 gHz and should do him just fine for photo editing and multiplayer online gaming. The 8 cores should make up for the lack of IPC speed if he does video editing.
MEMORY: 8 GB dual-channel G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 memory. Same as before. I'll let the nephew get more memory on his own if he needs it for photo and video edting.
COOLER: AMD Wraith stock cooler. Technically a downgrade. I pulled out the GamMAX 400 cooler and installed the stock AMD Wraith cooler that originally came with the FX 8350. Wait, didn't I just say I was a good uncle? What kind of evil asshat saddles his poor nephew with a stock AMD cooler? One who is quite shocked at what CPUID HWMonitor is telling him about its performance. At idle, the CPU is hitting 34 degrees Celsius. At full load on gaming, it's hitting 47 degrees Celsius. That is exactly 4 degrees hotter at idle and exactly the same as when it under full load when the CPU had a tower cooler and two 120 mm fans attached in a push pull configuration. What the what?!? I have run the measurements several times and it's consistent.
So I figure there's 3 possible explanations for this. 1. The GamMMAX 400 tower cooler is a seriously mediocre underpeformer. 2. The stock AMD Wraith cooler is an awesome overperformer that matches a quality $40 mid-range tower cooler for free. 3. The FX 8350 is a crap CPU that can't take advantage of proper cooling because it can't overclock well enough for a high end cooling setup to actually make one damn bit of difference compared to a stock cooler. I'm pretty sure it's explanation number 3.
FAN SETUP: 4 DeepCool 120 mm fans. I set up the fans in a positive pressure cooling setup. Two intake fans at the bottom of the PC case, 1 intake at the top of the case, and 1 exhaust in the back of the case. This was pretty much the same setup as before minus the addition of the tower cooler push/pull fans. The only real change is that I moved the top intake fan closer to the CPU itself as the Wraith cooler is a top-down cooler so it has much more airflow.
CASE: Handing the nephew the H.22 Versa case. Quality build with room for expandability and the ability to add AIO watercooling with no hassle if he should choose to upgrade later.
STORAGE: Crucial MX200 256 GB SSD. If you recall, this was my first SSD in my HTPC Hub before I went for an ADATA SU800 512 GB SSD to hold more Steam games. I gave that first SSD away to a different nephew last year so I got this nephew a brand new one. Should be more than enough for his Windows, Photoshop, video editing software and a couple of AAA games or three.
GRAPHICS CARD: Sapphire RADEON R9 390. Sidegrade. Here's where I get my good uncle points back. I managed to acquire a used Sapphire Radeon R9 390 in perfect condition. I actually had the opportunity to acquire an RX 480 or RX 580 if I wanted to, but those cards are honestly a ripoff even without cryptocurrency jacking up the prices. Look, I love AMD and favor their CPUs over Intel's but their whole graphics card range before VEGA was just snake oil salesmanship to me. The 390s were just 290s with an overclock and standard 8 GB memory. The 480s and 580s were essentially the same card rebranded and performed exactly the same. Somehow AMD got away with selling the exact same video card through 4 iterations while NVIDIA actually did upgrade the GTX 900 series to the GTX 1000 series with actual improvements in architecture and performance. For what the nephew wants to play, this card is a steal and is even capable of 4K at medium settings in AAA games. He's got nothing to complain about considering what he'd pay right now if he had to get a graphics card on his own.
PSU: ThermalTake SMART 650W PSU. Same. Especially needed for the graphics card which sucks up a rather high 375W of TDP. Compare that to my GTX 1080 FE of a mere 180W of TDP.
And so HTPC Hub retires as a media and gaming center to become a starving student's new best friend after receiving a couple of sidegrade replacement parts. I know both it and its new owner will be very happy together for the next few years.
As for myself, stay tuned for HTPC Hub 2.3D. coming soon! :)