Description

So, I've been working on a project with its origins in 2005 for a while now and, at some point, I started wondering about what kind of systems people were building back then. Then I began playing with a parts list and looking at used parts online, and I was struck by how much cheaper the parts are now. I know, shocking. After getting a little depressed at the thought of my 1080 Ti going for $20 in 13 years, it occurred to me that a lot of folks are having that exact experience if they look at 2005's 7800 GTX used card prices right now.

Well, lemons to lemonade, I started to think how cool it would be to be the guy that gets to buy them for that price. Then I made my first couple of bad assumptions. "It can't be that hard to build a 2005 system. I should take a little break and do that." And with about that amount of deliberation, I decided to build the system I would have built in 2005 on the cheap now (another bad assumption).

I tried my best to make sure that I only used parts that could be bought in 2005. If you see anything that wasn't available by that year, please let me know. I found most of the parts pretty easily. Some hadn't changed since 2005, including the part number so, if there weren't used versions available, I bought parts "new" (the Zalman cooler, for instance). Almost all of them are used. The basic idea, though, is you could have built a system with the same parts in 2005.

The most difficult part of the build was getting it running right with 2005 software. Windows XP is hardly supported at all these days, including by Microsoft itself. Steam is ending support in a couple of months, and they already make it very difficult to run the old games on XP. Also, most used parts don't come with installation disks.

I'll spare you the rest of my usual build ramblings, because the parts are the story here. Speaking of which...

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+. This was the best version of the best available consumer CPU available in 2005, from what I've read. At the time, Intel CPUs were having performance issues and lagging in technology to AMDs. Their dominance of up until the last few years didn't start until late 2006 with the Core Duo. The Athlon 4400+ and 4800+ are actually a bit pricey for old chips, since AMD didn't make many of them due to expensive production costs. They have double the L2 cache. Cost then: $1000. Now: $50 used.

Pricing notes: Please let me know if you think a "Then" price I've listed is wrong. It's very hit and miss searching for them, since vendors don't leave old pricing on the internet. Also, I'm not including tax in any of these prices. And, when you buy used parts, part of the price is leached into the shipping charge to make the listing more attractive, so it's difficult to say what the actual cost of the part was. For that reason, I included the shipping cost in the "Now" prices.

Zalman CPU Cooler w/Blue LED. It took me a while to figure out whether I loved or hated the way this thing looks. It's kind of ugly and cute at the same time, like a pug. Then: $50. Now: $35.

ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard (Socket 939). That's some pretty sweet copper cooling for the onboard components. It has a really strange I/O arrangement, with the audio jacks in the middle. I couldn't find the I/O shield anywhere (except European eBay, where they won't sell to Americans - long story), so I had to modify a similar one to make it work. Another strange design feature is the extra onboard RAID controller for a solo internal and eSATA port combination. I guess you could use a port multiplier to make a larger array off the eSATA port? I used an eSATA to SATA cable to connect one of the Maxtors to the outside I/O and create the 2 drive 600GB RAID 0. Then: $250. Now: $30 used.

Kingston DDR 400 4GB. I learned the hard way not to buy any of the "new" modules for this old memory. About all the new stuff is good for is lighting up memtest86 like an ASCII Christmas tree. The used, high quality stuff is much more reliable. Then: $400 Now: $40 used.

Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA HD. Very large HDD for 2005. It's been very solid during countless installations and restarts. Then: $350. Now: $30 used.

(4) Maxtor Maxline III 320GB SATA HD. It's easy to get carried away with storage space on an old build like this. I found these Maxtors for 10 bucks a piece and, when you're in a 2005 mindset about how much is a lot of space, it's hard not to get greedy. I've got one drive in the hot swap drive bay drawer for backup, 2 combined into a 600GB RAID 0 for games and data access intensive tasks, and one as an extra drive just because I could do it for $10. Then: Couldn't find it. Guessing $600 for 4? Now: $40 for 4 used.

(2) XFX GeForce 7800GTX. Both cards are used and working great in SLI. These things are hardy. One arrived so moldy I wore a particle mask and gloves to clean it (see pic if you have the stomach). But what a great feeling to resurrect these two to their former selves! Running Doom 3 and Call of Duty 2 from RAID 0 with these things makes for some smooth gaming at high settings. Then: $1100 for 2. Now: $50 for 2 used.

AeroCool ExtremEngine 3T ATX Mid Tower Case. I can't verify that this case was available in 2005, as the earliest date I could find was in January of 2006. The Google search is very fickle, though, and I have a hard time imagining it wasn't out by Christmas 2005. Just look at this thing! 250mm fan mounted in the side. Blue LEDs. A jet engine motif that already looked 20 years out of date in 2005. This is not a high-end case. The plastic front doors are bound to get broken off at some point. The look just seemed to say to me, "We belong together." My main complaint is that the hard drive cage is set toward the center too far and the mounting holes force the HDDs over the motherboard. Then: $100. Now: $50 used.

AeroCool Lightwave 120mm PC Computer Case Fan. Blue LED fan matching the case. Noctua is not shaking in its boots. Then: Guessing $10. Now: $15.

OCZ PowerStream 520 Watt Power Supply. Awesome looking and working. It powers this component heavy rig with no problems. I decided not to add sheathing to the cables. I actually like the multicolored wire look. In fact, I may still remove the sheathing OCZ put on the ATX and CPU cables. Then: $150. Now: $60 used.

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS PCI Card. I haven't played around with this card much. I just gathered that it was a requirement for gamers in 2005. It does the basics fine. Then: $100. Now: $15 used.

Logisys 12" Cold Cathode Case Lights. The 250mm fan has no LEDs, and these complement the dated look nicely, I think. Then: Guessing $10. Now: $10

DRIVE BAYS!

What happened to packing your drive bays with semi-useful fluff? I know, the motherboard and other internal components do everything and software utilities display it right on your big monitors. And yes, it's very cool how small you can make computers now, but I used to drive a 25' long 1966 Cadillac El Dorado Coupe, and I say go large or go home.

StarTech 3.5" SATA Hard Drive 5.25" Mobile Rack Drawer. The old 2005 version I got of this mobile rack is built like a tank and comes with a key! If I could just find a little steering wheel attachment for the front, I'd pretty much have an old car dashboard on this thing. Then: $50? Now: $50.

Thermaltake Xray A2021. While I don't condone smoking and no one should smoke, I do think it's rude to not be able to light a consenting adult's cigarette off the front of your computer tower. It was also very thoughtful of Thermaltake to put a fuse in the Molex line "to safe system." Seriously, is there anything that isn't wrong about this? Do you really want to put a beverage in an opening to your multi thousand-dollar computer system? But on a case that would have only looked modern in the 1970s? Required. Then: Priceless ($20?). Now: Priceless ($50).

V.L. Systems L.I.S. LCD Indicator Display Matrix. When you shut it down, by default it displays "Good-bye, Master!" Enough said. Then: $100. Now: $80.

Plextor PX-716SA DV/CD R/RW SATA. Everything I read said that Plextors were the best for write speeds and error free burning in 2005, but I've had nothing but trouble with this little dickens. The software is great, though. Then: $130. Now: $50 used.

Dell LCD Monitor 24" 405 FPW UltraSharp 1920x1200 DVI/USB/VGA. This old LCD monitor has held up well and looks good at its native resolution. Since I got it for $50, it was a great deal even by today's standards. You'd pay a lot more than this for a new 24" HD monitor. Of course, you may feel differently if you paid the $1200 for it in 2005. Then: $1200. Now: $50.

Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard. Then: $100. Now: $50 used.

Logitech G5 Gaming Mouse. Then: $70. Now: $30 used.

SteelSeries - Arctis 3 Headset. The sound is overloaded across the frequencies, but this is supposed to be a good gaming system. Then: Guessing $100. Now: $50 used.

PRICE TOTALS

Then (approx.): $6000 Now: $850

Well, I'll be happy to quit doing custom date range part searches in Google for a while. I see 1/1/2005 - 12/31/2005 when I close my eyes right now. I hope posting this build was helpful or at least entertaining for you. Obviously, you could make a monster 2005 system for less than this, if you had a bit more self-control than I do when it comes to buying parts. I work fast, but this still took a few months to put together. And it was a lot of work. Work is the wrong word--this was a blast.

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Comments

  • 18 months ago
  • 3 points

That youtube video at the end was very clever +1, and also a x399 build coming soon?

  • 18 months ago
  • 3 points

Someone finally noticed a prop. Thank you!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Missed your question before. I have a Threadripper build, but it's not interesting enough to post. I was kind of teasing about the new TR taking back the crown they held with the Athlon chips in 2005. It's fun that it's up for grabs again.

  • 18 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks for featuring my cranky old build, PCPP, and thanks for doing all that you do! I honestly had to hit refresh a few times to believe it.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Any benchmarks? Would love to see the performance on this thing! Really cool build

  • 18 months ago
  • 4 points

I was able to run most the system test part of PCMark05. Hopefully, these numbers mean something to you. Other than that, I haven't had much success. None of the benchmarks I'd normally run work.

PCMARK05- System Test Suite

* HDD-XP Startup

HDD - XP Startup: 8.457 MB/s

  • Physics and 3D

Physics and 3D: 158.821 fps

* 2D - Transparent Windows

Transparent Windows: 1294.705 windows/s

* 3D - Pixel Shader

3D - Pixel Shader: 323.538 fps

* Web Page Rendering

Web Page Rendering: 2.945 pages/s

  • File Decryption

File Decryption: 41.369 MB/s

* 2D - Graphics Memory - 64 lines

Graphics Memory - 64 lines: 1597.746 fps

* HDD - General Usage

HDD - General Usage: 5.245 MB/s

  • Multithreaded Test 1

Audio Compression: N/A

Requires a newer version of Windows Media Encoder

*Muttithreaded Test 2

Text edit: 129.767 pages/sImage

Decompression: 25.784 MPixels/s

*Muttithreaded Test 3

File Compression: 4.787 MB/s

File Encryption: 25.418 MB/s

HDD - Virus Scan: 46.923 MB/s

Memory Latency - Random 16 MB: 10.882 MAccesses/s

  • 18 months ago
  • 3 points

I finally got 3DMark05 to run successfully. The score was 10578 marks. It averaged from 35 to 60 fps for the 3 game simulations you run. There were no scores to compare to, so I don't know how good or bad that is. Let me know if there are any specific scores from that you want or if you think of another benchmark I can try.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I submitted the result, so you can see it yourself at this passmark site link.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not exactly sure what the record is for 3dmark05, but an i7-8700k and 2x1080ti rig scored 91,000

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Fortunately, I've gotten pretty good at poking around 2005 in google. I found a TechSpot poll in the forums from October 2005 where people compared scores, and a very good score seems to be in the 7000-8000 range. My higher score makes sense, since no one seemed to be running the 7800 GTXs yet, much less 2 in SLI.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah okay! No worries, I didn't understand the context, that you were only wishing to compare to computers of its time.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

haha honestly i didnt know what to compare it to either. im kinda new to this game so i wouldnt even really know anything about stuff that old. i was honestly just curious about old 2000's games and stuff and also to see performance as a modern machine (or at least how close it could get to usage as one). Thanks for following up though! Your build was really fascinating to me and id love to do something similar one day.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks so much for asking the question! It sent me off on a search that ended with 3dMark05 and a score I was able to compare to scores from postings in 2005. In terms of 2005 games, it looks like through 2005 this is the about as good as it gets for gaming. Then came the Intel Core Duo chips in 2006, and this system was left in the dust. It does remarkably worse in 3dMark06, for instance. It really depends on the game and the year. If I were just really into one game, I'd build a system around it, instead of building a monster like this one. It would certainly be much cheaper!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

I'll try to run whatever you want. The problem is, if the benchmark requires a client install, the client app usually doesn't work with XP. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Boot Linux off a live CD and benchmark from there? I think modern Linux should still run on that hardware (not sure; you might have to do a custom compile if it uses newer CPU instructions). That would distinguish the hardware performance from software improvements.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, it's a 2005 build, and modern Linux would defeat the point. To get the full 2005 Linux experience, Ubuntu 5 should be required.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

How about OSRS (Old School Runescape)?

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Never played before. So, I downloaded it and was learning how to catch shrimp before I remembered I was supposed to be running a benchmark. How do you do it?

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I don’t really play it that much. I’m more of an FPS guy myself. I do know that it’s from the time period when your PC was built (2007) so I figured it’s worth a try.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

if fraps works you could use the custom benchmark tool on that. just run around the world for like 10 mins. make sure to go to the G.E.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Fraps installs, but won't run. It starts the GUI, then crashes every time.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Doom 3 nostalgia.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

I know right!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

not gonna lie I kinda like that case...

and the drink holder of course

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Using the lighter is unsettling, but it definitely works also.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

This is awesome. I usually don't read the whole description and just look at setup pics...I read it all and looked at all of your pics. Thank you for sharing.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! My pleasure.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I enjoyed the details on the parts and the then-vs.-now price comparisons, which are almost as illuminating as the Logisys 12" Cold Cathode Case Lights - 2 Piece (Blue)!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'll definitely think twice next time I'm tempted to buy a 500 dollar video card.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Then: Cool as F Now: Cool as F

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I think so too.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

This is probably the weirdest build I've seen here. It makes me really happy. :)

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

And that makes me happy. Thank you.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm at a loss for words. This thing has a ******* cigarette lighter and drink holder.

Holy **** this build is awesome!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! It's actually a really good one, too. Props to Thermaltake.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Wallace and Gromit!

And a cool (wierd) system build!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll take weird every time. Thanks.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Forgot to mention. Another strange coincidence, that Wallace and Gromit poster is from "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" movie, which was released October 5, 2005. That happened to be the first Wednesday in October that year, and I released this 2005 build on the first Wednesday of October this year.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

It only gets better with age.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I hope that's true. I think I'll have this computer a long time.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build. When people say AWEsome they don’t really know what they mean. This is really worthy of awe, and I love that you have the nice little risk of shorting out your system with red bull and lighting it on fire at the same time! Live dangerously, I always say.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Not really a big Red Bull drinker, but 2005 was a good year for them.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Sweet new old build with authentic operating system and smell. Cool looking jet engine design.

Now forgot what all the smoke haters say. Sit back and fire off a big cigar. Now that's the "2005's"

Thumbs up and congrats on the featured spot!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Authentic is the best complement. Thank you!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

:)

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

This is awesome! What a cool throwback. I've always wanted to re-build my very first computer back from 2007. I had a Core 2 Duo ($200), 8800GTS ($289.99), and 2GB DDR2. I was one of the few that could play the Crysis Beta in my area. You were even cooler if you had SLI 8800 Ultras.

I still have my brother's 6600GT from way back then, I thought about buying another just to SLI and see what it can play. Haha.

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Well, if you ever do, let me know. I mistakenly thought the ACARD RAM disk was available in 2005 and bought one for this rig, along with 16GB of DDR2 800. I have no idea what I'll do with it now. It was pretty cool to run what amounts to a 16GB SSD drive in a 2005 build for a while, though.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

God help me I have a soft spot for those year 200X cases. Weird, over the top, even when they're pretty subdued like the AeroCool there. Early NZXT is so bad it's just... muah!

I also miss the good old finned and heatpiped heatsinks for the chipset and mosfets, the copper/orange ones are just sexy.

Nice throwback build btw!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, obviously I do too. I was trying to be conservative and look what happened.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

wow, nice! I also love your Mac Mini clock loool!

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! I didn't realize how easy it is to make anything into a clock till I made that. Drill a hole in the center and screw in the clock works. Strange coincidence with that is that I made it before I even thought of this build, and it happens to be the original model of mini introduced in 2005.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Damn this brings me back, That key lock on the case with some turn knobs. I’m loving that you managed to grab that LCD indicator to add in there as well. Lol!

Congrats on the feature dude this is awesome! Definitely made my day!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

The last thing I'll say, before I'm censored for spamming myself. When you're dealing with a 2005 build, if you look around carefully, you'll notice that everything is related to 2005. That's the truthiness.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

It's almost as if you built a time machine

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

I used to have that motherboard and cpu. I sold it early this year (before I got really into PCs) for $25 aud. Honestly probably my current biggest regret of this year

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

that big *** speaker in the front is giving me way too much nostalgia

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

It's actually a fan, if that helps. A speaker would have been even cooler, though, now that you mention it.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

Comments like this are not appropriate for this site.

  • 18 months ago
  • 0 points

I thought this was Merica!

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

It's mostly okay. The only Browser I found that still works is Firefox ESR 52.9.0 (32 bit). IE works but wont't connect to the internet, for some reason I could never track down. It only has 100Mb internet, so it's slow. At least I think that's why it's slow. It could just be it's taking time parsing all the newer technology it doesn't understand. It does a good job on that. Most pages load in some usable form. It can't play some newer video formats, though.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

That explains why I couldn't find any examples.

[comment deleted by staff]