Description

So this was my first ever "PC build" I guess you'd say, and this one has some backstory, so here goes. The basis for this was an old Pavilion HPE h8-1121 from 2010 that my dad had bought back then for a considerable amount of money, as it was definitely towards the higher end of performance at the time. Sometime in 2016 the PC had started having issues with booting and displaying anything on screen. After taking it to a PC repair shop, they were able to save some data and important files, but the system never really ran again. My parents took it back home, stuffed it back in its original box, and then went out and bought a new Asus tower which has been running flawlessly ever since. Towards the end of 2018, I remembered we had that HP still sitting around in the basement, never having been fixed. I asked my parents what their plans with it were and whether I could have a look at it (at this point in time I had zero experience with any PC stuff bar watching videos online). They agreed to let me have at it, cause they basically had the attitude of "well it doesn't work, so if you can salvage something then we at least don't have to throw it away". And so began my descent down the rabbithole with this PC. The original issue I got is that the PC would fire up, but there would be no signal going to any of the USB ports and there was no display output. I swapped the memory sticks around and replaced the CMOS battery and managed to just about get it booted into Windows 7. I was able to pratt around for a bit, and everything looked fine until I opened Firefox and the thing promptly crashed. After that I was never able to get into W7 again. My first guess here was that the original 2TB HDD was all kinds of corrupted and broken, so I ordered a fresh SSD to install W10 on and see if it would boot from there. After a bit of trouble getting it to work, W10 installed seemingly fine and ran somewhat stable too, albeit with odd graphical errors. About a week or so later after having "fixed it", it went back to black-screening on boot, with no response from any of the ports. So my suspicion turned to the janky stock mobo along with the old Radeon 6850 which was idling at temperatures too high for my liking (not to mention that it is rather outdated now). I was determined to get this thing working again, as to me the i7-2600 was worth saving, and because the costs of fixing this thing would be far less than going out and buying a new PC (which my brother badly needed anyway). I looked around for a replacement mobo and settled on a refurbished P8H67-M Pro as this seemed like good quality and allowed for some more upgrades in the future. Once ordered and with W10 installed for the second time, it only ran very briefly before there were more issues. This time it was the screen playing up, as it would go to a solid colour (black, green, pink, white, you name it) for seemingly no reason. I suspected it was the GPU's doing this time around, so I took it out, completely wiped and reinstalled W10 for the 3rd time, and then ran it off of the integrated graphics that this Asus board had (which the stock HP didn't) and we were up and running just fine. Video playback, web browsing and other tasks worked nicely. I dedicated 512MB of system memory as VRAM for the iGPU (up from the 32MB) and it was running nicely for 3 weeks. During that time I took to fixing other things, like configuring the front panel audio, USB and card reader, along with installing a new power button. HP had cheekily made the entire power button assembly (power button, power button led, and HDD led) a proprietary connector that wouldn't work with the Asus board. Just this week the XFX Radeon RX 460 arrived, and with that now plopped into the system it seems to be running rather nicely.

All in all the repairs/upgrades cost me about 190€, for which you can get basically nothing of worth if you go and buy a new PC. Since the base PC here was technically free as I didn't have to purchase it and it was heading to the dump anyway, that makes for some quite nice savings. As such, all the parts marked with a 0€ price were ones already installed, merely the power supply I chose sth comparable as the stock PSU is some no-name non-modular thing. The Asus board was purchased from a seller on ebay that specializes in refurbishing older hardware like this, and the entire experience with them was fantastic and not much different than ordering from Amazon if I'm honest. The RX 460 I bought from a local seller on ebay as well, the card looked like it had been barely used (or cleaned before he shipped it), and the price was fair enough, so I went with that. The SSD I ordered new off Amazon, along with the power button, a USB3.0 to 2.0 adapter, along with some Arctic MX2 thermal paste. I definitely learned a lot, and also had some good experiences with buying on the used market. Yes, I could've scavenged even more and maybe gotten even better performance for my money, but for my first time building/repairing a PC, I don't think I did too badly.

Part Reviews

CPU

This thing still tears through basically anything you throw at it, 8 years after release. 4 Cores, 8 Threads, turbos up to 3.8 GHz, does everything it needs to and more. If you can find one, you're in luck :)

Motherboard

A joy to work with. Got this one refurbished, it arrived feeling and looking basically brand-new. Despite its age, the BIOS is nice and easy to use, the board has plenty of headers for just about everything (bar front-panel USB 3.0 unfortunately, but it makes up for that by having USB3 on the back instead). I also definitely like the black/blue design, it's different from all the grey and black you see nowadays.

Storage

Very cheap little SSD. Boots into W10 very quickly, apps and programs open snappily, no complaints from me. The small size ofc means you'll be using this as your OS/System drive, and it does a great job at that.

Comments

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh boy, the proprietary front panel connector problem. JOY!

How did you install a new power button? I typically get extension cables and map it to the proprietary pin-out.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

simply ordered a replacement power button with the normal header for 90 cents, took the old button out of its little housing and put in the new one. Just left the old one in the case. I had simply gone out on a limb and assumed that the HP power button would be a standard size, and so it was haha

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Well that actually seems like a simpler solution!

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah I really did not feel like messing with the actual wiring and whatnot, the HDD and power LED don't work because of that lol

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I resurrected a pc yesterday it was from2004 with a pentium 4 it had a similar story to your pc

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Pentium 4 eh, that's pretty neat