This build was done with a combination of parts I had already at home or bought a long time ago, some connections with people, some buying and selling, and local hustling on good old Craigslist. This is the reason why this build turned out really cheap with some decent components. Of course I had to at first put out money up front but it paid off later on down the line.
The reason why I named it the Compact Compaq From Hell is because the computer is in a compact microATX form factor, and even though its using Sandy Bridge era components, it's still pretty fast and decent for budget 1080p gaming. A little backstory on how I got the case, which I think was solely the reason why I built this computer. I was on my way to my friend's house to drop off a Chevrolet 283 V8 engine for him when on the side of the road, I saw a free computer that someone was throwing out. I immediately pull over to the side of the road to pick up the tower, which from a first glance I knew was going to be a one heck of a sleeper computer. I then load it onto the back of my pickup truck, and I was off. I really like how the case looks like a really old PC on the outside but is far from a potato pc on the inside. Below you will see a list of the parts and the story of how I got each part.
NOTE: This is by no means a high performance PC. Instead it was something that I put together cheaply and gave it to my sister to use for college. The old looking case is a bonus since people would be less likely to try and steal the computer due to it's old look.
CPU: I got this for free off my local junior college's IT department. I knew one of people that worked in Desktop Support and they were decommissioning their old Dell 790 Optiplexs in favor of the newer Skylake and Kaby Lake based computers, so I managed to get the CPU there.
UPDATE: I upgraded the CPU to an i7 2600 non k for $60 initially. I sold the old i5 CPU for $60 to recuperate the upgrade cost, thus making this CPU "free".
CPU Cooler: I got this heatsink initially from a Z77 motherboard that I bought for my HP Sleeper Computer. As stated in that build, I sold the i3 CPU and 4GB of RAM that came with the motherboard to recuperate the costs on the motherboard back but I did not sell the stock heatsink that came with the i3. Since I managed to recuperate all of the costs for that motherboard, the heatsink fan is technically "free".
UPDATE: I recently bought an old X58 system for $150, then rebuilt it to resale and I swapped out the cooler that came with it for the stock Intel heatsink. I then sold the PC for $240 and got to keep some extra parts like this heatsink, 12GB of DDR3 RAM, an ASUS P6T motherboard, and a Antec 650w PSU.
Motherboard: I got this motherboard from buying a i5 2500k for my HP Sleeper Computer. When I bought that CPU for $30 initially, it came with a B75 motherboard, and a whole bunch of free parts. Needless to say, I managed to sell all of the other stuff that I didn't need and made much more than $30 from them... So in this case the motherboard was free in the end along with making some extra money on the side. Win win!!!
Memory: I got the memory sticks initially for $140 by buying an old X58 platform that came with an i7 920, Asus P6T Deluxe V2 Motherboard, and 24GB of G.Skill Ripjaws RAM. The only reason why I bought that combo was to simply sell the X58 motherboard back on eBay for $180, and the i7 920 CPU for $50. Then I get to make $90 in profits and keep the 24GB of ram that came with the motherboard. So in the end the RAM was technically "free". An added bonus is I can either keep the extra 8 GB of unused ram as spare parts for another PC, or I can further sell those sticks to make some extra cash.
Storage: I bought the PNY SSD brand new from Best Buy for $32.76. It was originally $50 but I knew the manager at that store, so he managed to give me a decent discount on the SSD. Why I priced it as "free" was because since I made money from selling the extra parts above, It covers the cost for the SSD. If you want to get into the technical details on the pricing then you could say that the SSD costed $32.76. As of the 320GB WD hard drive, I got this off an old laptop that my friend gave me. It was pretty old that I just simply took the hard drive out of the laptop and recycled the laptop. I then wiped and cleaned the hard drive to use in this build.
Video Card: Somewhat of a long story but in summary, I initially got a GTX 760 for $46 and I managed to sell it for $65 to upgrade to a GTX 960 for $70. So the cost to upgrade the video card was $5, But I actually spent $51 total for the card initially not accounting for the profits I made from selling the other PC parts. I don't know how to price this, so I'll just leave it at $5.
Power Supply: I got this power supply at first off the complete X58 gaming computer that I bought for $150 when I was building my HP Sleeper Computer. I sold the motherboard in that computer alone for $210 along with the case, graphics card, and CPU. The RAM, power supply, and SSD were not sold since I wanted to keep those items which the RAM and SSD are being used in my HP Sleeper Computer, and the power supply is being used in this sleeper computer. Hence why the power supply is considered "free".
Operating System: I installed Windows 10 Pro because I had an extra windows 8 pro license lying around and my sister likes Windows 10 rather than Windows 8 because of the layout on 10 is much simpler than the one on Windows 8.
Wi-Fi Adapter: I bought this adapter a long time ago (5 years ago?) for my first PC but it ended up sitting in my parts bin for about 2 years after I tore down and decommissioned my first PC back in late 2015.
Case Fan: I had to replace the stock rear exhaust fan in the Compaq chassis since it's bearings were all bad. So I went down to my local Fry's Electronics and this thing was the go to fan for me since it had a manual 3 speed fan speed toggle for it. Plus on the low fan speed toggle, it's really quiet and does the job really well for $7. But since I make some money off the other parts, I guess you can say that the case fan is "free".
Case: The most special part of this build and the main reason why this build happened. Found it for free on the side of the road and it was in need of a new life and home...
Great SSD to use as a boot drive for an OS. Pretty affordable too.
Decently priced and is pretty quiet.