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The Zero-Dollar PC

by dasauceboss



Date Published

Oct. 11, 2018

CPU Clock Rate

3.3 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

650 MHz


So a little background story: This project happened to cross paths with the fact that my buddy needed a functional PC. He has been using the same Surface tablet since 2012, and that thing is on its last leg. He's made it through nursing school on an ORIGINAL surface tablet...and on top of the fact he is going to be the one performing the service/marrying my fiancee and I next month, I'd say this gift is well-deserved.

Anyhow, as the title states, this was a "$0" build. All of the parts here were either gifted recycled, or pulled literally out of the trash, with a couple things (like the power supply) bought new for obvious reasons. However, there was no money paid out of pocket, as selling older parts paid for the couple that were actually purchased....so I suppose it's almost a "zero-dollar" pc.

CPU and RAM: These were gifted to me in a package by a new coworker, a 60 year old air force veteran who has a passion for flight sims. I couldn't believe it....such kindness to simply pass on a good old 6 core Phenom 1100T and some HyperX Genesis memory. CPU runs like a champ, and still handles modern games well. Amazingly, he also provided the ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z mobo and Corsair AIO liquid cpu cooler that is in my current build. Again, I can't believe how fortunate I am to simply be handed off this stuff. You never know what a simple conversation with someone can turn into!

Motherboard: I was taking out the trash one day at our old apartment complex, and I saw this ASUS M5A99X EVO sitting there in a box on top of a pile of garbage. It was even inside an anti-static sleeve. I thought, "this thing HAS to be dead". I sat on this mobo for over a year before getting an AM3 cpu to test it out. Imagine my surprise when it booted to the UEFI!!!

Video Card: Pulled from a (Dell?) desktop. My grandpa had this sitting in a box, in a barn of all places.

Storage: HDD: WD 500gb Caviar Blue out of a compaq desktop. My old man claimed it "got struck by lightning" after lightning did in fact strike my parent's house, though windows disk scan shows no errors...

Wireless PCI adaptor: Also a victim of the "lightning strike". Tested working.

Razer Imperator: My fiancee said that years ago, her ex-boyfriend gave her back a box of her stuff after they broke up...and this was in it. Strange, but hey it's a free mouse lol.

SSD, PSU, and T2 cooler: All purchased from micro-center, using funds from selling and old laptop that the lady had. So no money technically out of pocket.

Case: Used funds from selling a portable HDD I've had for 6 years. Shoutout to the nice guy I met over r/hardwareswap and who hooked me up with an awesome masterbox for $30, with all screws, parts, etc. included.

That's it! My buddy already has a monitor, and I have an old keyboard I'm adding in.... so this tower is being brought to his place later today. Hope you all enjoyed the story, and please excuse the dim lighting in all of the pictures lol.

Thanks for reading!

Comments Sorted by:

TheDankKn1ght 1 Build 7 points 6 months ago

Why didn't you just get a power supply out of the trash? I'm sure it would've lasted atleast a few days...


dasauceboss submitter 2 Builds 6 points 6 months ago

I was thinking about it - the added benefit of your PC being a campfire starter!

miller.eric79@yahoo.com 1 Build 4 points 6 months ago

Excellent job! This post makes me want to try this. If your buddy likes to game, it may not hurt to try to sell some more parts and throw in a HD 7850 or a GTX 750ti or something around the $50 mark.

For productivity, this is an awesome build. If I were your friend, it would mean wayyyy more to me that you didn't pay anything for it. Just knowing how much time you spent on it is awesome. Hope to see this as a featured build.

dasauceboss submitter 2 Builds 3 points 6 months ago

Hey thanks, I really appreciate it. And due to him being constrained by that tablet for so long, I believe the only game he's ever played was TF2. I figured I would let him figure it out for himself if he wants to get deeper into the scene, and eventually upgrade the card.

Popboy11 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Very kind of you to do this. The time and effort you put on it as well as your buddy's story was fantastic. +1

dasauceboss submitter 2 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

Thanks man, he definitely deserves it. We were trying to stream a football game last sunday at his place, and I'm like DUDE please tell me that's not the same surface tablet you've had since the beginning of college (6 years ago). I'm amazed he's made it through school on it lol.

Popboy11 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Absolutely. I've had an old laptop for 5 years and built my pc after the hard drive decided to start failing on me, the thing was a turtle, can't imagine how slow the surface must've been. Cheers

skyrise 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

An AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black + an Asus M5A99X EVO board + a TG case for free!

Man, you're lucky!

dasauceboss submitter 2 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

I still can't believe it. Granted, this build has consisted of waiting for nearly 2 years now on finding parts, but I know I'll probably never come across such fortune again. I can't believe I found that mobo in the trash, I figured the previous owner probably misdiagnosed a dead PSU or CPU and somehow thought the mobo was bad. I'm glad I rescued it before trash day!

Phildilf 3 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

Stop, there can only be one free build today.

You win -_-

dasauceboss submitter 2 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

I'm about to go check yours out!

edit this guy's free build is nearly identical to my primary rig lmao. I'd say you're the winner here

elvarg9685 4 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

how did the 5450 hold up? I have one that I picked up from goodwill and am going to use it in a core2 quad build that I'm not sure what I'm going to do with yet

dasauceboss submitter 2 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

Honestly I haven't stressed it yet. I was going to try some rocket league tonight before I take the computer to my buddies - I tend to use rocket league as a simple yet effective illustrator of how lower-end GPUs can handle a game. I'll let you know how it turns out!

elvarg9685 4 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

thanks! looking forward to it!