Building a sleeper gaming PC

Mykola Lytvynchuk
4 min readJan 29, 2020


The first time I saw my wife’s PC, I thought: how old is this beast? The label on a top says that it is from 2005 and thus not a beast anymore. With a single-core processor (Intel Celeron D), 256 Mb of RAM and AGP GPU is not enough to run either a 360p youtube video nor install a modern OS.

I turned on this PC. Windows XP started flawlessly after many years of rest. Suddenly the OS decided to restart and could not start up again without the restoration disk. The disk was lost, so it required to perform some work to make it work again. As far as the current config was not decent, I decided to use the old case and put modern hardware in it. The only restriction was to use not hot CPU and GPU because the case was not supposed to have decent airflow for cooling.

Configuration: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (TDP 65 W), ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4, 16 Gb of DDR4 RAM (3200 MHz) and MSI GeForce 1660 Super (TDP 125 W).

Assembling took around ten minutes and there were no issues. The only mistake I made is PSU. The modular version could have saved some internal space because this build doesn’t require extra connectors.

The first tests and games revealed a huge issue. The noise level was uncomfortable.

It was time to try one of the best fans and coolers in the business from Noctua. I purchased two 92 mm fans and NH-L9i cooler. I chose black colour versions because the default colours look awful.

The results were impressive. On idle, the noise level decreased from 50 to 45, on load — from 65 to 57. Temperatures were also better but not significantly.

I tried to play Metro Exodus and Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, both games run at 1080p resolution on ultra settings without lags and freezes. At the end of the day I was happy because of two things:

  1. Old PC gets new life and it is the best way to watch movies about XX century.
  2. I have found that such kind of PCs have an exclusive name — Sleeper Gaming PC. So I build it even without knowing that it is pretty popular.