Another OEM gaming PC conversion, HP ProDesk 400 G3 Micro-Tower (i5-6500, 8GB DDR4) off of ebay. (Now TOTAL CONVERSION!)

VirtualLarry

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I purchased a few "HP ProDesk 400 G3 Intel Core i5-6500 @ 3.20GHz 8GB RAM 1TB HDD Mid Tower" off of ebay at a good price. (Hint: "Make Offer")

I also already picked up some GTX 1650 D5 refurb cards for $120-130 @ Newegg a few weeks back.

So, as-is, I could build these into "Gaming PCs", likely by just dropping in the GPUs. However, they came with both 180W and 300W PSUs, which appear to be ATX-compatible, certainly, the mount for the PSU at the rear of the chassis LOOKS like ATX, as do the connectors on the mobo.

There is also a second drive bay, and a spare SATA port on mobo and SATA power cable, so one can add a SATA SSD for a boot drive.

I looked up the specs, and there MAY be a PCI-E x4 M.2 slot somewhere, but that was on the SFF HP page, and I don't see it in pics of the Micro-Tower mobo.

It does have a PCI-E 3.0 x16 GPU slot, and can accept double-wide cards (Assuming the PSU manages, or you succeed in replacing the PSU, which I may try to do.) It appears that the stock factory PSU has a micro-SATA-power connector for the slim (laptop-style) DVD drive. So if you intend to keep that functional, and replace the PSU, you'll seemingly need an adapter harness.
 

DAPUNISHER

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This is supposedly the mobo, looks a little different than the other ones I've seen, this one does appear to have an NVMe slot at the upper-right top-most corner in white plastic.
They spec it to ship with optional m.2 gen 2 x4 2280 https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c04850040#AbT2 I wonder if you got a different mobo by ordering it with that config? Makes more sense to use the same board and add whatever the clients want.
 
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VirtualLarry

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Here's another question. I want to upgrade these rigs to 16GB of DDR4, presumably with only two one slots.

Is there any sort of HP BIOS lockout on the RAM? I mean, if the PSU connectors and USB3.0 connectors are standard, then I pretty-much doubt it, but I have some kits of Team Group Vulcan Z 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3200, 1.35V, that I picked up for fairly cheap, like $57.99. Odds of that working? (I'll be able to tell you after the PCs get here and I get a chance to get into them.)

According to ARK, the Intel i5-6500 only supports up to DDR4-2133 RAM, which is JEDEC.
 

VirtualLarry

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HP Gaming Desktop PC - Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 1650, 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD + 1TB HDD, WiFi, Windows 10, Keyboard & Mouse, Warranty

  • Play ANY Game. Guaranteed.
  • Intel Core i7 Quad up to 3.80Ghz
  • NVIDIA GTX 1650
  • 16GB RAM
  • 250GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Keyboard/Mouse included


$738.00 @ Newegg

---

That's basically the spec that I'm aiming for, as far as RAM/SSD/HDD, except with a 6th-Gen Skylake i5-6500 4C/4T, versus a 3rd-Gen i7-3770S 4C/8T. It would be interesting to compare the difference in performance, if any, for gaming, between those two CPU specs.

My Skylake, would have probably 20-30% faster IPC per core, and the benefit of DDR4 RAM (sadly, only up to 2133, since no "Z" chipset to OC RAM on), but the 3rd-Gen i7 has HT. It probably depends on the game, too. If it runs good on a 4C/4T CPU (most games), then it should run BETTER on the Skylake that I'm building, but some games, ROTTR and AC:Odysee might run better on the i7 because more threads. BF V, probably a toss-up.

I was also looking at possibly going NVMe for the SSD, if the mobo has a slot for it. Also, no keyboard / mouse included with mine, unless the refurb units that I'm buying come with them. So I was thinking of asking $700, maybe $750 shipped.
 

VirtualLarry

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So I did a search on Newegg, for "i5-6500 Gaming PC", thinking I would find some converted refurbs. Nope. Just one Shuttle PC, with fancy lights.


OOS, but $804.48.

Shuttle Gaming Computer Desktop PC Intel i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad Core | GTX 1050 Ti 4GB | 8GB DDR4 2400MHZ | 480GB SSD | WiFi | Windows 10 Home 64-bit (i5-6500 | GTX 1050)

  • [ System ]: Intel Core i5-6500 8-Core 3.2GHz (Up to 3.6GHZ) | 8GB DDR4 RAM | 480GB SSD | NVIDIA GTX 1050 TI 4GB | WIFI + Bluetooth | Genuine Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • [ Graphics ] NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Dedicated Gaming Video Card | 1 x HDMI |1x Display Port
  • [ Connectiviity ] 6 x USB 3. 0 | 4 x USB 2. 0 | 2x RJ-45 Network Ethernet 10/100/1000 | Wi-Fi Ready 802.11AC | Bluetooth | Headphone | Micropone | Audio
  • [ Feature ] RGB light control function | Extra M.2 2280 Slot | Extra 3.5" HDD SLOT to increase your storage capacity | No Bloatware
  • [ Others ] 1 Year Parts and Labor + Free Lifetime US Tech Support | Assembled in the USA

(*Since when is an i5-6500, an 8-core??? Methinks, that they were taking a certain amount of "liberty" with the description. Also, mention of DDR4 2400, when the i5-6500 can only utilize 2133 RAM.)

But if they're getting $804.xx for an i5-6500 gaming PC, with only 8GB of RAM (albeit a 480GB SSD), and only a GTX 1050 ti 4GB card, then certainly I could get that. Although their case is flashy and lighted.
 

VirtualLarry

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Ok, back to my HP ProDesk (?) 400 G3 Skylake i5-6500 micro-Tower PC(s). One of them came in today.

Initially, I took it apart, put in the Gigabyte GTX 1650 D5 ITX card (no PCI-E power), after verifying that the PSU that shipped with it was a 300W model, and not the 180W model. (No PCI-E power off of the PSU, and only one spare SATA power, which I used for the 250GB-class SATA SSD).

The mobo had three SATA ports, two occupied by a slim DVD-RW and a SATA 1TB HDD (didn't catch the model, probably whatever the refurbisher had on hand, might be a "purple" drive). So there was one free for an SSD.

I also installed 2x8GB Team Group Vulcan Z (grey) DDR4-3200, into the two slots (two were unsoldered). There were no NVMe slots, either for a 2280 SSD, or a Wifi card. So there appears to be two different mobos that ship with these systems. Strangely, though, there's not two different BIOS versions for the boards.

I had trouble (2.07 BIOS on there) booting off of a USB3.0 Adata Pro 32GB USB stick with Win10 1909 and 2004. BIOS wouldn't see it, until I plugged it into a USB2.0 port in the back. (Win10 installed on the HDD could see the ESD-USB drive fine inside of Windows, on both the front and rear USB3.0 ports, but the BIOS apparently couldn't boot off of USB3.0.)

I eventually flashed the BIOS, which was confusing. You have to double-click the .exe, which dumps some files into a C:\SWInst\blahblahblah" directory, and then opens your web browser, and then you have to download the "Updater" (it has a weird name), and then you need to put BOTH (?) the updater and the .BIN file, into "\Hewlett-Packard\BIOS\New" on a FAT32-formatted USB drive, then using the built-in BIOS flasher in the BIOS to update. A little confusing.

I was just going to try to use a PCI-E card to NVMe adapter, to try out and see if the BIOS would boot an NVMe SSD in UEFI mode on this BIOS (newest is 2.47, something-2020), but my PCI-E card is an x4, and there are only two x1 slots available once the GPU is fitted. (One of those slots, the bottom-most, has solder spots for an x4 electrical connector, but apparently they chose not to build it out that way.)

BTW, "F9" for Boot Menu, and "F10" to access BIOS Setup.
 
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DAPUNISHER

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Thanks for the info Larry. I was worried it would be a different mobo. I have seen that before. Makes no sense to me, but there must be a cost savings that makes it worthwhile for the OEM. Windows or HP support assistant should have been able to update the bios. If not, that is odd, as I have worked on 100s of newer OEMs, and never had to go through what you did.
 

VirtualLarry

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Well, well, well. I had an urge to do a "total conversion", spurred on by what I had seen on Tech Yes City's YT channel, and the success he was having with OEM conversion rigs, and how good they looked, transplated to an RGB case with tempered glass, etc.

So I had a DIYPC Shadow-H3-ARGB case on hand, thankfully, that had an integrated fan/RGB controller, pre-wired, with three ARGB fans in front as intakes.

The ProDesk 400 G3 i5-6500 rig, was pretty-much all standard connections, the chassis fan, the USB3.0 header, the USB2.0 header (*had an issue with this throwing an error in the new case when the OEM mobo boots, but then again, the front USB2.0 port doesn't work in Windows 10, whereas the other USB2.0 port works, so ... bad case port?), the HD Audio connector, and the front-panel header was just a bunch of pins, and the middle on the right side works with the Power_SW 2-pin header to power-on, which is really all that you need. Oh yeah, STANDARD ATX 24-pin and 4-pin ATX12V connectors!

So, I didn't end up transplanting the OEM PSU or slim DVD drive, I used an EVGA 80Plus White 500W PSU that goes for around $50, but it has two PCI-E 6+2 connectors, or so I thought. (I don't recall actually seeing them on there, hmm.)

So I could drop in an RX 570 8GB card... EXCEPT, after I finished the "total conversion", I noticed that the USB2.0 and 3.0 headers, are right smack-dab in the way of a longer graphics card.

I do think that you could fit an ITX-style 8-pin PCI-E GTX 1660 ti in here though, maybe even a dual-fan Ventus OC model, they're not super-long, maybe a Zotac, they make some shorter dual-fan models of NVidia GPUs.

Edit: Pics in my FS thread.
 
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VirtualLarry

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Well, well, well. Dec. 2021 here. At some point, around a year ago, I gave this PC to a friend of mine, both for his benefit / usage, and also as a display-piece to advertise my services to his friends.

Well, it went poof, started shutting off, then boot-looping. No idea if it's just the EVGA PSU that went wonky and needs to be replaced, or the mobo too.

Not having a lot of luck with these refurb rigs. Then again, same friend having two rigs go pop with a month, I really wonder about the quality of his electrical power as well. Going to hook him up with an up-to-date power strip.
 

VirtualLarry

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Update.

Replaced PSU with a Rosewill 80Plus Gold rated "gaming" PSU, 600W or so (maybe 500W) that I had on hand.

Was good for a few weeks, now said friend says it's restarting when his kids use it.

He can't rule out pending Win10 updates that have queued for a restart, either, though.

So at this point, I don't know if he has a real hardware problem or just PEBKAC.

When I asked him about doing some actual trouble-shooting, he couldn't be bothered.
 

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