Description

Also considered: Where's the 3.5" Floppy Drive?

Good question. But first, what in the Wide World of Sports is going on here? Well, I got one of those cool Intel 8086k chips and, like anyone in my situation, I immediately thought, "That has got to go in a 20-year-old Pavilion." With that settled, I knew from experience that these unlocked Intel chips are tough to keep cool. Even after resealing with liquid metal, that's just a fact. So, the obvious solution was...what's that? No! Not build in another case, silly. It was to install a custom loop in a 20-year old steel case.

Okay, there's also my somewhat pathological obsession with Pavilions. Or so I've been told. See my previous Pavilion builds, if you have time to kill and you're a glutton for punishment.

As with any Pavilion, space is at a premium. Fortunately, the a305w has very roomy bezels, both front and top. The top bezel allowed me to cut a nice big hole for reservoir refilling, without worrying about a lid. The front bezel space allowed me to install the radiator in the front and still have room to install and cable some USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks. I did have to shear off its mounting frame and much of the plastic connector cable insulation to include it. I had to add some audio jacks, though, because in a nod to their future cheapness, HP inexplicably did not include them. This despite the fact that the USB connector module was designed to hold them. They actually had to design a special, lop-sided face plate for the module to avoid including them. (See pictures.) Just bizarre.

Wait a second. What's that? This little Pavilion talks. It says, "I can count to 5. That's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 GHz!"

It was really tricky mounting the radiator in this thing. The bezel connects to and mounts directly against the front of the case in a bunch of places, so I had to be careful not to cut off or block it. I also had to find a way to mount the reservoir/pump assembly in between the motherboard and the radiator. Fortunately, because of the pattern the case was cut from, the 5.25" drive bay cage folded down nicely to form a back wall, and I mounted the assembly to that. This was before PC makers got too cheap...I mean, economical...to make both sides of the case removable, so I couldn't mount it to the back side of the case. The back side actually comes off to allow some cable management. A luxury in the world of Pavilion rebuilding, as I'm sure you're aware.

Neighbor Relations Tip! People often say to me, "Dude! You work on ancient Pavilions with power tools, and they're basically hazardous waste. How come the neighbors don't string you up or at least narc you out to the proper authorities?" I have a simple, 5-point response to this question. 1) I need to live in close quarters with these people and it's important that we get along, but it's more important that I do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. 2) They're going to die of something, no matter what I do. 3) You literally can't hear them complain if you're running a Dremel cutting wheel through old case metal. 4) I wear an N95 approved particulate respirator. I'm not stopping them from doing the same thing. 5) I make it a point to do other things that are worse, so that clouding the air with toxic metal dust seems relatively minor.

This is a very talkative Pavilion. What's that? No, I don't think it's appropriate to say, "Enthoo this. Eat my 5.1 GHz exhaust" at this time.

Pavilion a305w History: There isn't much information out there on this little guy. The HP site just says they no longer support it, implying that maybe it's time for you to buy a newer PC. I was reading the specs at CNET and getting frustrated that they didn't list what generation DDR it has when I realized, if you listed the specs when it was DDR1, there would be no reason to say 1.

As usual, no other PCs were harmed in the making of this build. Where I added a case part, for example, the top radiator mounting bracket, I fashioned it out of other removed or unneeded case parts. I did use the end of an old power supply cord to create the back feet. This became necessary because I added the 170mm intake fan to the bottom of the case. Hopefully no one plugs them in, as I'm guessing that would short out the system.

Where's the 3.5" Floppy Drive? I'm sad to report that I just couldn't find a way to keep it. With the radiator forced flat against the front of the case by the graphics card, I couldn't keep anything deeper than the bezel itself. It's not for lack of effort. I found an adaptor card that converted the signal to USB 2.0, so all I needed was an internal USB port to hook it up to the motherboard. Until I found that adapter card on eBay, the only other option was the KryoFlux forensic floppy controller https://www.kryoflux.com, which runs about $150. You may say, "Why not just buy a native USB 2.0 floppy drive for $20?" To which I say, "Next question."

Bonus Procedure!

Mounting a 280mm Radiator in the Front of a Pavilion a305w Mini Tower Case

Mounting a 280mm Radiator in the front of a Pavilion a305w Mini Tower Case is a cinch! Simply do the following:

  1. Ignore the unsettling feeling that you've bitten off more than you can chew.
  2. Pick an early morning weekend time to begin cutting and drilling the case. Sleepy neighbors are slow to react.
  3. Stare blankly at the case.
  4. Buy another unrelated power tool. I recommend a circular saw or laser etcher. Now you're in action!
  5. Leverage your desire to do something, anything else to do another chore you've been putting off. Try unpacking from your Christmas trip, for instance.
  6. Get out, then put away, your power drill.
  7. Get out your Dremel tool, and then attach the cutting wheel. Always start with the cutting wheel.
  8. Cut off any case pieces whose use you don't understand.
  9. Create a cardboard pattern for mounting holes using precision digital calipers, then cover one eye and use a center punch to roughly replicate it on the case.
  10. Drill. Re-drill. Drill again.
  11. Put on particulate respirator.
  12. Force screws into radiator mounting wings.

Voila!

Comments

  • 16 months ago
  • 33 points

Intel 8086k chips and, like anyone in my situation, I immediately thought, "That has got to go in a 20-year-old Pavilion."

Flawless, impeccable logic. +1. /s

On a serious note, I'm absolutely speechless. Awesome job :)

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  • 15 months ago
  • 4 points

This is seriously one of the best quotes on this site. +100 for originality :-)

  • 16 months ago
  • 11 points

I think someone hacked in to the site, because it's saying my little Pavilion is the Featured Build this week. Better get another cup of coffee.

  • 16 months ago
  • 5 points

It was me, I hacked it just because the description gave me such joy.

You enjoy that coffee, it's well deserved. At rough estimation I calculate it would take me 8,086 coffees at 5 oz each to complete such a project. Or several bottles of scotch of despair, whichever came first.

  • 16 months ago
  • 8 points

+1 for a nice sleeper build... calling a feature?

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

You were correct

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes simple exterior while maintaining a masterfully chosen interior. The above quote is a new favorite of mine. Great job!

+1 for a feature!

:}

  • 16 months ago
  • 8 points

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words! I love doing the builds and the write ups, and it makes it that much sweeter.

  • 16 months ago
  • 5 points

SLEAPER IS KING

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

i love sleap

  • 16 months ago
  • 4 points

This sleeper build is fantastic and all that, but that description, oh man that description was the best write up I’ve come across on here yet. * hilarious!

“8. Cut off any case pieces whose use you don’t understand” -Logarythym 2018

Well done sir! All around great work and easily deserving of a feature +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 4 points

I'm out of words.... This build made me rethink my whole life... Ladies and gentlemen, we have found the meaning of life... We have thought that it was 42, but no, this is the meaning of life.

Anyway I think that this an amazing build and the specs on it are 10/10.

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

Brilliantly done, this is a masterpiece. I hope you get a feature.

+1

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

This is so awesome. You pulled it off really well.

Okay, there's also my somewhat pathological obsession with Pavilions. Or so I've been told. See my previous Pavilion builds, if you have time to kill and you're a glutton for punishment.

I took a look at your other builds... you're doing the lord's work.

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

Best sleeper build I've ever seen, great work... This better get a feature

+1

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

Your write up is absolutely A+. Probably the best one I've read on the site so far. Your comments about your neighbors had me LOLing at work!

What do you do with these works of art after you're finished? Use them one at a time or sell them? Or just take them apart afterwards for your next suffer project?

  • 16 months ago
  • 5 points

Never had any luck selling them. There aren't too many people who will shell out a couple grand for a computer that looks like an old Pavilion, no matter what's inside it. I forgive them for not seeing the beauty in the beast. So, I give them to friends who need computers or a I part them out. I always need to be building.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Plain on the outside, powerful on the inside. Love this. +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

So happy you included the 'before' pic...

"Cut off any case pieces whose use you don't understand." = words to live by.

Just love your work.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

That is so just me lol

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Have to say, this case is Pentium 3/4 era, the 8086 was about 20 years older that this! Something like this would be 100% historically correct for an 8086 : http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/10534/Olivetti-M24/

In any case, this is a great build, and amazing work. +1 and thanks for sharing this

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

That is awesome! Thanks so much for the link. I might just have to transplant the build.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for sleeper build.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing build... But the +1 is because of the awesome description.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

This is the first 8086K I've seen in a build.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

+1, outstanding sleeper! What are the first steps you take in restoring these? I have one I'd like to do something with.

  • 16 months ago
  • 3 points

I take a lot of pictures of it from different angles, then I completely disassemble it. That includes drilling out pop rivets, so you'd need a drill and, ultimately, a pop riveter to reassemble it. That gives me a good idea of how the case was designed to be used. Then I come up with at least one major way to break the design rules, as a challenge to make the build interesting. I also always try to incorporate at least one new technique or feature. The two things are normally the same. That's why I always end up doing something stupid and amusing. I suppose what I do isn't really restoration, though.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks so much!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

You, Sir, are truly a self-flagellating masochistic genius. I saw your other AMD based HP build as well and I think that case was even worse than this one to work in and yet you managed to pull both of these builds off. I must admit there's something very cool and intriguing about turning the most plain looking and uninteresting utilitarian PC case into a secret powerhouse.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for being a spleeper build!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome sleeper!

My first (refurb) Pavilion had FOUR digits!!! It was an a1630n, much younger than this 20 years old of yours. It is still running and in service though about to get replaced. I plan on reusing the case and your build just convinced me to do so.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautifully done sleeper build! Love seeing the time put in to restore and upgrade an old system.

+1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

This is crazy. Talk about a sleeper build! Hope you get a feature, man, because it looks great and your story about it is entertaining. +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup, thought it would get featured. Good going dude!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha Yessssss Feecha!!!

All the Crazy / Beast / RGB / OP / Overkill builds that went up last week and the Pav Monster wins!

I stood up from my desk at work and cheered!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

This is priceless lol! The joke is solid and the effort makes it so much better. Talk about a sleeper build!

Good job!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha this is awesome. Great sleeper build. Thanks for the nostalgia.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Now THAT is a low key system. +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I would call it a sleeper computer if i made it.

Nice work. HP Pavilion was my very first computer, it might even of been the same case, i dont rememeber

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

this is the....... strangest thing i've seen in a long time. +1 for that

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Perfection.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nicely done +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

This has to be, one of the best 'sleeper' builds on PCPP. Nice job with the loop, too. +1 :)

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing Sleeper PC! All you need now is to retrofit a 4k Display in an old CRT monitor and you'll be golden!

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! That give me an idea...

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

He's a mad man!!!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

For some bizarre reason, I had even more fun reading your description than looking at a custom water-cooled rig running at 5GHz inside a Pavillon case which used to support DDR(1). That's an achievement by itself, sir. Congratulations.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Great. Now get some angle adapters.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Godly. Hilarious description. Great job.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the write up and your retention of the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" mantra +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Great job man! I want to do this to an old gateway PC i have! bravo +1! Congrats on Feature

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

This has to be my favourite build I've seen on here hahaha

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

For science.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Sports? I thought this was a chess tournament! I want a refund on my box seats!!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Full contact chess, actually. No refunds.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

(holds breath for refunds)

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Damn dude I had an a450n that I used daily up until like 2012 lol

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Sweet! Rockin DDR1 in 2012. Sounds like power pop anthem.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing sleeper build!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry didn't read any of the above - the pictures wrote a whole essay of it's own! ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!!!

The only thing missing now is a CRT monitor mod lol

+1 and some!!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing. Just amazing.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh wow. I didn't even know they had brought back the 8086 name. Fantastic sleeper and great 30+ year old reference. Love it

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build, the beast has awaken in this sleeper! I have 2 HP Pavilion (2008-2009), future plan awaits! My sleeper will wake up in 2028 or 2029. Lets see whats awesome hardware awaits us in the future!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

u wasted $400 on the 8086k

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 just for the KryoFlux. (Good luck making sense of their docs.)

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

What a rig... Love it!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Giving an old case new life. Very nice!

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Friends look on, laughing to themselves when you say "No really, she games..." lol

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, I really appreciate all the kind and funny words from y'all. So far I think I've manage to keep my ego in check. Some of us aren't so lucky, however. My talkative little Pavilion for one. Here's a little sampling of what I've had to listen to this week:

Of course I'm the featured build. I'm the fastest Pavilion in the history of Pavilions.

Clean this place up. I want my own room. Is this how you treat a star?

Ownership just doesn't appreciate me. I want to be traded.

I finally have to say, "I wonder where my drill is?"

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

wow this is an awesome sleeper! this definitely deserved the future. mad respect

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Love that description :D +1

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

You, crazy genious! Great job! :D

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

your build is in a great level, but you description man your description is in a hole other godly level +1 2 3 4 5

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I like these ‘sleeper PCs’ - +1 for the great build and the feature, but what you need to do now is get a monitor from 1997 and replace the panel with a glorious 1440p one

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Great sleeper!

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build man! It's like a 1980 Volkswagen beetle with a V8 engine.

How about get a VR and change the casing with a pair of plastic cups ;)

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

As many have said, this build is a sleeper. Like a turbocharged Camry. +1

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

this is one of the best sleeper builds i have seen. nice job! +1

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! It was loads of fun.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah i bet! i have always wanted to do a sleeper but i don't have the funds or the patience to lol

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

So if someone breaks into your house to steal stuff there is a good chance they will leave this PC alone thinking it being an obsolete win XP PC from 15 years ago. Nice sleeper build.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, that's the hope. I suppose I should put an new Phanteks case nearby with 15 year old components in it, just to be safe. Really happy you posted your Raspberry Pi, btw! I love mine.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Set a Phanteks case up with any Pentium 4 system you can find. Best recycled from a very old Dell system.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

You spend all that money on the 8086K and don't even pair an overkill GPU with it, rather the modest (respectively) 1070?

Shame on you!

jk

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I see your point, but it is a Ti and a 1080 Ti was still twice as expensive as the 8086 at that time.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh. Okay. I guess I never paid attention to the submission date.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build!!! did the GPU come with a backplate?

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Yeah, I just bought a stock 1070 Ti, removed the back plate and fans, and then installed the jacket/waterblock on it. It wasn't difficult to do. Just a lot of screws and thermal pads.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, I misread your question. I bought the backplate from ekwb as an extra. It came separate from the rest of the ekwb gpu block.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice cable Management With that case!! 1+

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! You have to go back 20 years to even find a regular HP case with a rear compartment to do cable management.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem! I Know how hard the management is. I worked with a YYMiniCube once, and the cable management that they offer in the case is super bad.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly builds like these should be featured rather than hardline loop dual RTX 2080 ti builds with threadripper 2990WX. I'm not saying those shouldn't be ignored (some are good) but these are just creative. Also my new favorite build on the site.

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! I appreciate the sentiment. If you like this one, I'm posting my new Teleputer build today, and you'll probably like it also.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you de-lid the 8086K? It looks like it in the pics. (How are the thermals when de-lidded??)

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes. The thermals were improved by 10C, just like all the other k chips I've delidded. You can pretty much bank on that, as long as you do a good job with the liquid metal.

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  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm curious, what's the model number of your Pavilion? It's possible I've run across it before.

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  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, a relative youngster, and a real computer during it's prime with an actual mATX board in it. So what are you thinking of putting in it? Will you go Intel or AMD?

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  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I suppose it could suffer an identity crisis if you threw an Intel board in there. Or demand to have the stickers changed on the bezel. They can be a little precious, these Pavilions. Good luck.

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  • 16 months ago
  • 0 points

Stop spamming.

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  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I didn't, scout's honor!

I think they looked at it when it became a featured build.

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  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

And for a good reason too

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  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

That's what copy paste is for...

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