Cheap and dirty test bench

Mar 22, 2020 | Computing

If you ever need a testing rig, rip apart an old PC case and build one. When I was looking at building some “ultimate” rigs based on each era ‘Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows 7’ I had a lot of parts sitting around that I needed to test together, test if they worked at all and make quick builds to see if it was going to serve my needs. I ended up finding a premade rig on Trademe with a motherboard combo I was after.

Most of the time, the rig has a Asus P5Q Pro LGA755 board on it with 8gb ram, Xeon 5150 Quad Core CPU, CD Drive, Multiple drives and OSes, A 1GB Sapphire Graphics card, and a Diagnostics Card. This is more than enough to test most equipment I would come across, it covers Sata, USB, PCI, PCI-E, IDE, Floppy, Sound cards, Graphics cards, CD/DVD, LGA 775 CPU’s, XP through to Windows 10 and most things in between. On the odd occasion I have had to swap the motherboard over and put in older 478 or 370 boards to test older stuff. Something that I found in an old box of stuff that came with another project was a remote power, reset, usb and indicator light unit, this saves me shorting motherboard pins out on older boards.

Only things I would be looking to add is, a multi boot hard drive so I can run any OS from ( ideally an SSD ) from a selection menu. But if you have have an old case lying around, drill out the rivets, and mount it all to a piece of plywood!


  • Old PC case
  • plywood board
  • IDE/Sata CD/DVD Drive
  • Motherboard ideally with as many ports and connectors as possible, I have found 775 era boards are great as they still have IDE and floppy
  • Graphics card
  • Sound card
  • PCI/PCIe motherboard error code reader
  • 450w power supply or better
  • multiple hard drives with different OSes on them
  • Floppy drive ( optional )


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