So because it was high time that I invested in a new computer (and because my almost 4 y/o laptop was on its last legs) I decided to use it as an opportunity to learn something new. I have always been interested in computers and technology at least in regards to online media and that kind of thing, so to take it a step further I wanted to learn more about how an actual desktop works. And what better way than jumping off a bridge and learning to swim? But with computer parts. Not water.
To start, there was definitely a lot of this during the experience:
But what better place is there to start learning?! Luckily I do have some awesome friends who did help explain what everything does and how to install everything to make sure it works.
Obviously the first step to any project is research. I did spend a lot of time lurking in BuildAPC on Reddit to see the kinds of things that people were building for the budget I had in mind. Plus they have a very useful wiki that breaks down what all of the PC parts actually do. I also read through this guide on Tom’s Hardware which goes into a lot of detail on how to actually build a PC.
For the project itself I had a budget of about $600. (Yay for Christmas bonuses!) This is the build that I ended up going with:
- ASUS Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition HD7770-2GD5 Video Card
- CORSAIR CX series CX500 500W Power Supply
- AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ Eight-Core Desktop Processor
- ASUS M5A97 R2.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
- Western Digital WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive, Blue
- Team Vulcan 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory
And this is everything when it arrived! =D
The original plan was for me to wait until I had an entire day off to work on the PC but as things usually go… I couldn’t wait. So at 5 AM in the morning I set to work to build this new PC. It was like Christmas! The instruction manual that I found the most useful was the one that came with the motherboard. So I stuck with that one for most of the build.
At this point I had just put in the Motherboard and PSU. It seemed like a reasonable point to sit back and take a picture. Once again acknowledging the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. But it was fun! (You can actually see my dad sitting on his chair in the upper right hand corner. Yes he was very amused watching my frustrations.)
Finally it came to a point where almost everything was put together:
It looks so pretty! I had to leave for work after this so I couldn’t hook up all of the cables. That was done that evening. After everything was hooked up and ready to go, I set up the computer to the monitor and plugged it in. I took a moment to try to register the fact that I am actually building my own computer (how cool is that?!) and then pushed the power button. And nothing happened.
It was as if somebody just burst my huge bubble of happiness and anticipation with NOTHING. Who knew that nothing could feel so terrible?! So then was the process of trying to figure out why nothing happened. The PSU fan wasn’t on, there were no lights, and no beeps. So I tested the PSU using the paperclip test and it worked. That wasn’t the problem. The only thing I could think of doing was unplugging everything and plugging it back in. So I did just that and FINALLY saw the most glorious sight:
IT WORKS! I built something! =D
I could go to bed happy! I built a computer! The next morning I installed the operating system and installed everything in my room. So here is my very own battlestation!
And yes that is a Compaq keyboard. ^_^;