Various Nonsensicals

I Built a Computer

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For a while, I had been without a fully functioning personal computer. It wasnít all that terrible, except it totally was. But the important thing now is that I can speak of it in the past tense. That is because I kept busy the other day. You see, I built a computer!

If I made this a video instead of blocks of text, this would be where the introduction cinematics would play with epic music and catchy titles.
However, due to budget constraints, enjoy this irrelevant picture.

Now I donít know much of anything about anything, so it would probably not be a good idea to undertake such a project. But I was able to convince myself to do it anyway. It was a long and arduous journey, but the task is complete.

Note for any readers who know a thing or two about a thing or two. Youíll probably notice that some of the decisions made in the process of design and creation were not the most efficient ones. Perhaps they were downright dumb moves. Feel free to notice them. Youíll also notice my lack of technical knowledge concerning this and that and everything in between. Yep.

With that said, letís dive into my experience in building my own pc for the first time.

First off, why build? Well, I was going to get a laptop, but they tend to be expensive for what you get and most of them had aspects I didnít enjoy for said price. So I scrapped that plan.

Once I decided that, despite technology trends of the day, I would still use a desktop, it was natural progression to decide to build it myself. So it came time to pick my components. The first thing I got was a tv. Itís a 40 inch oCosmo 1080p thing that was really cheap at the time. The screen looks great but the sound is not very good. Still, itís good enough and I can use it for games and movies as well.

After that, PCPartPicker was a great help for looking into compatible parts, though I did eventually get components that I didnít find listed there. I also got advice from some family who actually know computer things, some people online, and just the internet at large. In the end, I probably should have followed them more, but with the combination of those and me saying, ooh shiny, I came up with this list of parts.

CPU: Intel i5 4670
Motherboard: Gigabyte H97-D3H
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 750 Ti
Memory: 8GB (2x4gb) Crucial DDR3 - 1600
SSD: 128GB Crucial MX100
HDD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda
PSU: Corsair CX750M
Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW
Case: Corsair Carbide 300R
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Wireless: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE

This was not always the set-up I was going to go with. I originally wanted a micro atx build and a lower budget. But things happened, including being able to increase my budget, finding things on sale, and other such nonsense. I originally was going to get all of this stuff at different locations and spent a lot of time hunting things down, but in the end got everything on Amazon. It just worked out that way with pricing at the time (especially since Amazon prime means free shipping too).

So once the parts came in, it was time to find a day off and put the thing together. Unfortunately, I didnít take any sexy pictures of the individual components as I went along, but the internet has plenty of those anyway. That's what the internet if for, right?

First off, the case is huge. I knew I wasnít going to get a micro atx size anymore, and reviews said it was roomy (good for easy building and airflow), but the 300R is massive, especially for something labelled as a mid sized tower. Itís a behemoth compared to my old plastic hp and just short enough to fit in its spot. That being said, the quality is decent to pretty good, at least in my opinion. I like the all black, mostly metal look with the fancy grilling. It came with two fans, but has plenty of room for up to seven. I might get some new ones later on, maybe after Christmas. The caseís size and color made naming the system fairly easy as well. Codename_Monolith.

Because HAL 9000 is so passe.

The first thing I did was put in the power supply. The CX750M is modular so only the primary power cables were attached, which was nice. The 300R is mostly tool free and for a second I thought that would include mounting the PSU. The fit at the bottom of the case is very snug, making me think that screws wouldnít be necessary. But I used them anyway to be extra secure.

The HDD and SSD went in without a hitch (which by the way, I'm really liking this SSD), but it was when I installed the DVD drive that I encountered my first real problem with the caseís quality. The lock that is supposed to hold it in place wouldnít stay shut with the drive in place, but there were still screw holes so I just used those.

Other than that, the case is solid enough, stands on legs, has one dust filter at least (covering the opening to the PSU), and has two front USB 3.0 which is nice if not completely necessary. There is also lots of space for wiring which would be good if I didnít suck at wire management anyway. Also important was that the standoffs for the motherboard were already in place, so I got to skip that step, which is good because I was a complete baby with the motherboard.

Once I opened the H97-D3H, I started panicking. This was the real deal. I could break things without even knowing it. I could conceivably wreck the board and everything I attached to it. Maybe. Could I just set the thing down to build on? Why is it taking so much pressure to close this CPU cover? I knew already that there would be resistance, but I feel like Iím about to snap this thing in half. Am I using this stupid ESD strap correctly? Does it even work? Did I need it in the first place? Maybe I better go grab some plumbing, just in case.

I was questioning everything that happened. Everything. I was so paranoid, I might as well have changed my name to Murphey. Rationally, I knew I was doing fine, but there was always that doubt and knowledge that, if I was wrong, the entire enterprise would be destroyed.

In reality, the entire thing was mostly uneventful. The CPU went in fine. Oh, I did initially mount the cooler on wrong (donít ask me how I pulled that off) and it fell off later when the board was already in the case. Fortunately, it didnít take the CPU or any piece of the mobo with it, so it was easy enough to just remount it correctly. Ram was ok, yay to slots. Everything was nicely labelled as well.

Due to the motherboard having 6Gb/s connectors (and one 10GB/s connector but I have nothing to use that with) and no 3Gb/s, I find it somewhat humorous that even my DVD gets its own high speed connection. Unfortunately, none of my drives came with their own SATA cables, and the mobo only came with two of them.

Well, I can't figure out just two! So let's pretend you opened 200.

So I did end up having to order more before I could start the build. And now I have more than I should ever need. Hurray! The SATA power cables that came with the PSU kind of bugged me, what with their placement all along one line of wiring, but itís not like I needed to use all of the connections so I just let it slide.

The last internal part was the video card. Again, couldnít be easier. Two covers removed, one PCI-Express to plug into, and no need for additional power. I suppose that was part of the appeal with the GTX 750 Ti.

With that, everything was in place.



How do you use zip ties again?

Then came the moment of truth. It was time to power it on. HDMI hookup to my tv, power to outlet, switch flipped and... At first I thought I broke it. I hit the power and it made this awesome startup sound thing. It was like some kind of onomatopoeia that I canít even spell. And then it was silent. I love how quietly this thing runs. I can hear the fans, but it is only noticeable if I actively listen for them, at least during low power tasks. Compared to my old computer that just wailed as soon as it turned on, this thing is all stealth.

That is until the DVD drive runs. That thing is loud. So loud that I think it alone makes more noise than everything in my old computer combined. Itís ridiculous. Fortunately, I only need it for select things, so I shouldnít hear it too often.

So anyway, the computer booted well. And fast. Thatís the other thing. Now that everything is set up, boot time is measured in seconds. Compared to my old pc where I would hit the power and then go make a sandwich or something before checking to see if it was running yet, this is incredible.

And like a genius I forgot to download updated drivers for the bios and stuff beforehand so I had to do all that after the fact, but mostly all of the updating and Windows 7 installation went smoothly.

Technically the last part I used was the USB wireless adapter. It works really well. At least so far, Iím maintaining a strong signal and really good speeds. Yay antenna!

And I guess thatís it. Iíve started the process of installing programs but itís still fairly bare bones. Being able to type this and post it together if I choose is nice. Windows 7 works well. Iím still trying to work out the visual aspect. While connected to my tv, running on native 1080p makes everything too small, so Iím running at 720p (1280x720) instead, which is not bad. In theory, I should be able to switch to 1080p for games when I get some that make it worth it. A few other hiccups are appearing from time to time, such as my HDD not being available to store items, but Iíve been able to easily fix most of them. Everything seems to be detected and in working order. I was able to tweak some BIOS settings to my liking. So all in all, Iíd say it was a success.

Project ďBuild a ComputerĒ has pretty much come to a close at this point. Codename_Monolith stands completed and in working order, ready for most anything I decide to throw at it. Which, by the way, if Monolith is the codename, what is its actual name? Henceforth, the unofficial secondary name of this pc shall be ďJoshuaĒ so that the War Games picture from the beginning of this entry becomes relevant.

Anyway, I have the satisfaction of knowing that, despite whatever (hopefully minor) flaws it may posses, this PC was something that I was able to put together myself. That is, unless the thing dies in the next week. Then Iíll probably be wondering why I didnít just buy a stupid prebuilt computer like everyone else.

Updated 09-27-2015 at 04:12 PM by xxMATEOSxx



  1. 1111dav9's Avatar
    Lovin' the specs dude! If I could make a small suggestion, you should save up for a Radeon graphics card, since some games use rendering, and Nvidia graphics aren't that great for it.
  2. xxMATEOSxx's Avatar
    Fair enough. Though that'll be a bit further down the line. I don't actually have the games that need fancy video yet.

    Would you say that this would be ok to run Portal 2, Starcraft 2 and other such midrangy olderish games?