Despite being a self-professed professional computer geek (although my geek cred has been declining over the years), until recently, I had not embarked on one of the geeky rights of passage. That all changed last month when, for the first time ever, I built my own computer. Been meaning to do it for ages, but, well, haven’t till now.
A brief history of computers I’ve owned:
– I had a cobbled together Commodore 64 back in the day. No idea from whence it came, and it was only ever used to play a few games off a floppy disk.
– In 1995 or so, my dad bought our first family computer. A Compaq running Windows 95. I think he got it at CompUSA. At the time, it was all state of the art. Got an AOL account (with an alias I’m still using to this day).
– When I went off to college in 1997, I got my own computer. Don’t really remember all the specs for this one. It ran a variety of operating systems over the years, including dual-booting into Linux.
– My senior year, my boyfriend at the time bought me a Dell as a birthday/early graduation gift. That is true geek love there folks. He also bought me my first Palm Pilot.
– My next computer, I decided to get a laptop. It was a brand I’d never heard of. VPR Matrix. I got it because it was shiny (and I named it Shiney) and it was designed by Porsche. Yes, THAT Porsche.
– My cat liked sleeping on Shiney and after awhile the screen stopped working. I got another laptop, a Toshiba Satellite. Named this one Passport.
After 6 years of Passport, it was time for an upgrade. I browse with a million tabs open, and Passport could only handle 2GB of RAM max. She was getting slow, and the fan and hard drive were getting loud. The current boyfriend also thought I needed a new computer so I could play some co-op games with him while apart. (Long distance relationship). I hemmed and hawed a long time over whether to get another laptop, or to get a desktop and a tablet/netbook. In the end, I bought a tablet (with a keyboard dock) for travel, so a desktop it was.
So I went shopping for components. I’d like to thank the people over at Tech Report for the system guides that they produce every so often. That made this process *FAR* less painful! It was nice that someone else had done all the research for me. Despite that, my adventure was not without its bumps, however.
Firstly, I’d forgotten to buy a second hard drive. I’d gotten a 120GB SSD for the operating system, and I’d meant to get a 1TB+ drive for data and everything else, but somehow, it didn’t make it into my shopping cart. Picked up a 2TB drive at Best Buy afterward. Next, I realized that the monitor I got doesn’t have a DVI input. Returning the monitor seemed like too much of a hassle, so I just used the VGA to DVI converter that came with the video card. I cut my hand pretty bad on the inside of the case trying to remove the panel to put in the DVD drive. First time I tried booting up my new creation, it didn’t work. Or so I thought. The lights came on, he fan whirred, but nothing on the monitor. Turns out that I had the monitor plugged into the motherboard instead of the video card. Once I managed to get it booted and the OS installed (Windows 7), I realized I had no internet. In this day and age, a computer can be relatively useless without internet. Since I’d been running laptops for awhile, I’d always just used wireless. The router was in another room. I had to order a 50ft patch cable and run it through the attic over to my room to get access to sweet, sweet internet.
I then had a working machine! But no speakers. I dealt with headphones for a bit, but then that got annoying and back to Best Buy I went for a set. Finally, I had a computer, built from scratch!
I have named this one Ninja. She’s quiet, fast, powerful and dressed all in black. I’ve already played some games on my new rig, (finally beat the first Portal and have started playing the first Torchlight) and I’m loving it!