6 – Building a computer

This week I built my own gaming PC. Well, I chose the case, decided which processor to buy, and screwed a few things in.

I started seriously thinking about this build about 4 months ago but this month I got some good news, received my magic card that makes things go away for a month, and decided now was a good time to order all the pieces I was missing.

I’d already inherited a GeForce GTX 960 graphics card by NVIDIA from my boyfriend’s brother, along with a mouse, a headset, and a hard-drive all sourced from previous owners.

This left me in the need of a case, a power supply, a monitor, and a motherboard with CPU and RAM.

I’d chosen the case I wanted back in February as my parents gave Jamie some money to buy me a case for my birthday as a present from them (he’s a computer genius). I ordered this first as it was the one thing I was confident on.

Online store SCAN offer a lifesaving service in which they build your motherboard bundle for you. All I had to do was to pick the bundle which has the components I wanted and it would be delivered to me ready to install.

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The motherboard bundle in the flesh.

I chose the £315 bundle with an intel core i5 processor, two 4GB Corsair DDR4 Vengeance memory cards and the ASUS H110M Micro ATX motherboard. If those don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry, I don’t understand what they mean either.

Jamie chose the power supply and the monitor for me, picking a 620W Seasonic EVO and a BenQ 24’ Multimedia Monitor respectively (with the help of an amazing website: logicalincrements.com).

Overall I spent approximately £650 on the parts which was more than I was hoping for, but a lot less than I expected to pay for good quality products.

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My boxes and the supervisor at work.

All of the parts arrived in the space of a week (just) and so on Friday afternoon I sat down and began building.

I started by putting the power supply in. Unfortunately I had no idea how to get into the case and I could see the instruction leaflet on the inside through the clear window.

After a quick examination of the case I picked two screws to undo and see what happened and luckily managed to pick the right ones! The instructions had been reached and asked me to pull the front panel off.

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Supervisor in action, checking I don’t break anything.

Here I discovered that the maker had managed to break one of the plastic pins which held the panel on which was very disappointing.

After a lot of grumping at the cats I eventually started putting the power supply in. It was surprisingly simple to follow and I managed to finish the job within about 10 minutes which I was fairly impressed with.

Inserting the hard-drive wasn’t quite so simple.

I found the instructions pretty hard to follow and ended up getting confused and managed to create my first casualty in the process.

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The supervisor was swiftly sacked and I still have no idea how I managed this.

At this point I decided to give up and wait for Jamie to come home from work to give me a hand, but changed my mind and gave it one last try before I sealed the cats out of the case.

It went in pretty smoothly and I felt successful until Jamie pointed out that it shouldn’t move as much as it did (I was sending him live updates after I did anything) and I discovered I’d missed a screw. Whoops.

Then I gave up and waited for Jamie to come home. I’d been warned about how delicate the motherboard was and I was terrified that I was going to break it.

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Hard at work and deep in concentration.

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Motherboard screwed in and graphics card attached!

Upon his return we sat and eventually worked the motherboard into place, getting a little snappy and confused as we both worked over each other attempting to screw it in and get the cables into the right places.

Once everything was plugged in, it was time to give it a test. Huzzah, everything worked!

…Or not.

After the test run we tried to boot Windows onto the hard-drive and the instillation took forever. It worked okay until Jamie tried to restart it the next day and it honestly took almost 30 minutes to boot.

After a 7 hour intensive test told us nothing was wrong, we tried the hard-drive one last time in a different port on the motherboard and everything appears to work just fine now!

Jamie’s theory is that either one of the SATA ports is faulty, or that the intensive test somehow put the drive back into working order.

I think I just put it in wrong.

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