Most of my gaming life, apart from a few games, has been dedicated to the console experience. Yes, I have enjoyed some great PC games, but I never got the full experience of being a PC gamer due to never taking the time or spending the money on a nice computer. Having just finished college, and with some time to spare, I thought now was the best time to finally build my own PC from scratch. Originally, I was really intimidated by the idea of building my own computer, but I found the internet to be a very helpful place for building noobs like myself.
Here are some of my thoughts during the different processes I went through when building my first computer.
The first step to building any PC of course is finding the right parts. This can be really intimidating if you are not sure what you are doing. There are so many different parts and choices to be made that if you are not sure of yourself you can find yourself buying parts that are not completely compatible. The first thing you need to do that I have learned from this process is figure out your overall budget for this project. For me, I set my budget at 600-700$ and thankfully made it around $640 after shipping and taxes. If you are having trouble picking out the right parts for your build do not be afraid to ask for help on forums or from friends.
Another key I found to finding the right parts is research. This may sound intimidating, but its really not. In fact, I rather enjoyed reading up on different video cards and processors to help me find the parts that I really wanted. I knew that with the budget I set I was not going to be able to build a super computer, but that was never my intention. My goal was to simply run new games on high settings, and I felt that with the parts that I have purchased this would easily be accomplished. Before you buy any part I would recommend you read up professional and non professional reviews to get a better understanding on how exactly it performs in action.
So by now you are probably dying to know what parts I have spent my precious hard earned money on. I wont bore you with some of the parts, so I will share the processor and video card that I chose.
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express
This is the piece that really has me excited! I know this is not the highest end video card out there, in fact its no where near it, but from what I had read professionally, and from user reviews, this card should run the newest games at high settings. My only gaming experiences have come from laptops, so I was really excited to finally have a nice video card that I can actually turn shadows on with.
For my processor I chose:
Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W
I was a little concerned at first with only getting a dual core processor but after reading a lot about this dual core I learned that this will work great for what I need it to. Ideally I would have gotten a quad core processor but I was aiming for more of a budget build that I could upgrade later than the highest end build possible.
So now the hard part. Waiting. All of the parts were supposed to arrive in 3 days but those three days felt like much longer. I was a little nervous about messing something up while building this computer as I had no experience at all apart from adding ram and a wireless card to a desktop. Thank fully, there was lots of help on the internet, and i had been watching videos online that demonstrate how to add parts and connect wires.
The first part to building my first computer required choosing the right parts for my budget. While I waited for my parts to come in I spent a lot of time reading build advice and watching videos. While nothing looked to be overwhelmingly difficult from watching videos, I was still nervous. I was worried I would short circuit an important part or have a faulty component. When my computer finally arrived, I was mentally prepared to spend all day and night working on my soon to be gaming computer. Everything came a day earlier then anticipated so the anti static wristband I ordered from amazon would have to wait until my next build. I set up shop and unpacked all the pieces.
After unpacking everything I needed, it was time to get started. I set up my laptop on the table next to me so I could easily access the YouTube video that demonstrated specific building instructions. After I set out my case, I began planning everything out. The first thing I did was plug in the power supply unit, or what I now refer to as the PSU (see, I have built my own computer now so I know about and can use more computer lingo!). The PSU was easy to install and was very self explanatory.
The part I was most nervous about was the processor. This little square is expensive and any static charge from my body could ruin it. I carefully placed it where it belonged and breathed a sigh of relief. Now that I got that out of the way I was able to relax a little more and put the ram into the motherboard. This was very easy. After that I had no trouble mounting the DVD and hard drive. Now came the confusing part, mounting the motherboard. The case I had was completely different from the one used in the video demonstration so I had to figure things out a little bit. I won“t bore you with the details, but I eventually mounted it with ease and was ready to move on. I think after all was said and done this was probably the most stressful part for me.
The second hardest part for me was the connections. There were so many different wires that needed to be plugged in that if you are not sure what you are doing you can get a little overwhelmed. Thankfully, I had a good reference point, and if I ever was unsure of myself I could look it up. When I finally got everything hooked up it was time for the moment of truth! I hooked up an HDMI cable to my screen and hit the power switch. With my computer parts exposed, I stared at the guts of the computer, waiting for it to come to life. I was beyond excited as my case fan began to spin rapidly and my motherboard fan began to power on. The happiness stopped there as the motherboard fan stopped while the case fan continued to spin.
Disappointment would be a complete understatement. What could I have possible done wrong? I made sure everything was plugged in, and the only plug that was loose did not fit anywhere. I felt my heart drop to the bottom of my chest. I thought to myself, did I realy just set this whole thing up just to have a faulty motherboard? I tried not panic. Thankfully I knew of a local computer store where the guys working there know a lot about building computers. I explained to them what was happening, and they asked if I had both of the connections from the PSU to the motherboard. Long story short, turns out the extra plug was supposed to plug into the motherboard. The darn plug had eight parts but the slot that needed to be penetrated had only 4 pin holes. The plug actually separated, and there it was, the final step to building my computer.
â€œThe wiring setup. A complete mess at first. Do not panic it looks much better nowâ€
I started up the computer again, and this time there was complete life! The rest of the process was really easy. I simple had to insert the windows 7 CD and the rest was a cakewalk.
So there it is. If I could tell someone one thing looking to build their own computer for the first time it would be do not get too overwhelmed. When all was said and done it was not that difficult. That it not to say it was easy. A lot of time and patience goes into a project like this, but trust me when I say it was well worth it!
Now that there has been some time between when I finished my build and finally installing some new games to play I can happily say I am completely satisfied with the results. While my computer is not an extreme gaming computer I am maxing out Skyrim at max resolution with HD mods at 60 frames per second and can play demanding games like The Witcher 2 at a steady 50fps at very high settings. Now that I have finally built my own computer (something I have always wanted to do but never thought I could), I feel very confident in my abilities, and honestly, I feel pretty "bad ass".