It’s time for a new a column! I’ve been hella obsessed with this topic, as you’re going to find out. I’m going to learn how to build my first gaming PC from parts and this is going to be my little column about it. Maybe it will be helpful to people trying to learn and if not, maybe it will be helpful to me trying to learn.
If I had to give a reason, I’d say I’ve never built a computer from parts because I’ve never had the funding for the hardware just lying around to even consider attempting it. I’ve never made the investment into slowly making it happen, with one paycheck that I can barely keep a portion of at a time; also risking an enterprise turn into a potentially expensive failure is a thing I’ve not wanted to do very naturally, with what money I had forcing me pursue other avenues. But like a virgin trying to make it worth doing, I’m going to eventually know what I’m doing and the computer I’m going to have won’t be worth as much as the skills and knowledge about how to do it well.
PART PURCHASED AFTER DECISION MADE: MSI B350 Gaming Plus — $99
Part considered but decided against… — GA-AB350-Gaming 3
I picked between these two because… I read about the socket a mobo has that allows it to fit a processor. This socket is important, and in this case is AM4. That socket tells me the types of CPU’s I’ll be able to use, so I set out for socket AM4 boards to facilitate the other part I’ve had to be decided in unison to use as well.
It really all kind of connects as such that, the decision to use any part includes the decision to use every other part. And as you decide which parts you want to use, you adjust and decide again which parts you are going to use based on that decision…. if that makes sense.
I hope that I’m not in over my head. I understand everything I’ve read so far about where I need to begin and this is how I have.
They say that it’s no more difficult than putting together an intricate model, so… I think I can put away a bit of money to buy some parts while spending the time between reading about them and digesting all there is to know before I ground myself and get my hands upon some metal case or something — on tile floor, without cotton socks dragging as I pace.
I think awareness of static electricity and its possible effect on components is the first thing you learn when you open a tower up, which… thankfully, this ain’t my first rodeo entirely, you know. I’m not entirely illiterate. I’ve added in RAM, moved audio and network cards and HDDs from old machines and into new ones. Or rather more often — into new ones to discover the incompatibility issues that different parts often face with new machines. I’ve even reset and replaced a CHMOS battery on a dried motherboard, in an attempt to do anything I could to solve my dysfunctional BIOS problem and prove my machine wasn’t fried.
That was the last desktop that I owned. It was a casual build of a Core 2 Duo, with a GPU that was not intended for any gaming, and a refurbished installation of Windows 7 that someone paired with fairly small hard drive, a minimal pair of RAM cards, and two extra fans in a modestly attractive case; 5.1 audio jacks, firewire support (that I never used, but which was there), an external hard drive port built under the DVD player in its own drive bay — USBs plentifully located on the front and rear; outfitted with an 802.11 wireless attenuate, which I thought was pretty cool at the time…
I think it was 2013 or so when I bought that computer –if I had to wiggle between two years variance– from the guy online who built it and quite thoroughly made it an average machine into nice computer that I loved having and mourned losing. To say the least of even that era, it was a low end machine that I often used to play an older era of games and by the grace of graphics settings made to strip as much as possible, more games that I had ever been able to play on a PC before in my own house, on my own sad little box, which I’ve had many that didn’t do the things that I always wanted and even some that failed to do the things I thought were’n’t very much to ask — like process a window open at the same time as another window.
I remember when broadband Internet was a thing that was replacing dial-up, and people would say, “Damn, you’re on dialup so you can’t really do the thing I’m doing with my broadband cable. ” I remember LAN parties, mostly enjoyed on someone else’s machine, and by the time I had tethered myself to an Ethernet cable I had access to in my home on the regular, it was already possible to wirelessly jump onto networks that were often still unsecured and free to the public –left that way by networking companies, and by techies who weren’t terribly concerned with the security– when only a small minority of people who spent a great deal of their time on a computer with other nerds even cared to bother with having email, before smart phones, when the Internet was on the cusp of changing life for people everywhere and Big Data was only beginning to realize the possibilities of how many people they could train into obedience after s period of what I can only call accurately enough to speak of what it is; a merciless raping in the body and mind, (which is owned, like anything that you say or do; which, their policy on that is: that anything you say or do is by their right to press from you such that it is also owned. And not by you).
Let’s put this into perspective. There was a time when if you wanted to use WordPress on your blog, it was a script that you installed on your server, which you had to administrate and give the functionality to comprehend things like programming language and databases. If you wanted to login securely, you had to CHMOD your files correctly to set permissions. There were not themes to bother with. You designed your site with a text editor and Photoshop; you followed an entirely archaic set of etiquette to express yourself by doing all the work yourself.
And as the technology of the world has changed so much that the way we use it has changed drastically over a short period of time into something else that becomes only more and more available over time, I have slowly been always lagging behind at a leisurely stroll, not even trying to catch up entirely. With all the games I never got to play and all the possibilities otherwise I never had hardware for, there was never a point when the current sensation concerned me enough that the new things I was able to do on my computer did not satisfy my thirst to do things on my computer.
At this point in my writing, I can easily say that I know more about software development, code, operating systems, their administration, and how to securely network with the world cut down to size for me to take a bite of, than of the hardware architecture I’ll scarcely see a glimpse of, whilst tinkering away to maximize performance by manipulating data more so than various cards whose power is only limited by the number of copies I can’t force out from nothing and have digitally at my fingertips — inexpensively paid for, like from the pennies in my endless piggy bank of UTF-8 characters and the syntax to give them everything I want them to do on a list from my keyboard, where I’ll learn everything there is to learn by stealing all there is to steal — in a way that I could never learn everything there was to know about such a thing any other way, without that unlimited access to have everything from the same people I share it back with, to tinker away on a forum, chat, or board somewhere with a power from parts that money can never buy; which, this power is only ever sold to people knowing nothing about solutions to problems but via the answers they upgrade to with a chunk of change so often and seldom otherwise by simple economics.
I’ve learned a small thing or two of economics since then, and while I can only say that a day’s work leaves me if nothing else fortunate enough with my life that I need not steal so much of everything I do that my mother can’t buy me. As an adult, I can pay for a game if I want to, and if I’m dedicated enough, I can put away little bits to piece by piece to get after savings accumulate, ==as ever– …an outdated machine that isn’t even middle tier today. And by the time I’m able to pay for it with the hundreds and thousands of dollars that it takes, there will be tens of thousands more new things that only the most privildeged of all people will ever get to play with easily.
But just you wait. When I’m finished, my new computer will do everything and more that I need. And, when it doesn’t, I’ll build another, and another, and another. I’ll trail behind at first, but just like I eventually got a job and quit running the streets like a little kid, maybe I’ll eventually sell a computer and learn a thing or two about all those toys you grew up with and showed me at your house from the distance of not understanding them and never having the degree of sophisticated machines you can only have if you learn to build them with expensive parts.
And expensive as they are, I’m still looking for a steal.
I made the first step today and I’ve invested $99 in a motherboard, which is a lot of money to spend on a thing that is at the end of the day just a motherboard — a device which can cost that amount and more than than that again still, and enable your build to support a number of things it will never support otherwise.
I would really like to grab up the CPU that I think I’m going with –a decision that inherently pertains to the decision of the motherboard picked– which I have learned from all of last night reading about this.
I actually thought the first thing I would need initially was a case to put my eventually-purchased motherboard in, but I also read that there is a thing called a form factor, which is a very easy way to find out how you are going to fit yuor mobo into the eventually-purchased case, as it were — being the least important and more aesthetic decision really. The case isn’t the first thing to look at, but perhaps the form factor of the motherboard and how that correlates to the case it will fit into is.
“PC cases themselves are often referred to by these size form factors, but the terms really refer to the size of the motherboards they can host. ATX boards measure 12×9.6 inches, MicroATX up to 9.6×9.6 inches (they’re often smaller), and Mini-ITX 6.7 inches square.”
So the first thing I decided was that I Wanted an ATX case, because I gathered that these were typical of the larger motherboards in full tower cased with room for all the fans expansions and things I want to learn to understand and make work.
I then realizes that while the motherboard is the framing of all the things that the PC will be able to possibly do, it is overshadowed by the one thing that it enables centrally to everything else the computer will do. It supports the central processing unit that the computer will have, or rather frankly, it does’t.
So even though the first thing you will need to have is a motherboard, the first thing you will need to decide to go with is the processor. I am fairly certain I know which one I;m going to buy in a pay period or two –or whenever I can hustle together enough extra cheddar and bread, which…
There are a few models I’m not sure of which I’ll go with, but if you’re familiar with the mobo I’ve already bought, then you know I’m going to be going AMD over Intel if nothing else. Or maybe you didn’t, but now you do.
I didn’t know this last week, but I know now that a motherboard and a processor are most likely always chosen together. The type of case desired will match a form factor of motherboard, so a decision about the type of case is also necessary to decide right away. It would seem to me that the decisions range from, large and spacious with opportunities for power to be supported for a price, and cheaper, more limited, in a compacted area that doesn’t support as much variety. This is probably a generalization, but I think it suits a newbie’s understanding probably.
And, yes. That’s what I am … a hardware newb, albeit who is writing an article. And despite writing it, I may say a thing that is not accurate or requires input from you, the reader, who knows a great deal about this hardware game. Or, perhaps, maybe if the reader knows less than I know, maybe it would be best to take anything I say with a variety of other sources, to be certain.
I’m going to read some more things about the processor I think I’m going to buy and possibly make up my mind, or just be more knowledgeable about the different specifications I’m choosing between, and why. In the next entry of this column, I’ll talk about that, and why I chose this processor.
I can truly say that I chose the MCI over the Gigabyte for aesthetic reasons. The specifications seem so similar as to not be incredibly different,, despite being a little unique from one another in ways.
I’m thinking black with red and purple LEDs. But, we’ll get to that…. a bit more later than I wish; just like my processor, which will cost about double what the mobo did.