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PC

30/08/2012

A. Tabone

I have just built a PC, for the first time. I did it for the experience (learned quite some new stuff on specific hardware + it feels good). I needed a new PC, mainly for programming purposes. Running Visual Studio .NET on a VirtualBox instance on my MacBook was quite tedious (I still love my MacBook though).

The parts I bought were the following:

  • Processor: Intel Core i53450 (LGA1155)
  • Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP
  • Graphics card: NVidia Gainward GeForce GT 630
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8Gb DDR3
  • Power supply: Hummer 650W
  • Hard disk: OCZ Agility 3 120Gb SSD
  • A DVD reader/writer
  • A Cooler Master Elite 330U case
  • And, of course, a keyboard, mouse, and display.
I believe the parts reflect a mid-range machine: definitely not a platform for 2011+ gaming but neither a low-end PC for simply browsing the Internet.

I decided to install Windows 8 Release Preview as my operating system. Windows 8 is scheduled to be on sale on the 26th October 2012, so until then I prefer to try out the preview version rather than buying Windows 7.

The following are the online resources I used to decide on what to buy, how to assemble the various parts, and install the necessary software:

  1. Lifehacker’s guide on how to build a PC – This is the most essential online resource I found, covering everything from deciding on which parts to buy up through installing the operating system. This video explains how to assemble and wire the various parts into a functional PC.
  2. I discovered I had to use thermal paste between the processor and its heat sink. This video explains how best to apply it.
  3. Wiring all the parts together is probably the toughest part of the PC assembly process. This forum helped me figure out how to plug the power LED wires into the motherboard.
  4. I later bought a wireless adapter, to be able to connect to my home network wirelessly. This forum helped me overcome a problem I encountered when installing the device driver on Windows 8 preview.
Resources 3 and 4 above are hardware-specific.

Asking around for opinions (real face-to-face conversations, not just through online social networks) proved insightful. The major lessons were learned by reading each individual user manual that came with each component, i.e. RTFM 😉

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