I have never built a computer or even had one custom made because the thought that I would have to choose the parts individually confused and scared me. This was because I did not understand the components enough to know how they related to each other. This assignment was a little intimidating at first until I began to search the recommended sites and learn about the computer requirements individually and how they connected to form a unit that I wanted to create specifically for what I needed. As I watched the videos for this week, read the websites, recommendations, reviews, and specs on all the parts, it became even clearer to me that this may be something I could actually accomplish on my own. This assignment was even less scary than I had anticipated and even let me shop and spend virtual money I didn’t even have! How can a gal go wrong with that type of assignment?
Motherboard – ASUS Crosshair IV Formula Motherboard – AMD 890FX, Socket AM3, ATX, DDR3, USB 3.0, RAID, SATA 6.0GB/s (need 1 @ 229.99) I chose this motherboard for its functionality and expansion capabilities. It has a max of 16 GB Ram, which is plenty for what I would need. It is an ATX, which is standard and easy to find a case to fit it, and it has everything I would need on it with 9 total USB ports because it seems I never have enough USB ports. (Plus it’s red and pretty. I know, I know…)
CPU processor – AMD HDE00ZFBGRBOX Phenom II 1100T Black Edition Six Core Processor – 3.30GHz, 6MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) FSB, Retail, Socket AM3, Processor with Fan (need 1 @ 189.99)
This processor was chosen for its speed and that it is supposedly faster than the Intel i7. With a 3.30 GHz processor speed it is perfectly fine for my needs since I am not a gamer or have a great need for the highest speeds. When compared to other CPUs, this one seemed to meet the standard I wanted.
Case – Cooler Master RC-942-KKN1 HAF X ATX Full Tower Computer Case – ATX, 230mm Red LED Fan, USB 2.0/3.0, 9x Expansion Slots. *Supports XL-ATX, 4-way SLI and Quad Crossfire X* (need 1 @ 179.99)
I chose this case for several reasons. (1)There are 4 USB ports and a headphone jack on the front at the top of the case, not at the bottom so that when I put the case in the floor at my desk, they are easy to reach. (2) There is a safety cover for the power button, which is good because I have grandchildren who like to press buttons and if they can’t find them, they can’t push them. (3) The case has casters on the bottom for ease of movement so that the back is easily accessible. (4) There is a clear side so that it’s easy to see inside the unit. (5) The front fan is lit with a red led which is just plain cool looking and it matches my pretty red motherboard. Yes, I know…enough already with the pretty red board.
Power supply – Cooler Master RS700-AMBAD3-US Silent Pro M 700W Power Supply – ATX, Modular, 700 Watt, 80+ Bronze Certified, SLI Ready, 135mm Ultra Silent Fan (need 1 @ 129.99)
This power supply was chosen because it fits with the case and also because it’s 700 watts and ultra silent. Some the other components in my list require 500 watts, so this was chosen to supply ample power to the components.
RAM – Patriot PXD34G1866ELK Viper Xtreme Performance Desktop Memory Kit – 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-15000, DDR3-1866MHz, 9-11-9-27 CAS Latency, XPM Ready (need 2x @ 44.99 ea)
This was the specific type of ram required by the motherboard and I chose to put 8 GB ram in the machine. I am not a gamer and the programs I use do not require large amounts of ram to perform in the way that I use them. If in the future I needed more ram, I can add an additional 8 GB as the motherboard supports that addition.
DVD Burner – LG GH22NP21R 22x Internal DVD Burner – DVD±R 22x, DVD-R Dual Layer 12x, DVD-RW 6x, DVD-RAM 12x, DVD+R Dual Layer 16x, DVD+RW 8x, CD-R 48x, CD-RW 32x, PATA (need 2 @ 24.99 ea)
This DVD/CD burner was chosen from several that were all very similar in specs. I chose this one because of the speeds and that it burns DVD-R dual layer at 12x. My old one is much slower than this, so this would be an upgrade even though I do not burn that many CDs or DVDs. The price on all of the DVD burners was fairly consistent and inexpensive and this one was about middle of the road, but had the speed that I thought was comparable to the price.
Hard Drive – Seagate TSD-1000NS2 Constellation Hard Drive – 3.5″, 1TB, 7200RPM, 32MB, SATA, SATA-3Gb/s (need 1 @ 99.99)
Lots of storage space for cheap with good RPM is the reason this hard drive was chosen. The models available were nearly identical, but the price per unit of storage on this model was the best for the speed given. I chose the terabyte model because I download a lot of files and I like to work with graphics in Photoshop and Illustrator for my own use and those files can get quite large at times. Also, my music collection is growing and I don’t want to worry with space issues for awhile.
Sound card – Creative Labs 70SB104000000 Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card – PCIe (need 1 @ 54.99)
Audio is something that isn’t that important to me that much. I like listening to music while I work, but I am not an audio Nazi. If I can hear it and I have decent speakers, then fine. I’m cool with it. This card was middle of the pack with its features but not over the top with junk I’ll never use. It was a reasonable price and a little better than what I would probably need.
Graphics card - Diamond 6570PE31G ATI AMD Radeon HD 6570 Video Graphics Card – 1GB, GDDR3, Dual Link DVI, HDMI, VGA (need 1 @ 69.99)
This graphics card was chosen because it is a step up from average, but not the most expensive model. It offers better performance for Windows 7 and GPU acceleration for IE and MS Office, which I use all day every day. Oh, and also because it’s pretty and red and will match all my pretty red components inside the case which I can see because it has a clear side. Won’t that be pretty and red and just cute? So, I like red and pretty things, okay? So sue me! Besides if something is aesthetically pleasing as well as functional then it’s worth more to the user IMHO.
The above components come to a total of $884.89 without taxes or shipping charges. Of course I could add a keyboard, mouse, pimped out speakers, new cable modem, new wireless modem, and a bunch of other stuff, but the truth is I just don’t need those things because I already have them. I was pleasantly surprised that I could build this machine for under a thousand dollars. Blast you, Dr. Brown, for this assignment! Now my head is swirling with the possibilities of the ultimate machine I could create with just enough courage that I could actually do it. It was an evil, dastardly ruse.
From watching the videos of building a computer, it seems fairly straightforward and I’m sure there are instructions included with the components. From what I can tell, although I have never built one, the first thing to do is to make sure the area is clean and free from dust and to make sure that I’m grounded before working on anything. The CPU needs to go onto the motherboard first by lining up the corners and pins underneath and push the lever down. Next would be the CPU cooler which goes on top of the CPU and lines up with hooks and knobs on the bracket. Flip the lever and click it into place and plug it into the motherboard where the CPU fan plug is. Next is installing the ram by checking the correct direction and inserting it into the slot until the arms click into place. The back plate connector is next and it fits into the back of the case and pops in. It should line up with the components on the motherboard. The motherboard gets installed onto the case by lining it up with the back plate and the case screw points to hold it. Next is installing the hard drive by taking out the drive cage, slipping the drive in, screwing it into place and replacing the front cover section which clicks into place. The optical drive installs by taking out the front section, sliding the drive in, aligning the screw holes and screwing it into place. The front panel connectors need to be connected and their 2-pin ends fit onto a pin block which is plugged into the motherboard where it fits into a keyed position. The front panel connectors may include the power switch, reset switch, hard drive light, and other lights. All of the USBs, front panel audio, and firewire needs to be connected with their connectors checking polarity of the connections if necessary. The power supply slides in, screws in, and connects with cables. Most of the cables are color coded for the power supply. The graphics card goes into the PCI express slot where it pops in and requires a screw. The power cables, SATA cables, ATX power connector, optical drive, and fans need to be plugged in. Everything at this point should be plugged in and should be tested to see if it works properly. If so, then the cables can then be zip tied or run along the channels to clean it up inside. When everything is working it’s time to change the BIOS to boot off a CD, install the OS and then install the chipset, network, and graphics card drivers and finally check for windows update security fixes. The rest is installing software of choice and starting enjoying the computer.
Doesn’t sound too hard. I think I could do it.
**This post was a beast. I just got my destop back with the new motherboard because I fried the old one last Thursday. I had the post completed in MS Word, but had not posted it because the little laptop was so friggin slow. I had been working on a 10″ EEE PC laptop all week and was about to pull my hair out. But everything is up and spiffy now and I’m a happy camper.