Thursday, June 4, 2009

Building My Own PC

So my old computer is just that...old. It's around 5 years old, which is friggin' ancient for a PC. The video card seems to be going out, so I decided to invest in a new machine, and after debating the pros and cons, I decided to order the parts and build my own.

So far it has not gone extremely well. One friend sent me this guide to assembling a mid-range (~$700) gaming rig, and another friend sent me this guide, for assembling a rig in the range of $800. When I went to order the parts, there were some on the first list that were sold out at the particular retailer. Instead of ordering from two different sites, I just thought I'd piece a system together by combining parts from both guides.

Now, I'm not a hardware guy, though I've mucked around inside PCs a little bit. Still, my knowledge base is pretty scant. I've had compatibility issues with parts before, but that usually arose from the age between them. I assumed that PC parts from the same generation would generally be compatible.

Well, this may seem obvious to anyone who knows anything about PC hardware, but motherboards are specific to certain processors. So one of those systems uses an AMD processor and the other an Intel. I ordered a motherboard that is only compatible with certain AMD processors and I ordered an Intel processor. Guess what? That doesn't work!

So now I get to order a new processor and wait for my new shipment. In the meantime, the return policy at NewEgg is a %15 "restocking fee", so I'd be out about $30 + shipping, which blows. So I listed the processor on Amazon, which, if it sells would actually let me break even.

Also, there was fun with the case. I ordered the Cooler Master RC-534 from the ExtremeTech guide, which it says comes "complete with 460W power supply unit". I found the very same model on NewEgg and ordered it. Guess what? No power supply! Yay! Apparently you can order this model with or without a power supply. That would have been good information to know. So I went to Best Buy last night to get raped on a crappy power supply because I wanted to get my system up and running. This was before I found out about the processor snafu. So since I had to order a new processor anyway, I went ahead and also ordered a much cheaper and much better power supply online. Now I get to return the crappy Best Buy PSU.

I thought I had done a decent amount of homework, but there were just some glaringly obvious things that someone with no hardware experience might completely overlook, unless they are explicitly told such things. I was expecting problems like parts fitting in the case or looking much farther ahead, getting the whole thing put together, turning it on, and having nothing happen. Fun and joy...I haven't even gotten that far yet.

I'm already wishing I had just built a pre-built system, though I am gaining valuable, if stunningly obvious experience.

More updates if I ever get the damn thing put together.

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