A few years ago I had a strange notion that I wanted to build myself a computer. I work with computers a lot day to day and I have come to understand a fair deal about them, but I was naively unaware of what lay ahead. The different aspects of computers are vast and complicated. Luckily, in our modern age, we are able to access wide opinions and recommendations through the internet.
I usually prefer Macs. I find their user interface and built in programs easy to use but not sacrificing performance. However as anyone will tell you, if you are going to build a computer, make it a PC. In addition to that, I work with PCs and can utilize software licenses that I could not get on a Mac. So, PC it is.
My first big hurdle was deciding on a parts list. After a few hours of looking at specs pages for random parts, I came to realise, the amount of potential incompatibilities are astounding. Enter PCPartPicker.com. A free online program that allows you to construct virtual system builds, and alerts you of any incompatibilities. Some may say that this takes the fun of research and independance out of it. I disagree, I believe that a working computer is fun. I would highly recommend this program for any first time builders.
My next hurdle was a shipping snafu caused by one Amazon.com running out of product but still selling it to me and promising me a 2 day delivery that a month later was still not here….. It’s ok…… I’m not still bitter, much.
Cut to, 5 weeks after purchase of all parts, it’s time to assemble.
I started by taking my chassis out of its packaging. I then placed it on a swivel plate so I could rotate the chassis easily.
First I installed the Power Supply. This was easy, despite it being upside-down the first time I screwed it in.
The second item I installed was the HHD into one of the drive trays. I have 8 bays in this chassis, so I have no lack of space. Install was easy.
Next directly below the HHD I installed my SSD. Installation was again, easy. I then decided that I wanted the SSD on top so I swapped the bays.
I then opened my motherboard, and installed my CPU into the slot. This was the most nerve wracking part of the process. Both ASUS and Intel wanted to make everything easy to understand and install, providing tools guides and extra hardware that I feel just made the process more complicated. However, I have to say when I closed the lid on the CPU slot and it fit, I knew I was home free.
I then mounted my heatsink to the motherboard. this process was easy but it took a few readings of the instructions to know which direction things face. I love CRYORIG products, they are beautiful and work SO well.
The placement of the motherboard in the chassis was the most difficult part of the build. I found it difficult to align the board with both the rubber spacers ASUS provided and the screw holes. Nevertheless, with some persistence it worked.
The optical drive went in through the front of the case easily*.
And lastly the RAM was installed.
Enter: Cable Management.
Cable management was made easy by the plethora of cable tie anchors built into the back side of the chassis. The only issue I had here is that in one section the cable bundle grew quite large, due to many cables running through that area. It presses up against the side paneling. If the side panel did not have the sound dampening material lining it, there would be no contact, but, it is something I can live with.
The first time I booted it up, I got an immediate error message telling me that there was no heatsink fan installed. Knowing this wasn’t true, because I was looking at it, I went back to the ASUS manual. I discovered that I had plugged the Heatsink fan into the OPT_FAN port. A quick adjustment and another boot later, we have BIOS!
The ASUS UEFI BIOS is EXCEPTIONAL. I appreciate the ease with which you can adjust controls. I set the primary boot drive to the ASUS OD, loaded the Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OEM, and another restart later, we have WINDOWS!
Installed Windows on the SSD and thus concluded the build and setup.
What I Learned
Through this experience I learned that nobody should be intimidated by the thought of building a computer, I had very few problems with my first build and I was mostly winging it.
The biggest asset to any system build is going to be the amazing online community there to provide helpful tips, tutorials, and product reviews.
I would highly recommend anyone with the slightest urge to build a computer to do so. It is a greatly rewarding experience.
* I am worried that because of the design on the case if the optical drive opens without the front door being open it will stripp internal gears or possible break the drive door.