New year with new gear

I have been thinking about updating my computer for some time now. My last machine was a Asus F3Series laptop that I bought as a desktop replacement. It served me well for over 3.5 years and I hope that it will serve me for a few more years to come. But now it begins to show it’s age.

I decided to go for a desktop this time as they generally offer better value for money. I consider the purchase of a PC a sort of an investment. You need to spend some money upfront on good components that will stay with you for at least 3 to 4 years. However one should not go for the absolute cutting-edge technology in the market as they tent to be overpriced and quite often not very stable.

I also decided to build it myself, partly to save some more money that I could spend on the components and partly because I had some bad experiences in the past with loose power connections on machines assembled by some shop’s “professional” staff. Now, I am not by any means a hardware “wizard” and I am not willing to go around and overclock everything with a jumper but I am confident enough go through the manual and to use a screwdriver. That’s all you need really.

A few things to keep in mind if you are thinking about going the same route:

  • Get a modular Power Supply Unit (PSU). Unless your case is a full tower, get ready to struggle with a power supply that has fixed cables to support 4 graphics cards and 16 other devices. When the guy who assembles PCs for a living at the shop I bought the components told me that the only component he would change was the PSU, I should have listened.
  • Don’t expect to have it up and running within a few hours. Yeah, I know, stupid me.
  • Use the default drivers until you finish all the installation. Then take a system snapshot before you try to install a newer driver.
  • Always read very carefully when a new driver asks you to uninstall an existing one. Sometimes the manufacturer of a system might be the same of a completely different system too. For example on my motherboard Marvell was providing the drivers for both the network adapters and the Sata 6G controller.
  • If something goes wrong during the installation and you don’t have a snapshot to go back, don’t try to fix it. Just save yourself the time and grief and re-install everything straight away. It is better to do it while the system is fresh and you haven’t started working on it.
  • Keep the case open for a couple of days. If you use it for a few days without any problem then close it once and for all. I can’t remember how many times I had to screw and unscrew the case to rearrange things. Again that could be because I am doing this once every 8 years.

To be honest I am not sure if the time I spent to set this machine up was worth the money I saved by doing it myself. In any case I am now a happy owner of a seriously powerful machine that hopefully will allow me to enjoy making and playing games for many years to come. Amen

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