First PC Build
Updated: 2 days ago
Fair warning: this is going to be a long post and a technical post. I will try to explain as I go along but I don’t want to make this any longer than it already will be.
A little sneak peak at what the end result looks like.
Ok the title is a little misleading. This isn’t my first PC build. Athena was the first back in February 2019, but I didn’t build her. I worked with my friends Seb and Georgia to pick the pieces and then Seb so kindly came over and built it for me. I would have helped but it was a small studio accommodation and I really didn’t want to break anything. It was a really funny time because we picked all the pieces but the motherboard I ordered the first time was for a server so it was massive! The Intel card didn’t even fit in the board. So I had to send it back and get a new one. And then the second board didn’t work so I had to get it replaced and sent a new one. Luckily the third one worked! But this time I’ve taken every precaution. Which is my way of saying Luke has had to explain everything 3 times to me so I knew I would understand and not order the wrong stuff. He also helped find all the pieces. Shoutout to Luke for being so patient and for helping me learn this stuff instead of doing it for me. (I still don’t understand most of it…) So, without further ado, my first ever, solo PC build story. This is going to be a wild ride.
Let me just start by saying, I had every intention of just replacing pieces that Athena needed upgraded. She needed a new GPU (Graphics card) but the motherboard I have now wouldn’t support any upgrades. So already I needed 2 pieces. And I needed a more powerful power supply and some new RAM. The ones I have now are technically Luke’s because the old ones I had were not enough to even run Photoshop. So it was basically a new build altogether. We spent weeks picking out pieces and finding the best prices for everything. I started looking at pieces in the middle of September and changing my mind until the last week of September. It’s now November…
I knew that replacing pieces in Athena would mean she worked properly and could run all the programs I needed for work, but a part of me wanted to keep Athena a solid build for gaming and I can just update the RAM when I’m ready. So when all the pieces arrived and I had them at the end of October, Luke said ever so calmly, “Wow, if you order a case you could have a whole new computer.” Probably not the best thing to tell me. I did it. I found a small case that I liked that I could easily move into an office space and here we are! All the pieces for a brand new build, or so I thought.
Starting the build was so daunting. I had heard static electricity could fry a motherboard so I was taking no chances! I was tapping the fridge and power supply, just anything that was already grounded just so there was no chance of that happening. I did a dry fit of all the pieces, the case technically shouldn’t fit my graphics card in it, but I’m not putting a fan in its space so it’ll be fine! I hope…
Once I knew all the pieces were going to fit, I made sure the motherboard actually worked. Sometimes they come from factory dead so it’s better to check before you do the full build. With Luke pointing at everything and explaining step-by-step, I put the CPU into the motherboard, attached the cooler, loaded the RAM, and got it set up for testing. The hardest part was learning how to read the motherboard. It had diagrams showing what all the pins meant but for some reason it wasn’t clicking. Luke had to tell me 5 times how to read it and I felt exhausted and defeated. Then it just clicked, I used a flat head screwdriver to join the two pins circuit together and the computer hummed to life!! Ok maybe not hummed, but a couple lights turned on and they weren’t red lights of death.
So with the motherboard, CPU, and cooler on the board, this is where I got derailed. I was asking Luke about setting it up and whether we would have time to do it on the same day. Because I was taking my harddrive from my old build, I would have to save everything off of it that I wanted, put it into the new one, and reformat it so it would be set up brand new. AHHH I decided not to do that because I needed Athena for work over the weekend. So I looked at integrated SSD’s (They go on the motherboard instead of in a case) and we found a good one that will last me for setup and downloading some programs. So we rushed over the Curry’s to see if they had any. Guess what?! They didn’t have any… sadly. So I just ordered it online and took a break from building.
When the piece finally arrived, I frantically set up the cameras and started getting ready to build again. But I didn’t build it until the next day because it was a rather later delivery than I had expected. But it came in one piece and wasn’t damaged!
I like to think that I am good at trying new things, but in reality I can get frustrated very quickly if I’m confused or something doesn’t work. Like screws that are supplied and SHOULD fit, but are entirely too small. Luckily I had a ton of extra off to the side and thankfully Luke knew there would be extra. I’m used to LEGO supplying the exact amount of pieces and no extras, so it didn’t even occur to me that the motherboard would come with 20 extra screws just in case. Shoutout to whoever thought of that idea! You’re a legend!
Finishing the build was rather easy, I attached the SSD to the motherboard and screwed that into the case. I attached the GPU into the board (remember, the one that barely fit inside the case?) And it went in with no problems!
The rest was just plugging in cables and attaching fans to the case and cooler, another screw that should have just gone in with no problems. Near the end I was so exhausted and fed up with not having enough light to see the connection pins that Luke so kindly helped me fit the fan onto the cooler and did all the tricky stuff I wasn’t strong enough to do or had no idea how to do. Then I wrapped up the cables and put all the side panels on.
The PC booted the first time and setup was no problem!! Well for Luke, I don’t even know what BIOS is for so I’ll be learning that next. This is my first successful PC build and probably my last. Anyone who has enough patience and creativity for this is a legend and deserves a pat on the back. I could not do that for a living and hope I never have to. It was fun, challenging, exciting, confusing, and extremely satisfying all at once. The video below shows the PC booting for the first time, but if you want to see a timelapse of the build, head over to my Instagram page to watch those.
If you’ve read this far, thank you so much! Your encouragement and kind words on each blog mean so much to me. I have added a feature to this page, at the top you can create an account and get email notifications whenever I post a new blog. I won’t be using these emails for anything except the blog notifications. And if I respond to your comments you should be notified. Please consider using this feature because it allows me a chance to see who writes what comments and will help build a community. If I ever decide to use emails for other purposes, I will let you all know before I do so. I for one hate e-mail marketing so I wouldn’t go against someone’s trust.
Thank you all for reading and I hope this encourages you to try something new. In the comments, let me know if you've ever built a computer or are thinking of building one. I’d love to know what you found fun and what you found challenging.