This is part 1. Part 2 (with bonus hair pulling drama) will follow when I feel like it.
As I’ve been going on and on and on and on about on Twitter, I built a computer. All by myself!
My overall observation: “The statement ‘building a computer, OMG aren’t I awesome’ is somewhat misleading. The building part is by far the easiest and fastest step of the process. Building is a joke compared to the challenges represented by getting the parts from the shop to your small, isolated town and installing Windows.”
I went through life, living each day, never considering building my own computer. My dad used to like to put computer parts together. A lot of my guy friends (many of them actually having JOBS that had to do with computers) used to build their computers. And their machines USUALLY turned out to be poorly functioning, virus-loaded bundles of junk. If these people who read computer magazines and who know what the letters CPU stand for aren’t very good at it, what the heck would I do with two boxes of computer parts?
Well. I made a discovery. I discovered that you can totally build a computer if you don’t know anything about computers. In fact, I highly recommend that you build your own computer BECAUSE you don’t know anything about computers.
I learned a lot from my experience. Words that made no sense to me (I knew a “motherboard” was something you had to get changed after smoke comes out of your laptop, but otherwise I didn’t have a clue) suddenly became part of my vocabulary. I even had a REAL conversation with a guildy the other day about graphic cards and their power supply requirements. Where I ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED! Hey, if I can talk about the Geforce GTX 500s series and voltages, so can you.
Oh, and by the way, I’m very annoyed by the fact that most of the savy and helpful people had to say things like “Ah yes, I built a computer for my girlfriend/wive/sister/female cat”. No one, not one person, said anything along the lines of “I built a computer for my boyfriend/husband/brother/male cat” Technology is power, fellow ladies. Take power into your own hands and stop letting penises control the technology in your household. I did it and you can too.
This is where we drool over the goodies I got to work with.
Here’s what we’ve got:
Intel Core™ i5-2500K Processor, 3.30GHz w/ 6MB Cache (Processor, 230$)
Zalman Z9 Plus Case w/ Fan Controller (Case, 60$)
Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 w/ DDR3 2133, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, CrossFireX / SLI (Motherboard, 135$)
Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Quad Channel Kit (4 x 4GB), Cerulean Blue (RAM, 90$)
Seagate 1TB Barracuda SATA III w/ 64MB Cache (Hard drive, 160$)
LG Super-Multi 22x DVD Writer, SATA, OEM, Black (CD/DVD drive, 22$)
Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850W Modular Power Supply (Power supply, 150$)
eVGA GeForce GTX 580 1536MB GDDR5 PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDMI (Graphics card, 510$)
Asus VW224T 23inch (Monitor, 212$)
Windows 7 (Operating system, 220$)
Basic Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse kit (Keyboard – I couldn’t find one without a mouse – 30$)
Typically you’re supposed to go with a budget, but I tend to be more of the “best I can get with less” type. And I had no idea what computers cost. In the end, I spent a little under 2000$, including a monitor, Windows 7 and keyboard. I looked at premade gaming computers with similar parts, and they seemed to be within the 3000-5000$ bracket. So not only did I learn a lot from my adventure, I got more out of my money too.
How I learned to never order stuff online before Christmas
Picking out parts was pretty straightforward. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who knows what all those gibberish numbers and letters mean (GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 w/ DDR3 2133, really?) so for about 10 hours (in 3 sessions) we scrolled through my options together, part by part, talking about each piece.
If you can, I highly suggest getting one of those smarts friends, especially one who knows when to explain and when to wait for questions. And who ultimately leaves the final choice up to you. (I know, I know, those friends are a hard to find. That’s why I hang onto mine fiercely!)
On December 15th, I submitted my order. Memory Express, a relatively local computer store that came highly recommended by local friends, delivers for free, so I went with them. There was also the option of picking up the parts at the store, but I live 3 hours away from the city and figured delivery would be faster.
10 days before Christmas… Yes, sometimes I am really that stupid. (Which bring me back to this post’s theme: if a person stupid enough to order online 10 days before Christmas can build a computer, you can build a computer too.)
– On December 17, UPS had my package.
– On December 19, UPS took my package from Calgary (starting point) to Edmonton (the city nearest me).
– Delivery scheduled on December 22. Yay!
– On December 22, there was a message saying UPS was looking for my address. I double checked the address I gave Memory Express. It’s my address. No phone number for UPS, so I let them sort it out.
– December 26, still no change. I call Memory Express. UPS is closed for the holiday, but they promise to look into it.
– By December 27 the websales customer service staff at Memory Express recognizes my voice.
– On December 30th, I’m finally in touch with UPS. The address thing should be sorted out, but they won’t deliver until the New Year. I have some time off so I ask if I can pick it up in Edmonton. They say sure and point me to Purolator who will be handling the final delivery.
– December 30th in the evening, I get to Edmonton. Purolator gives me one box, my computer case. Tell me they’ve lost the other box.
That’s right, they lost a 1400$ box of computer parts that I drove a total of 6 hours to pick up.
– During the first two weeks of January, UPS calls me 3 times. Each time they ask for my address.
– On January 12, I receive my box of computer parts.
And that’s why I’m only level 16 in SWTOR.
If you’d like to hear more of this absolutely riveting tale, hang tight and part 2 will be delivered you to in 3-7 business day (read: in a month).