Building My New PC: Gathering the Troops
So, you may or may not have noticed a large gap between my posts as of late, and my videos on YouTube if you follow me there, too. I promise I have a very good reason for all of that: I went to Disneyland for Halloween, then I went to Blizzcon, then I was SUPER sick for a solid two weeks, then my microphone stopped working properly, then my laptop started biting the dust. Honestly, I had a feeling all of this was coming for the last few months. I knew I was going to get sick after these trips, and I knew my 8 year old laptop was on it’s way out after I installed Windows 10. I just didn’t think both would happen so soon and in the same month. Really screwed up some of my plans. *sad face*
Needless to say, the thing I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving is my Christmas bonus. It came at just the right time at just the right amount to finish buying the last of my much needed parts for my new PC. I started buying my parts a couple of months back because I had planned on piecing it together slowly so I wouldn’t strain my savings on building this with all the other expenses I knew I would have coming up. Unfortunately, I thought I would have a lot more time to get the parts than I did, haha!
The first part I got was my motherboard, the starter piece that would determine everything else I would purchase going forward. I chose the GIGABYTE GA-B85m-DS3H-A for quite a few reasons, actually. I’m a fan of GIGABYTE and MSI, so I knew I would end up with one of their motherboards. This was set at a great price and was bundled with a set of CORSAIR Vengeance DDR3 RAM set at 4GB each. If you’re going to buy RAM, make sure you buy sets. They’ll still work if they’re not in a perfect set, but you might experience issues when doing gaming or video rendering later on. If you can managing it, make sure all the RAM you have on your motherboard is the same. Some people may disagree, but I always say it’s better to be safe than sorry. This motherboard can hold up to 32 GB of RAM totally, which is great for me and gives me a lot of room for expansion! The one thing I didn’t realize when purchasing this bundle was that it was a Micro ITX form. For those of you who might not know, this means that I will have less room to work with and will end up with a smaller build. Honestly, I’m ok with this. I had been toying with the idea of making a smaller build anyways, so I figured this was the Universe’s way of making the decision for me.
The next items I grabbed were a bundled hard drive and solid state drive set. The thing that’s appealing about SSDs is that they can help make your applications load and run faster. If you go this route, be VERY CAREFUL! We installed one on Michael’s PC and had a huge learning curve on how to work with it. My biggest suggestion is to have your operating system on your SSD and nothing else if you can manage it. Turn off your cache immediately. Download a cache cleaner. If you are using a SSD and suddenly you’re out of room, Google “solid state drive cache turn off clear” and you should be able to find what you need. This is why I got a SanDisk z400s SSD bundled with a Seagate Barracuda standard hard drive with 1TB of space, which will hold all my software and main files. I’ll be buying another one next month of the same HDD to use solely for videos and photography.
Haha, then my bonus check came in and I went insane on Amazon.com.
My main focus during this shopping session was getting the case and the CPU. I wanted to make sure I at least had the case first so I would know what size graphics card I might be limited to. I was luck enough to find the Apevia X-Trooper JR case which is meant for Micro-ITX motherboards like mine. I’ll be honest, I got it because the front face reminded me of Spiderman and the name made me think of Star Wars. No shame in my game. I also purchased the Intel I5-6400 CPU, known for being the better of the I line of CPUs and great for strong builds. The newer model was only a little bit more than the older model, so I figured it would make sense to splurge a little more here.
I finished up with round of shopping with the FSP Group 400W Power Supply, a 5-pack of ThermalCoolFlux thermal paste (needed to adhere the CPU to the motherboard and should be replaced every couple of years), a set of Arctic Silver Arcticlean thermal paste remover and surface cleaner, a set of 120mm purple LED fans so my rig glows a pretty purple color, and a wireless network PCI card from TP-LINK since we can’t run a network cable into the office.
The only thing left to buy is the graphics card. While I have a few contenders lined up and awaiting their purchase, I’m going to have to wait until after Christmas gift purchases have been completed. Really good graphics cards come with a hefty price tag, and I would also like to make sure I make the best choice possible for me. The type of gamer you are can sometimes determine the type of graphics card you need. My games can be fairly intensive on the graphics card, but not to the point of needing a $400 graphics card. That’s goals, not needs.
In the next post, I’ll be sharing my building process with you guys!