March 22, 2009

Ordinateur!

Just finished building my first computer this morning, and am now using it (off Live CD!) to write this post. If you haven't tried putting together your own box before, I can assure you that it really is as straightforward as your friendly neighbourhood unwashed computer geek insists it is. There are several guides available online, though for most first-time builders the useful advice is easily summarized:
  • Decide what the computer is for. Is it a workstation? A gaming rig? A webserver? Or are you just using it to surf and type? This will dictate what parts you need.
  • Research your parts: get specs, find user reviews, make sure everything is compatible, pick up the necessary tools (read: precision screwdrivers.)
  • Static = bad: don't build on carpet, and either ground yourself frequently or pick up an anti-static wrist strap - they're a lot cheaper than your parts (unless you snatched them from a scrap pile somewhere.)
  • Cooling = good: not enough and your system dies a very pungent death, too much and...well, there is no such thing. The CPU fan/heatsink is absolutely necessary, and most people recommend having both intake and outtake fans for decent airflow.
And that's about it. I'm no designer, so I didn't go the case modding route for this one - but now that I've caught the hardware bug, I might be compelled to give it a shot. I seem to recall having a few plexiglass sheets tucked away somewhere...

I'll post some photographic evidence to my Picasa albums shortly.

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