I want to be able to build my own computer. I also want to understand how a computer functions and what is the C in CPU actually means. This is a (short) blog post where I build my own computer, try to understand everything (I can) about it, and make technology work for me. This blog post I will give you insights in my 2000 Euros Computer Set-up.
By the way, I am an absolute computer noob and a professional lazy person that loves to consume but hates to make or build stuff. I have no doubt that you can build your own computer as well.
A little bit of background about the relationship between me and computers
I do not have the most romantic relationship with computers. Like most people I have been in a lot of fights with them but in the end we have never really broken up with each other. I realized we would need each other to survive and thrive in this digital age.
It was until one year ago that I saw the potential of computers. I realized that most of the next century will be ruled by computers and not by humans. All of a sudden, your convenient and safe job as a doctor does not seem to be so safe anymore. One day, I can go to my job and see that I have been replaced by a robot. From the perspective of the patient, there would probably not much of a change but on a personal level, I would become a homeless person without any useful skills to get a new job. It opened my eyes to see how I fragile I really am.
That same day, I decided that I wanted to know more about computers. I am primarily interested in software because that is the easiest way to build cool projects. Hardware on the other hand is just as important to understand. It just does not appeal as much to me as I am the complete opposite of a handy and technical person.
I have to make a confession. A month ago, I was working on a laptop I had when I was six years old. My CPU could not handle anything and I would waste hours because of the lagging time. I decided it was time to upgrade my computer and buy a new PC with a much better functionality. I have the immense luck to have a brother who has already made a computer before. There was an unique possibility to ask him if we could build a computer together and so we started this journey together.
Just a quick note, I am an extremely frugal person so it was not easy to allow myself to spend so much money on a computer. While I am typing on this new computer, I am so happy that I have decided to still make the purchase. This new computer has enabled me to edit videos in premiere pro and has made me hundred times more productive than before.
This is the part of the blog where I get a little bit technical about the different computer parts. Follow along if you want the learn about computer hardware basics.
Disclaimer: I have added affiliate links to the computer parts for everyone who is interested in building the same computer as mine. I would get a small share of your purchase if you click on my link.
This is the CPU that I have been talking about. In other words, it is the electronic circuitry in a computer. CPU stands for ‘central processing unit’. It is the central unit of the computer that will process all the information that the computer needs to handle. It will receive input from the user or a software program, process the data, and give an output, which can be kept as storage or displayed on the screen.
You can compare it with your own brain. Your own brain will also receive input from the environment. The brain needs to process that information and needs to give the appropriate response. For example, When you SEE your mother-in-law, your response could be to RUN away.
The one I used, has 12 cores or 12 processors. A processor will handle all the output of the computer, like I discussed above.
This is the motherboard. Just like your mother, it is the essential person of your family. The motherboard is also the essential part of your computer that will carry all other material. It has a slot to carry the CPU. The Northbridge is a chip on the motherboard that will form an interface between the CPU, the main memory, and other components. Maybe think about it as the North star.
There is so much more to say about a motherboard but to keep this guide a complete noob edition, I will leave it there.
This is the solid state drive. This drive stores information just like the hard disk drive of a computer. It has the same functions as a hard drive. The components though are different than the ones of a hard drive. They do not have any moving parts which is why they are called SOLID STATE drives. They do not store their data on magnetic platters like hard drives but use flash memory which is electronically erasable. Like the word flash memory says, data can be accessed and deleted really quickly.
It is the same phenomena as what happens with your memories about your last boyfriend or girlfriend. Oh no, that last sentence was a mistake. These memories are not so easily erased. It is just that I never had any boyfriends.
This solid state drive can store up to 1 TB and is going to be used as your main working directory. (Or the C:/drive on your PC)
1 x AJBS0Q Seag 6TB ST6000VN001 7200 SA3
The hard drive is the drive that will act as the slow memory compartment. This is the D:/ or data drive on my PC. You could ask yourself why you need a hard drive when you can get a much faster solid state drive. I must admit that is an excellent question. the answer to that question is that a hard drive offers more storage for a lower price.
You store all the data on your hard drive where you do not need to actively work on and you could save your project files and other files like pictures and videos on there. I use my hard drive to store all my finished YouTube videos.
This Super Windforce thingy is the video or graphics card of my PC. This will connect to your motherboard and is used to display graphics on your screen. Without your graphics card, you would not see this beautiful blog post. That would be a real shame to be honest. It is also used to process images and videos. To say the least, this part was pretty essential for my premiere pro set-up as well.
This is just simply the case of the PC. It does not get much easier than that, right? This was also one of the cheapest cases I could find. It is just simply black, which means it is a perfect dust collector. It also has some nice LED lights that can change colors. I just did not find out how to make them work.
This is the cooler for the CPU so that it will not get too hot. I can relate to the problems of that CPU. Sometimes, I would need my own cooling Hydro Series.
This is the power supply of your PC. Without this, you would not achieve that much. It will make sure that your computer gets power when you connect it to an outlet. I have no interest in learning all the electronic details about this piece of device but for everyone who is interested,you can find the Wikipedia Link if you click on power supply.
1 x IFIGGR2A D432GB 3000-16 Aegis 1.35V K2 GSK
This is the RAM. Do not mistake it for the animal. RAM stands for ‘random access memory’. We could compare this with the working memory of your own brain. We all temporarily need to store information in our brain in order to get our daily tasks done. The RAM memory on the computer will temporarily store information. This makes sure that you can work a lot faster.
This memory is always going to be erased when you shut down. The same delusion happens when you go to bed and think you have learned your curriculum but you realize when you wake up, it was only stored in your working memory.
“Deep system clean achieved! You will always stay dumb!” [failed joke]
So to summarize
You have the motherboard which takes care of the different components of your PC. The first and most important part you connect to your motherboard is your CPU. Your CPU processes all the incoming and outgoing information. You have two memory storing parts, the solid state drive and the hard drive. The later is primarily used to store long-term storage. You have the graphics card to handle your videos or pictures and show them on your screen. We need the power supply to give power (electricity) to our computer. The last thing we discussed was the RAM, which is the working memory of the PC.
Why build your own PC:
There are so many reasons NOT to build your PC. I want to convince you to do it anyways.
Here are a couple of reasons why you should give it a try:
- It is really fun to do. Turn on your Spotify account and choose an appropriate Disco song. There is no change you will not reach a flow state.
- It is most of the times cheaper. You will get more bucks for your money. The computer we have built above is a very good and high performing computer.
- It is also fully customizable so you can decide which component is most important to you. Of course, that will depend on the kind of job you want to do with your computer.
- You learn a thing or two about how a computer looks from the inside. It is fascinating to see how these different components make such a powerful machine. Every soul that is just as curious as me will love to know more about how a computer operates. Know the machine you are handling.
- You get free frustration and anger provoking sessions. You will express your frustrations verbally while building this computer.
- This is a perfect idea as a first date. As a woman, you can directly test if a man can handle his machines. No pun intended, of course.
There could be some minor reasons why you should not consider building your own PC:
- It takes a long time if it is your first time. We have been busy building this computer for about 4 hours. Yes, I had watched a YouTube tutorial beforehand. It did only help for step one!
- Let it someone else built if for you if you just pay a little extra money. The biggest cost reduction was because you have hand chosen your own components. The little extra price you pay is when somebody else builds it for you., It does raise the price that much. It all depends on how much you value your own time.
- You really do not need to know the computer components in order to work with a computer.
- It can be a very bad idea to organize this as a date. You can decide if it is a bad or good idea.
This is my PC building video on YouTube:
Now let me know.
Do you also want to build your own PC and become a tech nerd? Answer in the comments below and like it if you want to see more of this style of content.