Building Computers

Blog post number 38 Written: 07-06-2021 Uploaded 12-03-2022

Black Friday 2018 I took advantage of the sales and ordered me some parts. I was converting from console gaming to the PC master race and I was going to build my own computer. I used a PC parts picker to make sure all the stuff in my build list was compatible and then I ordered all the parts individually either through new egg or amazon, whichever was cheaper. My wife, then girlfriend even got me a set of speakers for Christmas. Later I picked up a second monitor and two more ram sticks going from 16GB to 32 GB. I haven’t been able to tell the defense though. The biggest hindrance to my build is my RX580 graphics card. It only has two HDMI ports. I have a 250GB SSD with my OS and a couple choice games. As well as a 2 TB spinning hard drive to store all the normal stuff. A CD drive, a floppy drive, as many cooling fans as I could pack into my case a 6 core 3.4hhz Ryzen CPU and first two, and now 4 G skill 8 GB 3600 ram sticks. Plus the speakers, two headsets, webcam, two monitors, ext HD for backup storage, and now a Huion tablet for drawing. My power strip is out of sockets to plug stuff into. The only thing I am still wanting for is a third monitor, but that would require a new graphics card. Anyway, what I build isn’t as important for this discussion as how I built it.

Through my work with aircraft and simulation, I have dealt with lots of computers, wiring, hard drives, and other electronic equipment. Especially older electronic stuff. I figured I was a smart guy, I went to college I had degrees and certifications for this kind of stuff I could figure out how to build it on my own, I didn’t need to read directions on how to build a PC> PC parts picker website said all the parts were compatible, now it was just a matter of plugging everything together and screwing the motherboard down and all that kind of stuff. I spent a couple hours and the only tool I used was my trusty Leatherman wave that has helped me so many times over so many years. Almost single-handedly dissembling the cockpits of multiple 757s and 7474s as they were being lined up to get scrapped. Anyway, I’m getting off-topic again. I felt that I had enough brains and associated experience that I could build my first computer by myself, without help.

I was almost correct in that assumption.

I made one mistake, and it could have but did not cost me close to $700 worth of parts. It could have, but I was lucky and it didn’t, instead, it just cost me my dignity several hours of my time and about $6.99 to buy a box of toothpicks and 91% isopropyl alcohol. I used the entire tube of Thermal paste. Half an ounce. On one CPU. That was where my aviation training lead me astray. It was a little tube, and the more you use, the more conductive it’ll be right? I coated that thing the whole surface of the CPU in a nice even layer, stacked on top probably an eighth of an inch thick. And then I put the CPU cooling fan and heat sink on top of that and screwed it down. And the thermal paste went everywhere. Squeezed out all over the motherboard. The motherboard was surprisingly easy to clean, the hard part was, it somehow magically managed to get into the CPU socket. Between the chip and the motherboard. I spend four to six hours with a toothpick and the highest purity medical alcohol I could find scrubbing every single pin on the CPU until it was clean, and then after that, I scrubbed out every single socket on the motherboard until those were clean and then I put it back together, this time using the correct amount of thermal paste. I did have to go buy a new tube of the stuff to boot. I forget which was the more expensive part, and which was the cheaper one, I remover one cost about $370 and the other was about $450. I forget which number goes to the CPU and which goes to the motherboard, but that’s not the important part. I could have ruined one or both of those expensive parts, of my own stupidity and it wouldn’t have been something that would have been covered by warranty and I would have just had to buy new parts. So I guess the moral of this story is, don’t be afraid to try new stuff, it’s easier than you think, but be careful and go slow because some mistakes are expensive and/ or irreparable. But most importantly, you should join the PC master race for your video game needs, because of steam sales.

P.S. I now have a 3060 TI, better case fans and a third monitor for 2022.

Stay hungry
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Published by chacerandolph

Science fiction author and Avionics Technician

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