Building a PC has become an exhilarating project for millions of people around the world, ranging from office workers to hard-core gamers. It has become a very normal topic to converse about as well, no matter your environment. Countless students from middle school to college happily rave about the new CPU they installed, or share pictures of their new setup. Online communities share their builds, and exchange opinions on different parts, and brag about how well their PC runs. Often times, a PC is used in order to play the millions of games out there. With numerous new video games coming out, PCs require beefier and more recent parts constantly in order to keep up with the astonishing new graphics. This happens to be my case with my upgrade from a little 2012 laptop prone to overheating to a new, custom-built PC.
I had wanted to build my own PC for about two years, though my father and I never got around to it. It was finally settled in December of 2015, with my father agreeing to build a PC for Christmas. Hopes high and giddy, I excitedly began to search for which parts to use on the website www.pcpartpicker.com. I began with the CPU, sifting through reviews and prices until we settle on one with high quality and a decent price, the i5-4590. The reviews deemed it satisfactory to many, fulfilling all the wants of a gamer or a designer. It was priced to be $179.99 at the time, but had risen to about $198 once bought. After taxes and shipping, the total was brought up to a hefty $217.40. You pay for what you get, as they say, and I would much rather pay a bit more for a reliable CPU than pay less for a less reliable one. Next, I moved on to find a cooler for the CPU. The search ended in a single click, for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO was at the top of the list, basking in its 4.5 star rating. At a total of only $32.76, the price and performance ratio was astounding. So far, the build seemed to be coming along quite nicely. My father had given me a budget of $700-800, allowing me to get a fair amount of good parts. With $550 to go, I went on with my mission.
Now was the time to look for a motherboard, the brains behind the entire PC. Just like the CPU, I wanted something high quality that I do not have to pay an arm for. I chose the Z97 PC Mate from MSI, an ATX Intel motherboard with several interesting BIOS options. As the best bang for my buck, it came to $101.58, a price that seemed to fit. Moving along to the RAM, I began with only 8 GB, picking the Corsair Vengeance Pro until my father came to tell me to upgrade to 16 GB. I followed through by switching to 4 sticks of 4 GB, all from the G.Skill Ripjaws X Series. It was totaled to $65.53, which was remarkably lower than any 16 GB set with two sticks of 8 GB. RAM was RAM, and there was not a whole lot that could go wrong, so pricing did not seem a large issue. Next came the graphics card, one of the most important parts. It went right beside the CPU, for both are major factors when dealing with FPS in a video game. I found it rather tricky when finding a balance between price and performance, since you didn’t want one too expensive or too cheap. One too expensive might not be worth all the money, and one too cheap may result in bad frame rates, a short lifespan, or prove unreliable. The EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti proved its balance with its price of $163.86 and remarkable performance, giving the player high FPS even with the highest settings. With two fans covering the surface, it easily stays cool under heavy loads. I was now down to roughly $219 left in my budget, a decent amount left to work with. Plenty of leeway was left, so I kept going without too much of a worry.
All these pieces needed to go inside something, so I began to check out several cases. I was looking for an ATX Mid Tower that was rather wide in order to accommodate my CPU cooler. Several proved to be too flashy, with extra details and bright, unnecessary lights, as well as a bit pricey for my tastes. The higher quality cases averaged about $80 dollars, which was more than what I was willing to pay. Yes, good quality is often times worth the price, but a line must be drawn eventually. However, I soon found the Corsair 200R, a sleek and simple black case that cost only $54.61, a big improvement from what I had seen. For the power supply I bought the EVGA 500W 80+ for $41.55, an LG optical drive for $17.65, and an Acer 21.5 inch monitor for $98.31. I decided to buy a USB Wireless Adapter for $9.99, allowing me to remove it easily in the case that it does not work. Ethernet was not an option due to the distance between the desktop and the router, resulting in a little extra money. Once you add everything up, it comes down to $222.11, 3 dollars over what was left of my budget. This is without rebates, which gives us $20 dollars back. So in the end of it all, I managed to stay under budget while purchasing multiple high quality parts.
Fast forward a week and all the parts had arrived. Nothing had been broken in transit, and everything I ordered had arrived. Boxes and instruction manuals littered the ground as I began to put everything together, beginning with the case. Easily opened and sturdy with several included fans, I was quite satisfied with it. I slipped the motherboard out of its packaging, examining it for any scratches or broken pieces. After finding nothing, I continued on, popping the CPU in, applying thermal paste, and screwing on the bulky CPU cooler. My father was the one who placed the motherboard inside the case; I didn’t want to handle something so delicate in fear of damaging it. The I/O shield proved itself a bit of trouble, stubbornly refusing to snap the back ports of the motherboard into their designated positions. After messing with it for several minutes, I gave up on it and simply allowed them to be free. The main purpose was to protect the motherboard from the outside elements, which it could still do. I moved on to the power supply, slipping it into the correct spot in the case. It fit snugly, screwing into the case quickly. The RAM and video card were easily snapped into their slots, and the optical drive and hard drive slid into their own slots. Once everything was in place, it was time to connect all of the cords. It went by easily with the manuals given, for I only needed to find the corresponding socket and plug it in. Everything was plugged in and good to go, so it was time for the moment of truth. The power was plugged in, the button was pressed, and everything began to run. Soft whirrs of the fans could be heard, all the lights turned on, and so did the monitor. All that was left was to install the operating system, download the necessary drivers, and everything was finished. The first time building and nothing went wrong, which is something that rarely occurs. Nonetheless, my gift was made and ready to take what was going to be thrown its way in the next few years.