All New PC for an All New Year

I just finished building my new desktop PC!

Building computers has been a hobby of mine since the early 1990s. Apart from a brief stint as a paperboy (which I won’t count), my first job in high school was building computers for a small custom PC business in ’91 or ’92. Way back in those heady days of yore, when the “internet” was just dial-up bulletin board services and the likes of AOL and CompuServe, the best PCs available were 386 and 486 processors, running at a mere 20 to 30 megahertz, and discrete graphics accelerator cards would not hit the market until the advent of 3dfx’s Voodoo card in 1996 (3dfx was eventually acquired by Nvidia).

A lot has changed in the intervening decades, and the computers of today are literally thousands of times faster in terms of raw computing power. Surprisingly, the art of building computers has hardly changed at all, apart from the components themselves. You still need all the basics today as you did back then: a chassis (i.e. case), a power supply, a motherboard, a CPU, cooling fans and heatsinks, RAM, and a hard drive. That’s all that was needed in the early 1990s, and that’s all that  is needed in 2019. Today, of course, we also have discrete graphics cards, solid-state drives, all-in-one water coolers, and fancy RGB LED lighting components, but the basics themselves remain the same.

And here it is (side cover off):

Thermaltake Versa N24 chassis (personally modified to look steampunk-ish)
AMD Ryzen 3700x (3.6 to 4.4 GHz, 8-core processor with 16 threads)
Pccooler GI-D66A heatsink and dual-fan cooler with RGB lighting
MSI X570 Gaming Edge motherboard
16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3.2 GHz with RGB lighting
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Titanium graphics card
EVGA Supernova 750 watt G5 power supply
1 TB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 solid state drive
8 TB Seagate IronWolf hard drive
LG WH14NS40 Blu-ray burner drive
Corsair LL120 RGB 120mm case fans (3 fans)
Corsair RGB LED lighting expansion kit

I know it’s not “the best” by any means — for that I would have gotten a Ryzen 3950x or a Threadripper, along with a GeForce RTX 2080 Titanium. But that’s the advantage of building your own PC versus buying a pre-built machine from Dell, HP, or even Asus or Alienware. Picking exactly the components you want or need, and being able to fully customize both the specs and the look of the computer, results in custom computer that is truly your own. I choose every component that goes into my computer after carefully reviewing the specs and other customer reviews, and then find the best deal I can while also ensuring that no corners are cut. Buying a pre-built computer from Dell, HP, or wherever, generally provides you with some small degree of customizing, but custom options are always limited, and I guarantee you that they cut corners. Retail computers also always cost more, spec-for-spec, versus what you will pay when you build your own. 

Of course, building your own custom PC is certainly not for everyone, and when something goes wrong it can be utterly agonizing trying to figure out what part isn’t working. Moreover, there’s no warranty apart from the manufacturer’s warranty on each individual component, and if you mess up and break something or burn out the chip, you have no one to blame but yourself. But, if you know what you’re doing and everything works, the end result is far better than anything you can get retail–and tailored exactly to what you want. 

Alas, with the steady rise of laptops and tablets, the days of custom PC building may be numbered. Then again, people have been saying that for over ten years now, and the market for custom PC components has never been stronger. I for one can’t wait to see what the next ten years have in store!

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