As my most recent project, I built a computer for my brother. Around a year ago, I built myself a very powerful and versatile computer as a birthday present to myself. It remains my hardest, favorite and most used project to date. It took around a month to complete, with around 2 weeks of planning and 2 weeks of building. Despite it being very difficult, it was not nearly as difficult as I was expecting it to be. In fact, the only difficult part was that I had never done it before, so when it came to building and designing my brothers it only took around a week in total, with 6 days of planning and 1 day of building. The planning process is by far the most lengthy as you must choose comments that are within your set price range and perform the functions necessary. There are so many parts you need to get to build a computer with an infinite number of brands and models for each of them. On my first try, I realized that building a computer is as much an exercise in economics and budgeting as it is electronics.
LO3 is demonstrated throughout this entire process as the builds revolve around a considerable amount of planning and budgeting. If the plan was abandoned or changed halfway through, it is most likely that the end product would be less than functional.
When it came to building a computer for my brother, I already had a sense of what components were needed and how much they would cost. Things such as the GPU (graphics processing unit) CPU (central processing unit) and PPU (Power processing unit) are the most pricey and delicate parts of a computer and is what you need to find first. Most of the budget is put towards these as they are what affects the performance of the computer the most. Once these were found (items and pictures listed below), I then moved onto the slightly less important components. These are things like the Motherboard, ram and cooling unit. Then move onto the peripherals. It is quite challenging to find all of these components within the budget set, so I incorporated the use of a spreadsheet to capture and plan each part of the build.
-GTX 1080 ROG Strix (Asus), i7-8700k CPU (Intel), G. Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 Ram (16gb), EVGA superNova 700 PPU
– GTX 1070 Stix GPU(Zotac), i5- 7700k CPU (Intel), G. Skill Ripjaws DDR4 ram (16gb), EVGA superNova 650 PPU
My computer was designed to handle very high-end games and take the strain of playing at high resolutions, as well as needing to be useful for school work. As such I put more money towards the build than my brother, purchasing what is known as a GTX 1080 GPU, i7-8700k CPU and 16gb of DDR4 ram. These are components are built specifically to handle the processing of incredible amounts of information at once, meaning that they were a perfect fit for my build, although quite pricy. The PPU was chosen very carefully as well. This is as the PPU needs to be able to supply a sufficient amount of voltage to the system to keep it functional, I calculated that for my heavy hitting PC I would need around 500 watts and my brother’s slightly less power-hungry build would need around 400 watts.
When it came to building the PC, mine had any number of hiccups, whilst building my brothers was very easy and straight forward as I actually knew what I was doing. Building the computer is very fun as well as quite time consuming, despite this on my second try I was able to complete it in under 5 hours and started it up on the first try. The way the computer goes together is as follows; the motherboard is attached to the case followed by the CPU and ram being inserted into their respective connectors. Next, the PPU is attached to the bottom of the case and each cable is attached to their respective connections, this is the part of the build that often takes the longest and cable management is key to keeping the PC at peak performance. After this, the heaviest and most expensive part, the GPU is placed in and connected to the PPU by 1-2 cables depending on the wattage. Then the absolute worst part of building a computer and what took up the most time by far is the mounting of the CPU cooler. I actually broke two of these before getting it on for my computer and slightly bent my brothers. I am quite tall and have large hands so it was very difficult for me to insert 4 tiny screws into plastic mounts without breaking them. In fact, I ended up 3d printing a separate mount and attaching it myself as it was just not possible for me to fix the screws in place. Another issue that was rectified by the first build was that you actually cannot ship in PPU from different countries and have to source them locally. As the one I had purchased was from America it was not compatible with Singaporean city power and therefore did not work. As such, I had to return the PPU and go to Sim Lim, a place I am not a very big fan of at all, and purchase another. This was the most infuriating part of the first build and clearly shows my perseverance and resourcefulness, calculating the necessary voltage and power requirements again but this time in accordance with local power ratings.
LO4 and LO2 were shown here as not only did I develop my skills in handling very delicate electronics as well as calculating wattage requirements, I also showed perseverance by way of not abandoning the project after major hiccups ie broken PPU and cooling bracket.
Despite this, the builds were both relatively easy, if not time-consuming and expensive, with large portions of time dedicated to figuring out how things are attached and booted up. I use my computer for games and school work very often, replacing my laptop with a more powerful device and hardly ever using it when at home. My brother also uses his quite a bit, spending copious amounts of time in games and online.
Overall this was my favorite project and I am planning further upgrades to my computer in the near future.