Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting My Nerd On (Part 1)

A few weeks ago, my trusty MSI EX 460 laptop was called into Silicon Valley Heaven. It was a sad day. From getting me through some school work, to passing the time, to daily activities, to a 24 hour LAN party with friends, this laptop has been through a lot with me. I suppose you could say it served it's purpose quite well. What added to the sadness is that I now have to resort to using my iPhone 4S (which isn't a bad thing, except for the small screen size) as well the office laptop (an old Dell Latitude D630) at home for my daily activities. This sparked a thought, "Why not go back to the Grade School and High School days? Why not build my own PC rig?" and this led to me "Getting My Nerd On".

Ever since I was about 14 years old, I've always had a fascination with technology, tinkering with it, taking it apart and putting it back or simply taking it apart and appreciating all the details (also because there were times when I couldn't put it back together. -_-).  With that being said, I guess it was only a matter of time before I got back into it. And since I have decided to build my rig from scratch, that childlike excitement got renewed in me. 

And this is where my quest begins.

Step zero. Goal setting. Begin with the end in mind. My goal is to build a mid-performance, mid-budget rig. This may be a subjective category though.

Step one. Due diligence. Researching like a beast. Reading specifications. Reading reviews. Watching reviews. Comparing reviews. Comparing parts. Window shopping. It's a very tedious process, but it is a necessary evil. It could also save you a bunch of money if you look well enough. Because in the technological world, things aren't always what they seem, faster is not always better, more expensive is not always the best. This was the simple advice from Martin, a very good friend of mine who has ample experience in rig building.

The first thing I gathered intelligence for was to find the main organs of the rig. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) and the Motherboard. Finding these is like preparing for marriage, the two need to be compatible or else there will be problems. The first piece I looked for was the CPU and the motherboard. Something I learned recently (courtesy of Martin) was the wattage capacity of the Motherboard (e.g. Processor Thermal Design Power (TDP) is 125w, Motherboard only supports 95w). I had no idea about this and it would have become an issue if I hadn't gotten this tip. This certainly helped me narrow my searches for parts.

This will serve as the first part of the series I will be putting together as I progress through my build.

Stay tuned for the next part when I begin purchasing the hardware!

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