Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year, New Computer

As I indicated a couple posts ago, my 6-year-old model laptop finally gave up the ghost in early December after a traumatic plane ride to Las Vegas. That's not entirely true. Because of previous experience, I believe it is the trip through the airport luggage system that damages computers, not the flight itself. I did not own this particular ASUS G73 for 6 years, I've actually had a succession of three. The first was stolen in a home robbery forcing me to buy another. The second suffered motherboard issues after a different trip; and this most recent one, a Franken-puter of my old one and another sold to me by a good friend, was getting to be out of spec for modern games and expansions before its failure to boot. According to diagnostics, it's possible it only needed a recovery of Windows, but the DVD drive no longer worked, and I'd been wanting a new computer anyway. I'd started to save up a bit for a new rig already, but unexpected expenses in November threw me off my timeline. My sweet bride offered to use household funds to pay for the new computer, which I would then replenish after the fact.

In talking with a coworker who also travels frequently, I came up with a plan to build my own computer, a portable desktop rather than a laptop. I would be able to plug into hotel TVs using HDMI, and have a powerful computer for less money than a higher end gaming laptop. Plus, I had never built a computer from the ground up before, and I wondered if I was up to the challenge. Many of you fellow techies are probably laughing now, because it turns out not to have been particularly difficult at all, especially with Scooter's help. The part I was most nervous about was screwing up the thermal paste on the CPU cooling unit. However, in some ways, the hardest part was actually getting the necessary drivers to run the network interface card, so I could download the rest of the drivers, many of which updated automatically as soon as I had a connection.

[EDIT: Revised list, not all the components were correct. If anyone is interested, I can add links to Amazon]:

-Gigabyte Motherboard (GA-B150N)
-Intel Core i7 (BX80662I76700K)
-Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB RAM (PC4-21300)
-Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Mini ITX (GV-N1070IXOC-8GD)
-Noctua CPU Cooler (NH-L9I)
-Intel 600p Series m.2 512GB SSD (SSDPEKKW512G7X1)
-HGST Travelstar 7k1000 SATA 1TB HDD (0J22423)
-SilverStone Milo Mini-ITX Computer Case (ML08B-H)
-SilverStone 500W SFX-L Power Supply (SX500-LG)
-ViewSonic 22" Gaming Monitor (VX2252MH)
-Logitech K350 Keyboard (to go with my M570 mouse)
-Windows 10

I'll blurb a bit in a different post on my so-far limited gaming experience with this setup; I was downloading World of Warcraft as I typed the original draft. When all is said and done, the project has cost more than any other computer that I have owned. However, some of this is due to purchasing the new monitor and keyboard, and a really nice graphics card.
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In addition to providing computer construction expertise, Scooter proofreads almost all my articles before I post them, for which I am very grateful. However, any mistakes are mine and mine alone (unless otherwise noted). If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.


  1. Congrats on your new machine! The thermal paste part is what always concerns me with building a PC, too. That and the CPU fan. They've gotten easier to build over the years, though.

    1. Yes, this one went together fairly easily. Honestly, it was cord management that caused me the most frustration.

  2. Whohooo, a home built PC! I'm absolutely hopeless when it comes to technical endeavours, so I at least am very impressed. /comfort

    1. It's just like putting together a puzzle. :D But you can be impressed if you want. XD

  3. That's a nice spec new PC. I built my own one years ago and it is still running well today. Very satisfying to put together your own custom machine the way you want it. It'd be interesting to see how it handles The Secret World, which is notoriously resource intensive to run all the time at ultra settings ��

    1. Yaasss! I'm downloading as I type this. I hope to get chance to play this weekend.

    2. Did you get a chance to try it out? What was it like? I remember noticing massive improvement to my gameplay experience the first times I installed it on an SSD and upgraded the graphics card.

    3. Sadly, the real world took precedence over gaming this weekend. I still need to get into TSW to see what's what. WoW seems much smoother, so I expect a similar improvement with TSW.

  4. Sweet! Glad it's up and running! Looking forward to hearing about how well it works. It's very similar to mine (as you already know), but with a better M.2 SSD and a much better video card. The GTX 10XX cards weren't out yet when I bought mine. M.2 was out, but way too costly. I'll probably upgrade those eventually.

    1. The m.2 SSD appears to be on sale right now for about 16 less than I paid. >,> But it amazingly fast. As far as the GTX, I think I do a little more gaming than you do these days, so I thought it was worth it.

  5. My SSD is fast enough that I don't want to spend the money on upgrading just yet. Same with the video card. It will be a nice boost in a few years though. Most of my gaming these days is either on mobile, or games where graphics don't matter much, like Minecraft or lately, Pokemon TCGO. I think yours is powerful, but still reasonable. I hope that it's as portable as you need it to be.