How I Built My First Computer

Something I’ve mentioned and haven’t quite talked about is my computer Diana. Yes, I named my computer after Wonder Woman. It was late November 13th, 2015 (I was still 15 at the time) and I’d decided I wanted to build my own computer. I was inspired after going to my uncle’s house a few days prior and playing on his computer he’d built. I’d played games on a computer growing up but nothing like this. He’d made his computer specifically for gaming.

Now my experience to playing games on a computer before wasn’t anything special. I’d played Toon Town, Roblox, and a military shooter back from 2004 called Joint Operations. Those three games were the entirety of my computer gaming experience. While I had fun playing those games at the time it wasn’t anything special. I’d always watched popular YouTubers play cool games exclusively on pc but I had nothing that could handle running them.

So, November 13th was a pivotal point for me. I’d talked about wanting a PC for a while but hadn’t done anything to get one. I’d asked my parents if they’d buy me one and they just laughed. They said if I could get a job I could get one but that was about the only way. On that day I’d decided I was going to get a job and buy a computer.

I’d made a steam account and downloaded a ten-dollar game called Undertale. It was about all that I could afford and my laptop could run. Having made an account and buying my first pc game made me feel like I was serious, because I was. This was just the beginning of a year-long journey.

The next day I’d started looking up computers and “the best gaming computers 2015”. They’d give articles or YouTube videos saying things like “Oh this is the best budget pc” or “This pre-built computer is really great” but I’d noticed how expensive they were. I saw a correlation between the prices of prebuilt and custom-built computers. The prebuilt ones were nice but overly expensive for what you could get for a custom build. Well, now I wanted to save money because I still didn’t even have a job yet.

It was early April 2016, just a few short months later and I was now 16. I’d been researching everything I could about computers and how to understand them. I even took a class in high school on computer hardware. Learning about all the different components absolutely fascinated me. After about a good month of research, I’d put a part list together. Even though I now had an understanding of how they worked and how to put it together that didn’t stop me from still reading and learning more about them. I’d watch videos of people stress testing awesome computers they’d built or hardware they’d bought.

Around that same time, I went to the local pool to talk to the manager. He’d said lifeguarding sign-ups were now and classes were at the end of the month. So, I signed up and put in my deposit for the class. I was taking another big step towards my goal.

The lifeguard training classes were the next day. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I was ready. The class is 50 hours altogether split up into 2 or 3 weekends. Ranging from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If I remember correctly Fridays were 6 or 8 hours while Saturday and Sunday were 12 hours of training. We learned CPR, First Aid, Rescue Techniques, C-spine and many other things. It was hard work but I’d never had more fun in my life.

After passing the test I went through the hiring process. The hiring process wasn’t anything too scary but I’d never been in for an interview before. I won’t deny it, even though I was on pretty good terms with the manager and he was the one who told me to put in for it, I was still nervous. I went into the room and I didn’t know what to expect. The questions were very simple. Things like “How do you work in a team based environment” “Do you have any leadership skills”. I left the interview feeling pretty good about it. A few days later I’d received a call saying I’d gotten the job. This was my big step forward! I’d gotten a job and put my part list together.

I know I summed it all up in a few paragraphs but it was a lot of work on my part. Especially after getting the job. I’d pick up any and all shifts I possibly could, I was a working madman. I had a price goal and I was working up to it. I watched the market and waited for sales so I could get all my parts for a significantly lower price.

During this time period, I’d bought a GTX 970 Twin Frozr from MSI for $300. I bought it because I noticed a flux in prices for graphics cards and I knew I had found an opportunity to make extra money. You see watching the market had paid off. The graphics card I’d just previously bought was now worth $450. I later sold in on eBay for $400 and made a $100-dollar profit. This extra money I’d gotten was then used on a slightly more expensive new card called the GTX 1070.

Slowly and slowly I started marking things off of my list that I’d purchased.

Glowing keyboard and mouse: check.

RAM: check.

CPU: check

Sooner or later I’d crossed off my list. My last shipment was supposed to come in. I was like a little child on their birthday jumping up and down with excitement. Yes, getting to play on it was going to be fun, but I was excited about the hands-on building experience.

I slowly started putting everything together. My computer was taking shape and I was proud. Only problem was I forgot where I’d put the screws to put my motherboard into my case with. After about a half hour of looking I’d realized I left them in their box so I wouldn’t lose them. I felt really stupid but I was just glad I found them. I’d finally stuck everything in and booted it on!

And then I ran into an error message. I don’t quite remember what it said but it meant my power supply wasn’t strong enough to support my graphics card so it couldn’t boot correctly. Of course, how could I have forgotten? I had gotten a bigger graphics card then planned. My build was no longer pre- charted for every tiny detail. You see within buying a bigger graphics card means it pulls more power. I’d bought a power supply that was supposed to be perfect for the current build. Buying that new graphics card meant my power supply was underperforming.

Just to keep things going I pulled out the graphics card and installed windows 10. Getting my bios, all updated and the OS installed was a breeze. Now I just needed to go buy a new power supply. Within the next couple of days, I’d gotten a bigger power supply that was on sale at best buy. Now I’d swapped out my power supply and put my graphics card back in.

Hit the button and… BOOM. It booted without any error messages. I’d downloaded a few games that I’d pre-purchased so I would have something to play once I was done. To put it simply: it ran BEAUTIFULLY. I’d never seen anything that looked so crisp and beautiful in my life. The graphics in the games were absolutely stunning. Colors were vibrant and I was in awe. I’d officially completed my goal! That feeling of accomplishment will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Have you ever overcome a goal of yours? Currently, my goal is to write a blog post every day for 30 days! Just like with my computer I’m making leaps and bounds on completing that goal. I’d like to challenge you too. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy like blogging for 30 days in a row. It can be whatever you want, whether it’s a 5-day goal to eat healthier or a 30-day goal to work out. Whatever you decide you want your goal to be I challenge you to put yourself out of your comfort zone and push to become a better you.

If you’re like to check out the full build click here.

2 thoughts on “How I Built My First Computer”

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