Building a Desktop Computer – A Rewarding Experience

I started my working career as a personal computer hardware tech almost 30 years ago. As such I built and upgraded my own computers. However I spent the last 20 years working in web-based products and have gotten a bit out of touch with the current hardware. My last desk top was purchased as a complete system about 8 years ago and while I have upgraded the CPU, memory, video card and hard drive it had slowed down to the point of being almost painful to use. I decided that my son and I would build a new computer from scratch.

However I’m a bit behind in technology and don’t know enough to select the right combination of products that would all work together. I’m not a gamer so I didn’t need to spend money on a high power video card, I’m looking more for productivity and browser-based stuff. I also need to manage all my digital photos and videos, which means more than a TB of storage. I’m also intrigued with solid state drives, but I cannot afford enough solid state storage for all my data. However a hard drive works well for such data that gets access infrequently.

After doing some search I decided to follow LifeHacker and follow their plans for the $600 mid-power unit. The changes I made were to drop the video card completely and go with the on-board video of their “better” mother-board. Further I went with 16GB of RAM and a 250GB SSD. I was able to get the parts from just two vendors, Amazon (I have prime) and Newegg and my price point was about $500. Everything is pretty much plug and play these days (I grew up setting IRQ’s) you just have to figure out where everything goes. As long as you don’t force anything or give it a static charge you won’t damage anything and most components will only go in one way.

I wanted a clean install of windows 10 so I went with the download version from the MicroSoft web site and installed it on my new 250GB SSD. Let me just say WOW it boots fast. I then took the 2TB drive out of my old computer that had all my data on it and set it up as a data drive. This gives me the speed of a SSD for the system and my programs and an affordable solution for my data storage, a 2TB Western Digital hard drive.

All in all it was a good experience to do with my son and I would recommend it to anyone. If you have the time to do some research you can be successful even without a computer background.

Author: Jerry Ward

Working on creating a 10 acre urban homestead in S.E. Michigan. To pay the bills I work as a product manager/business analyst in the IT field. Now the admin of Save Our Skills