Adventures in Computer Building

Ola from my brand spanking new…well new with the same hard drives and video card computer!

For some reason I thought it would be good if I built the system myself despite the fact that two days ago I bought a new computer chair and paid the extra $10 for assembly because Bad Things happen when I try to assemble furniture.

I’ve spent several months poking around various websites reading about what I might want.   This is more workstation than gaming machine so I was looking for a beefy high end processor.

I settled on the i7-3930K Hexacore.  At $600 it came in $400 below the Extreme edition which I contemplated until I saw that there isn’t much difference performance wise between them.   Naturally there’s no point in putting a high performance chip on a crappy mother board so I went with the Asus Rampage Extreme IV.   I think the Extreme is for “Extremely Expensive”…until of course you get it running then it means “Extremely Awesome”

So, anyway yesterday afternoon I sent an email to the gang at Canada Computers at Richmond and Oxford in London asking if they had my selections in stock.   There was some back and forth as I wanted their advice on cooling.

I arrived at the store at around 5:30 and they had everything I’d asked for waiting for me 🙂   I picked out a Cooler Master HAF 942 case and a Noctua DH14 CPU Cooler.

It was a bit surreal on the drive home.  I was in no particular hurry to get home despite the task that awaited me.

So,  I get home, and unpack my box of goodies!

I had the forethought to gather up all my tools before I went to London so there wasn’t much scurrying around.

As I started to unpack things I had a moment of alarm as I thought that perhaps I had accidentally removed something from the Buick…like a radiator….

Despite the lack of rust I suspected this actually belonged to the Buick!

As it turns out that is the Noctua CPU Cooler!

Setting up the case with the OCZ modular power supply was pretty simple…considering its modular…meaning you attach cables as you need them…and it has thumbscrews….not even I could screw that up!

So, next comes seating the CPU on the motherboard.

The second most nerve wracking moment of the build. There's $1100 worth of gear I can ruin with a single slip...far out of my "Frack it, I'll just buy another one if it breaks!" range

Thoughts running through my head during the CPU install were:



Of course,  the maddening thing with this install is…I won’t know if I borked it until I actually get the whole computer put together.

It only takes me 20 or 30 minutes of futzing about to get the CPU Cooler installed.

Those of you with sharp eyes will see the RAM sitting under the cooler (no need for RAM cooling on the proximal slots!!)

So then I demonstrate how tired I am by installing the mother board risers in the case…by hand.  (these are the things that I will screw the motherboard into.    It wasn’t until I was on the last one that I stopped and thought, “Wait a minute…why am I doing this by hand??? I have a tool for this!”

So I install the motherboard,  I take the hard drives and video card from my old machine and plug them into my new one.

I connect power….and with my finger on the power supply’s on/off switch I hit the power button aaaannnnnd…….nothing…..I keep my cool.  Disconnect the power and reseat the ATX connection (the bit that connects power to the motherboard).    I notice an empty hole where a screw should be holding the mother board down!   Fix that,  plug power back in and I’m rewarded will all sorts of pretty lights!  Yay!

Then,  with one finger on the PSU’s on/off switch I hit the computer’s power button.   I watch it POST (a check up as it boots)…then I get an error “CPU FAN ERROR!”   I quickly shut the machine down.   If my CPU over heats there’s $600 down the drain.

I spend about 20 minutes reseating the CPU Fan power and checking everything over.

Same thing!   I go into the BIOS…the little program that you can use to set up how your computer runs.  I see “Q Control for CPU Fan”.    I set that to Disable and immediately see the fans spin to life!  Yay!

So, its 11pm.   I hit power and see the “Starting Windows” logo

After a minute Blue Screen of Death flashes and it reboots.

I run the windows repair tool…same thing.

This time I read the log….frustrated I unplug the system and go watch tv.

Halfway through South Park I think…”wadeaminute!”

Something I read in the log tweaked  “D:/Windows”

My windows installation was on my C drive!

I go and switch the SATA cables and presto-blamo I can boot!!!

So yeah,  this weekend I’m going to go grab a new Solid State Drive and a copy of Windows 7 Pro  but it is prettty freakin sweet!

Sorry, I’m tired, I might re-write this later 🙂


2 thoughts on “Adventures in Computer Building

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