Opinion PC

Building a gaming PC: Why everyone should do it once

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Before I go off on a tangent about my latest, and probably greatest weekend in months, let me give you some background to my cold gaming PC. I used to rock a first-gen Core-i7 motherboard with a hefty 3.80Ghz. This was a few years ago as I got it back in 2010. Since then that PC has been through the war with failed HDDs, lightning strikes, and even falling off the table. Yes, that totally happened. With all these unfortunate events taking place, I slowly drifted to becoming a console gamer because let's be honest, it is much simpler, and cheaper. 

I have never built a gaming PC before so when the opportunity arose it was halfway between me feeling excited about it, and the other half anticipating flames, electricity, and perhaps even death. This whole experience was a month in planning but then again I am extremely fussy about having the best of the best and the prettiest hardware with all the RGB lighting to boast. This past weekend it all came down to the purchasing and construction of what I call the sexiest PC in my neighbourhood. 

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Bet your granny ain't as old as this

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I took a trip to Evetech in Centurion as I have worked with the company for years and have always believed that when the time came to spend money on things they would be the best place to do it. I was not disappointed. Arriving at the HQ I was overwhelmed by how busy they were, and standing in the reception with all these other PC gamers I finally felt at home. It was almost like I was at a buffet and I could choose whatever I wanted no matter how much I needed it or not. Some pretty face sales guy helped me out after hearing my plea to what I need and what I already have. My final setup included the following:

  • MSI GTX 980Ti 6GB 
  • Intel Core-i5 3.50GHz
  • Samsung Evo 850 250GB SSD
  • 16GB HyperX DDR3 RAM
  • MSI Gaming Motherboard
  • 700W PSU
  • 2x 7200RPM Internal HDDs
  • The sexiest gaming case ever - Evetech Drift 6-fan RBG Tempered Glass
  • Razer Deathstalker Chroma
  • Logitech MX Master Mouse
  • Dell 24-inch FHD Monitor

Yes, I know, not the best specs ever but they are pretty cool still and I know PC gamers are always trying to be better than each other by shooting you down if you don't have the same specs as them, but I am just starting out okay! No, really I have never met a group of more competitive people in my life than PC gamer. Everyone is better than you and everyone has some sort entitled opinion about your specs. Come on guys, lets just be friends! :P 

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The purchasing was seamless, I chose what I wanted, paid for it and walked out of Evetech with everything in my arms like a spoilt brat on Christmas morning. I felt as if it was the longest drive back to Joburg as all I wanted to do was get back home and assemble everything. The main attraction for me was the Evetech Drift gaming case. Coming in at R1499, I was a bit worried that it was too pricey for a third-party non-branded case but oh my word, it is gorgeous, so much so that I leave my PC on all day just to give my office some personality.

Construction

I had three major worries about putting this all together. All the little cables for the case going into the board and will I find a place for them all? The CPU and that weird thermal paste, yes, I would totally overdo it. Lastly, will I install the ATX board into the case without it touching the case and causing that death I spoke about before? 

Luckily none of those fears came to life due to the fact that I received the motherboard with the CPU installed, putting the board onto the case is pretty easy, and lastly YouTube is a thing and I learnt that all cables such as the power, LED, HDD light and reset switch go onto the same JPFP 1 slot on the board. 

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I first screwed in the board to the case which was an awesome part of the process. It marked the beginning of the journey and while I forgot to put the back face plate on which came with the motherboard, I had to take it all off and do it again. Still, the worry about the motherboard touching the case was not a thing thanks to the awesome design of the case and the screws that came with the case too.

The RAM slotted into the correct slots perfectly fine, much better than those DDR2 chips that I tried to force into a DDR slot as a child. Once the motherboard was on it was time for the hardest challenge of all, the cabling.

Cables....cables everywhere.

There is a lot of cabling that goes into a PC these days and there is no surprise that this setup I was going for was going to be a challenge. Three hard drives connected to the motherboard, one graphics card, and not to forget the motherboard power and the 6 RGB fans that needed power in order to look as epic as ever. 

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Installing the power supply under the case in a neat compartment, the case had rubber-rimmed slots to feed all the cables through to the main board. This cable management was top notch and I did not have to worry about being a mess. I fed each cable through the holes, plugged them into the respective slot, screwed the SSD to the side of the box, and slotted the extra HDDs into their drawers. 

One by one I plugged everything in and each of them gave me a decent "click" to tell me I was doing the right thing. Sure, I had to unplug a few things and move wires around, feeding them into different holes to allow for maximum neatness, but it was not a problem at all. The USB 3.0 plug went into the board, the power cable in the GFX card, and lastly, I watched a quick video on how to plug those darn case wires into the board too so when I pressed the power button something actually happened.

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I have to say that the Evetech Drift case was a dream for cable management and assembly. Every fan is connected to a board on the back that powers each of them so as long as that board had the power it was good to go. The rubber slots also allow for a neat presentation with almost no wires lying around all over the place and the OCD part of me was impressed. 

Once it was all plugged in I sealed the case with the awesome tempered glass on both sides and then just prayed and hoped that the motherboard was plugged in properly and that the hard drives had power and all that too. 

Windows 10 license = no drama

The time came for me to finally press the "on" button and I took a deep breath hoping that it would turn on without any fire, the electricity or worse, death would result in this boot. Everything was perfect, fans came on, hard drive booted, monitor switched on and I was good to go. Remember that Windows 10 I installed onto a USB? Well, it was a flawless process that took under 10-minutes to install. Yes, Windows 10 installed from my USB 3.0 device onto my SSD in under 10 minutes. Somehow I feel that the updates take longer right? 

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Windows 10 booted, and again to make sure I had no license issues I made sure that my Windows 10 Pro key was tied to my Microsoft Account. After a few minutes of the troubleshooting, Windows detected that I changed hardware....quite drastically if you ask me, and it activated my new PC. 

The dream of a PC that takes less than 20 seconds to boot was finally a thing. My new gaming PC was fast, powerful, and sexy and it gave me a new appreciation to just what you PC people go on about all the time. It also taught me that building a PC is not hard and thanks to modern tech and software, putting it together and installing Windows 10 on it was a flawless experience. The most work actually comes from reinstalling all the programs you need and that all rely on fast net.

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I know it could have been worse and that is why I wanted to share my story. I also wanted to make people aware of how awesome the experience can be and that no matter if you are a noob or not you should give it a try. While I know so much about the hardware of a PC, I never actually put one together. If I can do it, anyone can. 

Have you ever built a gaming PC by yourself? What challenges did you encounter? Let me know in the comments below.

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"My new gaming PC was fast, powerful, and sexy."

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