Part II of my blog, if you can, be sure to read Part I (previous post) since it lists the main parts.
First thing I did was made space, I just put a bunch of newspapers on the floor, a comfty pillow and went to work. Apparently PC parts have this 'unwanted attraction' to static electricity so before I touched a part, I grabbed the metal arm of my chair to 'ground' myself. Thankfully throughout the whole process I didn't carry a charge.
There were several manuals I looked through to make sure the process was painless but unfortunately it wasn't, being new to computer building, it's a bit difficult to understand what they're asking you to do. So I went online (God bless the internet) and found another guide detailing a nice step-by-step way to putting it all together.
I was warned (by some arsians) that their application of the thermal paste was "completely wrong" so I went by the folks who made the artic silver 5 thermal compound.
This was arguably the hardest part of the process, putting this el gigante heatsink on top of the CPU (which came OEM.) It was hard to rotate the heat sink, to get the thermal paste evenly spread but I did it. Asus (who makes the heatsink) provided this very shoddy mounting process that was a real head scratcher, thankfully after literally an hour of working with it; it decided to stay.
This mother board supports up to 8GBs of ram but I only wanted four since it seemed more than enough, like a lot of the parts, it was designed to go one way. And it took me a full 15 minutes to realize I had to pull down the little white side tabs to get it in properly. Did I mention this was my first time building a PC?
Pic of my 750GB hard drive from Western Digital that arrived faulty and thus had to get it sent back for a replacement; thankfully the shipping was free.
A regular CD/DVD-Rom drive on the left and a CD/DVD +/- R/RW burner on the right, both IDE which made it a hassle getting the ribbon set up properly in the case.
Inside of the case, I was completely shocked by the size of this case, had no idea how big full tower cases were. But the extra space helps with the air flow so I can deal with it.
Holy crap, I could not believe all these cables, it was incredibly tedious and when I pulled out my PSU . . . . . . MORE CABLES! This took me a good 45 minutes, especially after I put in that huge 8800 GTS card which took up even more space on the motherboard. I was happy the sound card was smaller, it went at the very bottom away from the GPU.
After all the hard work was done, I was ready to see if I made a PC or a time-bomb.
My metal monster, it actually has a key that opens the cover to reveal the drives, a nice feature but the door can get in the way. Up front are two USB 2.0 ports (8 in the back on the motherboard), a headphone jack, mic port and strangely enough a firewire port. Above all that is a power button (white), and a reset button below it.
What I really love about this case is that it lights up! And the lights are blue, ma couleur favourite! Even that big ol' heatsink has blue LED lights in it, at night my room has a nice blue color.
Okay, i'm a sucker for 'gimmicks', so I purchased a glowing mouse and keyboard too. :P
A few things:
I went with a quad-core not just for 'future-proofing', but it's supposedly ideal for those who do a lot of multi-tasking on the computer. I for one love using photoshop and converting/making video so having a cpu that won't have to work too hard at maintaining my habits is a nice plus.
It runs very cool too with the heatsink and the three 120mm case fans (two in the back, one in the front) with a idle temp of 26 degree, the highest i've seen it gone was 37. But I haven't really done anything too demanding like overclocking (and probably never will.)
I already had a monitor (not from my old computer) it's a nice 19' flatscreen LCD that I don't want to get rid of at the moment since it was a gift. And honestly i'm not too sold on those fancy 'widescreen' monitors, since having tried one, I don't like the way it stretches my images.
I'm a console gamer first and a PC gamer a very, very, very, very distant second, I haven't gamed at all on a PC before. However, I am interested in Starcraft II and wanted to make sure my computer was more than capable of handling it once it arrives.
I would recommend to anyone new to computers to take the challenge in building your own, despite some irritants (those darn cables!) it's actually quite fun. If you ever get lost, do like I did and look for detailed guides on the web or ask forums filled with computer geeks who know a thing or two (like arstechnica)