Monday, November 24, 2008

The Best-Laid Plans

Last time I was here was "pre-PC build."

It's now, I'm happy to announce, the "post-PC build" era in the HoB.

Having said all that, I am not unhappy I went in this direction -- in fact, like many advised I would be, I am proud and pleased that I opted for a from-scratch PC rather than some soulless lawn mower from Dell or some other company.

And I now understand why people get off on talking about their "rigs," "boxes" and/or "setup." It's sort of like getting a bunch of car parts -- internal, external, etc. -- and doing all the work yourself. However, inasmuch as I'm glad this machine's homemade, I didn't do it myself. A good friend did about 75% of the work. For the most part, I didn't have him come by to do the work for me, I had him come by to help me figure out what's actually going on with the wires, cables and lights that connect the case, the motherboard, the components and, ultimately, the actual machine.

One of the major issues with most of these homemade PC's isn't that they don't work; the problem is that they invariably wind up sounding like jet engines (even when safely ensconced inside their cases). The main problem is that when you buy your own components, you typically choose the highest-end components possible in order to maximize performance. Example: whereas most store-bought business machines are typically equipped with 200-watt power supplies, most home-built machines are powered by 500 watt models. However, the norm is even higher; some go over 1000 watts. That means, assuming you leave your PC on 24-7, you're running an appliance that, conceivably, uses more electricity -- constantly -- than a hair dryer. All of a sudden, your electric bill exceeds your car payment. Joy.

Actually, that's not entirely true -- the ratings indicate capacity, as opposed to normal usage, which in most cases, is far less. But neither here nor there: the bottom line is that these setups rarely are designed for efficiency.

However, I tried to make sure mine was sensible, and got a motherboard with high ratings for efficiency. Like Kaia says, my desk area is as lit-up as mission control at Nasa, so the less heat and power emanating from that area, the better. And the nice thing is despite the fact my case is perforated (lots of mesh exterior for venting of heat) and I am working it hard, there is little, if any, noise from fans or the other cooling acoutrement stuffed into that box. Of course, the fact that the case I purchased is bigger than most infant car seats helps. The nice thing is that it looks good, doesn't make a lot of noise under my desk, and everything seems to work -- for now.

I 'spose we'll see if anything goes wrong over the next few weeks, though, strangely, I highly doubt it will. I'll be posting pictures of the finished product when I can, as well as a list of the items we got and the overall results of the assemblage.


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