Systems I’ve Helped Build – Part 0: Introduction

A brief history

For me, a history of building systems began before I’d ever technically “built a system”.

Note: despite being published in 2019, this was actually written primarily in 2017. I had wanted to release it alongside part 1, which unfortunately got caught in “people not responding to questions” limbo.

During high school, I began to develop an interest in PC hardware. I’m not sure exactly when the “light bulb moment” was, or if there even was one. In any case, I remember that I used to look forward each Thursday to delving into The Age’s Green Guide, which came bundled each week with their daily paper. It sounds like something you’d look at for power saving tips and articles on solar panels, but it was actually mostly about TV, with a section in the middle for technology called Livewire.

I’m not really sure where the “Green” part of the name came from (the pages were actually green – but why?), but I loved reading it.
At some point I started to build up a collection of them, now stored in an old Lego container and kept for the sake of nostalgia.

From there I progressed to online publications, eventually gaining enough knowledge to be able to put together a solid parts list to show to my parents, and promptly have the purchase denied. Oh well, it was still fun to think about, and I continued to revise the parts list over time in the hopes that I would eventually be able to put that system together one day.

That day occurred probably over a year later, when I finally made use of that parts list and put together my very own computer.

It was my first build completely from scratch: from research (..for well over a year), to buying new parts, and then putting it all together and tweaking it. In the years prior to this build, I had been using a pre-built system from CPL with a Core 2 Duo 6750, 2GB of DDR2, and an 8600GT. Putting together my own PC was a pretty big leap in more ways than one.

Build details

For each of these builds, I’ll try to include each of the following:

  • When possible, a picture or three of the actual computer to snaz things up
  • Date of purchase/build
  • What parts of the building process I helped with
  • A list of components, and justification for the choices
  • The intended use case of the machine
  • How the computer’s going these days, and any comments from the user

I try tailor each build to the user’s needs and preferences, so there’s often a wide variance in brands and platforms etc. One person may simply want the cheapest option that works, while another may want to spend a little extra to improve system acoustics or aesthetics.

In some cases the user doesn’t even know exactly what they want, and in those cases it helps a great deal to have a fairly broad spectrum of knowledge to best chart the path forward.

In any case, enjoy the builds!

Originally (back in 2017) I had wanted to include a couple of other builds here, but at this point those are so old that I don’t think it’s worth digging up the notes for them.

The most interesting among them was a build for the parents of a friend, which my friend wanted to also be able to use a secondary gaming machine if needed. From memory it was just an i3 and 8GB of RAM with a 750 Ti, coupled with a Seasonic G360 inside a Silverstone Precision PS08 or PS09. Nothing particularly exciting, so no big loss.

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