I like building my own computers. Why do I do it?
I enjoy customizing my computer, setting the specs, and selecting the parts. More importantly, I like understanding what’s going on under the hood. If something goes wrong with the machine, there’s a better chance that I’ll be able to fix it.
I built my first PC in 2005. It worked well and lasted over 8 years. In fact, had it not been for Microsoft ending support for Windows XP, I probably would have kept the machine a few years longer. You can see the parts list for that first machine along with that of its replacement by clicking here.
I’ve built several computers since then, both for myself and family members. I doubt that I will ever go back to buying an off-the-shelf desktop PC again.
My latest build is a compact PC in a mini-ITX form factor, which is what I’ve used for my last few builds. Unlike in the past, you don’t have to compromise on performance when building a machine with a small footprint. To see just how far things have come, here’s a rundown of the new machine and a comparison to the one it replaced.
The new computer replaces the last ATX mid-Tower case I built back in 2013. Looking back at my previous PC builds (and purchases), between 7 and 8 years appears to be the time frame between PC upgrades for me.
For comparison purposes, here’s the parts list for the old PC.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3570||$203|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 SDRAM||$59|
|Video Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 660||$203|
|SSD||Samsung 840 Series 250GB||$164|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 2TB||$93|
|Optical Drive||LG Blu-ray Disc combo||$49|
|Case||NZXT Phantom 410||$104|
|Power Supply||Corsair TX 750W||$111|
|OS||Windows 7 Professional||$144|
Here are the components and part list for the latest machine. It wasn’t much cheaper than what I built 7 years ago, but it’s a significant upgrade. The processor is a lot more powerful, there’s 4x the RAM, and the SSD size is 1TB. I also dumped a couple of unnecessary components such as the video card since I don’t game much and the optical drive since programs are available via download. I also didn’t buy a hard drive for the new machine. My previous hard drive was used mostly for data storage, so I bought an external enclosure and connected the drive to my new machine through a USB port. Eventually, I may transfer the data to a NAS device I own.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-10600K||$302|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG STRIX H470-I||$174|
|RAM||G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB DDR4 SDRAM||$150|
|SSD||Intel 665p Series M.2 2280 1TB||$116|
|Case||Fractal Design Node 202 with Integra 450W PSU||$157|
|CPU Cooler||Silverstone Tek Low-Profile Heatsink AR06||$50|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro||$160|
Here’s a side-by-side showing the difference in size between the two machines.
It also takes up considerably less room in my desk.
I’ve only had the machine up and running for a few days. While I’m still in the process of finalizing the setup, I have no doubt that I’m going to like it. It’s more powerful, smaller, and noticeably quieter, which is an added bonus!
I’m sure that this machine will last me another 7 years. It will be interesting to see what the technology looks like then. For all I know, we might be wearing our computers by then!