I’ve had a disastrous week. On Tuesday night, exactly one week before my report submission deadline my laptop decided to die on me. The GPU probably overheated as I was able to retrieve and back up the really important data and keep it working by propping it and having a fan nearby. The next day when I was writing it in school it decided to stop working at all after I shut it down and turned it back on.
Good thing it wasn’t my hard disk that spoilt; I bought a hard disk enclosure and I can still access my data. I’m borrowing my brother’s 6 year old laptop which was considered lousy back then. I had to clear out the full hard disk; it took 15 minutes to finish booting up when I first turned it on.
Then on Thursday evening while I was trying to wrap up my report I had a sudden bout of stomach flu. I had three good sessions hugging my toilet and couldn’t eat without vomiting again. My mother insisted we go visit the doctor – the wait was over 2 hours long.
On Friday I decided that I had completed writing my report; on Saturday I went to buy parts to build a new PC.
Today I’ve got it working and it sure feels good to be able to boot up faster than your phone and your TV. It’s not a high-spec system as I stuck tightly to my budget, and though I had space constraints the price of a mini ITX mainboard was just too much for me to build a decent system without busting my budget, so I went for a mATX board and case. For those who are curious, here are my specs, but they’re probably nothing to be proud of.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-3330 LGA1155
- Mainboard: ASRock B75M-DGS
- RAM: G-Skill 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
- GPU: Powercolor HD7850 2GB DDR5
- Storage: Kingston 32GB 2.5″ SSD, Toshiba 2TB 3.5″ HDD
- Wi-fi: TP-Link Wireless N PCI Express Adapter
- PSU: Enermax NAXN 600W
- Case: Coolermaster 361
- Monitor: Philips 23″ 1080p LCD
- Keyboard: Logitech k120
- Mouse: Logitech G500
- OS: Windows 8 Pro x64
Good thing my brother had an extra PSU lying around which I nabbed, and I bought the Windows 8 upgrade last year for around $15 USD which I then downloaded using my brother’s PC and copied onto a USB stick. The PSU is a bit troublesome as it isn’t modular unlike the one my brother’s using right now, so I had to stuff all the extra cables into the slot for the optical drive. The CPU case is bigger than I would have liked but since I didn’t want to pay a lot more for a mini ITX, I settled for it. Besides it’s still a little smaller than my brother’s case. I already bought the mouse sometime back when my Razer DeathAdder started failing again, so the LCD and cheap keyboard were new. (By the way, I don’t buy Razer anymore. My first DA could not track right out the box and without a Razer mousepad, and I had to exchange a new one, which also failed tracking a few months back. Seems like their driver requires a constant internet connection now too.)
With this setup at the limit of my budget I couldn’t afford luxuries like LED lights or mechanical keyboards. I still have one free RAM slot, and maybe sometime in future when I get a new PSU it would be a modular one so I can do better cable management. I spent 3 hours putting everything together, and most of today doing some command line kung fu to make my SSD only hold the OS. It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve owned my own desktop and I must say having your own custom built PC is a bit like a hobby; you’ll end up forking out money to soup it up in future.
Speaking of which, I completely missed out the 5-second preorder windows for Bandai’s VF-171EX cannon fodder and the YF-29 re-release. Well I’m not one to question Bandai for making like 3 pieces of each toy for the whole world to fight over, but at least I don’t have an excuse to buy toys when the money has now gone into my own PC.
And I’m really sad to not have been able to work on my Astray this week. Now my room is in a bigger mess; right now my computer sits on the floor, at the spot where I usually do my painting.
Edit: Forgot to mention that my last semester is starting tomorrow. As if that made any difference – I haven’t had any decent vacation for 2 semesters already.