Building the Perfect PC (With Someone Else’s Money)

This past year I was asked to build the Perfect PC for a someone who would be working with Adobe Premiere, I had two instructions, it had to be fast and cost wasn’t an issue.

IMG_2302The parts list ended up consisting of the following:  Cooler Master HAF X – High Air Flow ATX Full Tower CaseCORSAIR RMx RM850X 850W Power SupplyMSI X99A SLI PLUS LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 ATX Intel Motherboard;  Intel Core i7-5820K; G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 64GB DDR4 SDRAMPNY Quadro M4000(2) SAMSUNG 850 EVO 500GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drives; (2) WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk DriveASUS PCE-N15 PCI Express Wireless Adapter; SEDNA – SE-PCIE-SC-10 High Quality PCIe 7.1 Channel Sound card; LG 16x Internal Blu Ray/DVD/CD Burner Writer Drive; Noctua NH-D15 SSO2 D-Type Premium CPU Cooler; and Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.  All told at purchase the cost of the parts came to about $3,000.

The parts were all purchased by my the individual and delivered directly to my house.  Once everything arrived I did a quick inventory and it was time to get to business!

Putting the Perfect PC together

Perfect PCThe best thing about full tower cases is they have plenty of room to install all the parts.  Once I had all the parts laid out and ready I opened up the case and got to work.  The power supply was installed first and the modular style meant I didn’t need to deal with the cables till I needed them later.  The motherboard goes in next and aside from the CPU its what I  take the most time with installing.  The motherboard is easily the most fragile part of the PC and you want to make sure it seats properly and you have all the proper mounts so that it spaces apart from the case correctly.  Once the motherboard is installed it’s time to install the CPU and that’s always were I get the most nervous.

It all goes back to my first PC when I knew NOTHING about computers.  When it arrived at my house the PC would turn on but it just showed a black screen on the monitor.  I opened the case and all I could determine was a part that was not attached was most likely for expansion later on. That part turned out to be the CPU which had fallen off the motherboard during shipping. I am happy to say these days I am much more knowledgeable and now know what the CPU looks like.  Once the CPU was installed I added the RAM.  With the major parts now in the case it was time to start added components.

Perfect PCThe first components installed were the four storage drives.  I installed the drives first so that I could plan where they would all need to be plugged into the motherboard and eventually the power supply.  Next was the installation of the Blu ray drive which would use the same power supply cable as the storage drives.  Prior to installing the graphics, sound and wi-fi cards I chose to install the CPU fan.  Despite the size of the case installing a large CPU fan still requires a lot of room getting it situated right on the motherboard, running the cables and making sure it clears everything, most importantly RAM.

With the fan installed I proceeded to install the cards with the graphics card going first.  You want to make sure the graphics card is in the best location (sometimes the only location) for both the fit and the cabling.  I was really trying to be very aware of keeping cabling to a minimum and as clean looking as possible.  When adding the sound card and the wi-fi card I had put them in and then decided to switch them around for a better fit.

With everything in I spent some time configuring the wiring a bit more and preparing to fire up the system for the first time. Aside from time spent on the motherboard and CPU this is another time to take it a bit slow and give everything another look over.

Perfect PCPowering up the Perfect PC

The fun part came when I powered it up and once again I was back to a black screen and no image.  It was like shades of that first PC build.  This time though I was much more educated about what was going on (and of course I knew the CPU was attached to the motherboard).  I did decide it was worth it to check that the CPU was seated properly which was daunting because between me and the CPU was a very large CPU fan.  After removing the fan, reapplying thermal paste and reattaching the fan I realized the problem I was having.  In order to power the CPU you have to attach the power to the CPU.  It was the equivalent to “the PC won’t turn on, did you try plugging it in”.

With the power to the CPU in place the machine was up and running.  Once the OS was installed, in this case Windows 10 it was time to install the drivers and additional software.  The biggest problem with buying a PC these days is all the bloatware that gets pre installed so when I install software on a new machine I go with only the absolute needed software for the machine to get up and running.

Perfect PCAbout two years ago I build my first PC (my gaming machine) with a friend who pretty much did all the hard work and heavy lifting.  When I was asked to build this PC it was a bit daunting, I wasn’t building a cheap machine or a gaming machine, this was a monster.  It took a lot of planning to make sure all the parts were not only the best parts but compatible parts.   When most people build a machine they are often doing it within a budget and while it’s fun to build the best machine (especially when  your not using your money) it’s a challenge to get it right without simply picking the most expensive part.

I’m happy to have had this challenge and the experience to build yet another PC.  Part of the fun of having a PC is actually building it and when you need the Perfect PC it’s the only way to go!