PC Building Simulator: No Cash, Much Build

Finally caught PC Building Simulator going for 50% off on Steam the other day.

Considering that I was lusting after it during the Summer sale and still stingy not to bite at 40% then, I decided the threshold of 50% was sufficient for something I really wanted to play.

Prior plans for new computer replacement in real life are now overdue, thanks to the current pandemic climate we find ourselves in.

While mulling on plan B (buying parts in a face to face setting is now much more inconvenient – do I trust delivery options to not damage stuff in transit / wherever am I going to put a new computer case when prior room renovation plans are hold / which month can I take the leap on this for best financial management in a pandemic situation, etc. etc.), I needed a virtual stopgap to feed the “new PC” desire.

It’s certainly much cheaper.

And dare I say it, kinda addictively fun to be able to simulate build after build in a compressed amount of time.

Naturally, the first thing anyone would do (or at least I did) was jump into the Free Build mode to build a dream PC of choice, unrestrained by anything so prosaic as a budget.

Honestly, the build below is completely unresearched, so it cannot be considered “my” dream PC of choice, but given that my criteria was mostly “what is super-expensive in this catalog that also sounds good,” it is certainly -a- fantasy PC.

Random bits of shiny
Wheeee…

It’s certainly not a maxed out 3DMark score. All stock parts, no overclocking, no doubled graphics cards or ludicrous amounts of memory, but just to get the feel of how PC building simulator worked.

Then I started in on the campaign, where the story is that you’ve taken over a modest little PC repair/build shop from your uncle. Customers send you email with their requests, and their PC if you accept. You order in any necessary parts and assemble and troubleshoot as necessary.

The simulation is both detailed and simplified enough to be satisfying. It glosses over real PC building woes like misplacing screws and trying to fat finger in parts in cramped surroundings without dropping or damaging them (or is that just me) but allows you to plan and systematically attack the assembly of multiple PCs, meditatively inserting components by mouse clicking and holding.

There is the satisfaction of meeting a customer’s requests and their parts budget, as well as color-coordinating cables and components for reasons of pure cosmetic vanity.

There is a simulation aspect of balancing the customer’s requests, budget and your own company goals – max profit, be super efficient, just meet minimum requirements, shortchange the customer, play unethically, or go the distance for super customer satisfaction at possibly time and labor cost to oneself? Or anything in between.

The above customer had a huge budget of $1500, and her requirements were exceedingly minimal. A computer that can play Euro Truck Simulator 2 (Recommended Spec). Heck, you could probably build a PC that fits those requirements for half the price, and save the customer money.

I was in the mood for a -nice- build though, and since the customer was agreeable to footing the bill for up to $1500 in parts… why not get top of the line components up to the budget and put it together?

The final result completely exceeded the requirements by far, but I liked putting it together. It was a PC I wouldn’t have minded owning myself.

The cherry on top? The customer liked it too! Sense of accomplishment achieved. Never mind that it is completely pretend.

The multitude of cases one gets to go through is fun. Some are dreams to assemble and disassemble, and others, well, you’re left cursing and swearing as you pull off both the sides and the top, just to get components to go in. Certainly helps contribute some ideas for further research when it comes time to figure out what real life case to buy.

Probably my only chance to get relatively up close and personal with artistic cases. Certainly nice to look at.

In reality, I’m far too concerned with factors like good ventilation, given the hot and humid country I live in, as well as ease of assembly/disassembly for regular dust cleaning.

There are some amusing mini-stories in the emails that customers send you, providing a sort of voyeuristic view of various character’s lives, a kind of simulated reality drama.

“The good news is, I found my hamster.” Emphasis mine. Riiight.

There’s a cute, almost campaign-like story saga which I guess might segue into the PC Building Simulator’s recent eSports DLC (which has more middling reviews at this point, so holding off on that for now). But the story in the main game itself is fun.

There’s this kid who is into League of Legends and dreams of being an eSports star. Mum doesn’t approve. Naturally, he saves up his own money, then sends you an email and begs for as budget a PC as possible, that can still play League of Legends.

Do that, and he starts winning a few competitions, mum’s opinion changing slowly as she sees the prize money come in. He comes back to you for PC upgrades through this little mini drama.

Here’s a sample where he wins some extra cash and wants to reward himself with some bling for his PC:

Good on ya kid, here’s some shiny RGB lighting and color-coordinated cables.

Because these little things matter when you value your computer.

And I guess that’s why anyone would wind up playing PC Building Simulator for long periods of time. Because you like PCs and find value in the simulated assembly process of multiple computers.

16 hours and counting for me. Worth it. Recommended if you like PC building (and aren’t burned out with repeating the process over and over.)

…and Done. Normal Service Should Resume Shortly.

Welcome to the jungle...

It’s here! It’s here!

*cue choir bells and much trumpet fanfare*

There isn’t a gaping empty space in the middle of the motherboard any longer!

newpc-complete

I didn’t exactly plan a tri-color scheme, but I’ll take it.

Naturally, one of the first things I did was take it for a spin in Guild Wars 2.

gw2-people

Crazy… I can actually see what other players are wearing now.

And their attack animations… *shudders in ecstasy* are actually playing out now, creating a glorious tableau of information and particle effects.

It’s almost overwhelming to take in at first, having been so used to having blinders on by all other players set on the lowest model and quality settings, where they pretty much exist as an invisible model under a green name tag or a pink clay-colored model holding some weapon basic attacking.

I got an immediate flash back to City of Heroes though, where a regular 8 person team was also a kaleidoscope of colored particle effects and strange animations. When one first starts, it’s all overwhelming and hard to read – though you see what’s happening, you don’t actually understand what’s going on. Over time as one gains experience with different classes and commonly used attacks, you can just naturally tell when someone has just used a crowd control effect to alpha strike, or some other player placed a valuable debuff, etc.

It’ll take some practice again, but I’m sure it’ll be the same with GW2.

I’m really looking forward to test running this out in WvW and maybe even PvP.

Being able to read your opponent’s animations are critical in PvP, and I’ve always been sure that I was essentially playing a delayed guessing game when it comes to zerg fights in WvW – actually seeing models and what other players are doing (are they leaping in with hammers or greatswords, or just being able to pick out which characters are the long-range casters with staffs, etc ) would be game-changing, I suspect.

It’ll likely take some graphics adjustments still, for good framerates in WvW, but I like what I’m seeing in the Mad King’s Labyrinth already.

gw2-fps1

Just trundling around on autodetect settings, with a group of 10-15 killing stuff gives framerates of 60+.

Normal autodetect settings also seem to be pretty damn high (compared to my toaster, everything is high to me, I guess):

gw2-autodetect

The only time the framerates dropped was when we piled on as a group of 20-25 on a door unloading plenty of Halloween mobs:

gw2-fps2

Dropped to 33 FPS.

Hell, 33 FPS was the best I ever got on the toaster, on minimal settings.

Out of curiosity, I switched back to my usual minimal settings to see how different this new computer was. FPS danced around from 92 to 150.

150. I had no idea that there was such a thing as triple digit FPS. Insane.

This bodes very well indeed. Since I’m already used to playing GW2 on super minimal settings, I can always tweak it back down to that in times of need, and remove lag from my computer as any contributing factor to lousy game performance.

gw2-before

Fake Before shot (ie. minimal settings on the new computer, though I may have forgot to uncheck high-res character textures. I’ll get a real Before shot later, when I feel I can face a minutes-long loading time for Windows again.)

gw2-after

And After. Oh, those textures and lighting and shadows. *swoons*

I immediately ran out into the open world and man, it feels absolutely different and more immersive with the music playing while you’re looking at this sort of scenery.

gw2-openworld

On the to-do list: Level the abandoned lowbie characters in a gloriously more gorgeous world.

Though truth is, I’m feeling more attention-torn than a kid in the candy store now.

Every game on my Steam list is now viable to consider playing.

I immediately installed Natural Selection 2, which is something my old toaster has -never- been able to run. It used to just stall trying to load the opening screen, let alone actually connect to a game and load a map. Well, it -works- now. The only limitation now is ping, seems to be only one Asian server visible that gives ping in the 100 range, everything else is 200+. (Dang it.)

Still, I ran around like a noob while all the veterans stacked over to the other team (there were around 6-7 other green name newbies on that server, so it wasn’t just me), and lost two games that way, but well, I’m actually getting to -play- NS2, which is utterly cool. Maybe some day I’ll find a server with people who actually can play strategically and cooperate with each other.

I took Deus Ex: Human Revolution for a spin too. Feels pretty awesome, when you take into consideration that I haven’t played one of these story-based action FPS type games in a long time (beyond Sleeping Dogs or Spec Ops: The Line anyway.)

I have no clue what else to install yet. Something like Skyrim would probably be a massive disruption to all the other games I’m playing, so maybe not.

Naturally, my usual contrarian self, when given a computer that can run stuff at sick FPS, also immediately copied over the Feed the Beast launcher and existing save files, and spent several hours playing Minecraft: Crash Landing. (Bright side, a lot less CPU lag when opening chests and things with inventories.)

The next installment of the Living Story is due to drop in a few days though, so maybe I’ll just leapfrog around in a bedazzled fashion for a while, then get down to brass tacks in GW2 on Nov 4.

I’m pretty open to suggestions on good games to take for a spin (as long as they’re old enough to get 50 or 75% off discounts on Steam, I stopped buying stuff at launch a while ago and generally don’t miss a thing. Seems like more and more, launch day buyers are just volunteering for a paid beta test to find all the bugs anyway.)

Almost…

newpc1_side

Here’s a gratuitous shot of the new PC… sans one rather important item.

The first test run of power flowing through the system went well, which was good, since I’d been building it very leisurely and piecemeal an hour a day or so, in between gaming sessions, in no real hurry since I don’t have my graphics card anyway.

Last I heard, it was in Hong Kong somewhere. (Sheesh. Oh well, it gives me a lot of time to transition over slowly. I’m still trying to figure out the best arrangement of new PC and old PC on and around the desk, which is also overflowing with monitors, speakers and other computer paraphernalia.)

Anyway, when powered on, all the LEDs lit up in a really cool fashion. I knew there were four red LEDs on the after-market CPU cooler, but I didn’t know that the motherboard also had red indicators, which was a neat bonus.

I didn’t smell smoke. Good sign, that. The fans were spinning (but oh so very silently, it was amazing!) and there were words on the monitor I’d hooked up.

Yay.

Admittedly, the words were something obtuse like “Boot sector disk not detected. Please press a key to boot from DVD, CD or other optical device” or something along those lines. Which, of course, wouldn’t work anyway since there was no boot disc in the Blu-Ray drive to begin with.

But hey, no crashes, no black or blue screens of death, so far so good. Power button seemed to be working.

Slotted in the Windows 7 disc, powered it back up again (yes, the reset button works!) and the OS installed effortlessly. A lot more cleanly and faster than my previous go at it upgrading from Win XP to Win 7.

Some of the speed, no doubt, has to be credited to the SSD.

I wanted to check the BIOS after Windows installed successfully, and I had to reset it three times to do so.

The first time, I’d barely read the BIOS message telling me what keys to press for what option, before the system jumped straight into loading Windows. And boy, did the desktop come up fast. In seconds. It doesn’t match an iPad, but it was coming pretty close. I guess I really have been living in the past with a Windows startup that takes minutes.

The second time, I tried to press the Del key to bring up the BIOS, because I -thought- that was the key that the superquick message that flashed by said to use. And I apparently didn’t press it fast enough, because it was zipping directly to Windows 7 desktop again. Hello, stock Win 7 blue/green background thingy. I really wanted the BIOS, though.

On the third try, I spammed the Del key multiple times and voila, success! Took me into the UEFI BIOS, which uses a much slicker graphical interface than I’m used to seeing. T’was pretty cool scanning all the options.

Resting/idle CPU temperature was 27-28 degrees Celsius, about 3-4 degrees higher than room temperature (yes, I baby my computers with air conditioning, a tropical climate is harsh otherwise.) So far so good on that too. Hopefully that means I didn’t screw up processor or CPU fan/cooler installation or the thermal paste application in an obvious fashion.

Stress testing with a this-generation game will, unfortunately, have to wait until my graphics card gets off the slow boat… from Hong Kong. (It’s only, what, 8 hours passenger flight time? Guesses whether it actually arrives in 8 days… or 8 weeks.)

I did grab the Eidos Anthology bundle from Steam in preparation though – Deus Ex Human Revolution, Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider, Thief, the works. Lots of stuff that I’d been putting off and letting it depreciate over the months and years, knowing that my toaster wasn’t going to handle these FPS type games well.

Dishonored at the Christmas Steam sale, methinks.

And by the time I’m done with all of this, Civ: Beyond Earth will hopefully be 50% off or more on the -next- Summer Steam sale. *wry grin*

In the meantime, here, have more gratuitous pictures:

newpc1_front

Front of the case has a very clean look, with metal mesh allowing airflow.

The top slides back to reveal a small cubbyhole for placing objects in, and USB ports and the power/reset switches.

newpc1_top

I’d previously had the impression that this was hinged. It’s not, which is a little bit of a letdown, and leaves me in a mild dilemma over “leave it fully open for convenience, but block top air flow” or “get in the habit of closing it regularly and sliding it back when one needs access to the ports” or something in between.

Still, it does slide fairly cleanly, so it’s not exactly a struggle to open and close it. (It’s just that I fear I’d break it one day overdoing opening and closing.)

Popping the front panel off, there’s a removable dust filter behind the metal mesh!

newpc3_dustfilterfront

I find this rather nifty, since in comparison, my old Cooler Master Centurion case only had some pieces of soft foam as a dust filter. (And the vacuum cleaner ate one when I was a little slow one day and forgot to hold the small pieces of foam down.)

newpc3_dustfilterbottom

Removable dust filter on the bottom as well!

And yes, those are rubberized feet.

There’s ventilation pretty much everywhere on this case – the bottom, the top, the front, the back, only the sides have no air holes.

If you wanted a side fan, I guess you’d have to get the standard non-windowed version, which does appear to have air holes and room to screw a side fan onto.

newpc2_frontfan1

But really now, I think we’re pretty much overcompensating for something with the front fan already.

newpc2_frontfan2

It’s ginormous.

Really, pictures cannot do it justice.

Nor can the specs. I’d read 200mm fan and sort of nodded my way past it. I’d read the reviews, and said, ok, it’s a pretty big fan, that sounds very nifty indeed.

You really have to see this thing in person as you pop the front panel off and go, “Oh my god, they put a jet engine propeller on the case!”

What’s super impressive about this is that you’d expect it to sound like a leaf blower or something, but it’s been utterly silent under low non-stressful conditions so far. It’s more quiet than my old computer, which has a faint but audible hum that I’ve gotten used to.

The engineering and design of these cases never fail to impress me over the years.

Seven to eight years ago, the whole concept of tool-free compartments to hold hard disks and optical drives with some fancy schmancy designed plastic in place of metal screws was already quite spectacular, to say nothing of the hand-screwable two screws that hold in place the side window.

With this new Cooler Master CM690 III case, those similar innovations are there, just made better with iteration over time. Both sides are removable, one with a window, while the other side has an indentation outward to make more room for wire and cable management behind the motherboard.

newpc_cablemanaged

Here’s the slightly more cable-managed version that I took some time to putter around with, after establishing that it could actually turn on and run. (Aka, I didn’t screw up any wires connecting to the wrong places.)

Really nice design. There’s little rubber curtains to slot wires through.

The amount of hard disk storage slots is quite stunning, and I’m really amused by the latest newfangled innovation in tool-free removable hard disk trays.

newpc4_hddtrays

These things are pretty durned cool.

They slide all the way closed and become just wide enough for a 2.5″ disk.

SSDs get a little propping up via some fold-down plastic ‘shelves’ – the one on the right side of both pictures is folded down.

Or you can pull them open and resize them to fit a 3.5″ HDD perfectly too, with little metal rods that fit into the screw holes, and white rubber rings to reduce vibration around those rods.

One identical design, making it easy for a factory to mass produce tons of these, and then bang, they all go into any case Cooler Master wants.

Very very clever.

You can actually widen the top cage to fit 3.5″ hard disks if you wanted, and you can also screw in 2.5″ SSDs in the 3.5″ configuration using the bottom screw holes provided.

Ridiculously clever.

It makes the thought of adding or changing storage space so easy that it almost feels wasteful for me to only occupy 3 slots. Guess there’s upgrading potential there.

That’s the far future though.

I’ll be happy with the near future, once the gaping hole in the middle of the space is filled up with you-know-what.

Soon(TM). Or so they tell me.

BRB, Found the Best Game Ever

Yes, I am aware that the Blood and Madness Halloween update just launched in Guild Wars 2, with plenty of recycled old content giving new rewards.

Yes, I know it comes with a talking point so loaded that it’s just -asking- to be commented upon.

Yes, I am cognizant of the fact that most of the launch locusts are still in Archeage, focused upon the best made plans disintegrating in contact with other players and not really interested in anything else but the strange jargon of that world.

Or that the Warlords of Draenor expansion is soon to be upon us, so all the WoW stalwarts will make their way back home.

Yes, much of my singleplayer game attention is still being sucked up by Minecraft, where I’m trying to play both Agrarian Skies and Crash Landing without forgetting what the hell I was doing in the other map, while accumulating a list of other mods and modpacks that look damn interesting to “try one day.”

And thanks to Bragtoberfest and other bloggers, it’s suddenly occurred to me that:

a) Team Fortress 2 is kinda fun and I should make a point to play it more

b) Path of Exile still exists

c) Orcs Must Die 1/2 and Defense Grid 1/2 are both tower defense games I should play more of (yes, I actually Kickstarted DG2, and finally got around to checking my mail and found a Steam key waiting for me)

d) I haven’t played/continued Skyrim for a while, nor have I really given Civ 5 or various Tropico versions a fair shake in a bit

and e) I need to stop looking at my Steam games list again.

BUT I have found a game even better than all of the above, and it is likely to take up much of my attention for the week, with not much time left over for blogging once I factor in trying to keep apace in GW2 and sating a currently insane Minecraft addiction.

What game is that, you ask?

It’s something I haven’t had the opportunity to play in years. It’s the “contemplate and plan, then build your own dream PC” or the “endless wallet daydream” game.

Yep, my budget’s finally opened up the purse strings this month.

I’ve been reading computer hardware reviews actually dated this year, scanning the catalogue of parts available at the local store, narrowing down the choices to “things I want” and “things that fit my current priorities for this new computer” then applying the filter “things I can actually afford.”

That filter is pretty generous this month, which why I’m playing the game now, rather than a year ago or 2 or 3 or more, where I would feel awfully depressed and constricted with too low a budget.

See, here’s the odd thing about what I like out of my computers.

It’s not so much their objective performance as compared to everyone else at a current point in time (in which case, I would have to upgrade a lot and fast to keep up with the Joneses) but more that I want the computer I build for myself to be a lasting, quality piece of work. That it was pretty high-end, if not the absolute top-of-the-line, -when- it was built, at that period of time.

The Chinese have a saying, ” 一分钱一分货” (yī fēn qián yī fēn huò), which sorta literally translates to “one piece of money one piece of goods” or rather, you get what you pay for.

If you pay pennies, you’ll get goods worth that amount or basically, rubbish. For each cent or dollar extra that you pay, you get that amount of goods/value/worth/quality in return.

Like all proverbs, that doesn’t necessarily hold true all the time, but speaking generally, I find there’s more than a few grains of truth in it.

My old and current computer, as much as I joke about it to others (mostly to explain why my load times or graphics is way behind the current norm,) is still going strong, with not much breaking down beyond one X-Fi soundcard that decided that its drivers simply wouldn’t play nice with this newfangled Windows 7 any longer (ended up yanking it and falling back on the on-board Realtek audio – just as old if not older, and doing just fine – and some rattling case fans that took turns to protest that they were getting way too dust clogged at last (some reluctant cleaning took care of that – the front fan was a nuisance as graphics card and hard disks had to be pulled out of the way to work on it.)

I believe the reason it’s lasted so long, going on 7-8 years now, is because I bought good quality parts from known brands that generally do solid work and didn’t skimp or cut corners while doing so.

That priority is one of the factors I’m weighing quite heavily in my next selection of parts, along with the usual suspects of “great games performance” and “not insanely priced.”

Granted, I might have gotten a mite carried away at -finally- seeing the light at the end of the “new computer” tunnel and splurged a bit while I can afford it this month.

Without further ado, the parts list:

  • CPU: Intel Z97 4690
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X UD5H Black
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 1866Mhz 16GB
  • Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming
  • Power Supply: Corsair HX750i 750W
  • Case: CoolerMaster CM690 III windowed
  • CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster V4 GTS
  • Hard Disks: 2 Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSDs, 1 WD Black 7200rpm 1TB HDD
  • Optical Drive: LG16x Blu-Ray BH16NS40
  • OS: Windows 7
  • (To be added in November) Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster ZX
  • Monitor and speaker upgrades pending…

Words can’t describe how thrilled I am.

Here, have a little Ascii cheer instead.

\o/

As to the rationale:

As much as I would have liked to open the wallet even further and get one of those crazy X99 chipset processors with a super-blinged out motherboard, there IS a limit to my enthusiasm, and it sounded like a good idea to wait for the real enthusiasts to be the guinea pigs and break in all the new technology first.

I’d been leaning towards a Z97 4790K processor, except that I didn’t think experimenting with overclocking and possibly burning out what was intended to be my next stable and reliable gaming computer was a good idea, plus there were some mildly scary reports that this particular i7 processor was seriously overheating. After reading the whole rather current thread, it suddenly seemed wise to sit on the idea for a while and let the early adopters hash it out with Intel. Also, perhaps in six months to a year, the X99 processors would have gotten more affordable and the whole thing might be a moot point.

So I backed down step-wise to a 4690 and decided that I’d just go with the stock clock – since the priority for this particular computer, after all, is to be a worthy successor to the one that I’m typing on right now, old and still hearty.

I’ll save the creative and experimental overclocking or dream watercooling setups (had quite enough of unlikely water leaks over electronics, thank you) for when my budget can next afford a more modest hobbyist build computer – perhaps salvaging the guts of the old one after the new one is up and running and stable enough to let me log on daily to GW2 without freaking out that I’m missing a laurel reward. 🙂

The same thought of reliability led to picking up that particular Gigabyte motherboard.

I briefly considered Asus, since that seemed to be one of the stronger rivals, but decided that aesthetically, the whole armor-encased look didn’t quite work for me. The marketing jargon went rather overboard with the military-sounding stuff, and I rather imagine it might appeal to those who play some variant of Battlefield or Call of Duty all day long perhaps.

The whole plastic shield over the motherboard did look interesting, but it also struck me that it looked more like a dust trap when air blew up through the little wind tunnels – possibly improving air flow over the components, yes, right up to the point when dust jammed into all the nooks and little crevices, necessitating maintenance via needing to unscrew the plastic shield off, just to remove the dust.

So I backed away from that and decided to head back to Gigabyte, whose DSP4 motherboard is still doing excellent work in my current system.

They, on the other hand, have gotten carried away with quite a bit of game and audio-related bling, with a whole series of Gaming motherboards that apparently come with a special Killer NIC that prioritizes gaming packets, with the top of the line versions sporting a built-in Creative Soundcore 3D processor and what not.

Now, hang on a minute, I thought, I know I have a fondness for Creative audio solutions (from old good reputation and they’re a Singapore company), didn’t I -just- have the worse time trying to get their stupid drivers to play nice with Windows 7, granted on a card that’s marked “end of service life”?

And I’ve heard reports that folks have problems too with the drivers for the Killer NIC, and that it does use up extra CPU processing power…

I drooled over all the marketing bling for a while, then decided that for a motherboard, what I really wanted was redundancy.

As much as it sounded nice to just have a Creative chip on the motherboard itself, saving the need and money for a separate sound card, one can’t exactly pluck it out if it’s giving problems. I may as well just pay the extra 40 or 50 bucks and get a separate sound card, which would still have the same processor and possibly better components and supporting software, AND have a Realtek audio solution on the motherboard to fall back on, if/when the Creative shit decides it wants to break down. (It’s such NICE sounding shit though.)

Ditto, I didn’t just want a Killer NIC as my only connection to the internet. What if it decides it won’t play nice one day?

Fortunately, Gigabyte did have some motherboards that have both an ordinary Intel LAN and a Killer LAN. And it also so happened that this was on one of their ultra durable range, which goes through extended durability testing and with a warranty of up to 5 years.

Now that sounds like something that would meet my goal of having a computer built sturdy enough to last the next 5-7 years, if necessary.

Imo, the RAM’s fairly normal, if higher-end. Corsair’s a known brand.

I did drool a ton over the thought of their Dominator Platinum RAM, which just looks ridiculously blinged out and dead sexy, with soft white LED lights that would light the interior of the case… but sanity prevailed over serious temptation and I decided paying an extra hundred bucks for slick design and LED lighting was not something I oughta do at this point in time. (Maybe someday… *sighs dreamily*)

No, what I did, was I threw the wallet at the graphics card instead.

As far as I’ve gathered from reading, the GTX 980s are pretty much the newest thing on the block currently, but not dumb expensive expensive. Just expensive, but with really good performance and better power-savings and cooler temperatures than prior cards. I’m, in fact, still waiting for the shop to call me when their shipment arrives, because it’s that new, I guess, and still in transit from country to country.

I briefly entertained the thought of getting the GTX 970, which is a step down, but maybe getting two of those and SLI them together. Then I decided to leave that as a hobbyist project for the other dream computer and go with a single card solution for now, which is probably less likely to end up with a whole bunch of troubleshooting problems with specific games or programs.

Stable. Reliable. Durable. That’s the hope, anyway.

Same goes for the power supply, which isn’t the absolute high-end, but the next closest. It’s got a 7 year warranty, which I suppose, ought to count for something.

One mild annoyance I’ve encountered is that the 24-pin ATX connector is not fitting properly, either with the motherboard or the power supply. It goes in, but not all the way. There’s a couple of milimeters of gap, blocking the clip from clasping properly. After some Googling, I suspect it may be a common manufacturing defect from whatever company Corsair got those connectors from, as it seems to be turning up as an issue in other types of Corsair power supplies. It’s just that particular wire. All the rest of the wires fit fine.

So the build is on hold for now, while one pays a visit to the local distributors/repair center to make some noise and gripe until they hopefully give me a satisfactory solution to make me go away.

I’m still quite zen about the whole thing. I suppose I’ve already waited so long, a couple more days or a week won’t really hurt.

I’ll try to share some pictures at some point later.  I’m in love with the case. It’s a really cool case. Some really clever engineering in this one, plus a ginormous front fan.

I’m looking forward to having SSDs for Windows, Guild Wars 2 and current Steam games I’m playing that might benefit from those load speeds, while the rest of the Steam library, music and what not goes on the HDD.

I’ll confess I’m not exactly thrilled with the choice of a WD Black hard disk – Western Digital has not really struck me as a brand that makes stable, long lasting hard disks – it’s just practically the only brand the local store had in stock, that still had a decent warranty period… I decided not to go crazy on the terrabytes as a result, didn’t want excessive amounts of spinning platters, or a giant hard disk that would make backing up of data to external disks difficult. I suppose there’s room for this disk to surprise me.

After all, I’ve got Maxtor and Seagate hard disks in the current computer, and while I’m still somewhat pessimistic about how long they’ll last, so far so good… and this is an old computer, as I’ve said.

We’ll see. I suspect the best solution is just to get plenty of affordable hard disks and make multiple redundant copies of the data one wants to keep. If one disk fails, there’s still others, that kind of thing.

I’ve no clue if the Blu-Ray drive is any good, it’s just also what was available. As long as it does what it’s supposed to, it can’t be that different from any other brand.

The sound card’s not essential, and there’s a ubiquitous computer fair in my part of town coming up in November, so it’s earmarked for pickup then. Spares my wallet just a tide this month too.

One will have to cannibalize and use the existing monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse and other such peripherals for the time being.

So yep, those are the big plans taking up most of my mind and time, front and center, for now.

I’ve already hauled home a good amount of the parts and am midway through the build, pending a graphics card and a properly fitting 24-pin ATX connector. Two more outside errands to run. No idea when the card will get here though.

Gonna take it nice and slow and savor every moment, inhaling all the new and shiny. That’s part of the fun of building yer own computer, imo.

I’ll see you all, when I next see you. Computer building time’s got to come in front of blogging time, though it needs to share some space with gaming time.

Hopefully soon(TM), I’ll actually have screenshots on this blog that belong in this decade.

P.S. Does this count as Bragtoberfest? It should, right? Like, look at my soon-to-be system specs, whee! *brag brag brag*

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(touches wood)