My Planetary Fortress

At long last, after much waiting and suffering, I have finally bought a new computer. Of course I didn’t manage it by myself, I’m simply too unskilled to be able to do such a thing. As such a friend offered to help me build a new PC from scratch. I hear about how it’s better to build a computer from parts that you pick, rather than just buying a pre-assembled one, but then it’s always been too complicated for me and so I was glad I had someone guiding me in what to do.


Nevertheless I have been waiting a long time for a new desktop computer. It’s been hard just using my laptop to do everything, the laptop is just horrible at doing all the important things I want to do, and yet somehow I’ve managed to struggle through to today. You’ve all seen pictures of my desk before; here is what it looks like today:


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My parents got me this desk because I told them I wanted a new computer. At the end of the day I also needed a larger desk so I could fit everything on it.


Me and Brandon went out to get all my computer parts yesterday (Wednesday). There’s actually quite a story for yesterday so here we go. The morning was heaps hot so I showered before leaving the house at 11:30am. Brandon drove his car over to my place and I thought it only to be fair that I drive my car out to Auburn, instead of making him pick me. We had spent a month or two deciding on parts to get. Brandon had a pre-prepared list of parts he thought was suitable; and I was being very conservative and keep swapping parts for cheaper and less powerful alternatives. At the end of the day, all the PC components came to an expected total of $1337 (no, I’m serious, it was the projected total). And then it was $400 for peripheral devices including mouse, keyboard, monitor and speakers.


We went to a few places in Auburn and it only took us just over an hour to pick up all the parts. Sadly, many of the parts we had desired were unavailable; but the people there were helpful and offered us similar parts for similar prices. I sure hope they didn’t rip us off. One little mishap that happened a few days ago was that one of the parts I had wanted (the motherboard) was found to have faults, and manufacturers had to call back the product. It took Brandon much time to research into the problem and in the end we got the part anyway, noting that the problem wasn’t as serious as we had anticipated in the first place, there’s a high chance it won’t affect me and even then I’ll still have warranty to get a fixed motherboard once the parts are available (in about 2-4 months time).


Fitting everything into the car was harder than I thought, because of the massive boxes and my bad Tetris skills. By 1pm we headed back to Eastwood to have lunch, where we were joined by Nat, who gave us her life story for her whacked up morning. Too long a story, and probably not worth mentioning here. We had a long conversation between the three of us over lunch. By the time it was past 3pm we somehow decided to go to Koorong; it was probably an un-wise thing to do, considering how we still needed to get back to my place to put my computer together, but urgency called for it and we popped by West Ryde afterwards. We picked books and other gifts for upcoming birthdays but even that took a while as it was hard working out which books were suitable, and whether that person owned the book already or not. Ben called Brandon halfway through our shopping trip and was disappointed that we didn’t inform him that we were going to Koorong (it was a last minute decision after all). To add insult to injury, we also failed to get him the book that he wanted. Brandon had picked it up and I thought it was meant to be part of a present to someone; I said it would be a bad gift so he put it back. That’s just the way things are.


Around 5pm we left and got back to my place to begin building my computer. Brandon did most to all of the work, I merely screwed down some parts here and there because it was hard to do it by oneself. We had everything assembled within 2 hours or so, and so we just needed to install Windows, and start installing all the drivers for graphics, sound, wireless card, etc. It was a long and arduous process that had Brandon staying at my house for dinner, sort of. My mum was very persistent in inviting him for dinner, considering the fact that it was late, and also considering the fact that it was Chinese New Year’s Eve. My mum kept shoveling food at Brandon and eventually Brandon was “allowed” to go back home haha!


After much more installing and testing stuff today, my “Planetary Fortress” is finally ready. If you don’t know what it is, Google it up. What I like about the set up I have is that my laptop acts as a backup computer to deal with minor things that I can’t do simultaneously on my main computer; most of the time it will probably be doubling up as a second monitor for various purposes. I call my laptop now the “Add-on”, as I can swap it in and out when I have to take it to uni.


The parts that Brandon got for me are pretty powerful. I don’t think I’ve ever played Starcraft II on the highest graphic settings and still have its “frames per seconds” as over 100 – that’s more than 7 times as fast as my laptop, and even then my laptop is running it on the lowest possible settings, how dismal my life was before getting my new computer. The Windows rating thingy rates my computer at 5.9/7.9, seems a bit weak but in reality, it was only the hard drive disk transfer rate that was slow (at 5.9). All my other parts were rated at 7.4 or 7.9 (out of a possible 7.9). So clearly, the rest of my computer is maxed out, that’s how beast it is! And for only $1.7K it’s a pretty good investment for me in my opinion.


Somehow this post became very long so I’m going to end it with some photos. Thanks again to Brandon for all the time he put into researching parts for me, and spending the whole day to pick up the parts and building it for me.


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