The Number of the Beast

When I write, I use a small little netbook I purchased recently for $250 and carry with me nearly everywhere (unless I know for a fact I won’t have any downtime).

During my breaks at work or while I wait for services, I have my little netbook to work on writing or research. It’s not incredibly fast. It doesn’t do a LOT of processing all at once. It takes awhile to connect to WiFi. All in all, it serves my needs.

When I game (and I consider myself a decently active gamer), I need a machine that isn’t going to give me three frames a second. For anyone not familiar with gaming terminology, frames per second is the speed your images refresh. If you are at three frames a second, it looks like you’re trying to run your toon (the little guy you control) through a slideshow presentation. In any muli-player online game, trying to avoid falling things while running through a slideshow gets you killed. Or, worse, it peeves off your healers in the group because they constantly have to heal you while you happily skip through toxic goo on the floor. Because you can’t see it. Because the computer isn’t showing you it’s there until you’re already in it.

This is also bad when you play PVP or player versus player. In PVP, you have to make your character beat up another character faster than they can beat you up. If you’re running with a slideshow and they’re cruising through with movie speeds, you’re going to get your butt kicked. And lose. Badly. And then they “camp” your corpse so they can kill you as soon as your character pops back up at the graveyard. So you die again.

Not fun.

My laptop won’t perform anymore. My son’s laptop that he graciously allowed me to use isn’t really up to snuff, either.

Therefore, I have decided to build my own desktop computer.

Problem: I know absolutely NOTHING about hardware and a lot of the time I know absolutely nothing about software. I can sometimes make programs work, but if something goes wrong with them? No clue.

Right now I’m researching cases. I thought maybe cases would be a good place to start. I found a good article on Newegg about computer cases and what you can do with them. I also found a few good articles, specifically: building from scratch, how to build gaming computers specifically, what some good options are for gaming computers in 2013  and an article about being a first timer building your own computer.

I hate being a noob. I refuse to go into Microcenter and have the other geeks look down their nose at me for not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Therefore? RESEARCH. And lots of it.

I had no idea what the difference between a full case or a midsize. Many of the articles I’ve read about gaming computers recommend a midsize or full case. The Newegg article says the larger cases (anything midsize or full) are all about air flow and cooling. I know from experience a lot of graphics cards run hot as hell.

So do hard drives. That’s why I’m looking at solid state. Plus they’re quiet. My fans are going to be insanely loud. Downside…

Anyway, I found a case at Microcenter I really like. I pulled it apart and looked inside. I took a picture of the shelf tag and looked it up on Newegg when I got home. The case I like is a little cheaper on Newegg and since I probably won’t have to return my case, Newegg looks like a good option. Once I start buying pieces to fit inside, however, I think I’ll pick them up at microcenter. Newegg charges a restocking fee and shipping to return. The nice thing about Newegg, however? They suggest parts you’ll need for your computer. So once you look at a case, then you pick out what you want inside.

Three clerks at Microcenter asked if they could help me.

“Nope, just gawking.”

“Are you thinking of building your own computer?”


I really don’t want to get involved in a conversation about this. I’m just looking at this point.

Nope. Just gawking.

“If you’re thinking of building your own computer, we can walk you through the process. We have a checklist we follow to make sure you have all the pieces you need.”

I don’t really want them to take me through a checklist. I’d rather make the checklist myself, gather things that I need and THEN ask them if I have questions. I’m not even in the position to buy right now and I sure as hell don’t want to have a list of things I have no idea about. I’m just looking at cases. And of course my roommates are offering me suggestions and advice which sounds kinda like the peanuts parents talking to me at this point. I’m just looking. I don’t even know what I’m doing yet. I just said I wanted to look. Get an idea. Roll it around in my brain. Having an idea doesn’t mean I’m doing anything with it yet or that I ever WILL do anything with it. I just want to roll it around a little bit. Let it breathe. Then do a little reading before I do anything.

And of course my girlfriend runs into a friend who builds computers as a hobby. Who also tries giving me advice about something I know nothing about.

SO for right now, I am scouring Newegg for ideas and following the articles I’ve read to see what kind of pieces and parts I want, what motherboards will run them and how many slots I’m going to need. Then I can finalize the case and have a game plan in place to buy. But for now? I’ll just blog about my adventures in computer building.

About Carrie Fulk Vaughn

Carrie Fulk Vaughn (C.V. Madison) is a licensed massage therapist, author of LGBTQIA, Urban fantasy, horror & romance. Gamer geek full of Mountain Dew and schadenfreude pie. Twitter addict. Ball jointed doll collector.

Posted on July 21, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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