It lives!

Finally I’ve got my new computer!  I almost had it a couple of weeks ago, but then I didn’t.  But that’s a story best told with a ridiculous number of photos (don’t say I didn’t warn you).  So, without further ado, how to build a computer:

Step 1: Get your favourite resident expert to order all sorts of parts with complicated names that mostly consist of random strings of letters and numbers.

Computer cases are pretty boring before they have anything inside them.

Important bit number one: the motherboard.

Important bit number two: the chip

And now the two most important bits are stuck together. MrPloppy pointed out that technically I now had a computer – everything else is just interface.

I remember the days when cooling meant one little fan. Nowadays it starts with this monster – an enormous heat sink and fan that sits on top of the CPU.  Most of those dark blue bits on the motherboard are heat sinks too, for other important chips.  Then there’s the four fans on the case itself.  Modern chips get VERY hot.

The power supply goes in, and suddenly the case is full of wires.

And now the exciting bit: the motherboard goes in.

Drives in their bays: DVD, hard drive, and SSD.

About this point I took over the build, under MrPloppy’s instruction. Mainly because my hands are smaller, and more able to fit into the increasingly tight corners of the case.
Here MrPloppy points out the tight corner where I need to insert all that memory.

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Memory successfully inserted.

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Lots and lots of wires. Now we’ve just got to figure out which goes where.

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Cable ties are your friend. (Or not, as later [Spoiler alert!] when things went horribly wrong, we had to unarrange my beautiful cable management).

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Pushkin likes cable ties too.

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More cooling, this time for the video card. (I remember when video was just run off one little chip…)

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And now the video card is in place. Things are getting very crowded in there!

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That looks very much like a finished computer!

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And that looks very much like a working computer!

Except it wasn’t.  Because that’s where it all started to go horribly wrong.  First MrPloppy discovered that he’d installed Windows to the hard drive instead of the SSD – not a good thing, considering the whole point of paying for an expensive SSD was that the operating system runs much faster off it than off a hard drive.  So then the saga began, of uninstalling and reinstalling, and uninstalling and reinstalling again, over and over, until finally the computer cooperated and put Windows where it should be.  And then it wasn’t there.  And then it was.  And then it wasn’t.  And when it was, it couldn’t see the hard drive. Or it would just crash randomly a few minutes after startup.  Or a host of other problems.

So the next step was a week or so of fiddling with BIOS settings, testing, pulling the insides apart to try and figure out which bit wasn’t working (see cable ties not being such a clever idea), testing again, and general tearing of hair out.

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Eventually MrPloppy narrowed it down to a faulty SSD.  So he contacted the supplier, arranged to have it returned, and eventually, after a long wait spent watching the drive for the courier’s van, a replacement finally arrived.

And so, let me present my shiny new computer in all its glory:

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It’s even shinier in the dark, when it shows off its pretty blue lights:

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In other news:

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last of my secret stash of marmite has finally run out.  I’d been rationing it out ever since they announced the factory was closing due to earthquake damage (luckily we happened to have bought a couple of jars a few days before), but they’ve kept putting the production date further and further back, and my scrapings have been getting thinner and thinner, and now they’re saying they won’t be in production until the end of September at least, and my last jar is empty.  :-(

Vegemite just isn’t the same.

(And for those of you in the UK, neither is your kind of marmite – NZ marmite is a completely different beast).