PC update #2: What’s inside (the final update)

The Rosewill Challenger case comes with a blue-LED fan light, although that’s not why I chose it!

The PC is built, WoW will finish patching by the time this post is published, and things seem to be coming together. Once I finish tweaking my UI, I will be ready for MoP!

With that in mind, I thought I’d share what I put together for this project.

Case: Rosewill Challenger Black ATX case $49.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77-D3H Intel Motherboard $119.99

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz Quad-core processor $194.99

GPU: ASUS HD7750-1GD5-V2 Radeon video card $109.99

PSU: Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630W 80 PLUS certified power supply $59.99

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB hard drive $89.99

Memory: Team Elite 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1333 Desktop Memory $33.99 -15%

Disk Drive: Samsung 24x DVD Burner (etc.) $17.99

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM 64-bit SP-1 $99.99

All links are to Newegg, because I was able to get everything there for a reasonable amount, and I liked the idea of getting everything at once because I’m lazy, and so on…

After shipping fees and discounts from promo codes, the setup cost came to $766. I already had a mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers, and a headset, so I didn’t include those in the cost since I didn’t purchase new ones.

For someone like myself, building on a budget, I was able to put together a pretty sweet computer. I didn’t pick up a Solid State Drive to install the OS on, because that would have made the project impossible with my budget, but it’s certainly something I can add at a later date, along with a sound card, if I choose.

While I was doing research on components, compatibility, and so on, I had to use a bit of discretion when it came to parsing through customer reviews of certain items. The video card and the power supply reviews, in particular, tend to vary widely, and everyone claims to be a tech genius, so I had to take things with a grain of salt. There tends to be a lot of elitism, too – lots of epeen-stroking out there when it comes “this sucks, you can’t build a good gaming PC for under a grand” and stuff like that. However, for my purposes, which are admittedly somewhat modest gaming-wise (while also having standards – I want to raid, and raid well, after all), this PC has plenty of computing and graphical power, storage space, and memory (which I can expand by a multiple of 4 from what I have) for playing WoW and any other MMOs I’ll likely play over the next few years.

Thus, on many levels, building this PC has been extremely satisfying. I made a computer for less than $800, learned how to build it myself (and was successful), and, arguably best of all, it’s better than the iMac that I previously used. That iMac was the first model to come with an i5 quad-core processor back in late 2009, and it cost me more than three times as much as this one. Yes, I had the money for it back then, but it was generally a disappointing machine, and had issues that frustrated me early on (and ultimately it died with a fatally corrupt HDD and a mess of a motherboard). Just eyeballing the iMac’s specs the other day, I noted that the processor is much stronger in the new one (obviously) and the GPU in this PC rates much higher performance-wise on Passmark Software’s Videocard Benchmark site than the one that came from Apple.

Anyway, I’m excited about it, and, as I said in my previous post, I can’t wait to take Mists of Pandaria for a spin next Tuesday with it. It also allows me to blog whenever I want to, since I will no longer have to share my girlfriend’s computer, and to take screenshots again, and do everything else I enjoy. It’s great to be back!

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Select resources I used:

Newegg – “How to build a computer” videos: Part 1 – Choosing Your Components; Part 2 – The Build; Part 3 – Installing Windows

Tom’s Hardware – “Build Your Own” resources

Passmark Software’s benchmark resources

Lissana at Restokin has a great post about building an MoP-ready PC that has several resources as well, and I used several of those. (Thanks again Lissana!)

Of course, I also talked with friends and family, as well as Google-ing various other things in the process…

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I was a complete PC-building baby when Sombramuerte first suggested that I build my own, and a lot of thought and research went into this project. I’m completely not an expert, but I was able to accomplish this nonetheless. If you’re thinking of building a new PC, feel free to follow links from here, but talk to others and look up anything you can think of. Building a PC that is capable of handling WoW very well for a decent price is extremely possible – you don’t have to pay a grand and a half to get something that can make for an enjoyable gaming experience.

Next post: back to writing about World of Warcraft!

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


PC update #1: I finished building it!

Sorry, this is not a ‘built-your-own-PC’ tutorial. This, however, is.

The parts arrived Wednesday.

I finished building it Thursday morning.

I loaded Windows and the WoW disks last night.

Now, I’m in the middle of downloading the massive gob of updates that is the bulk of what we see in-game today. This is going to take a while.

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So my excitement is tempered very slightly – but only very slightly.

I was originally planning to start the build today or tomorrow, since I didn’t know how soon the parts would arrive. As it turned out, I ordered Monday afternoon, the boxes shipped Tuesday, and I had them in my grubby hands on Wednesday evening when I got home.

I was able to tide my excitement over into Thursday morning, when I proceeded to finish building it before work. My mind was blown. Test boot: success. Complete build: success. Then, work (oh the pain!). The Windows install was relatively painless, and now I’m experiencing the true test of patience, which is all of the WoW patches that will round out the core experience.

With the project finished, I was hoping that today would be a day to download addons and set up my UI, but I’m not going to tackle that before the updates are finished, both because downloading stuff from Curse takes a crazy long time when you’re already downloading something, and because I’m not going to be playing yet, so it’s no big deal. Still, it’s difficult to contain the excitement.

I was able to log in for a short while, although I currently still sit at more than 13GB to go. The game looks amazing, as I expected. I curtailed some of the settings (it wants me to play everything on “High” by default), because I’m not interested in pushing it right now. It looks great at “Good” for most and “Fair” for things like water detail. For now, I’ll run with that, and adjust upward if I decide to. Regardless, considering that the monitor I’m using is a five-year-old flatscreen, the game looks absolutely phenomenal.

I took the hunter down to Crystalsong Forest to kill some wolves. Crystalsong Forest looks phenomenal.

Yeah.

I can’t imagine what Mists of Pandaria is going to look like, but I’m prepared to be blown away, now that this thing is really finally sitting in front of my face!

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


I’m building a new PC this week, and not a moment too soon!

The end of my computer-less-ness is nigh.

It’s been more than two and a half months since my late-2009 27″ iMac had its fit of apoplexy. In that time, my computer-related entertainment has basically consisted of playing with no addons on my girlfriend’s laptop – and that needs to be replaced as well – when she isn’t playing, and of tweeting from my Vita.

The prospect of replacing the iMac has been complicated by the fact that I needed to find a new job, which is difficult in this economy. I was extremely fortunate to be hired by a friend of mine in late August, and I’ve got some income now.

Back in July, one of my guildies, Sombramuerte, suggested to me that I could get the best value for my money by building my own PC. During the Ulduar days, he built himself a sweet system, and had a blast both building it and using it. And when he found out that my old one had died, he told me that he had recently built a PC fairly cheaply that could handle WoW for his girlfriend to use.

This put the bug in my brain. I spent hours researching the possibilities, because I’ve never built a system from the ground up before, and I had no confidence that I could pull it off. But those hours of study, and several videos, helped me feel better about the idea. So I’ve been putting together a project over the past several weeks, with some advice from both Somb and my father, as well as a well-timed post by Lissana with some helpful resources for building an MoP-ready PC. After some final tweaking this weekend, I was able to order the components today for my project.

Lissana told me that she received her components fairly quickly from both Newegg and Amazon, so I’m hoping they arrive by Thursday; if they do, I can build it on Friday, which is my day off, and start getting software loaded and so on. If I don’t screw up the build or the OS install, it shouldn’t be a problem to get WoW loaded and start configuring addons.

I’m pretty excited about this, even if it doesn’t make for an exciting post, because it will be extremely nice to play on a PC with good graphics and power again. I’ll write an update when things get moving!

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


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