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Journey of My 11 Year Old PC

I’ve spent most of my life on a computer. Since I was about 10 years old, I started playing on a computer and learning how to type. I grew up watching my cousin play games and when I finally got my own computer, I eventually started playing video games, too.

My first PC was a Dell Dimension desktop that I used up until the end of high school. It was a basic computer and I learned how to navigate websites, learn how to use different software and how to deal with popups. 

Fast forward to around the time I finally got an office job, I saved up money to build my own computer. This was something that I’ve wanted to do but never really had a chance to. Growing up without a lot of money, I wasn’t interested in getting the highest spec parts for my PC. I still carry this mindset to me to this day. I don’t feel the need to go all out on the best stuff but stuff that will provide me enough value to last me for a long time. For the most part, I believe only those who have gone through a frugal lifestyle will truly understand making purchases with the intention of it lasting a long time.

My Computer Needs as a 21 Year Old Casual Gamer

My needs at the time I built this in 2011:

  • Running Starcraft 2 at high settings
  • Running future Blizzard games that release including Diablo 3 at high settings
  • Running Photoshop
  • Running video editing programs
  • Fast start up and reduced lag (I hate lag) =[

Researching PC Parts

Since this was my first computer build, I naturally tried to do as much research as I could before buying it. Much of my research was just searching for articles, videos and forums for recommendations on the best parts for my needs. I used an online tool called PCPartPicker to help me find out if all the parts I needed were compatible with each other.

The PC Parts I Chose

Since I’m a pretty frugal person, I sought out to buy the best parts I could buy that were on sale during Black Friday. Being inexperienced, I probably didn’t get the best possible deal I could get during the sales and probably made a few mistakes on the way.

Motherboard: Asrock Extreme 3 Gen3 Z68

CPU: I5-2500K

GPU: 560TI

RAM: 8GB

Case: Corsair 600T

PSU: 750W

Harddrive: 1TB HDD

Motherboard

This was touted as the best bang for your buck motherboard. It had all the ports that I needed at the time and was from a reputable brand. This was a great purchase.

CPU: I5-2500K

When I did research on the CPU at the time, I considered going and getting an I7. But after doing research I found that the I5-2500k was going to give me a better value for my money. Research told me that I probably didn’t really need all the power from the I7 since I didn’t plan on running any heavy rendering software. I know I didn’t want to get an I3 because I didn’t want to end up needing to upgrade in the near future as well. 

I went with the I5-2500K because this was a middle of the ground processor that allowed me to overclock to faster speeds if I needed to. 

GPU: 560TI

I had a similar thought process when I was purchasing the GPU. When I was using my Dell computers, I always ran into graphics issues where the game performance wasn’t that great or there was a new game that came out that I wanted to play but I couldn’t play because my computer wasn’t strong enough.

After about 5 years, this GPU unit stopped working. My screens went out and the fans stopped spinning. I had it inspected and I guess the unit was dead so I had to buy a new one. This happened around 2017. During this time was the beginning phases of the surge in GPU prices. I didn’t really want to shell out so much money at the time so I ended up getting a GTX1050 as a replacement. I’d say to this day it still fits most of my needs as I don’t play as many PC games as I used to. For the most part the PC games that I do play are from Blizzard or games purchased from Steam.

RAM: 8GB

I went with the Ripjaws because it was a highly recommended set of RAM at the time. I found that overall RAM was really expensive at the time (and still is) so I opted to go with just 8GB of RAM. Since then, I’ve been able to get another set of 8GB RAM for my computer. I know it’s probably not ideal to mix RAM but I haven’t had any notable issues.

Case: Corsair 600T

This is probably one of my biggest mistakes of this purchase. I bought this based on looks and airflow. I read a lot that airflow was really important and I have had overheating issues in the past with laptops so I could feel the pain of not having good airflow. I went with the Corsair 600T because this was recommended as a really good case with great airflow. My mistake was that I didn’t check the dimensions of the case before buying it. It’s a really big case and it is definitely impossible to put this on the table or something. It’ll have to be on the floor.

I never really made the most of all the harddrives either so the case was too much for my needs. 

Another thing that I didn’t like about the case was that the fan controller eventually stopped working. I started hooking up the fans directly to the motherboard but the main stock fan eventually stopped spinning as well. I eventually replaced the fans and they have still been working to this day.

Since then, I recently replaced this case and moved all my parts to smaller parts. There were definitely no regrets with this decision. I am a lot happier with a more compact case and I’m able to put it on the desk now.

PSU: 750W

First timers who build their computers seem to always make the mistake of buying a PSU that exceeds their needs. In this case, I went with a 750W PSU when I probably wasn’t even using close to that much power. I’d say I don’t really regret this as the unit is still running to this day and doesn’t seem to have any problems yet. It was a well regarded unit at the time and I don’t have many regrets about buying it. The only complaint I might have against it is that it isn’t a fully modular unit. There’s a lot of cables running inside the case and kind of creates a lot of clutter.

Harddrive: 1TB HDD

Everyone loves to have lots of harddrive space. There were good reviews on this and I bought it. Eventually it didn’t really solve some of the lag issues that I had in the past so I ended up getting an SSD as well. The SSD was definitely the biggest quality of life upgrade that I made to my computer.

Putting it all togetherFor the most part, setting up a computer is pretty straight forward. Modern components are really plug and play and only fit one way. When I put this PC together, I had a Newegg video up that taught me how to put all the components together. The most difficult part for me was getting the PSU installed. The semi-modular unit that I had had way too many cables that looked alike and I got confused. I eventually asked a friend to help me take a look at it and helped me get it sorted out. That was really the only issue I had when putting the PC together.

Things I’ve Added

One of the best things I’ve added is probably a Bluetooth dongle. This allows me to connect wireless peripherals if I wanted to. I currently use a wireless mouse.

Computer Case

The Corsair 600T is a beast of a case. It is large and can support a lot of hardware upgrades. With that said, it is also a very large case. It takes up quite a lot of space in the room and it annoyed me to the point I had to replace it. I ended up swapping the case out to a Fractal Meshify C case which I absolutely love. It’s compact and holds all the parts that I need.

Fast forward to 2023

I built this computer around 2011 or 2012 and I have had no problems with it other than needing to replace a few failed parts over the years. I’m still using it to this day and really see no reason to upgrade it. I’ve overclocked the CPU a little bit but honestly, it’s a great system that will probably last me a long time. It still runs great and still runs better than workstations I’ve used for office jobs. (The SSD is probably what makes it really stand out from everything else.)

Features I wish I had

Features that I don’t have that would probably be nice to have now:

More USB 3.0 ports – My motherboard only has one USB 3.0 port. The only reason I would like more is because the port is located in the back of the case and it is difficult to get a cable there if I need to. The only time I really need to use this is when I bought a video streaming device called the Elgato HD60. It requires at least a USB 3.0 port to use.

The fix to this is to get a USB 3.0 card that uses up a slot on my motherboard or to get a USB Hub.

Wireless Card – This PC is limited to being wired to the internet through an ethernet cable. It doesn’t have wireless capabilities. This isn’t a problem for the most part since I’ve always had a wire running to it. I’m just limited to an ethernet cable if I ever need to move my PC to a different location.

The fix to this is to just get a Wireless Card that fits into my motherboard.

When Will I Upgrade My PC Anytime Soon?

Honestly, I don’t really intend to make any upgrades anytime soon. Unless there’s a specific project that I will be working on that requires better performance, I probably won’t need it. My GTX1050 allows me to run most of what I need. I’ve really squeezed the performance out of this PC and I’ve been pretty satisfied. If I do need more features, I can probably get away with buying card extensions to get what I need.

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