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  Constructing Future Games 12:44 PM -- Sun January 8, 2012  

I have gone and done it! I have ordered a massive collection of random metal objects which, when all combined, will form a brand new PC! A very seriously powerful one, by my standards. I can't wait to see what life with a solid-state drive is like.

I'm worried though. I'm bad at everything in the physical world. It's the first time I've built my own PC since ... well, the last one I built was a 486. I think it's all pretty straightforward, and I followed a handy list of parts from my favorite WoW website (the premier source for tech info!), but then I wonder what bits I forgot, and what surprises are in store. Like I bought a hard drive and a motherboard... but does one or the other include the cable that connects them? Who knows! Maybe you do?

Let me exploit this wondrous blog to take advantage of your collective knowledge. If you've built a PC before, maybe you can post a comment and let me know if I missed something obvious or there are cables I need to add? I can also scavenge things from my various dead computers too, if the technology has not changed. Here's the list of things I bought (specifics removed to protect the innocent*, but I'm not worried about compatibility issues, I think I handled those):

A mid-tower case
A power supply
A CPU cooler (a fan... I want watercooling, but I'm kind of scared to try)
A motherboard
A video card
A regular hard drive
Two SATA cables just in case
A DVD drive
Memory chips
(I don't need keyboard, mouse, speakers, and monitor, those are covered)

I realize that you may say you can't guess anything without specifics, but I'm just wondering about the standard things included and common extras you need. I am planning to use the Windows Recovery CD from a defunct computer to install windows, so let me know if that doesn't work. I have plenty of time to get other things, since some of these parts won't arrive until mid-february.

Also, just to share the shopping tips I got from others and discovered for myself during this all-day excursion into the web:

- Sign up at FatWallet first and click through from there. You get 3% cash back for purchases at NewEgg, and 4% back at TigerDirect. That's just free savings.
- TigerDirect was almost universally cheaper than NewEgg for the exact same products (I filled a cart at both places, because I am a penny-pincher). It also (for me, in California) meant free shipping and no sales tax, which NewEgg was charging both of.
- For the regular hard drive, the price was very similar at the two places... but $100 cheaper at Amazon.com! Otherwise, Amazon was not a good choice, but I sure bought the hard drive there.

Anyway, I am excited about this whole thing. Too bad it's over a month until I can start jamming things together and breaking them. This is technically a business expense, even though I totally got it so I could play games better. Don't tell anyone. I'm even considering making it purely for gaming, and cleaning up this old computer so I can develop on it without risk of accidentally playing anything. Sounds a little crazy though. It's so much easier to have everything in one place. Plus I don't have monitors to spare. Whee! New computer!

*By which I actually mean that some would see it as bragging, and others would nerd out on it and tell me how bad my choices are and how option X is infinitely superior to Y and only idiots don't know that. I'd prefer to avoid both situations.
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