A personal computer at home is something that came in pretty late in my life considering I wanted to be a software engineer since 6th grade, I got the first computer at home when I was in 8th I guess but it was password protected and got full access only when I was in 11th or maybe 12th I don’t remember! My friend Harish once told me dude join Orkut, I was like sorry what? He explained the concept of orkut and I was like cool, but my mind questioned why would people do that when they met at school anyway? Neverthless having a computer to use at home and the first broadband connection that used to fly at 512kbps made me join Orkut and then rest is history! I had an assembled computer bought from a local vendor for approximately 50000 INR, it had a generous 10 GB hard disk, pretty good considering the norm was 3GB back then! An intel P3 processor coupled with a paltry 256MB RAM. I was so happy I had the fastest computer, I had no idea what those numbers meant but given the fact that I pressed buttons and things changed on the screen made me feel out of the world!
Going into class 12 things changed, I became a regular on the chip forums and an avid chip reader, learnt a lot about hardware and what goes well with what and it was only a matter of time before I made my dad rob a bank to fund for my next PC. This time I chose what processor to get, which hard disk to get but that was it. The guy at the shop got out some cheap motherboard, a stupid cabinet that was probably a bird prison before this, absolutely no ventilation and a stock PSU! The system could run Warcraft 3 and that was all I wanted back then! It was back to feeling all powerful, then i started actually reading about other components of the computer that were reviewed on Chip. I realised a PSU was really important and ventilation had to be setup in such a way that there is no turbulenece. How a GPU can shift load away from a CPU and so on. Shocked at how stupid I was when all i stressed upon was the processor last time I tried asking Dad for a new computer within a year and the obvious happened, I was turned down! Then my master stroke came at the end of first year of BTech, I convinced him I needed a laptop for my college course [partly true]. Got a Dell Studio 15, they had the option to customize the hardware and I did so, got a Core2duo 3.2 Ghz with 4 GB RAM and patiently explained to the lady on the phone from the Dell center that to use the 4GB I would like a 64 bit OS and not a 32 bit OS. Back then 3.3 GB and 4 GB sounded way apart in terms of RAM, I faked my knowledge and finally got a good deal on a custom custom Studio 15 with a plum purple lid. Happy days were to follow until I dropped my laptop during an overseas trip and the left angle broke, I did not feel happy with it just because I was bored with it! I had started earning from my internship of 4th year by then and easily got permission to get myself a MacBook Pro 13.3, and that is one system I still use 2 years down now and am completely happy with it, I had to take only what they gave and trust me I could never imagine that kind of hardware performing so well! Nevertheless since the 2 year limit had been breached my hands started itching again and now I have more insight into PC hardware and well want to get the killer rig which can smoke through anything I throw at it without constipating like my previous systems none of which had a dedicated GPU.
With a decent salary now, it took me around a day to convince at home that it was a good idea to have a working PC and the fact that my brothers laptop [yeah my old studio 15] was failing one organ at a time supported the claim. I had been planning the current upgrade for at least 4 months and researching on what was the latest and what was a gamers paradise. I had been out of touch ever since I started working. My brother and I researched and finally came up with a decent rig that could handle Crysis 3 at medium setting at a decent frame rate.
Intel Core i5 3470K
ASUS Gtx650 Ti
Corsair 500W PSU (Yes I was ready to spend 5000 for a power supply)
AsRock H77 extreme 3 motherboard
RipJaws 8 GB RAM
Asked a few friends who have good gaming units to review it and one Mr Bhargav and my dear brother almost at the sametime suggested going for a Gtx660 fabricated by MSI, the TwinFrozr model! It costed a whopping 22000 INR in India and way out of my budget but once I saw the performance difference I was fixated on getting a Gtx660 at any cost! By unfortuantely budget constraints led me to take a hit on the other components, until I called the shop owner on SP Road and he said the gtx660 was only 11 grands and I went to the store the very next day only to realise he told me that price by mistake! Heartbroken I was still in no mood to give up. Told him the only reason I was there in front of him was because of what he said over the phone! He gave me a good price finally and then I chose component by component, made a few compromises on the motherboard and processor to accomodate the GPU and the forgotten component from the configuration mentioned above, yes a HDD! I was under the impression that my old HDD was an IDE device and since the new motherboard supported only SATA, I had to get a new one. Settled with a non overclockable CPU and since I would not buy a new GPU soon, a non SLI capable motherboard. Went for the compartively inferior B75 chipset inplace of the H77 or the Z77 chipset.
Intel Core i5 3470 3.2 Ghz with turbo boost with a mas multiplier of 36
ASUS B75 LE Motherboard
ASUS Gtx660 OC (Yay!)
Seasonic 620W S II 2 PSU
RipJaws 8 Gig RAM
My older cabinet had been changed once in between because of electricity leakage issues and ram getting displaced due to the box vibrating under load, it was a roomy Circle cabinet, had good inlet and outlet perofrated walls. Got all the components home and the nervousness made me sweat like crazy, it was the first computer with a GPU that I was going to fix! I had opened up my box multiple times earlier to change one part at a time, but never the whole config! Sat down on the floor with my brother and opened up the existing cabinet, it looked simple. Then I opened the PSU box and holy mother of lord it had so many cables! I couldnt not imagine that going in there! It just had too many cables. I decided i’ll map the current connection to the new connection and put it in, simple eh? Nope absolutely not, everything looked different here! Everything! Took a leap of faith and removed the old hardware and fixed the new components in one by one. The moment I had to fix the monster GPU in, i was unsure if it would fit in, but thank god for standards followed by manufacturers it just sat in perfectly. The click that said the GPU was in place bought a smile to my face, the first since I got home with the components. Now the big moment of truth, the power cabling had to be done! It was scary, one wrong move could burn up the place. I tried matching pins to the board and powered up a few, some were risks I took, when I found a matching socket for a cable from the PSU I just shoved it in. Finally everything was done! It was time to power up the device, I did it and to see the UEFI boot screen was heart warming, first time on UEFI coming from an age old BIOS. I tried opening the CD drive to pop in a live Ubuntu disc only to realise my old hard disk was indeed SATA but my CD drive was IDE! No disc reader, finally made a bootable Windows 8 pen drive and shove it in and got it up! Then came the next blocker, I did not have the key to install it, searched on the internet to land up on a small hack to avoid putting in the key during the installation procedure (legal copy, which would expire if not activated with a key). All setup, had to download drivers form the internet since the disc drive was not working.
6 Hours and 1GB later the machine is up and running! In all glory it burns through the all the games I’ve put to it, Crysis 3 testing will happen soon! The feeling that I have right now is just amazing, my first high performace PC built by my brother and me with no external help!