In the world of PC, one of the greatest things you can do is pick and create your own machine. My roommate has recently been blessed with the monetary bonus acquired from service in the military/college loans. Tired of being considered a peasant tied to the console generation, he approached me to help build an acceptable machine worthy of the "PC master race". Hence, the start to Project NERDBOX. Here are the results of Project NERDBOX:
The heart and soul of this machine
After much debate, we decided to go with an Intel i5 processor and keep it in the Intel family. I love AMD, but there are some things that just work better with Intel. Gaming seems to be one of them.
Next, we decided on a motherboard that could offer both current USB connection speeds along with a small size. Custom PC's are great, but he didn't want something that would:
- Be larger than the desk it sat on, and
- Scare the neighbors when the CPU fans kicked on.
Behold, an MTX mini board!
The piece that ties it all together…sort of.
We went with the h97m Anniversary edition. This allowed us to keep some solid features like USB 3.0 and 4 PCI slots while also keeping those pesky cables nice and neat inside a medium sized case! #cablemanagementiskey #ziptiegameisstrong
OH SWEET SCIENCE. There is nothing quite like unboxing your newly purchased GPU. Even if said GPU is you roommates, and definitely not yours (even if you helped pick it out and waited at the front door to your apartment like a loyal Labrador awaiting that bacon-flavored, chewy, definitely non-nature-made chew toy).
This bad boy will be powering many a late-night adventure. Hopefully video game related. *wink wink, Mike. Wink wink*.
After installing the processor into the mother board (and the two 4 GB memory sticks, and the PSU, and the GPU), we screwed down the rig into the brand new case with almost no issues. There was plenty of room because of the mini-ATX board, but it was rather difficult to actually put the screws in place because it's a mini-ATX board. After that, it was easy sailing. The case had plastic holders for both the 2.5 HDD and the 3.5 HDD's, but they actually worked quite well and didn't feel too cheap. It also has a nice wiring divider set up to keep everything where it should be (like away from heatsyncs and fans).
All coming together
The smaller motherboard gave us room for cable management...if we had time for such a thing.
With everything connected (and one confusing power supply issue solved), we were ready to boot it up! It successfully passed POST and went straight into an awesome, blue BIOS screen. After checking the available options, we booted into a live USB, Fedora Linux OS. If you haven't ever used one of these, I strongly suggest it! There are tons of uses for it: booting a computer with a dead HDD; data recovery from damaged HDD's; trying different OS's without having to partition or install anything at all; the list goes on! If you want to give it a try, I suggest starting here:Fedora Linux Live USB .
After deciding to use Windows and a short, obligatory grieving period, we installed Windows 7 for familiarity and VIDEO GAMES. MANY, MANY, VIDEO GAMES. A few hours of downloading and installing drivers (because Windows) later, Project NERDBOX was complete!
It looks like Bane is angry at every application opened.