About My Computer

When I bought my first computer in 1999, I never knew that it would lead to me wanting to build and adapt my own computers nearly 20 years later. None of that original computer survives today but I still have the drive to make my computer better every time.

I have made some mistakes – I installed Windows ME – and I still have bits of my computer that I would change. The thing is my build works and it means that I can write to you today to inspire you to build your own computer.

I am not a trained Microsoft engineer, or have any formal training on how to build and configure computers. I am self-taught for everything that I need to know and for lots that I don’t need to know.

My Computer

At the moment I have a mid-range beast. I admit there are parts of it that are getting old and need an update such as my graphics card, especially when I missed out on Battlefield 3, but it all works well together:

Processor

If you are looking for a solid budget processor then you should be looking at the AMD range of CPU’s. The offset for the economics is that performance wise they will sometimes lag behind an Intel processor rated at the same GHz speed.

I currently use a Ryzen 7 1700 Processor which is one of the latest in the AMD line. I bought this as there is potential for overclocking the chips to get a bit more power, something the range of mid to top end motherboards now makes easy. If overclocking is not for you then you can also consider the 1700X which is more expensive, but give a more streamlined experience.

Motherboard

After a bit of a shaky start, the range of AM4 motherboards are now offering everything you would expect from the latest in consumer tech. Easy overclocking, decent audio and potential for SLI; this board also offers 4 DDR4 DIMM and a red LED(!).

Of course I have had to give up PCI for more PCI-E, but with plenty of front and rear USB I am probably not going to be too worried in a month or two.

The MSI B350 Tomahawk runs up to 3200Mhz RAM, an array or USB 2 and 3 ports (as well as USB-C) to support the brand new devices . It also adds extra boost includes Gaming Mode to easily push your Ryzen CPU.

Graphics

My graphics card is the next big upgrade due to my interest in a city cimulation game called Cities:Skylines and PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds. Both the NVidia and AMD range of GFX cards are great and for most people out there albeit this one will cater for much more than the most demanding of web-browsing and YouTube videos.

The problem I have is that I use two monitors and they are almost always both busy. Quite often I will have the BBC iPlayer on one screen while playing games on the other, or I will be researching one thing while writing another.

The Hard Drive

A recent upgrade, and an inspiration for my updating this website was the upgrade to my hard drive. If your computer is running slow and you have a spare £50 to £100 to spend then moving your hard disk drive to a SSD Solid State Drive is something I have to recommend.

I installed the 960GB SanDisk Ultra II which sped up the boot time of my Windows 10 installation – including loading the start-up items such as anti-virus – from well over 1 minute to about 15 seconds. If you put that out over loading games, and software, over a day that can be a lot of time saved.

My Case

My Antec 900 Gamers case is going to be my number 1 chassis for a long time. When I bought the first incarnation of this case, it was good and I am still using it . Antec are now on their third version (pictured and linked to Amazon on the left) is just as good.

I call it a gamers case for a few reasons; but it is a great case for anyone who wants something solid and military-pretty to go in the corner of their office.

The case is cooled by 3 120mm fans and a massive 200mm Big Boy. For the hardened computer tinkering fan they will need it when they have filled up the NINE media bays (can have up to 6 Internal or 9 External), EIGHT rear mounted expansion bays and any size motherboard you need.

The feature that I think is also worthy of a mention is that the power supply unusually is mounted at the bottom of the case. This gives you a massive advantage of being a solid sturdy base for your tower instead of the top-heavy that you are used to.

My Other Machines

As well as my computer, I now have a number of other machines that I use when I am in different parts of the house, or out and about at work or play.

My MSI GS70 Laptop

This is my gaming laptop for when I am out and about.

I have used it far more than just for gaming and in the past it has been my virtual machine host as well. Some people won’t like the fact that it’s steel chassis can get very hot under load and both the i7-4710HQ and 860M Graphics happily record temperatures of 80c or more.

My Linx 1010b Tablet

Sometimes a 17 inch laptop is a bit too big for where I am going so my budget Windows 10 tablet is easy to hold and store in the bigger pockets of some of my coats.

For quick editing on websites and for replying to those larger e-mails, it is perfect for less than £150.

My Galaxy Note 4 Smartphone

Everyone has a phone these days and it was only last year that I finally abandoned BlackBerry and got my first Android phone. Now even BlackBerry has abandoned BlackBerry software, so maybe I made the best choice!

 

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