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Revisiting my first computer build...

It still gives my great joy to build computers from scratch and on looking back it seems that I have been involved in computer hardware for almost 9 years now. Where did all that time get to? Looking back from early 2019 I can see that my first complete build was in 2011 where I built a very modest AMD system that still ran well until early 2019. It was computer that ran Windows 7 for my partner and subsequently ran various incarnations of Linux for the remaining years. Never gave any problems over many years.

However in the middle of a process of reevaluation of many things, including my available computer hardware, this build will now be sold off piece by piece on EBay or contributed to the local computer recycling effort as I save for the money to build a Threadripper system. This current page documents the 2011 Athlon build and looks at some of the accidental good decisions I made as well as many, many choices I made which were reasonably ill advised!

The AMD Athlon system...

Below are the major components I assembled to build the system and from memory they were all purchased online as both then and now there are no reasonable computer hardware shops in the immediate local area. A few good choices and some pretty ordinary ones as well, but remember this is my first build where I had little idea what I was doing!

Perhaps I have been a little too hard on myself with this build? It was a first build and I remember picking up instruction for the build process on YouTube, the tutorials on such builds were definitely not as brilliant as current tutorials with substantially less personality involved? Mind you I am still learning new skills in computer building from YouTube in 2019.

Tabular form and disposal details...

And below is the same basic data presented in tabular with a little more detail for any who would like to know much more about the individual parts. Also I have added in details of the dispersal: how much made on Ebay and how much simply junked. I suspect these details may not reveal any great new wealth on my part!

AMD Athlon Build - 2011 to 2019
This build is currently being broken up, I include dispersal details above...
Case Thermaltake V2
Thermaltake 420 Watt non modular PSU (with case)
Disposal: No market for either so recycled
Motherboard Asus M4A77TD AM3
AMD AM3 Athlon™ II/Phenom™ II/Sempron™ 100 Series Processors
Supports AM3 45 nm CPU
Chipset: SB710/ AMD 770
12 x USB 2.0 port(s) (6 at mid-board, 6 at back panel, black)
Disposal: Sold on EBay for $25
CPU AMD Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz Quad-Core (original CPU)
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz Black Edition Hex-Core (upgrade CPU)
Disposal: Sold on EBay: Phenom $81, Athlon $45
RAM 4GB Kit 2 X Kingston 2GB PC3-10600U DDR3 RAM (KVR1333D3N9K2/4G)
Disposal: Sold on EBay for $8.30
HDD Samsung HD103SJ (1000GB/7200rpm/32M)
Disposal: Too old so eventually recycled...
Graphics Card Galaxy NVidia GTX220 PCI-E 1GB DDR2 128bit
Disposal: No market for this so recycled

And that is the build, a build which is currently almost comletely dispersed either to a new home or recycled. When I looked at this build and its current almost complete lack of any monetary worth I have resolved to break up older computer builds much, much sooner than the 8 years seen with this build. A better target would be an absolute maximum of 5 years before replacement and this is what I will be aiming for with my upcoming Threadripper system. Another strategy will be to keep the original boxes, manuals and extra cables etc which seems to guarantee a better second hand sale. Much to learn from this experience still.

The results...

I have learnt a massive amount about building computers from this very modest beginning and this particular build served me, and my wife, well for many, many years. It ran Windows 7 perfectly and also had no issues running Slackware Linux with either Fluxbox (my usual desktop) or a full KDE setup. What it faltered on was most of my work with video and audio transcoding particularly when the new kids on the block: hevc and libaom were being used. Also a weak point was compiling major applications such as vlc, FFmpeg, LibreOffice as well as being pretty poor with building and rebuilding the Linux Kernel. Full screen movie playback was also particularly poor.

I had obviously outgrown this system a while back and that is why this build was pulled apart and sold off: to partly fund a new Threadripper system. (And indeed when this Threadripper build is place a similar fate awaits my other, working build which is an AMD FX 8370 system with substantially less limitations than the build on this page.) However despite my many errors and shortcomings when building this system I think that at the very least it provided a good, solid start to a more hands on experience with the world of computers.

In conclusion...

It has been immensely educational to revisit this old system and then write up my findings. Certainly one of the big lessons comes when old technology is sold and seen by many to be of such small monetary value! It would be good to hear from others who have perhaps taken the time to revisit their own faltering, early efforts in building computers! Certainly it would make me feel a little happier at seeing my own early errors and shortcomings...

Please feel free to contact me with any errors of fact that you have found on this page, any errors of opinion will probably remain uncorrected. In the meantime I am having a great time mucking around with computer hardware, what about you?