1. Andrew's Corner...

Computer builds...

I have always enjoyed upgrading computer systems, both hardware and software. The number of full systems that I have built has however not been that great with time and money always being the problem. With retirement coming soon that will hopefully be less of an issue but in the meantime I have assembled details of all of my computer builds linked from this page so that hopefully others can profit by following my better efforts and avoiding at least some of my many errors!

All the builds...

Not so many builds at the moment and to put matters into context I should say that I have done this initial write up in early 2019, the time when I started a serious sort out of older computer systems in my study and prepared to replace them all with a new and higher powered Threadripper system. The clear out has a lot to thank Marie Condo for and has been very useful in my reflections on what I actually use a computer for. But now for the builds themselves:

  1. Revisiting my first computer build...: 2011 marks the true beginning of my full computer builds and this Athlon AMD Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz Quad-Core system was the first. Currently being scrapped to get some cash for my new build it is a great look at what mistakes can be made in a first time build!
  2. Resurrecting an old AMD-FX computer...: The trigger for me to look for a brand new system was the death of my workhorse AMD FX system which I spent some time and probably too much money bringing back to life. It still is my main computer while I work at creating the Threadripper build.
  3. Building a Threadripper system...: My third system is one that will hopefully be assembled in June 2019 when I complete the build of a Threadripper 2950X system and this will represent the most complex and hopefully best planned build I have ever undertaken. I will be using an "All In One" Cooler (AIO) for the first time, using an SSD for the first time and building with one of the best CPUs available in mid 2019.

While doing all of this building I have a smaller plan of assembling enough accessories and equipment to make building and upgrading systems a little easier. This work in progress has meant the following vital tools have so far come my way:

Some extras...

I do plan when I retire, in the near future, to spend some more time with computer building so I resolved to purchase a few fundamental tools with each build. Only two purchases at this time but each purchase a great investment:

  1. Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver A truly wonderful ratcheting screwdriver that makes assembling a computer an absolute pleasure. A highly recommended purchase with that beautiful ratcheting noise which always spells "Great Build!" to me!
  2. Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound I saw the state of the thermal paste when I took the CPU cooler off the old AMD chip and it was a simple smearing of dried powder. 6 years old and doing nothing! So I have made a small investment in a quality thermal paste with the plan of replacing all stock paste and then regularly changing the paste. Looks like when I use this up I should look at Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Grease Paste which has seen some great press.

For the next build I intend to purchase one of those nice magnetic bowls that will finally contain all of my loose build screws in a single location! Looks like the best place to pick one of these up is in an auto shop believe it or not. Any other suggestions for great computer building accessories?

In conclusion...

And after all builds are complete what next? I still find it immensely satisying building computers but I suspect that the Threadripper system will be my main system for perhaps 5 years. Still who knows what the future will bring and where my small skills in this area will lead me...

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?