If you’re following me on Twitter, you may remember a time when I mentioned my laptop crapping out on me.
After further inspection and a little speculation, I’ve come to the conclusion that the motherboard is fried. On any mainstream, modern laptop, that wouldn’t be as much of a death sentence. However, given that my laptop is a Sager NP7339, XoticPC (the company I bought it from) was unable to confirm with the manufacturer that they could indeed repair it.
So instead of going out and spending more than the laptop is actual worth on repairing it, I just sat on my hands and waited. After all, I still had my Dell Inspiron 660 desktop computer from 2013.
Cool, right? Jennifer was kind enough, as always, to let me use her HP laptop for whatever I needed it for, so I did that for a little while. Still, I found myself yearning to play my PC games still, and it frankly kinda sucked not having my own computer. So I started looking around and pricing laptops, thinking that I could get something with a decent processor and graphics card so I could make do, except they’re just so damn expensive. Even a laptop with an RTX 2060 will run upwards of $2000, and have a horrible battery life. That’s not even considering the other inconveniences of using a laptop, like having to deal with the heat in some way, or not being able to do anything to fix it yourself.
Then it dawned on me; I never really utilized the portability aspect of my laptop. It had too short of a battery life to make it useful for gaming if I didn’t have it plugged in, it had a ridiculously small screen (a compromise I made to cut the price), and the GPU and CPU were limited by heat generation.
So I switched gears and started pricing desktop computers.
I went through some of the usual prebuilt towers on the aforementioned Xotic PC site, as well as others like iBuyPower and Best Buy, but I inevitably settled on something I had previously scoffed at, and decided to build one myself.
Let me just say that I had almost zero experience working with these kinds of components. Hardware firewalls, servers, supercomputers? Sure. Gaming computers? Not so much. I did hear of a wonderful site called PC Part Picker, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking at building a PC at any point. There you can put together a list of components like I did, and check for any potential incompatibilities. If there’s a game or two in particular you have in mind, you should check out Game Debate, where you can even put together a list of basic parts to check if the game you want to play will be playable on a system you want to build.
But now I’m off track. My point with all of this is that I realized that I could build a pretty powerful PC gaming rig for a lower price than it would cost to buy a prebuilt (in most cases… more on that later), and cheaper than it would be to order an equivalent laptop (which would still be handicapped by a low-power processor). So I ordered the parts and waited, impatiently, for them to arrive.
As a side note, I stumbled across a company that used to just make PC cases, but has branched out into assembling PCs for an extremely competitive price, and their methods of helping customers determine what to pick for components is intuitive. The company is NZXT, and they’re definitely worth checking out if you’re wanting a PC but don’t want to build it yourself.
Though building it yourself is actually pretty enlightening.
The video below chronicles the unboxing of parts and my finished product. Additionally, I’ve included a slideshow of sorts that details the 12-steps of myself working towards becoming more of a PC gamer.
There was some music playing during a portion of the video, so I needed to fix that… It appears that the issue was an error on my part, where I apparently deleted a portion of the video in my editing software.
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