I have always been interested in computers, but in the summer of 2014, I finally got to build one myself.

I have always been pretty comfortable using a computer, but I had never given the internals of one too much thought. So, I began reading articles about how to build a computer and how one works in the fall of 2013. I quickly got really excited about building one, but didn't have very much money for one. Also, at that point I was still using my laptop for a lot of things in college and I liked the portability. But over the next few months I realized that I didn't actually use the portability all that much and usually my laptop just sat on a desk in the same place. So, when I got a job the next summer, I decided to finally make one!

Most of my research and learning was done through YouTube. There are a ton of awesome tech channels that I found (Linus Tech Tips, Paul's Hardware, JayzTwoCents, and NeweggTV to name a few) and so many of them were instrumental in teaching me how computers work, what components to use, and how to actually put them together.

 All of my components for the computer

All of my components for the computer

The parts I used were:

  • Case - NZXT Phantom 540
  • CPU: Intel i5 4690K
  • Motherboard: AXRock Z97 Extreme4
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3 Corsair Vengance
  • GPU: Gigabyte Windforce GTX 760
  • SSD: 240 GB Samsung 840 Evo
  • HDD: 1 TB Segate Baracuda
  • PSU: EVGA Supernova 650W
  • Cooling: XSPC Raystorm 750 water cooling kit

I first tested everything outside the case and made sure it all worked, which it did!

 The first successful POST of my computer

The first successful POST of my computer

After that all I had to do was put everything into the case and get all the cables tidied up.

 The whole thing put together (sorry for the glare)

The whole thing put together (sorry for the glare)

At this point the computer was all together and working just fine, but I really wanted to water cool my computer. To some people it seems ridiculous, but I thought it would be really cool and a lot of fun. Since it was my first time dealing with water cooling, I went ahead and got a kit. Thankfully it installed with no problem and I didn't have any leaks.

 Testing the new water cooling kit. Everything except the lights and pump are powered off in case of leaks and the paper towels are there to help spot any drips.

Testing the new water cooling kit. Everything except the lights and pump are powered off in case of leaks and the paper towels are there to help spot any drips.

With the water cooling, I was able to overclock my processor to 4.5 GHz which has been awesome for CPU intensive things like running machine learning algorithms and Project Euler problems. Also, finally having an SSD was a fantastic upgrade from my old laptop and its slow HDD. I have done some minor tweaking here and there but as of this post, about 1.5 years after it was built, it is still running strong and doing great for me!

 The final product

The final product

 With the case off and all the lights on (this picture is from about a year after the initial build so you might notice the water cooling route has been slightly changed)

With the case off and all the lights on (this picture is from about a year after the initial build so you might notice the water cooling route has been slightly changed)

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns!

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