INK: Today is the one year anniversary of my computer and to celebrate the occasion, here’s is Tech Baby Ashley Rei who will give us a simple lesson on how to build a computer from a scratch!
ASHLEY: Before embarking on a computer building project, make sure that you buy all the necessary parts and equipment first. Not all parts are compatible with one another, so prior research is very important. In Singapore, the best places to shop for computer parts are in malls like Sim Lim Square and Funan – The IT Mall. Bargaining also works especially if you bring along a chio-bu like me to do the talking! (~_^)
INK: Nowadays, computer parts are also very cheap compared to a 5 years ago (the last time I built a computer which has now been inherited by wifey!) so building a very souped up system with a budget of between $1K to $2K is very feasible.
ASHLEY: Once everything is ready, start with the motherboard as this is where a lot of components will be plugged into. I don’t know why it’s called motherboard, but it sure is as sexy as mummy! (♥_♥)
INK: A often overlooked component is the computer case. Working with a computer case that has a slide-out motherboard tray makes the whole assembly process much easier, especially when you accidentally drop screws when mounting components.
ASHLEY: The next important component to mount is the CPU (Central Processing Unit) which is the brain of the computer. In the past, CPUs with higher megahertz (MHz) numbers signified faster units, but with modern CPUs on the market today this no longer holds true. The trend nowadays is for smaller CPUs that consume less power but are still as efficient when it comes to crunching numbers. Like they say, good things come in small sizes! (^-^)V
INK: I couldn’t agree more! (Then turns to wifey and says he wants another one)
ASHLEY: Once the CPU has been unpacked, gently drop it into the motherboard CPU socket and fasten the lever to secure it. This process is very delicate because if any legs or pins on the CPU gets bent, the whole chip is rendered useless. Similarly, if you’re building a computer in a carpeted room, ensure that you’ve discharged yourself by touching a conductor that is grounded (e.g. a tap) as static electricity can easily fry a CPU. All in all, these little babies must be handled with care! (OωO;)
INK: Not only that, CPUs can get very very hot so a cooling fan is a must! Without one, a CPU will easily overheat in under half a minute. As a matter of interest, some CPUs are rated to be able to go up to 90°C before fizzing out. Yikes, that’s hot enough to cook eggs!
ZHIYI: A very good reason not to use laptop computers on your lap for extended periods!
ASHLEY: Thank God I’m alive… (￣～￣;)
ASHLEY: Next up, the RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is very important as it helps the computer remember things when it is powered up. Daddy also likes to say that I have a lot of RAM because I remember new words very well! ｢(ﾟﾍﾟ)
INK: Where possible, also install RAM in pairs as it allows the computer to remember things much faster. A bit like how having two hands helps you type faster. Of course, having 4 sticks of RAM is the best, but I’m having trouble learning how to type with my feet…
ASHLEY: What good is having a powerful computer if you’re not able to see any eye candy? That’s where a graphics card comes in. This baby is responsible for ensuring that pictures and text appear beautifully on the computer monitor. Especially pictures of meeeeeeeee! （*´▽｀*）
ASHLEY: Whereas RAM helps the computer remember things when it is on, a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) helps it remember things when it is off. HDD drives today are humongous (just like my appetite) where terabyte-sized drives can easily store hundreds of thousands of pictures. (o_O)
INK: HDDs also get very hot as they spin at speeds of up to 7200 rpm (rotations per minute) so best to secure them near a casing fan! Sidenote: It’s amazing how many components in a computer can cook eggs…
ASHLEY: DVD drives or writers are another essential component for without one, I wouldn’t be able to watch my Hello Kitty cartoons on the computer. Other times, it makes a great milk bottle holder! ヘ(^_^ヘ)
INK: (Wondering why his DVDs are so sticky…)
ASHLEY: Last but not least, all these gizmos need juice to run! In charge of delivering that energy is the PSU (power supply unit), an unassuming box with a fan and lots of wires sticking out of it. Make no mistake, this baby can easily deliver over 500W of electricity, enough shock to make you go afro for a year!
INK: Newer PSUs allow you to disconnect the wires you are not using, thereby minimizing wire clutter. This also improves air flow inside the casing and helps to keep all components nice and cool. Remember to keep all loose wires away from babies, especially if they are teething!
ASHLEY: That’s it! The computer is now complete and ready for a test run. What remains is to connect other peripherals like the monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers. Nothing beats the thrill of seeing a new computer start up for the first time! p(^^)q
ASHLEY: Well, all good things must come to an end, and I hope you enjoyed our little adventure in electronics. The next time you happen to walk past a computer shop, stop to think of all the poor deprived babies out there who have yet to own a computer. It’s not too late to put a smile on a loved one this coming Christmas! (ノ^_^)ノ