Adventures in Computer Building (Part 1)

Adventures in Computer Building (Part 1)

Over the last few months I’ve been saving up to build a new desktop computer. Thanks to some holiday sales and gifts from loved ones, I was prepared to have this blog post document the entire process with step by step photos like this one:

author installing cooling fan in a computer case
Photo by Ayla Stein

The story of me building the computer is going to be my next blog post. Today’s post is instead about the importance of planning and double-checking before you start a project.

otter trying to fit a toy into another toy but it won't fit


The first issue my build ran into was the spare case I had was too small for the motherboard. My partner and I had done a good job researching specs and picking out the perfect CPU for my needs, but the size difference between ATX and Micro ATX boards tripped us up. A new case was ordered, and we jumped back into the build last weekend.

We got a lot further into the build. The power supply, motherboard, and chipset were installed, as were the hard drives.  Before we installed the video card, we took a second to connect the new power supply we’d ordered to the motherboard…

And that’s when we discovered that even though the wattage met our needs, it didn’t have the connectors needed to connect to the computer.  Neither did the spare power supply from my partner’s computers – although a $1.99 adapter would’ve been all we needed to make it work. Thanks to online retailers, we now finally (hopefully) have a new power supply that definitely will work, and we’ll have the finished machine together in a few days. 

sleepy cat facepalming

If you’re building a new computer, websites like PC Part Picker do a great job of letting you mock up a build before you start buying parts, with the guarantee everything works:  For many of the parts today, manufacturers will also list compatibility in the product description (though you might have to dig for it). 

Regardless of what your project is, though, it’s always worth it to take a step back and double (or triple) check to make sure you have everything you need.  There are a lot of guides out there – this one from Lifehacker ( has a nice comprehensive overview – which will help get you on the right track.

Have you ever built a computer before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter!


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