Tag Archives: building a computer

A few days ago, when I wrote that I was putting together a computer for my mother, I said that I’d put up photos. I’m sure many of you rolled your eyes and said to yourself, “I bet that’s going to go the same way as the posts about freedom of speech, the post about hate speech, the next installment of her autobiography….”  Aha! Well, here’s the pictures.

Conveniently for making me look like the world’s most wonderful daughter, I did this right before mother’s day.

First, box porn! Yay!

boxes of computer components

I originally planned to put this together for my sister. The requirements for my mother and my sister would have been a little bit different. My sister specifically wanted a quiet computer. We originally toyed with the idea of doing something like this completely silent computer shown on Tom’s Hardware, only a little less powerful, however the cost of a passively cooled power supply was a little too much. My mother probably would have gone in a more “budget” direction, so it’s just as well that we didn’t spend the money on that. Since my sister is a business person, I went with a fairly sober case, seen on the far right. Fortunately, that was good for my mother, too, although I probably would have gone with a smaller case for her. Although I felt that the case was a little expensive when I got it, it is nicely made and was very easy to work with.


solid state drive installed

I looked at the laptop my sister had been using and she had uses so little storage on her hard disk drive that I realized that we could get away with a single solid state drive making her computer super quiet. Again, my mother probably would have frowned at the expense, but it was more than enough storage for her, so that was good. Gosh, aren’t they small. We really could have gone with a smaller case without any problem.



Here’s a birdseye view of the motherboard. Again, the fact that the motherboard came with bluetooth/wifi module would be good for my sister. For my mother, I could have saved a few bucks on the motherboard. Well, it’s there if she feels that she wants it.


This is a close-up of the socket on the motherboard. I didn’t take a picture of the CPU. The central processing unit is the heart, or if you prefer the brains, of the computer. We went with an Intel CORE i3-3220. We decided on this so long ago, it’s hard for me to recall the reasoning. (It may have been on sale. I spent about a month or so watching for price drops on PC Part Picker, a very useful site, by the way.) The CPU goes into this socket.



Here’s the motherboard with the aftermarket cooler installed. The CPU is underneath all that. My main reason for getting this was on account of the noise. Most CPUs come with a little fan that you put on top to keep the chip cool. Gamers who are planning on pushing their computer to its limits or people with a fetish for silence like my sister might want an aftermarket cooler like this. In retrospect, I probably should have saved this for another project since my mother really didn’t need it.

The memory sticks go into the slots on right edge of the motherboard. This is what is called “volatile” memory. Unlike what you store on your hard drive, what is stored on these memory sticks disappears when you shut off the computer. It is “temporary storage and working space for the operating system and applications.” I already had the sticks of RAM, or I would have chosen something less expensive. Also, they didn’t fit well with the cooler. I took off one of the two fans. I’m going to check the temperature on the CPU, but the way my mother uses her computer I think it should be fine.


inside of case assembled

Here we’re almost done. The motherboard is populated and has been put inside the case. We just have to make sure it works, tidy the up the wire and close the case.


loading the operating system


computer on desk

Here is the computer up and running on my mother’s desk.

I didn’t know if I should explain in detail or not, so please ask any questions if something wasn’t clear or you’re curious about something.