For the past week, I have been assisting my father in building a computer for his work station, as well as the installation of the software he needs. I insisted that I help him because 1: two people are better that one on projects like this (especially when one of them needs to wear glasses) and 2: I needed to expand my knowledge of computers. Until then, I only understood how to write programs and read the language. I didn’t understand the mechanics of a computer or operating systems. I hated having to turn to others to figure out why my computer wasn’t working properly. So when I was presented with an opportunity to expand my knowledge, I took it.
The process of assembling the individual parts was quit enjoyable, and it was nice finding out how the different components were connected and interacted with each other. In terms of the software, I managed to not only get to the BIOS and navigate it easily, but I was also able to install Linux and use it with no issues.
There were only two problems that I experienced during the build. The first was attaching the motherboard to the case. It was difficult making sure that the screws went in straight and making sure that everything aligned properly. The screws were small and in certain areas I had to deal with a cramped space. A couple of time I even wound up loosing a screw. However I had a screwdriver that is somewhat magnetic making retrieval of the lost screws easier.
The second issue was the wiring. Aside from the fact that it was starting to get cramped inside the case, twice I had a problem due to wires coming loose. The first time it happened, the power cord got loosened after attaching the remaining wires to the motherboard, hard drive, and SSD. The second time it happened, it was when the back panel was reattached to the case. It cause the power cord for the SSD to come loose, and I didn’t realize this until after installing Mint and discovered that the SSD wasn’t being read. The wire was repositioned so that it wouldn’t come loose again, but the re-installation of Mint wasn’t as straight forward as I would have liked.
Overall, it was a fun learning experience and I developed a better understanding of the finer workings of how a computer runs. My advice: check for loose wires before moving on to the software. If that means having to attach and remove the case panels multiple times to see if wires got shifted loose, do that. It will save you a lot of time in the long run. Also, have a second person there with small fingers (as well as a magnetic screwdriver) for the motherboard.