Custom PC

Posted: 9 February 2016

Parts in!

I have always wanted to build (after going through this, I conclude that we should use the word assemble) my own computer. After much deliberation, I have decided to invest in one. I thought it would be good to have a desktop with decent computing power. I went parts shopping!

As usual, we started with the motherboard. I did take apart computers before, so I was familiar with the process of attaching the processor to the motherboard. This time however, the locking mechanism was slightly different. I delicately put the processor in, then pushed the locking mechanism down. It felt kinda tight. Something was wrong. I think it’s not supposed to lock this way. I decided not to continue pushing it down. I removed the processor and checked it again. PINS WERE BENT. My worst nightmare had just begun.

My worst nightmare

I spent the next hour surgically realigning the pins. I had no jeweller’s glass and I had no tools. All I had was a needle and my eyesight (thank goodness I had perfect eyesight). I realigned the pins. I put the processor in, and locked it. Fingers crossed!

Halfway through the assembly

We then put on the heat sink for the processor. After that, we mounted the motherboard onto the casing, did the casing wiring, and poof! We were ready to turn it on. I checked everything really thoroughly. I didn’t want to fry the CPU and the motherboard. The only issue now would be if the bent pins would cause a problem. There were two options now. First, I could scrape this whole motherboard and buy a new one. I would probably frame this up in my room, as a reminder to do things slowly and carefully. Second, I could just take a gamble on my surgical skills and hope it works as per normal. I chose the latter. I turned on the power button. It went into the BIOS!


Having confirmed that it works, I finished up the build. Being able to boot into BIOS doesn’t mean much though. I still have to run it through a stress test. Only if it passes the stress test, can I conclude that it’s working as per normal. A stress test might cause some thermal expansion in the pins? I don’t know.

In any case, the build is now complete. I had to install Ubuntu on it. I used this random free thumbdrive I got from a career fair. I made it into a bootable USB. I tried it on my windows laptop, my mac, my PC. It didn’t work anywhere. I googled the forums for the error code of “isolinux.bin is missing or corrupt”, and the solutions weren’t promising. There was one solution that mentioned changing the USB drive. This doesn’t make sense to me at all, but I gave it a shot. I used a “good USB”, a 32GB one purchased from a computer shop. I made it into a bootable Ubuntu USB, and it WORKED. WOW. Quite unbelievable that just changing the USB made it work. I wonder why though…

And so, I have a working desktop now. I just need to get it connected to the Internet, and then run the stress tests!

Nice LED lights