Lost Art of Building Computers

Building a computer with your hands has become a 40-something tells a millennial as a story. Unless that millennial is a hardcore gamer and has really taken to the craft, the chances are good that they just purchased a their computers pre-built. I’ve recently had the opportunity to work on several computers in the last few weeks and it’s rekindled an interest in me that I had long forgotten about. An interest in getting my hands onto something and understanding something that is a complete and utter mystery to almost everyone who has put these things at the center of their lives.

Take for instance the featured image on this post.  That isn’t me or the actual machine I fixed, but it’s representative of the machine I worked on. They found an old gaming system in the basement that had a bad CPU cooling fan, so I replaced that. It had an old operating system (Windows 7) and I’m upgrading that as I write this to Windows 10. It took me all of about 2 hours with about another hour more before I’m done. Three hours of work and this old dusty thing that would have probably been thrown away is now a perfect machine for a young kid in school that will cost these people about $200 all in. it’s a skill that pays massive dividends because this same rig, if purchased brand new even to these 5 year old specs, would easily be over $2k.

I get it. It’s easier to get new stuff in a society that is for the most part stuck in a “throw away” mentality. There are some things though that can easily be fixed and renewed with a little time and effort that renews their usefulness. Here are are few examples in case none come to mind:

  • Old laptop that can’t run Windows 10 anymore, but is still working perfectly fine, can run Chrome OS without a problem. More details on that here. It’s not for the novice btw.
  • Upgrade that old desktop with some new memory and a solid state hard drive.
  • Upgrade to a solid state hard drive in your laptop.
  • Replace the battery in your laptop

It’s amazing how a few simple upgrades can breath life into a new machine and it doesn’t take a ton of skill to do it. Yeah, it took me a while to figure out how to remove the old CPU fan on the desktop; at least until I remembered that a desktop case has two sides. Take a chance, watch some YouTube videos and give it a try. You might surprise yourself in what you can accomplish and the level of satisfaction you get every time you use it afterwards is awesome.

3 thoughts on “Lost Art of Building Computers

  1. I remember taking apart my first PC, a Packard Bell 286, just to see how many screws were in it. there were 36. yeh, it went back together with no leftover pieces or parts.

    1. Small world, mine was a Packard Bell 486. Yes, I took that apart just to see how it worked before I even turned it on the first time. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I had no idea that you could basically convert an old laptop to a Chromebook. That’s good to know.

    I miss having a tower. Got a Mac Mini last time, and while I like it, I know for sure if someone went wrong with the tower, that I could fix it myself.

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