So that whole “set aside a lot of time to assemble the computer” thing? Turns out that putting the parts together doesn’t take as long as I thought it did. Over the course of the past few days I’ve chipped away at the hardware side of things, and once I got over my fear of touching expensive electronics in case I broke them, it went really fast.

Yes, I was nervous; I think it’s okay to admit that. In fact, I was quite apprehensive when the processor made this oh-so-wonderful almost-crunching sound when I locked it into the motherboard. But I guess that was just the sound of the pins being depressed to make the connection, because it doesn’t seem to have adversely affected anything.

In fact, the processor seemed to be the main source of apprehension. Seating the chip, applying thermal paste, and even attaching the giant after-market cooler was an experience in “Is it supposed to look like that, I guess…” Mounting the motherboard inside the case was also a bit of a challenge. I had one screw that just didn’t want to align (the last one, of course), so I ended up taking out all the others and removing it right before I had to head to work. Turns out that I was just hungry and losing dexterity, because when I came back to it in the afternoon (and started with the problem screw) it went right in.

Everything else went pretty smoothly. I’ve switched out RAM before, as well as expansion cards, so those all went in with a satisfying click. Attaching the power cables was somewhat interesting, since some of them had to be bent or stretched slightly into position. But I was sure to heed the advice of my coworker and not force anything, and it seems to have worked out.

I even powered it on for the first time! Sure, I haven’t had a chance to install the storage drives or operating systems, but I was able to boot to the BIOS just fine. Well, once I remembered to plug the power supply into the wall, that is. Some things never change, I guess. And hoo boy, does that green fan look awesome. I may be picking up some more.

Test boot on the test bench

Test boot on the test bench.  The picture doesn’t really do the fan justice.