That time of year again

When a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of. . . Building a new machine.

I have no idea what I would do with it. I started out thinking about just upgrading the motherboard, processor and video card.

But then I thought, “Well, then I’d have this perfectly good motherboard, processor and video card not doing anything.”

Then I priced a case. Then I remembered I had a gigabyte of spare RAM laying around. And a hard drive. So I priced a DVD-Rom drive, because they’re really cheap nowadays.

At some psychological root level, I just want to build one.

I enjoy building machines because it is something physical, something tangible. I have spent over two decades shifting bits, tiny ones and zeros. Insignificant and yet immeasurably significant to our daily lives.

I have seen it come full circle in terms of transferring information. I used to bring plastic magnetized disks to a friend’s house. After that, it was dialing up to an electronic bulletin board. Suddenly it was over wires to a server. Then the wires were gone.

Now, I carry it around on a disk no bigger than a stick of gum that I bring over to my friend’s house.

On off on off. It’s so silly and incomprehensible and magical at the same time.

I do not even pretend to understand how it all works—I merely believe.

Which is why I enjoy building new machines. It is a time to ground myself and put all the parts together. It’s a time to set master slave, to connect a power source, to firmly seat RAM, to connect wires, to screw a motherboard into a case with brass fittings (although not necessarily in that order) and finally end up with a computer that boots up and passes POST.

At the end of every workday I produce no tangible “product.” For me, producing a physical manifestation of my trade is very satisfying.

That, and it can serve as a home theater PC.

That would be totally awesome.

One thought on “That time of year again

  1. Mikey says:

    The NSK2400 would look better in your HTPC application IMO and also be quieter with its dual undervoltable by switch 120mm quiet fans. It is also the only way to get Antec’s quiet 380watt power supply.

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