Getting A New Computer

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011 in Commentary | 5 comments

Last Saturday my brother and I went to one of the PC hubs here in Manila (AKA Gilmore to those of you who know it) to buy a new computer. It’s my long overdue upgrade, and by upgrade I mean I’m buying a completely new rig and not just upgrading a part or two. I’ve wanted to get a new PC since last year and now that I have the money for it I decided it was time to get one. Prior to the trip we spent two days mixing and matching parts to fit the budget that I had in mind (30k PHP, which is roughly 650 USD) but since I don’t keep myself updated on PC hardware I knew I needed help. The subreddit BuildAPC ( gave me the information I was looking for. The specs involved two core pieces: an Intel i5 processor and a video card with as much power as the money allowed.

By the time we got to the store we had a plan. Knowing the nature of planning things didn’t go exactly as we wanted them to. We showed the list of parts to the shop rep, she checked it and asked what casing we had in mind. I didn’t have anything special in mind so I just pointed to the one on display that fit the bill. It was a cheap, simple-looking case. She looked at it, read the parts list again and then eyed me incredulously. She said “Ito parts mo tapos ganyan lang case mo?” (”You want to put these parts in that?”). It was embarrassingly funny. To her, our parts selection was impressive but the casing we chose was not. I honestly thought the components weren’t all that special because it was mid-range. I guess I was wrong. I actually felt how lame she thought the case was when she made that comment.

She informed us a few minutes later that they didn’t have the 700w power supply we wanted in stock. The next in line choice was too expensive. She then offered a case+power supply promo that they had. She showed us the case, told us that it came with a 600w PSU and that we’d save 1k PHP from our original estimates. We took it.

The next snag was the motherboard. Again, it wasn’t available. This proved to be a tougher decision because my brother chose that board specifically for two of its features: Crossfire and USB3. The others carried one of the two but not both. Since it was my board I had to make the call. I chose USB3. I didn’t have enough money to buy another video card anyway and even if I did, I’d have to change the power supply unit as well. I simply didn’t have the financial flexibility.

She gave us the final list. The total cost was 32k PHP. We paid for it and were told to come back in an hour while they assembled it. After the said time we picked it up and then went to a nearby commercial center (AKA Greenhills). My brother wanted to buy a couple of action figures.

Normally I’d be all over the new machine. Installing software, configuring it to match my preferred settings, playing games left and right, etc. That didn’t happen. The new rig sat untouched for the next few days. Why? It had no operating system.

The thing has 8GB of RAM. At the time I only had a 32-bit version of Windows 7 (it only supports 2GB). It took me 2 days to get a 64-bit installer, then another day to get a new flash drive so I can do an OS installation via USB, something I’ve never done before. Once that part was done I then faced the problem of what to do with the data on the old machine. A day later that problem was solved. It turns out the new casing has a drive bay for hot swapping. I took the old drive out, plugged it in the new machine and voila, old and new data met each other. That was it. Four days after I bought the machine it was finally ready for use.

Looking back it was a lesson for me. I was so preoccupied with getting the right parts together that I neglected everything that came after the purchase. I didn’t have the OS ready. I had no data transfer plan in place. I didn’t even have the logistics lined up until I brought the rig home. Looking back I think I got lucky it only took me four days to get everything sorted out. Well, technically three since I spent Sunday playing Scion. That’s a different story though.