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The PC Build

I had been planning for a while to build a computer soon after I’d graduated and been in a job for a little bit. Sort of a graduation present to myself. Last weekend that time finally came.

The hardware

I spent about a week planning out the parts and even managed to find good deals on a few of them. I’ve never followed PC hardware super closely so it was a fun learning experience. I know someone will be curious so here’s what I picked out:

Putting it together was an adventure. Not because of any challenges, but this was my first solo PC build. I’d watched other people build computers before and have had the “textbook” knowledge for a while but this was my first time putting it into practice. I ended up plugging everything together for a test boot outside the case first, mainly because it was my first time and I wanted to make any potential troubleshooting I might run into easier. Everything went smoothly, but I’m still glad I took this extra step because I overestimated the time it would take me to get everything fully installed in the case. If something had gone wrong, it would’ve saved me a ton of time.

The OS

I decided to go with Windows for now with this build. I know, I know, feel free to boo me all you want.

The main reason for this decision was VR support. From what I know, VR on Linux is still really iffy.

I do plan on installing a smaller secondary SSD eventually to install Fedora to. But until then, my old school laptop with Fedora is still pretty functional and I’ll continue using it for general computing and developer-y stuff.

The Windows install process was a little rough. Initially it refused to see my SSD until I disabled some option in the BIOS, then once I got further into the installer it refused to continue because it apparently couldn’t make use of my motherboard’s onboard wifi. The workaround I used was the secret key combo to bring up command prompt and enter the command for bypassing the installer’s network requirement (which I would have done anyway to avoid having to connect a Microsoft account). Once I got to the desktop I was able to copy the appropriate wifi drivers over from my phone via USB. I’m so used to everything just working out of the box with Linux.

I think there’s a pretty alright OS somewhere underneath all the ads and online and legacy junk. As a desktop environment, Windows isn’t too bad. The new tiling features in Windows 11 are pretty easy to use and seem to work most of the time. Virtual desktops have a much more prominent placement now too, though I probably won’t be using them since I’ll be avoiding Windows for productivity work.

The games

I’ve been adding a lot of games to my Steam wishlist to find out when they go on sale. I haven’t played many popular games from the last decade so it’ll be exciting to play a bit of catch up!

Here’s what I’ve tested out so far. These are all either free or games I already had. If you’ve got any recommendations for good games that came out in the past decade, I’d love to hear them.

Kid A Mnesia Exhibition

This is a really cool virtual museum released by Radiohead to celebrate the 20th anniversaries of Kid A and Amnesiac. These are my two favorite albums by them so it’s amazing to see them brought to life. This looks and runs great.

Half-Life Ray Traced

This is a really interesting mod that keeps the original models and textures while adding a new path traced renderer. It’s really fun to see the game in a new light (hehe) and this is what I’ve been spending a decent chunk of time in. I’m surprised by how well this runs, at least with the FSR upscaling turned on.

Half-Life Ray Traced mod on GitHub

Counter Strike 2

I saw this was recently released so I decided to give it a try. Almost all my previous Counter Strike experience comes from private matches with friends in Counter Strike: Source and 1.6. After playing some deathmatch I was really happy to find out that my skills seem to have carried over! I’m sure I’ll get my butt kicked once I head into the “real” game mode though.

Minecraft

A true classic. I spent an evening playing with a good buddy from school, after we screwed around with some fancy shader packs of course.

Happy to get excited about gaming again

I think I was starting to get a little tired of gaming after being on my scrappy school laptop for so long. I’ve already had more fun playing with friends in the past week than I have in a while. Building this computer was definitely worth it, especially considering all my old friends are long distance now.

If you want to add me on Steam, feel free to! Just say hi so I know you’re not just some random person.

My Steam profile

— JP

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