Building Our Own Computer by LHS Helpdesk
On Friday November 19th, Lynnfield High School Helpdesk students set out on an ambiguous mission. The mission was to purchase components to build a powerful and high performing computer that would not only keep up with the new Dremel 3D printer, but would be aesthetically pleasing too. The students were given an overall budget and then they strategized to see how to allot the money to the variety of components they needed to build a computer. The first step in planning was making a google document for planning purposes.
After the shopping spree, the LHS Helpdesk students were very excited to get back to the Makerspace to begin the build.
The system we chose to go with was a mid-range system. The first part we chose was the motherboard. The motherboard is basically the nervous system for the computer. It connects all the components that you install to make them all work together. We went with an Asus Prime B550 plus. We wanted to have a motherboard with lots of usb ports as well as a usb c port. The many usb ports allow many different devices to be plugged into the pc without the need for an adapter. Usb c is used for specialized devices that require a higher transfer speed, more and more modern devices require a usb c port so it’s good to have to future proof your system.
The next component is a CPU or Central Processing Unit. The CPU is the brain of the computer. It takes everything that it receives, processes it, then sends it to other components. We went with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X.
The most important component for what we will be using the computer for is the graphics card. The graphics card is the visual aspect. The graphics card takes everything all the other components do and lets you see it. We went with an AMD Hellhound RX 6600.
When it comes to storage, there are many options. One version of storage is called SATA. SATA is a slower form of storage but works for most people. Then there is another type called NVME. NVME is faster storage, but is also more expensive. We went with a 500GB Samsung 980 evo NVME drive. Since we download a lot of files many of which are large 3D model files, it was necessary to use NVME storage. We may eventually add a hard drive or 2 to the build for mass storage. Hard drives are the slowest of modern storage forms but are very affordable making them great to dump files that we rarely use.
Then there is the case. The case is the big box that holds all of the components together. We specifically went for a Lian-Li case because of its doors. The side panel (the glass on it) swings open like a door to make presenting easier. We also liked this case because it had a lot of fans in it. The fans allow a lot of cool air to be pushed in to cool down all of the components which can get very hot. This may be upgraded down the line since fans are very affordable and a better cooled pc will give the parts a way longer lifetime.
And where would we be without the power supply! The power supply, or PSU for short, is arguably the most important part in the build. The PSU gets plugged into the wall to draw power, then it distributes the power throughout the entire system. We chose a SeaSonic GX-650 Gold Certified PSU for its power displacement and reliability.
First we laid out all of the components and organized them. After that we started by putting the CPU into the motherboard and the cooler. We did the CPU first because it is smaller and easier to work around. After the CPU was in we screwed in the m.2 ssd. The sticks of ram were then put into slots 1 & 3, this is because the way the ram slot is wired slots 1 & 3 are on channel 1 and slots 2 & 4 are on channel 2. If we were to have the ram on slots 1 & 2 they would be on separate channels which isn’t optimal. Then the IO shield was put in the case. Once the IO shield was in place the motherboard was put in the case and screwed in. The power supply was then put in the bottom of the place with all of the wires plugged into it. After the power supply was in we installed the GPU, from there it was just plugging in all of the wires from the power supply into the motherboard and GPU. The computer booted after we figured out the GPU was not pushed in all the way and we attempted to install Windows 11 but it did not work (It is possible that we have to install Windows 10 then upgrade to 11), so we installed Windows 10 instead and we plan on installing Windows 11 later down the road. Finally after Windows was installed we downloaded the GPU’s drivers, restarted the computer and it was finished.
Overall our build is a great mid price point build that can be easily upgraded. As prices calm down we will definitely add or swap more parts within this system or maybe even create a secondary system. Building a mid ranged pc was challenging in today’s market. A shortage of computer chips has caused most computer parts to sky rocket in price. As the production catches up prices will hopefully come down in the coming years.
The Finished Product: