Excuse me while I obsess over building a computer and frozen water pipes

You may or may not have noticed that I have been mostly absent from the blog since well before the holiday season. What started out as a short hiatus from the blog, to enjoy spending time with the kids and family over break, ended up turning into an “I’ll just take one more day off, before I get back to work” kind of thing. Our water pipes then decided to freeze solid for a week. Our sewer pipes joined in and froze as well. And then, I started getting pretty depressed — not to mention, cold, stinky and quite grumpy.

Also, during this long break from everything, I’ve spent a good deal of time researching new computers and new computer parts. Knowing that my current HP computer has been dying a slow, antagonizing death — I’ve been putting money aside for a new computer for a while now. Turns out that sitting in front of the PC, huddled in my new fuzzy Christmas blanket (thanks hubby!) with my feet as close to the space-heater as they can get, is a great way to get the brain thinking about all kinds of crazy things. Things like how it would be so easy to build my own computer. The mind plays strange tricks on you, when it’s grouchy.

So, I have made lists and computer parts wishlists and done a lot of number crunching into the wee hours of recent nights. I’ve compared video cards and looked into why I would want to go with an Intel build versus an AMD build. I’ve read computer hardware advice forums and computer spec articles until I cannot see straight. Some of the most helpful websites about building a computer have been www.tomshardware.com and pcpartpicker.com. They can also be quite confusing for someone who doesn’t really know what they’re looking for in a new computer. Which is why I have read countless reviews on Newegg and Amazon!

Today, I managed to glance up at the calendar and realize that January is more than half over. Say what? This obsession needs to stop and I need to make up my mind to either just do it — build my own computer — or, not. At this point, I am about 99.8% sure that I want to build and 89.9% sure that I am capable of doing so.

build your own computer

Of course, I had things in mind when I set out to create my own personal PC. A fast processor that will serve me well for a few years was top priority, as was a decent graphics card so that I can play my favorite MMORPG games in their full ultra settings glory. I also want to be able to multi-task; listening to Spotify, watching videos or fiddling in Photoshop while checking my email should not cause my computer to freeze and require a restart.

In any case, here are the parts I am leaning towards for my new work and gaming PC.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($234.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus Z87-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($89.74 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5″ Solid State Disk ($90.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.67 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 4GB Video Card ($319.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series 750 Watt Power Supply ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($21.95 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0″ Monitor ($164.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1387.28
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-22 18:55 EST-0500)

I have tried to do something that the folks on the computer forums refer to as “future proofing,” by buying parts that I can upgrade as I see fit. Have I done this correctly? I think so! One thing is certain, if I do go forward, this PC will be about a thousand times better than my off-the-shelf HP with the faulty MOBO! If I do decide to build, I might as well blog about my computer assembly trials and errors!

So, have you ever built a computer, or upgraded the hardware in yours? If so, do you have any advice for this amateur?

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1

    Oh man, I am so sorry you guys are dealing with that. Our pipes froze once, but we were able to get everything up and running fairly quickly.

    • 2

      Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things we have to deal with since we live in an older mobile home! This year’s extreme cold can go away, now! lol!

  2. 3

    I replaced a memory stick once. hahaha That’s it. But I think if you study, read, and study some more, just like you’ve done, and your confidence level is in the high 80’s/90’s that you can do it, then you’ve got it in the bag!! Seriously.

    Looking forward to hearing more as you move forward with it.

  3. 4

    I had noticed your absence. I hope things get better. And, NO I haven’t built a computer before. I have a hard enough time just trying to run one :).

  4. 5

    I really hope it starts to warm up. Frozen pipes are never fun. I have never built a computer. I can fix them pretty good but building I couldn’t imagine reading all those reviews to find the perfect parts. Good luck to you!

  5. 6

    Your list looks good! I spent my prior life as a computer tech, and it is always good to build with room to grow (extra slots available on the tower, etc.). Once you build a good one, then it’s just a matter of upgrading this or that part, which means that you have a wonderful computer without the high price of a custom-built one from a shop!

  6. 7

    Building your own computer is a very eye opening task. Hope you enjoy it and are pleased with the outcome!

  7. 8

    We dealt with frozen pipes before… it is a nightmare. As far as computers, I buy mine on sale at Staples when they have a discount couple


  1. […] the meantime, most of the parts for my new PC arrived, over the past several days. As soon as my graphics card gets here, I hope to put it all […]

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