Now all the pieces are together and you’re ready to hit that power button and watch as computing explodes into life.

This is exactly the part where I expect Bad Things To Happen: hard drives not being recognized, power supply not working, a stray bit of metal sitting on the motherboard and shorting the whole thing out. At the very least I expect the power light to not work or the hard drive activity lights to go dark because I hooked them up wrong.

Not this time, though. This time everything was done correctly the first time. Nearly. Okay, the drive that should have been in slot #2 (slot #1 for you computer-aware types) was actually in #4, but that wasn’t my fault. According to the motherboard manual it should have been #2. A minor correction later and everything was… perfect.

Some advice, though, if you’re going to do what I did and build a computer piecemeal with days or weeks in-between getting parts: Once you buy something, stop looking. Once you plunk down a lot of money on something you bought you’ll start getting emails or get flyers advertising exactly what you just got for a few dollars less than what you spent. Usually it’s enough money to be annoying, but not enough to actually pay for sending something back or paying re-stocking fees.

Also, pay no attention to announcements from the company you bought stuff for. If you bought the fastest solid state drive today, tomorrow there will be one twice as fast, twice the capacity, and half the cost.

In the end, is it worth it? In theory I could just go out and buy a Dell, Compaq, HP, Gateway, Alienware, or whatever computer and save myself the hassle of putting it all together. But then it isn’t mine.

Much like a model builder who doesn’t want to buy a die-cast metal replica of a car and who wants to glue the pieces together and then paint it I like to snap my pieces together and then finally hit that power button and watch it all come up. There’s a sense of accomplishment you can’t get by buying one pre-built and pre-tested.

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