STEP Reflection                                                               Name: Gautham Sivakumar

For your reflection of your STEP Experience, please do the following:

  1. 1.      Fill in the Reflection Form below and post it on your respective STEP experience page at
  2. 2.     Upload 1 – 2 pictures from your experience to your post if you have some.
  3. 3.     If you created a separate blog, video, digital story, etc. about your experience, please attach a link to your creation to your post as well.


STEP Experience ___Building a Computer from Parts___



What? – A detailed description of what you did during your STEP experience.


It’s done. It’s finally done. I guess it retrospect, the time difference between actually ordering the parts, and getting it built was relatively short. Then again, considering the fact that I have been looking forward to this project for nearly a year now, that one week long wait was an eternity and a half. Here we are though. I’m typing this out on my newly created machine. The fact that the time this computer takes to turn on, is less than the time it took my last machine to get out of sleep, is in one word…magical.

So, let’s get to the meat of this project. Finally writing about the process that it took in order to build this thing.  It was actually quite testing, to say the least. You get to a point where you think it’s just like Lego pieces being stuck together…and then it turns into a complex myriad of problems. I guess all good things don’t come easily though.


The very first problem I had was trying to mount all the fans onto the case. Incompatibilities that I didn’t see coming were the name of the game. My Noctua case fans have built in rubber rings on their four corners. Because I wanted this PC to be both performance based and silence optimized (two ideas that are usually considered to be opposites), these fans were a perfect t. What you hear coming out of a computer is almost always the fan. The case fans including the rubber corners helped to dissipate the sound of them running. When I went to insert those fans, I immediately realized that these special corners made the system just a little bit too big to fit. Great. Luckily, they were removable, and I acted accordingly.


A lot of the build itself seemed similar to that. But let me back up for a moment.


To sum everything up into a few words, I went through and after doing hours of research into what kinds of parts go into a computer performing well. I made choices on what parts to purchase in order to build the system. Then, as the parts started coming in, I made sure that everything was in working order, and nothing had been damaged through transit. Luckily, no such thing happened, and I was able to move forward.


The next obvious thing that I did was build the system itself. The build took about 2 hours including learning a lot about cable management. A lot of people might overlook it, and that in itself is what can cause a lot of overheating problems. Cables running in the wrong places can lead to excess heat buildup, and will eventually lead to the degradation of your machine.

After the system itself was built, it was time to install the operating system. Here is the funny part. This took about 5 hours. 5. Hours. How? Well, I assumed that since nothing was installed on the hard drives, that all video would be routed straight through the motherboard, as that was what would be guiding you through the installation process. Turns out the system actually routes video out through the video card. So after about 3 hours of fiddling with cables, and doing hours of research on why this might be happening, I decided to plug my HDMI cable into the graphics card. Voila. It work. Classic case of “Is it plugged in right?”


Finally, the most basic stuff was loading your basic software on it, and getting everything up and running. Arguably, and possibly most surprisingly, the most boring part of the build. Turns out that waiting for something and actually working for it is one of the best parts…


So What? – A personal response to your STEP experience, including feelings, thoughts, judgments, and what you have learned about yourself and your assumptions from what you did and how you reacted.


What I learned about myself is that I can be very impatient. Many times I had to tell myself to calm down and just walk through things slowly. I am also ecstatic that The Ohio State University gave me this opportunity to learn so much. It has seriously changed my life. It has been my dream for many many years to own a computer like this. OSU was able to make that happen, and in fact they made me work for it. Which again, may have been the best part.


I also learned that if I really put my mind to something, I can get it accomplished. Starting off with this project, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to complete. It seemed like something that would just be too difficult once I got into the thick of it. Luckily, I persevered and was able to achieve one of my dreams.


At the end of it all, I am very very happy with what I have accomplished, and would definitely tell anyone considering The Ohio State University to shut out their other choices and join this community. Looking forward to the STEP program really puts you in a state of mind that you can accomplish anything. It was fantastic.

Now What? – Discuss how the things you experienced and learned during your STEP experience will affect your academic, personal, and life goals moving forward.


The things that I experienced through this process has already had an impact on me. By learning all this, I was given more responsibilities in computer hardware at my internship this past summer. My boss noticed my interest in computer hardware, and gave me projects that involved consumer hardware. I was really able to apply everything that I learned through my STEP experience. Probably one of the greatest things of this summer was seeing how impressed my boss was with my work


I have also been interested in video editing for the past few years of my life. Unfortuantely, the computer hardware that I had prior to this didn’t really give me the opportunity to delve into that. With this computer, I was able to accomplish learning some video editing with Adobe Premier Pro CC. In fact, I have created somewhat of a small side business for myself where I do video editing for some local companies in order to market their products. It is not as if I will be able to make a living off of it, but it really makes me happy that I was able to do that.


Moving forward, I intent on returning to my new position at my internship next year. My boss was impressed with my work, and asked me to return to the same position next year. I also want to keep my side business of video editing moving. I believe that since I am passionate about it, it can’t hurt to keep building my skills.


Also, I want to remember all that I learned about myself through this experience. I learned that when the going gets tough, I can really persevere and push through to create something amazing. Personally, sometimes I get caught up in the small things, and that doesn’t let me keep moving. This STEP experience gave me insight in how I think, and it was a great advantage for me.


I fully expect myself to be successful, and I some of that success to STEP program. And especially to my STEP Advisor. Mr. Paul Clingan.



Thank you.



PC Parts Picked on PCPartsPicker!

First of all, I’d like to welcome all of you to this Blog Site. As part of Ohio State’s 2014 inaugural S.T.E.P. program, I decided to build a custom PC. As part of this experience, I have, and will learn about the type of components that are necessary in order to build a PC. I learned about incompatibilities, prices, specifications, functions, and an endless list of serial numbers.  Through this experience, I have learned how many different parts in a computer work together in order to create a functioning machine.

I will post regularly to this WordPress site whenever I hit any milestones. Also, as the actual physical build progresses, I will take video of the process, and post it the YouTube Channel, Ohio State S.T.E.P. Program (  . Through this, you have the ability to get text explanation of what is happening, along with being able to see the physical parts coming together. Without further ado, let’s get to the first update!

Today, I finalized my build. While the final form that I submitted to S.T.E.P. was what I had planned to go with, I came up with some last minute changes. Below, you can see the list on


As you can see, the total cost listed at the bottom comes out to be $30 over the S.T.E.P. $2000 fund. Luckily, with a bit more research, I found that by buying the CPU component through my local MicroCenter, I would save about $40. That leaves just a little bit of money left over to pay for shipping. Any extra charges will come straight out of my own pocket!

At this point, I am simply waiting for the money to come through. My video card is currently on a 1-2 month backlog, so that will be the first thing I order to make sure I have myself in line for one. Once I do have access to my funds though, it shouldn’t be more than two weeks till I start putting components together. I am looking forward to it and am very excited!