A post with pictures and further information can be found here
Well looking at the posts already written here it seems like this was a fairly common project. So much for a unique experience (joking of course). Like any project like this, it began with researching and buying what components were needed, as well as learning how everything worked and how to set it up. After everything was in the same place it could be assembled and setup into the final product.
Before this project started I didn’t actually know anything about computer hardware; individual components, building a computer, or otherwise. I had always had an interest, but I never had access to the funds to do anything, especially not anything on the level I really wanted to go for. I learned about STEP before I came to OSU and this project was what immediately came to mind (since it was a project I had wanted to do for years), and to be looking back on that first realization now that the project is complete is a bit surreal.
As for my understanding of myself, previously I had thought I didn’t want to do too much in the future with computer hardware, whether it was occupational or just as a hobby. Now after the fact I’ve gained a (rather sudden) great interest in this sort of stuff. I have no doubts that I’ll be doing this sort of project again on my own in the future, and likely assisting with other’s projects as well. Who knows; maybe I’ll even end up doing similar stuff professionally in the future.
Even before the project technically began I was already seeing changes. Thinking of it now I guess it started when STEP started. A lot of the stuff for STEP requirements was stuff I wouldn’t do otherwise, so coming in my mindset was “I don’t want to do this stuff but I can push through for the end result” which isn’t the best mindset to have. As the year went on though, it was all useful and fun and I don’t consider any of it a waste. I definitely have my amazing STEP mentor to thank for at least part of that.
Once all the requirements were done and the project was approved, but before the project actually began, I found myself rather impatient (which could’ve been easily predicted). To help fill in the gap, I started researching everything ahead of time. I always get a bit obsessive with things I actually have high interest in, so by the time the funds were dispensed I already knew everything I needed to know about what components to pick, how to set everything up, common concerns and issues, and other technical stuff about the process, but it didn’t stop there. While I was waiting for the components I had chosen to ship (or go on sale) I kept up my research, so before I began the physical construction I was already well versed with hardware and building beyond my specific instance. This lead to me volunteering with the same people I had gone to for help when I was just starting out, helping people with their builds and questions/concerns. It was fun and overall a really great experience and I got to continue expanding my knowledge even further even after my project was over.
Even now with the project complete, I’ve had multiple friends around me seemingly inspired and now wanting to take on the same type of project themselves. From one finished, many new have arisen, so this definitely isn’t the end for me, even in the short term. Seems I’ll be starting over again soon enough, as the assistant this time. Plenty to look forward to.
Since I’m going for a degree in computer science, this project was directly related to my academic and professional goals (for obvious reasons), as well as personal interests as stated before. This adds a whole new area of interest for me in all three aspects as well. Now I have more interest in taking courses related more to computer hardware, more interest in positions where hardware is partially or significantly involved, and a completely new personal hobby. All that and I can even help other people who are taking on the same projects, both friends and strangers, something I never would’ve thought I’d do.
-Benjamin Smith :: PC Build