A few years ago I started hearing people speak of makers. People who make things. And then I heard of programmers and writers and artists referring to themselves and others in their profession as makers. I guess I had always thought more of sculpters and auto mechanics who make cars as makers. But I’m not rigid about language. I think it’s interesting to see how language evolves and what it has to say about the people using it.
Today I made another PC. It turns out I’m missing a part or two. I won’t be able to turn it on until tomorrow probably. But I probably have made 30-50 PCs over the last decade or so. If I count the ones I’ve rebuilt the number is probably double or triple that. I just get a kick out of it. I’ve taken apart a handful of laptops as well, and I’m including that number inside the 30-50, although if you don’t like to include marginal builds, then don’t. But I’ve made a number of older PCs into routers, or gateways or database servers or internal web servers or file servers as the need has arisen. So including all of those rebuilds the number creeps ever higher.
I’ve installed and removed many operating systems. In the early days, around 1996, when I first installed Linux and started using it as my daily driver, installing the OS could be a chore. There were a lot of commonplace hardware bits that were probably not supported with drivers. But as time has gone by, I think Microsoft has pressured a lot of people into following specifications. Since those specs are public, I think it has been easier to write drivers for them. Largely. But I don’t write drivers myself, so I’m only guessing. I just know it’s far easier to install a Linux OS to bare metal today than it used to be. Most stuff works right away.
I’m not really sure why building PCs blows my whistle. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to see something I’ve just assembled come to life when you press the power switch. A few minutes ago, it was a pile of hardware in various boxes. Now the boxes are empty, the hardware is neatly assembled and connected inside a shiney now case. Punch the power button, the fans spin, the LEDs pulse and glow, and the SSD, err, what does an SSD do anyway? Spin? Whir? I’m not sure.
Being an old geezer, I often install a DVD. I like watching DVDs. I have lots of them.
Today’s build uses a Fractal Focus Mini with a micro ATX board. I paired an old A10 7860K with an MSI B350 Grenade motherboard and 16G of GSkill DDR3 in bright red. The case fans are green LED, and the LEDs on the motherboard itself are red. So the build will look a little bit like Christmas I hope. Not a lot of power, but it should be plenty for the light lifting I do when I writing programs.
The heaviest usage I have is having a bunch of browser tabs open at the same time and lots of virtual desk spaces. Chrome can eat up the memory rather wantonly. So, these days I prefer to put 32G of RAM in, but it’s running very expensive these days. Even 16G of GSkill was a splurge.
Fractal Design Focus Mini
This is the first Fractal Design case I’ve build in. I must say, it’s very attractive. It’s very similar to the Corsair 88R I’ve grown so accustomed to, but it’s a smidge wider, so you can fit a 212 Evo CPU cooler in there. The 88R is a little narrow for that cooler.
The front has a mesh appearance instead of a matte black plastic cover. There’s an ample window to watch the fants turn while you’re working, or while they’re working. You can see the RAM DIMMs in the light and the GPU LEDs. It all looks very nice. I’m sure it will be worth it when I turn it on.
I’m sure the OS will be Linux, but I’m not sure what distro. I’ve been tickled with Manjaro recently. I like how that works. Perhaps that’s what I’ll install.
Antergos sounds pretty good. I don’t currently run any Slackware boxes, and I rather miss that distro.
Peppermint has caught my eye. I might want to try that one. Or perhaps I should just try Arch. That might be more work than I’m willing to do. But maybe it’s not that bad. Oh, and Devuan (Dev One) is a fork of Debian without systemd. I don’t really get the point of systemd. So I have been curious about Devuan when I heard of it a couple or three years ago. So many choices!
Maybe the fantasy of all the operating system choices has partly why I enjoy building boxes so much. Another box, another installation!