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“What am I going to use this for?” This is the first thing we think about whenever we buy something new, especially when it comes with a hefty price tag.

In Carmen Mondoñeno’s case, she got a PC because she needed a more capable machine for online classes, freelance work, and keeping in touch with friends. Since she also plays video games, she definitely needed something that could handle all of that. With permission from her mom, her PC-building adventure began. She shares it with us here:

I started off by checking which parts I needed and which models would provide the best value for my money. I wanted a small, white-themed build to match the theme and size of my room, especially since I didn’t have the space for a full-sized PC case. Concerning part specifications, I wanted ones that were relatively new but not necessarily top-of-the-line. I’m only a casual gamer, so I wouldn’t be able to utilize the features provided by the newest models anyway. Relating to that, I like to think that the most expensive option isn’t always the best.

It’s important to remember that the parts you get will always depend on what’s available in the store. I originally wanted to buy my parts online and have them delivered so that I didn’t have to go outside during the pandemic. However, my mom preferred to go to a physical store so that the warranty would be guaranteed, and we wouldn’t have to worry about delivery issues.

Having a parts list really helps, as well as knowing what you’re looking for. This way, you can be sure that you won’t get tricked into buying more expensive options.

In the end, these were the parts I settled for:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: ASUS TUF RTX 2060
  • Motherboard: MSI MAG B550I Gaming Edge Wifi
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (2x8GB)
  • Storage: Intel SSD6 512GB M.2
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX550F RGB
  • CPU Cooler: IDCooling Zoomflow 240x
  • Case: NZXT H210i White

Once I got my parts, step two was the most intimidating part of the whole process: actually building the PC.

Since I enjoy activities that require me to use my hands, I offered to build the PC myself. Since this was my first time doing so, though, I made sure to go through several tips and guides on how to build a PC. There are many guide videos out there that you can use to follow along. Just remember that, unless you have the exact same parts, some steps might differ from your actual parts. The general idea remains the same, though, so take time to study those manuals.

It took me around six hours to build my PC because I was being really careful and gentle during the process and had to redo the build a few times. Usually, people do cable management last when everything is already in place. In my case, I fixed the cables as I was putting in the parts. I also wanted my PC to look clean, which is one of the reasons why I wanted a white-themed build in the first place. This required me to spend a lot of time cleaning up the cables. It took a lot of time and effort, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

The total cost of the build came in at around Php64,000, and six months in, it is still working really well. As I’m writing this and looking back on my experiences, I realized a lot of things I could’ve done differently. With the configuration of my case, you can’t see the power supply except for the backside where all the external cables connect. Considering I got a white power supply that had an RGB fan, I definitely could’ve saved a bit or gotten a better unit if I took the case into account. Regarding the case as well, the front panel is solid and that has a big impact on airflow and the overall cooling of the components. I could’ve also chosen different brands or equivalent models to try and get the total down a bit. Some brands are better known for certain components than others, so it’s also important to keep this in mind.

All in all, building my PC was quite a memorable experience. Buying the parts was a bit stressful due to all of the health protocols and the fact that my mom kept rushing so that we would have less time for possible exposure, which is understandable. The actual building was confusing at times but very much enjoyable, especially since I was in-call with my friends the whole time and we would go through it together. At this point, I would consider PC-building a hobby of mine. And it has proven to be a helpful one since I’m now the one my friends turn to whenever they need help fixing or building their own systems.

Looking to build your own PC? Start your journey with the help of SM Cyberzone, where you can get everything you need for your PC-building needs. Also, don’t miss our PC exhibit in SM North Edsa!

Written by: Angeline Rodriguez 

Angeline Rodriguez is the Managing Editor of WhenInManila.com and an Editor at Newsweek Amplify. She is a gamer and a geek with a mad love for anime and KDramas.

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