Recently I realized that my trusty MBP of 2011 does not like tea. Atleast thats what i think, considering it stopped working after my cup of tea fell in the keyboard area. I disconnected the battery, and tried all the tricks in the book, but after 2 days of CPR, I realized that trusty had turned to rusty. (My feeble attempt at rhyming)

Realizing that it was time to move on, I looked at my wife's newer MBP. But deep inside, i realized that it was not a good buy. Macbooks are not as much of value as they were previously, especially for my use cases. Linux has become much more better than what it was when i moved away from Windows. And Macbooks have not changed from the time i moved away from Windows. The soldering of the RAM into the logic board to prevent expansion was not something I liked. Having only USB C needed me to buy extra accessories, for anything I needed to connect to. My previous reasons for buying a Macbook was so that i have a POSIX OS, which can run almost anything and I was not happy with the UI provided by Linux. But with the recent addition of WSL and WSL2 for Windows as well as the better UX in recent versions of Ubuntu, I felt that going with a Macbook will just hold me back.

My requirements were simple ( :) ..). I wanted :

  • a Graphics Card (with some CUDA, so an Nvidia), as using Collab was becoming a little cumbersome.
  • an NVMe Hard Disk (256GB / 512GB) as a primary for my Operating System.
  • Prefereably a slot for fitting my secondary Hard Disk. (data drive)
  • Around 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • A 8th generation Intel (I had not realized that 10th generation had come to the market, so I believed that the second latest generation would be the 8th)

I started looking around at Laptop Specs, but was just not happy with the configurations. They did not have one ore more of the must-haves. I finally decided to do the manly thing, rolled up my sleeves and decided to build my own (Desktop, not a laptop).

Time to assemble (Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash)

It has been some time since i assembled a Desktop PC. But I was sure it had not changed much. So I started  off scouting for parts.

Graphics Card : I was thinking of a low end Graphics Card, but then decided to go for a mid-range GTX 1060. The best part was it's 6GB GDDR5 RAM. There were many graphics card which had more RAM, but they were primarily DDR4 or similar. Note: A graphics card loses its performance if GDDR is not used, so prefer a GDDR5/6. I had not heard about Inno3D before, but on reading reviews, it sounded like a good-value brand.

Mother Board :  For the motherboard, I was not too fussy, a 365 chipset is what i chose, as i wanted to go for an Intel CPU. Note: I realized that other boards that i considered needed a BIOS update for a 9th generation CPU. Thats a chicken and egg problem, unless you are upgrading your CPU). I had a cabinet lying around, which i wanted to reuse, and wanted space to put some Expansion Cards. So wanted a mATX. I did consider a full size ATX, but then gave up as I dont think i need that many expansions slots.

Hard Disk : I had a 1TB BarraCuda from an older computer which was in good health. (and had a Solid State Drive from the MBP which died). But i wanted to utilize the m.2 slot for a NVMe for my OS Drive. So picked up a 970 EVO Plus. No regrets. Below are some benchmarks of the NVMe  vs the BarraCuda.

M.2 NVMe - Samsung 970 EVO Plus (3.5 GBPS read rate)

CPU : I had decided with an Intel CPU early on. As I had a Graphics Card already planned, I decided to stick with the F series. I do not intend to overclock (as you may have guessed with the motherboard). I was ok about the number of cores, etc. So decided to go with an i5 9400F. I felt the i7 and i9 was over mty budget. And i really believe with the right amount of RAM, and a NVMe an i5 will perform good for my needs. I got a good deal for the 9400F on Amazon. And with the motherboard, I believe I have a path to an upgrade for the future.

RAM: Went with a Corsair. Did not make sense going with anything higher than a DDR4 2666MHz (I have an Intel, anything higher is useless). Exact specs were DDR4, 2666 MHz, (PC4-21300), CL19 latency.

Considering the Graphics Card, I realized my earlier SMPS had low rating (I have an extra 240 Watt SMPS, if you need one). Decided to splurge on a Black Rated 550W Corsair Power Supply. It's silent consdering the earlier non-branded SMPS, I had. (Yes, things have changed with branded items being more accessible).

I had a couple of hiccups in between. I had not realized that the CPU cooler comes with thermals preapplied. And after POST, i realized that the NVMe Hard Disk was not pushed fully into the M.2 slot.

And then I had a POST success.

And finally .......


First Boot.. BIOS Launch

The Parts, with the final product. 

P.S. Cover Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash