Constructing Alice

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks now, but I ended up putting it off and putting it off because of all the drama that ended up happening.

Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I finally bought a PC to replace my Mac. I did this because it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t play WoW properly at all- I would have UI settings down as low as they could go to help try to get my frame rate above 12 (which didn’t always work), which also meant that I was unable to see boss mechanics properly. I was having a really miserable time all around. So I finally bit the bullet and decided to get a PC.

Research

This was all new to me- I haven’t had a PC for YEARS. I’d been using one at work, of course, but they were all pre-built and I didn’t get a say in what their guts would be like. This time around, I was in control, and I wanted something that was going to kick butt. So the researching began. It was almost the end of me. I just didn’t understand all the bits and pieces and what was supposed to be better than other bits and what was compatible with what other bits etc. It did my head in. I am extremely grateful to my guildies, to Klorithor, to Spazz and of course to my partner Thor for putting up with my millions of questions as I tried to get a handle on all the specifics.

Klor had got me on to a really great site that listed everything and would let you know if anything didn’t go well together. He had also sent me a list of all the bits and pieces to build one, which was so awesome. In the end, that formed the basis of what I what I bought. Except I may have boosted a few bits and completely blown my budget in the process!

So here are Alice’s guts:

  • Intel Core i7 7700K
  • Gigabyte AORUS Z270X-Gaming 7 Motherboard
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming 8GB
  • Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4
  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
  • Corsair Hydro Series H105 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB
  • Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass Satin Black
  • extra LED strips! πŸ˜€
  • ViewSonic VX2757 27in FreeSync Gaming Monitor

allthepieces.jpg

Adventures

So with everything decided upon, I jumped onto PC Case Gear’s website (they came highly recommended by multiple people) and started ordering the parts. By the time everything was sorted out and in the cart it was almost midnight on the Friday night. Which meant that I wasn’t likely to get it until around Tuesday. And I wanted it NOW.

Shipping was also coming to around $100. Given I had gone WELL over my budget, I was looking for opportunities to save some money somewhere. The store itself was a bit outside of Melbourne city- couldn’t get there by public transport, but close enough to get there by car for a short time. We had some frequent flyer points available, so decided that we would use them to hire a car for the day on Saturday to pick up all the parts. Good plan, right?

Well…

Here’s a side note that is important for this story. I am a pretty fortunate person, I know that. I have many good things that happen to me through a combination of hard work and a whole lot of good juju from the universe. But to counter that, every now and then I have days where every single thing you can think of would go wrong. And there was nothing you could do about it. Unfortunately, you are about to witness one such day.

When I put the order in (just after midnight!), I chose the pick-up option. The order confirmation email said “thanks for your order! We’ll let you know when it’s ready to pick up.” And this is where I started getting worried. On the Saturday, the store was only open for 4 hours- 10am-2pm. And I didn’t know if my order was going to be ready for pick up on the Saturday. To add to this, the invoice clearly said “Orders will only be held for 24 hours before being returned to the shelves”. I was in a dilemma- if we hired the car for Saturday but the order wasn’t ready to be picked up until Monday, the hire would have been wasted (and the money). If the order was ready to pick up on the Saturday but we didn’t have the car, we couldn’t go and get it. So we were a bit stuck!

“Not to worry,” I thought, “I’ll just call them when they open at 10 in the morning to find out when they thought it would be ready for pick up, and we can go from there.”

So I have a pretty restless night’s sleep on Friday night. It was like Christmas Eve! I was going to get my shiny new computer parts the next day, and it was going to beΒ awesome. Of course I woke up quite early. Too early. 6am too early. On a Saturday! Lucky I had WoW to keep me company, though. I left Thor to sleep and went and levelled up my priest to kill some time until 10am when I could call, all the while checking my emails every 2 minutes to see if the golden ticket had arrived that would tell me it was time to get my loots!

It’s almost 10am when figure I should get the details together to make the phone call. So I bring up the invoice for the confirmation details, and I go onto their website and the contact section to grab the phone number. Except there isn’t one. They didn’t have a phone number. Well shit! I figured it was time to get Thor involved, so went to talk to him about what we should do. Do we keep waiting until the email arrives, getting more and more worried about time frames as time wears on… or do we just get a car now and drive down anyway and try our luck? We went back and forth about it all for awhile, but in the end decided, stuff it, let’s just get a car and try our luck.

I checked my email again quickly to see if the email had arrived, and there it was! It was time! By this time it was a wee bit before 11:30am. That meant we had 2 and a half hours to go pick up the hire car and drive down to the store. No worries- the store was only 30 minutes away according to google maps, which meant 2 hours to go pick up a hire car. We could get there by 2pm, easy.

Or not.

We quickly get all our stuff together- Thor is getting a map printed with directions to the store while I’m booking the car to pick it all up. Despite the fact that the service has been available for YEARS, the car hire company just doesn’t deal well with using the frequent flyer points for car hire. The man I was speaking with was SO lovely, though, and worked him bum off to help us, which was really nice. So everything is being processed and we’re almost good to go, he just need to confirm with the venue that they have the car needed and we’d be on our way. I’m on hold for a short time, when the fellow comes back to let me know that the venue around the corner from us has no cars available. Not just the type that we needed- none at all. Argh!!!! BUT there is another venue a little further into the city that did have cars available- could we get there easily enough? Sure! Just book it and let’s go.

We leg it down to the tram stop to get the first of 2 trams we’d need to get to the car hire place. I shit you not, it was the slowest tram ride I’d ever been on. They got EVERY single red light, and on one occasion, thanks to a slow passenger, we got TWO red lights.

It was during this tram ride that Thor was looking for ways to help me be calm and not freak out. (He’s amazing and keeping himself together during stressful situations). So he was just holding my hand and generally saying lovely things. When the passengers were being slow, that’s where he came up with “put your shit in the freezer!”. It all stemmed from “calm down”, to “calm your shit” to “cool your shit”… and of course how does one cool their shit? By putting it in the freezer! It became our motto for the whole endeavour, and worked a treat.

Finally we get to our first stop, jump off the tram and wait for the next one. Time is ticking away… We make it to our second stop, and start walking to where the car hir eplace is. Oh but look- there are roadworks! And even though we only need to walk 10 meters down that path, we have to go back the way we came, cross the road, walk down and cross the road again to get to the street we needed.

We finally made it to the car hire place. By this point it was somewhere around 12:30/12:45pm, and even though Thor was doing his best to keep me laughing with ‘putting my shit in the freezer’ my patience and hope was almost gone.

Up we go to the counter with the booking information. Despite the fact that we had just been through the whole process with the people on the phone, they couldn’t figure out the system to process it with the points. People came in after us and left before us as they were trying to figure out how to process it all. By this point I said “just forget about the points- take my card and we’ll just pay for it. We’re really late and need to get going”. But they kept trying. Eventually they got it. But then the car that was allocated to us wasn’t there…

Finally we are handed the keys and we can head out. It’s a wee bit after 1pm by this point. Technically we should have been ok. I sent an email through their contact form on the website given there was no number to call, in the hopes that someone would see it and would know we were on our way…

Remember how I said there were roadworks nearby? Well, they did a terrible job of putting up detour signage. So when we pulled out of the car park, we followed the road signs that said right turn only. Ok, all good. Oh… it’s a right turn on to a blocked off road, and we have to turn around… into a giant line of traffic of other people who were having to do the same thing.

Bless Thor. He is such an amazing man. He was driving, and did such an amazing job of navigating through the city as best as he could to get to the store. And I was a bitch. I was a total downer who had given up, and he just kept going, being patient and calm with me.

In the end, we made it to the store at 2:10pm. We ran up to the doors in the hopes they were slow to close… and got there just as the team were walking out the front door to go home. We’d missed it. I asked what would happen to my order given the 24 hour window would be well and truly done by then, and they said it would still be there on Monday morning.

So the day was just pants. We were heartbroken to get there just as they were leaving- felt like a big slap in the face from the universe! We decided to go get some lunch and figure out what to do next. In the end we decided to extend the hire on the car for an additional 24 hours so we would have it for the Monday morning (it was still cheaper to pay for that than for postage!). But right then the afternoon/evening called for a slow drive home for icecream and movies on the couch.

Of course, with this being one of those days I have where everything goes against me, we had issues when we came back home- someone was parked in our carpark. Which sounds minor, but it’s a giant pain in the butt (that and we pay for the damn thing, so it’s ours to use!).

On the plus side, it was nice to have a car for awhile. The next day we ended up going for a bit of a drive to where we think we’ll need to move to later in the year when our lease it up, so it was good to see what areas we liked and didn’t.

Monday morning rolled around and I was very fortunate to be able to do a work from home day. I got up extra early in the morning to get some work done before we headed back to the store. And there she was in all her pieces! She got safely buckled into the car (the case was in the boot) and off we went home to put her together.

babyonboard

The build

I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll keep saying it- I am so, so lucky to have Thor. He spent hours on that Monday putting Alice together for me. And even better, for you nerd types, he took some pics along the way, which you can check out below.

I was so nervous throughout the whole thing. I had no concerns about Thor’s ability to build it- I was just terrified that something would be broken in the box or wouldn’t work properly. The whole PC world was so new to me (I’m used to just taking a Mac out of a box and using it!) so I was nervous. I was actually really glad that I was working from home that day because I could pop in every now and again and have a peak, but could just hide in the study and get semi-distracted with my work.

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In the end it took a few days to get settled in. Windows didn’t install well the first time, so we had to do that again, and then of course there was downloading all of the drivers and apps for all the bits and pieces that were in her, which was all very new to me- don’t things just work!? πŸ˜‰

I was also have a lot of issues with my monitor, and how things looked. You see, I came from a 5k imac that looks AMAZING. And I was going to just a normal every day monitor, which, although not entirely rubbish, was just very basic. And so now I see pixelation were I didn’t before, and it was very jarring at first. Again, Thor with his infinite patience played around with settingsΒ everywhere and eventually got things to a point where they looked pretty good. But I will be saving up for a 4k monitor, for sure! πŸ™‚

Alice

IMG_3209

So this is Alice. I can change the LEDs with a press of a button, which is loads of fun πŸ™‚ When we move I would like to get a bigger desk so she can sit somewhere properly. But for now she’s great. It was quite the adventure to get to this point, but thanks to unwavering patience from Thor and him helping me keep my shit in the freezer, we got there in the end.

For what it’s worth- as I mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons I bought Alice was because I couldn’t see raid abilities, frame rates sucked and it was all around a crappy time. Well, I can now have my settings at maxΒ all the time. I drop them to 8 for raid just in case, but I really don’t need to. Frame rate is beautiful, I can see everything- it’s wonderful. πŸ™‚ So even though it was all a bit of a drama, it was worth it.

 

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7 Comments on “Constructing Alice

  1. What an experience to get your new baby. It looks amazing, although I’m not used to putting systems together. Well done to Thor for keeping you sane and building your new powerhouse.

    I hope to get a new system later this year. Lord knows I could use one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was quite the ordeal, but really silly in retrospect. I should have just been patient!

      It was cheaper to build it, but only by a bout a couple of hundred dollars. So I think if you don’t have someone who can build it for you, just get a pre-built one.
      I hope that’re able to get a new pc soon! xoxo

      Like

  2. What an adventure! But I’m glad your new machine is up and running πŸ˜‰ Changing computer is always a bit of a stress… but, in the end, it’s totally worth it…

    Like

  3. That was quite an adventure! Thanx for sharing πŸ™‚

    I remember my first year in WoW… I had an iMac, and gg the nightmare it was… until I got my first PC πŸ™‚ So, welcome in the PC world ^^

    You’ve got a nice set-up going on there! Enjoy πŸ˜€

    Like

  4. Congratz on the new rig!! Just went through the ordeal of upgrading mine and it is totally nerve wracking. Love my machine now too and luckily, I already had a great monitor that worked well. Have fun and enjoy WoW!! πŸ˜€

    Like

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