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Weekend Open Forum: What was your first-ever PC build?

By Polycount ยท 66 replies
Nov 10, 2017
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  1. While there's certainly nothing wrong with buying a pre-built PC, there is something to be said for the feeling of satisfaction you get from going the DIY route. However, like many good things in life, building PCs after your first time never feels quite as rewarding or satisfying. As the process becomes a little less frustrating and a bit more streamlined over time, it feels less and less like you're overcoming a challenge and more like you're simply... well, building a PC.

    So, whether your first PC build happened over a decade ago or if you've only just picked up the hobby recently, we want to hear about it - if you can remember it, that is.

    What parts did you cobble together to assemble your first rig? More importantly, what did you use it for? If it was a gaming PC, what games do you remember playing the most? Let us know in the comments.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Panda218

    Panda218 TS Evangelist Posts: 553   +270

    My first build had a Intel Q6600, 4gb Ram, GT 9800 and a 250gb hard drive. I used it primarily for gaming, but also used it for College. That Q6600 is still doing work in my HTPC!
    may jay likes this.
  3. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 505   +624

    I had pre-built machines and started off changing parts in them. Then I cobbled something together the first time from scratch.

    I know it was a Pentium 133mhz on Socket 7. This socket was awesome, you could put a bunch of different processors on it. By different I mean like AMD processors, Cyrix etc. Imagine how good that would be today!

    It had a blue anodised heatsink with this massive 60mm fan on it. I think initially it had 16MB of RAM and a 1GB hard drive.
    Danny101 likes this.
  4. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,070   +1,545

    My first build was a 386sx-16 for which I then bought a Cyrix math coprocessor. It had a whopping 100MB hard drive, and a 13" monitor. I do not remember the amount of RAM, but I think it was another whopping 4MB. The OS was DOS 4.0, I think, but it might have been DOS 6.0

    I used it for gaming and to help me learn about PCs as well as word processing.
    EClyde and azicat like this.
  5. liammac002

    liammac002 TS Enthusiast Posts: 41   +8

    My first build was 3 years ago and had a Pentium G3258, 8 GB of RAM, a GTX 750 Ti, and a 1 TB HDD. I'm still using the motherboard, RAM and HDD (I added an SSD for Windows) and the case, all the other parts have been swapped out. I used it pretty exclusively for gaming, I did school work on a laptop with more RAM.
  6. azicat

    azicat TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +16

    386sx-16 to play Wing Commander. Needed to get access to that emm386.exe 2MB expanded memory space. Also made it easier to run Ultima 7 (compared to my father's 286 AT clone) because of the wacky memory management.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,418   +2,881

    A Heath kit vintage 1970 era. The printed circuit board had NO pre-installed components, no disk drives, and no monitor (had to use an old B&W TV) and everything had to be soldered. Unfortunately my skills with a soldering iron lacked a LOT and apparently I had pooled a few connections because when we turned it on, smoke rolled out of the case. My father was there for the "start up" and said "that's pretty impressive, what else can it do?". I simply broke down in tears. It didn't kill me and it did make me stronger .... enough so to get one of his friends to help me build the next generation which worked for a lot longer! Can't remember the details now but it was very crude and had very little you could do with it but it was a "computer" no less. Everything was written in basic language and of course, once you turned it off you lost what was programmed into the memory ... but I was a GOD and it was my byte domain!
  8. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,614   +984

    Chinese no name motherboard, some kind of early AMD 286 and a huge mess of memory chips stuffed onto the mainboard and an expansion board - so I had 1 MB. I think it clocked at about 20Mhz and the screen was yellow monocolor (which may have had 240x320 pixel resolution on a Hercules (clone?) video card). 2 5.25" floppies and later I added a 10MB HDD. I think the OS was MSDOS but I can't remember if it was 2,3, or 4 - though I think it was 3. Case had sharp edges and I bled when I opened it.

    So long ago, my head hurts to think about it. They don't have computer shows anymore like they used to. - or Computer Shopper - or Byte. The bulletin boards were great and I played a lot of Adventure.
    TheBigT42 likes this.
  9. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,589   +570

    It was a hoot. Something would not fit in my proprietary Compaq case, I can't remember what it was. My buddy who had never built a computer before either came over on a Saturday night. We sweated for a few hours then realized...Uh unh. That was 1995
  10. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Evangelist Posts: 353   +110

    First one completely from scratch with all new parts, In 2011, Sandy Bridge i5-2500K, Asus P8Z68-V LX, 8 GB Corsair 1600 RAM, 1TB WD Blue HDD, crappy Thermaltake case. Lots of upgrades to OEMs before that, going back to 2001.
    may jay likes this.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,070   +1,545

    I had forgotten about EMM386 to get that extra memory. I also played Wing Commander, too, then Strike Commander. My first game was Wolfenstein 3D. I wore out my mouse cable on Wolfenstein and then swore off wired mice! To this day, I still use wireless mice.
  12. maestro0428

    maestro0428 TS Member Posts: 19   +6

    My first ever PC build was actually a Folding@Home machine for 24/7 use. It was a Pentium D cpu I believe and I was running ATI gpus to fold. Up until that time I was a Mac user. Since then I've probably built 50 pcs. Still love it.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  13. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,295   +796

    AMD 2600+
    ASUS A7N8X
    Kingmax 1GB (2x 512MB)
    Nokia 17" CRT
    MSI FX 5200
    ATi TV Wonder VE
    Western Digital 40GB
    BenQ keyboard
    Detrois mouse

    Browsing, filesharing and Yahoo computer chatrooms. I also had a softmodded XBOX at the time and thought gaming with a kbm was stupid.

    12+ video cards later.....
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,774   +4,587

    Mine was a "Intel Celeron 1 GHz" on a Socket 370 motherboard. I built two identical systems. If I remember correctly, I only put 64MB memory in the PC. And then I quickly wanted to double that to 128MB. I can't recall what size HDD I used, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20GB. At the time integrated graphics was all I needed. I didn't buy dedicated graphics until 2009, when Windows 7 came out.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,774   +4,587

    Are you still folding? I did that for a while, which is why I purchased this i7 2600K.
  16. maestro0428

    maestro0428 TS Member Posts: 19   +6

    Yes! I fold for team Full Auto at OC.net. I am only running 1 machine atm, but its pulling down 250k ppd.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,345   +283

    First pc = Pentium I (166mhz)
    first 'build with my own hands' pc = Pentium G630
  18. azicat

    azicat TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +16

    Ahh yes the coprocessor, I didn't have one of those - which was why POVRay took about two days to render a single frame :)
    wiyosaya likes this.
  19. CortyDK

    CortyDK TS Addict Posts: 114   +63

    My first ever PC was a pre-built 386DX33 with an i387 math coprocessor.

    The first PC I built from scratch myself was a i486DX2-66MHz. 8 Mb RAM, a 320 Mb Harddrive, S3 Trio 64 1 Mb graphics card (later expanded to 2 Mb EDO Ram) and SoundBlaster Pro 2.0 (CT1330) I bought bundled with a Mitsumi CD-ROM drive (yes, the CDROM drive was connected to the Soundcard via a ribbon cable, those were the days). Later the graphics card was replaced with a Tseng Labs ET4000.
  20. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,100   +1,134

    First actual build by myself was when I was working in IT at a marketing company.... We had some old 486 Print servers that were about to die.... So I got the "brilliant" idea to cobble together all the working parts and build a "super" 486 100 with 16MB of RAM.... 16MB!!! It was nuts!
  21. surcix

    surcix TS Rookie

    My first pc had a AMD K6 2 at 500 mhz, an ECS motherboard with 32 mb sdr and a sis video card with a gigantic 4 mb video buffer. No cpu fan control as I remember, so the thing was very loud at idle. First game on it was Animorphs from Infogrames, with about 5-10 fps.
  22. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    Some Intel 8088 with 128 KB of RAM, 10MB HDD & a 5.25" floppy drive... That machine is still my primary gaming rig today to play the latest AAA titles in 4K. :D
    TheBigT42 likes this.
  23. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Evangelist Posts: 397   +93

    I found where I posted this before in these forums. :) All my builds have had gaming in mind. Never top-of-the line, but better than your average department store PC.

    My first build in 2005 was an AMD Athlon64 X2 3200+ CPU in a DFI LanParty NF4 Ultra motherboard (I used the pencil hack to enable SLI), with 2x512 OCZ DDR RAM, WD 74GB Raptor 10000 RPM hard drive, MSI 6600GT GPU, NEC DVD-RW drive, Thermaltake Tsunami Dream mid-tower, OCZ 500w modular PSU, Saitek Gamer's backlit keyboard, Hyundai 19" LCD monitor, Logitech MX1000 cordless laser mouse, Logitech 5.1 speakers, and a Windows XP OEM license. I overspent on motherboard, memory, and hard drive, thinking I would overclock the hell out of it, but I never did much more than a mild OC. I learned that it is better to put that extra money toward the CPU and GPU.

    I've built at least 4 others since then, with three of those builds installed in that original case. I still use the original speakers, and my wife uses the monitor. The keyboard still works also. With a few upgrades to CPU and RAM, and a replacement GPU, that rig was still running inside a different case when I finally replaced it with a modern Pentium G4560 system 8 months ago. The only hardware failures were the GPU (fan died and card overheated), the power supply (would not power up the Pentium rig), and the mouse.
  24. Trinergy

    Trinergy TS Rookie

    Intel Pentium II 233 Slot 1 Klamath
    Abit LX6
    64MB of SDRAM
    Diamond Stealth S220 II
    Sony Trinitron 15" monitor
    Ensoniq sound card

    VQuake and Doom II!!! Don't remember what else. Hard drive size maybe 320GB. Windows 95 with QEMM as my memory manager. I had 608KB of lower memory!! Abit and the jumperless bios for overclock. My Klamath ran at 283 MHz, 83Mhz bus clock. Oh and a 24x cdrom.
  25. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,410   +569

    wiyosaya likes this.

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