The Insanely Long History Behind My Main Computer(and How It Came To Be)

Hello. Today, I wanted to share the history behind my main computer. My main computer started with revision 1.0, it’s original state when I got it. It is now on revision 4.9, 3 years and 5 months later. Let’s begin.

Revision 0.10

It was 2012. My mom’s old Gateway computer from 2002 had just died. The motherboard was dead and it wasn’t worthwhile repairing it. There was only one good solution: build a new computer.

Laptops For Less in Whitehouse, Texas built the new computer in mid 2012. When we got the computer and hooked it up, the computer booted into a clean copy of Windows XP Home Edition. The computer would not recognize any kind of USB device. The HDD in the old computer was present in the new machine, but it had been wiped. The computer was moved into the living room, and a copy of Windows 7 was purchased from CPU Wholesale Computer Parts in Tyler, Texas.

Revision 0.90

Windows 7 Professional was installed on the computer and then all the desired programs were installed on the computer. One thing was quickly noticed: The computer locked up often. It also crashed often, too. The issues with this computer were crazy. You could get very little work done on this computer, for the most part. Sometimes, the computer would run for literally hours at a time without issues. Other times, the computer would lock up the moment you tried to login. It was… infuriating to say the least. My dad realized that my mom didn’t like these issues and decided to get my mom a new computer for Christmas.

Christmas 2013/Revision 1.00

It was Christmas. I had gotten the computer and my mom was setting up the new one that she got. I very quickly noticed the same general issue: it was constantly locking up. This was already annoying when I first got the computer, and it was totally random when it froze. Sometimes, the computer would run for literally hours on end without crashing, and other times, the computer wouldn’t even run for 2 minutes before locking up. I had the BSOD 1 or 2 times, but it wasn’t too many times. At least when I wasn’t intentionally crashing Windows, that is. I crashed that operating system so many times that it’s not even funny. I mainly did it by either killing csrss.exe from Task Manager or by using a command I haven’t used in so long that I have forgot it. It went into Windows PowerShell, though.

Revision 1.10

I was trying to browse the Internet when the computer locked up. I was annoyed by this, and was not too happy about it. The computer locked up I think 4 or 5 more times. The 5th or 6th time it locked up, I got mad and kicked the computer, killing the aging Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB IDE HDD in the computer. That… was a regrettable mistake. I had my documents, etc on that drive. When it died, I could only log in with a temp. account. I reinstalled Windows 7 on that computer and called it a day. The lockups continued for who-knows-how-long.

Revision 1.20

I was introduced to Linux in late 2011/early 2012. I did a quick Google search and the first thing that came to me was this operating system/Linux variant called “Ubuntu.” I downloaded a Ubuntu 11.10/12.04 ISO file and attempted to burn it to a CD. It failed. I kept trying to get Ubuntu onto a CD and eventually gave up. Sometime in mid/early 2014, I convinced my mom to buy me a pack of DVDs so I could install Ubuntu. I downloaded a 13.10 ISO and burned it to a DVD. It worked, so I stuck the DVD into the DVD-R/W drive and rebooted. It came up with an installation menu, and I installed Ubuntu to the computer. I was completely alien to Linux at the time, and I went in blind. I liked it. It was stable, fast, and rarely needed a reboot for updates. I soon learned about what’s called a “Terminal” and quickly started to learn commands for the terminal. I kept Ubuntu installed for some time, and eventually switched back to Windows, but for a short time. Soon, I was back to Ubuntu.

Revision 1.50

Sometime in the summer of 2014, I learned about this Linux variant called “Deepin OS.” I downloaded a copy of it, and it was MASSIVE! It was a whopping 4GB! It almost filled up your average 4700MB(4.7GB) DVD! I installed Deepin OS to the computer, and I liked it. A LOT. I found it a superior experience to Ubuntu and stuck with it. I then noticed that there was a lot of Chinese games in it’s Software Center. I was confused, but shelved the thought and kept using the OS.

Revision 1.55

I had decided to start dual-booting between Deepin OS and Windows 7 for the few Windows-only tasks that I still did. Windows 7 was finicky to install, but I did manage to pull it off. The system ran normally, barring the lockups in Windows 7.

Revision 1.55- It’s Dying

It was getting late into the summer of 2014. I was using the computer and I heard an arcing sound and the computer reset. I turned the power off by turning off the power supply switch on the back of the computer, and turned it back on. I went back around to the front of the computer and hit the power button. The computer started back up and booted normally. I thought that the humidity was super low and something arced to ground for no particular reason. I didn’t think much of it, but did note the incident and shelved it away.

Last Moments- Revision 1.55/Catastrophic Motherboard Failure

It was only a week or 2 after the 1st arc-out of the motherboard. I was using the system, doing nothing intensive, probably just fooling around with Mixxx, and it happened again. Thinking that it might recover, I let it arc and reset a few times, then I realized it needed human intervention, and switched off the power supply by means of the switch on the back of the PSU. I turned the power back on and started the system up. It shut down mid-POST. I powered it back up. It shut down again. At this point, I knew something had gone horribly wrong. I powered it back up and entered the BIOS. No, not UEFI, BIOS. This was a Gigabyte G41MT-S2PT motherboard. The computer shut down yet again, even in the BIOS. I tried to get this thing to boot over and over and over again, though it just kept shutting down. I started troubleshooting and determined that the motherboard had committed suicide. At that point, I hit up Newegg to look for a new motherboard.

Revision 2.00- Partial Rebuild In Progress

I looked at Newegg for a new motherboard and settled on an Asus H81M-C/CSM motherboard. I purchased it and it arrived a few days later.

Revision 2.00- CPU Socket Troubles

I was installing components onto the new Asus H81M-C/CSM motherboard when it was time to install the CPU. I went to plop the CPU down into it’s socket, but it wouldn’t fit. I then realized that the old Socket LGA775 Pentium D CPU was due for a replacement. I scoured Newegg once again, and settled on a very affordable Intel Pentium G3220 Socket LGA1150 CPU. That CPU arrived within a few days of it being purchased and once it was installed into the motherboard, it was time to power the system up.

Revision 2.00- RAM Keeps RAMming me…

I was ready to power up Revision 2.00 of my main computer. I connected everything up, turned on the power supply, and mashed the power button. It’s an understatement to say that I was unhappy that the computer failed to POST. A few hours of troubleshooting later, I gave up, guessed it was the RAM, and had the computer taken to CPU Wholesale Computer Parts in Tyler, Texas. 4 weeks, later, I got the computer back, this time, it was working. It, in fact, WAS the RAM. Apparently when the motherboard died, it took the RAM and potentially the CPU with it. That would be the last time I ever touched a Gigabyte motherboard that’s part of my main computer setup. I was SUPER happy, and proceeded to happily boot the computer back up.

Revision 2.00- IT’S WORKING AGAIN!

At least a month after the catastrophic failure of the system’s original Gigabyte G41MT-S2PT motherboard, the system booted for the first time. I made sure that all my files were still present and then proceeded to attempt a boot into Windows 7. Windows 7 failed to boot, unsurprisingly, with all of the new hardware. The next few hours was a nightmare trying to get Windows 7 to boot again. I eventually said “nope it” and reinstalled Windows 7. That didn’t work out. Windows 7 wasn’t detecting the Ext4 partition that Deepin OS was installed on. I eventually gave up, removed the Windows 7 partition, and expanded the Deepin OS partition back to the full extent of the drive.

Revision 2.03- New DVD Drive

The old DVD drive was connected via an IDE cable to the motherboard. My Asus H81M-C/CSM motherboard lacked any kind of an IDE controller. I got a new Asus DVD drive from CPU Wholesale Computer Parts, installed it, and carried on with life.

Revision 2.05- Back To Windows

I eventually got tired of Deepin OS and made the move back to Windows 7. It was quite uneventful. It was a simple task of wiping the HDD and installing Windows 7. This time, Windows rarely, if ever, locked up! Windows was *mostly* stable, and didn’t have the severe lockup problems it had with the old Gigabyte G41MT-S2PT motherboard. I presume the RAM was dying. Keep in mind that I didn’t have the troubleshooting resources and testing equipment that I have today.

Revision 2.10- Windows 8.1

I decided that I had had enough of Windows 7 and wanted to try Windows 8.1 as my main OS on my main computer. I stuck the install DVD in my computer, and rebooted. The installation screen was quite… monotonic to say the least. All the buttons and text fields were rectangular, and the font was sharp on all sides. I installed Windows 8.1 and used it as my main computer’s main OS. I didn’t find anything too annoying about it, barring rebooting for updates and minor Metro app glitches.

Revision 2.20- Windows 10 Developer Preview

Yup. I decided to actually TEST Windows 10 Developer Preview. I downloaded a Windows 10 Developer Preview ISO, wrote it to a DVD, and rebooted. The installation screen was monotonic, just like the Windows 8.1 install screen. The installation progress screen was different. It was kind of a mix between the Windows 8.1 install progress screen and the current Windows 10 install progress screen. The install went without a hitch and the computer was running fine. I got my Metro apps reinstalled and got the OS set back up. I think I started off with Build #42??.

Revisions 2.21/2.22/2.23/2.24/2.25

These revisions were brought out from various Windows 10 Developer Preview build updates. Sure, they were annoying, and forced(see where this is going?) and some things just broke and were never fixed. On revision 2.23(Build 5870?), Windows Media Player broke. It wouldn’t play anything. It would either throw some nonsensical error and refuse to play the file I had given it, or it would shoot itself in the foot and lock up. I downloaded Musicmonkey and called it a day.

Revision 2.50- Goodbye Windows 10

Well, I was browsing the Internet one day, and I stumbled across this news article about how Windows 10 spies on you without your consent and there’s no way to turn it off. That was the fastest I ever took to migrate off of Windows 10 and back to Windows 8.1. I kept Windows 10 on the HDD, but never used it. Windows 8.1 installed beautifully and was running very smoothly. I had almost no problems with it, barring the random error or 2. I left Windows 10 Developer Preview at Build 9879.

Revision 2.69- New HDD, RAM, and a Card Reader

After a fiasco with some major computer issues with my mom’s computer, I obtained a Seagate ST1000DM003 drive. It was promptly installed into my main computer and was ready for use within 5 minutes of doing so. I also got a card reader for my computer. When I opened the box for the card reader that had been installed into my mom’s computer, I not only saw the Seagate drive that I got, but I also saw some RAM had found it’s way into that box. I called CPU Wholesale Computer Parts, and they said that I could keep the RAM. I installed it into my main computer, upgrading it from the 4GB of RAM that I got in mid 2013 to 6GB of RAM.

Revision 2.70- Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

I decided that I wanted to switch back to Ubuntu, so I downloaded a copy of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and installed it on the “new” Seagate HDD. At this point, I had 3 OSs on my computer: Windows 10 Developer Preview Build 9879, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Revision 3.00- New Power Supply

It was sometime in October of 2014 when I had my 11th birthday party. I was trying to take a nap when all of a sudden, I heard 2 arcing noises. I snapped up, thinking my friend had shorted an old SLA(sealed lead-acid) battery. My friend said that my main computer’s power supply had shot sparks out of the back of it. I immediately got up and turned off the power strip feeding power to the computer’s power supply. That would also be the last time Windows 10 Developer Preview booted. The power supply was promptly replaced with a Corsair CX500M power supply.

Revision 3.05- New Case

I had gotten a new computer case for an old computer that I rescued, but that build bit the dust shortly after, so I decided to use the case for my main computer. It was quite interesting getting everything installed into the new case, but everything worked out fine.

Revision 3.20- Major OS Changes

I had grown tired of Windows 10 Developer Preview and Windows 8.1. Windows 10 Developer Preview was on the edge of expiring, and Windows 8.1 was no longer used. I backed everything up, and in the process, watched Windows 10 Developer Preview expire on me. Windows 8.1 stumbled along, and I had a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS installation DVD ready. I finished backing everything up, and rebooted after sticking the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS installation DVD in the DVD drive. There, I wiped both of the hard drives installed in the system, installed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to the main Hitachi drive in the system, and had /home mounted to the Seagate drive. This was when I made the full-time switch to Linux.

Revision 3.25- Ubuntu 15.04

It was early 2015 when I got a notification saying that Ubuntu 15.04 was available. I dismissed it, and proceeded to back my stuff up. I opened up a Terminal, and typed in the command to do a distribution upgrade. I let it do the upgrade, and once it completed, I rebooted. The system was a little slow to boot up, but once it did, it came around pretty well. The system was a little unstable, and threw an error or 2 on bootup, but it was nothing that I couldn’t handle.

Revision 3.30- Ubuntu 15.10 Upgrade

Later, in October of 2015, I got a notification saying that Ubuntu 15.10 was out. I told it to go ahead, and do an upgrade. I waited for it to complete, and then rebooted. Once it rebooted, I immediately noticed one thing that still continues to this day: I have to unplug and plug my WiFi adapter back in almost every time the OS boots up. It’s annoying, but, still, it was nothing that I couldn’t handle. I also noticed that the OS was unstable. It had programs crashing every now and then, and it was buggy. I was annoyed by 15.10, but put up with it.

Revision 3.75- Last Iteration Of Revision 3.xx

I has grown tired of all of the bugs and glitches I was dealing with on the current(as of early 2016) copy of Ubuntu 15.10. The base installation of 14.04 was almost 2 years old as of that time. I decided to reinstall Ubuntu 15.10 as a clean install, and proceeded to download a fresh Ubuntu 15.10 ISO and write it to another DVD. I backed up everything and reinstalled. I got everything back to the way I wanted it and carried on. The WiFi adapter issue was still there, but many many many previous bugs and glitches were finally gone. I made a note to do some upgrades when 16.04 LTS came out, and that was the beginning of the end for Revision 3.xx.

Planning For Revision 4.00

I had long since learned that Seagate drives were unreliable. I still had /home mounted to the Seagate drive(as to why I did I had no clue whatsoever) and wanted to get that drive replaced with a Western Digital drive. I also planned on having Windows 7 installed beside Ubuntu 16.04 when it came out, so I wanted 2 HDDs, one for /home for Linux, and the other for Windows 7. I also wanted an SSD for booting the 2 OS’s. I wanted to go to at least 8GB of RAM so I could run virtual machines whilst having plenty of RAM left over for other tasks. I also wanted an overclockable CPU to mess with, so I went with an affordable Intel Pentium G3258 dual-core CPU. I also planned on storing LOTS of data, so I wanted to go with 2TB drives. I had previously installed a Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB HDD in my dad’s main computer, and it was running awesome, so I decided to get 2 of the same make and model drive. I also decided to get a SanDisk 128GB SSD as the boot drive, and 8GB(2x4GB) of G.SKILL RAM. I also decided to make the jump for a Blu-Ray drive, a $100 investment.

Building Revision 4.00

I had finally ordered everything and waited several long days for the parts to arrive. I had spent that time carefully backing everything up and noting where I would mount partitions, how to partition the disks, etc. Everything had finally arrived. I made very very sure that everything was backed up(this was the last time Ubuntu 15.10 would officially boot!) and shut the system down. I proceeded to completely gut the system to the case. I removed the old CPU and RAM from the motherboard. I slowly installed the new components and seated the CPU heatsink in place over the top of the new CPU. I then removed the CMOS battery to clear the UEFI settings. I installed the motherboard back into the case and then installed the SSD, ODD, and HDDs. I connected all of the cables up, reinstalled the CMOS battery, and then went to connect the power LED up. There was a problem: when I installed the new SSD, I had to add a SATA power cable to my system, replacing the Molex power cable that once connected the front power LED. I left the power LED disconnected, making a note to get an adapter so I could connect it up. I closed the case up, and connected the computer up.

Revision 4.00

I had just spent the past 2.5 hours performing hardware upgrades to make Revision 4.00 happen. I had the computer connected up and was ready to power it up. I switched on the power switch on the back of the power supply and pressed the power button. The computer fired up, complained about an invalid CMOS checksum, a different CPU, different RAM, the time and date, and that I needed to reset the UEFI settings. I told it to go into the UEFI setup, loaded default settings, and rebooted. I then went back into the BIOS, set the date and time, stuck the Windows 7 DVD into the drive, and rebooted. I successfully installed Windows 7, then I went to install Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Revision 4.00- Problems With The OS Installations

I went to install Ubuntu 16.04 LTS onto the SSD. I stuck the Ubuntu DVD into the Blu-Ray drive, and rebooted. That went smoothly until it was time to partition the SSD for Ubuntu. The Ubuntu install DVD was not finding the Windows 7 Pro install. I went back and forth between Windows and the Ubuntu install DVD several times trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I eventually said that I can use my laptop if I need Windows-only stuff done, wiped the SSD, and chose to have Ubuntu 16.04 LTS be the only OS on the computer.

Revision 4.00- Finally Running

It was a long few hours whilst I was setting up the computer. I didn’t know what to do with the 2nd HDD since it was originally going to be for Windows 7’s documents, etc. The 1st HDD has /home mounted to it, and the SSD is the boot drive for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I spent a number of hours getting my applications, documents, etc. back onto the computer, but it was finally running again.

Revision 4.05- Power LED Connected Once Again

I had a SATA to Molex adapter ordered so that I could have the power LED connected up once again. A few days later, it finally arrived and was promptly installed.

Revision 4.10- New FireWire 800 Controller Card

I had gotten several boxes of stuff from my computer teacher, one of which included an old FireWire 800 PCI controller card. It was still new in box, too! My Asus H81M-C/CSM motherboard had a PCI slot on it, so I decided to install it into that slot. It would prove useful a few weeks later, as I had to digitize about 150GB of MiniDV tapes for my computer teacher.

Revision 4.40- New Case, GPU, and Motherboard

The existing GPU in my dad’s computer was being very buggy, so my dad decided that he wanted to have it swapped out for a new one. I got the old GPU, and wanted to install it. I attempted to install it into my existing case(which at this point was nearing 3 years old.) It was a very tight squeeze and eventually, it was decided that it wouldn’t fit, and aborted the installation. At that point, I decided to get a new case, and replace my aging Asus H81M-C/CSM motherboard, which, at that point, was about 3 years old. It also has an extremely limited chipset(H81) and I wanted something a lot better. I eventually settled on an MSI MS-7850 motherboard, also known as the MSI PC Mate Z97. Yes, it has an Intel Z97 chipset. I also settled on a Deepcool Kendomen TI full-tower case with 3 5.25″ front panel expansion slots, 3 2.5″ drive bays, and 3 3.5″ drive bays. I then ordered the parts. First, the motherboard arrived at around 11AM a few days after ordering everything. After what seemed like 6 hours of waiting, at I think 2PM that same day, the case finally arrived. I spent the next 3 hours transplanting components from the old motherboard to the new one, and then installing everything into the new case, then fixing the cable management. Soon, the system was running once again, but much cooler due to the 4 or 5 additional fans present in the new case.

Revision 4.50- MOAR ADAPTERS

Due to the new case only having 3 5.25″ expansion bays, I had no place to install my 3.5″ card reader. I looked at Amazon for a few minutes, then had a Rosewill 5.25″ to 3.5″ card reader ordered. It arrived a few days later and was promptly installed. The card reader has not been removed from the adapter since, because I haven’t had a need to.

Revision 4.60- New PSU

I had been looking to get the heck away from my Corsair CX500M PSU since it’s ranked pretty low on the Tom’s Hardware PSU Rating Chart. I had been looking at a very nice EVGA 750W PSU that’s fully modular, and is ranked at the top of the aforementioned chart. It was about $125-$150. I couldn’t afford it, but did mention that I wanted it for my 13th birthday. Well, that came and went, and sure enough, there it is! I spent yet another 1.5 or so hours getting it installed, and when I powered up my main computer for the first time after doing so, I immediately noticed that it had a very chunky-sounding relay and it dimmed the lights for a split second when I power up my main computer.

Revision 4.8- New CPU and Heatsink

I was growing increasingly tired of my Intel Pentium G3258 CPU since I was now editing videos on my main computer. I decided to upgrade from an Intel Pentium G3258 processor to an Intel Core i7-4790K CPU. I also decided to order a Noctua NH-D14 CPU heatsink. It was another $100 or so. I ordered them and they arrived a couple of days later. It was around 8PM they arrived. I planned on installing them the next morning, which I did. The installation of the CPU was very easy. It was a simple matter of removing the old heatsink and CPU, and seating the new CPU in the socket. The installation of the heatsink, however, was a totally different story. I removed the motherboard from the case, and followed the installation instructions. I went to install the motherboard in the case when I realized that it was going to be a very tight fit. I had to remove one of the topmost-facing fans to plug in the CPU power connector. The heatsink also had about 1/4″ of clearance between itself and the side case panel.

Revision 4.9- New Fans and Fan Controller

It was nearing Christmas 2016(and my main computer’s 3rd birthday) when I wanted some new green LED fans and a fan controller to control them. Well, Christmas 2016 came and went, and I got them as a Christmas present. I spent an hour installing those, and my system now looked a whole heck of a lot cooler(and ran cooler, too!)

 

Well, that is the insanely long history spanning 3.5 years of operation of my main computer.

I will be keeping this updated as I continue to upgrade my computer and make it even more powerful.

Thanks for reading. 🙂