12 Dangerously Irresponsible Steps to Building Your Own PC
If you're anything like me, you prefer to do things yourself -- whether that's fixing your car, building a shed or, in this case, putting together your new PC. If you're anything like me, you're a wildly incompetent borderline alcoholic narcissist with rage issues and an irrational distrust of technology. If you're anything like me, this is not going to go very well for you ...
Step 1. Assess Your Needs
Are you absolutely sure that you need a new computer? If your games are sluggish, a dose of RAM and a new video card might do the trick. If you're running out of space, that's just a new hard drive. If porn sites aren't letting you in anymore, just steal someone else's credit card. All of those are way easier fixes than building a new rig from scratch. Pretty much the only reasons to purchase and construct an entirely new custom PC is if you ...
A. really know what you are doing,
B. do not have any kind of computer at all, or
C. are very drunk, and somebody told you that you couldn't do it.
Well, fuck you, Gary -- you don't know me. You don't know my history. I'll build -- I can build whatever I want. I can build a boat. And I'll call it the S.S. Suck My Boat-Dick, Gary.
Step 2. Acquire the Parts
Now, before you go off and do something drastic, like "shop," you'll want to take a look around you. Why buy new, when used might do the job just fine? Don't be a wasteful member of our consumerist society. Odds are that your friends and neighbors all have computers. You know what's easier than buying and building a brand new PC? Petty larceny!
If you're worried about getting caught, here's a trick: Only steal one part at a time. Plenty of people will call the cops because somebody stole their computer -- nobody calls the cops because they're "pretty sure the dirty-bathrobe guy from next door jacked my heat sink."
If you're encountering some difficulty with this step, and a good, heavy brick doesn't quickly alleviate the problem, you're going to have to go to a store. You could probably order online, but man, if you had access to a working credit card, you'd still be getting into porn sites and there would be no reason to build a new PC, right?
Step 3. Shopping
If you're outside of a major metropolitan hub, the only electronics store near you is probably a Best Buy, in which case: Congratulations on your new HDTV and Xbox Elite Madden Edition Bundle, which "Chad" from the "computers and shit" department insists is "totally like a computer, but not for fags."
PROTIP: Get the extended warranty! They're all already laughing at you anyway.
If you're lucky, however, you might have a Fry's that is precisely one hour farther away from you than you would ideally like to drive this weekend. If that's the case, you might actually come out the other end of this guide with something like a PC. The key here is to stride purposefully and manfully into the Computer Parts aisles, pick up two boxes and carefully consider them until somebody comes over to help you.
Wave him away. Wave them all away.
You want the absolute last guy who comes to help you. He's going to be the last guy because he's the only one currently busy actually helping somebody else instead of Googling "what is a PCI bus some kind of bus or car" at the least conspicuous workstation. Be patient: The man you want will come to help you, eventually. He will have a beard. His name will be Alan.
He will be magnificent.
He will be helpful and patient and kind, like a lover. His strong but gentle hands will whip hard drives from the shelves like ripe apples; he will slap inferior video cards from your hands like a worried mother; he will be everything you've ever wanted in a customer service employee.
CAUTION: DO NOT GROW ATTACHED TO ALAN.
Alan will disappear exactly halfway through the shopping process, and he will never return. He will be replaced by a boy whose name tag reads "Billiam." Billiam will have terrible allergies, and will somehow manage to wear a belt wrong. He will insist that the first product he grabs is the best one, but only after a long pause and a frantic glance around for help. Just buy whatever he tells you to.
Hope left a long time ago; too late, you realize its name was "Alan."
Step 4. Prepping for Assembly
Shit, what is all this stuff? SATA cables? Solid state drives? Terabytes? What the fuck is a terabyte?! Do we -- do we not use gigabytes anymore? Is this like a VHS/Beta situation? God damn it.
God damn it.
Gary was right. You're not smart enough for this.
There's only one solution ...
You're going to have to get really, really drunk.
Drinking builds confidence, and confidence is 99 percent of PC assembly. Sadly, the only liquor available in the house will be old, dusty wine or some kind of flavored bullshit that seemed like a good idea at the time, but turned out to taste like someone ran booze through a prison convict's ass and then filtered it back out with a Pixy Stick. Take your Bushmills Irish Honey whiskey into the office, close the door, put on the most esoteric Japanese neo-punk you can find and steel yourself: This is going to get weird.
And it's going to taste like you're tossing a bee's salad.
Maybe we can make a game of it: Every time you have to stop and flip through the manual to figure out an acronym you don't understand, take a drink. Ready? Go!
Shit, BIOS? Really? Right out of the gate?
You'd better put the hospital back on speed dial.
Step 5. Assembly
Terabyte? More like ... more like GARYbyte ... s my cock. Ha! That's good. That's good stuff. Look at this fuckin' thing:
What the bullshit are you? You're clearly supposed to go in that slot.
You too good for the slot, hombre? You remind me of Gary. With your flashy gold pin things and that stupid goddamn look on your non-face.
Yeah, ahah, what's up now, dick? This is slot-town, population: Dick. (That's you.)
God damn it, I'm so lonely.
Step 6. Call Your Exes
Haha, what, baby? No, that's dumb; don't be dumb. I never promised that, I-
Vanessa, come on, hey. No, just listen. Just listen for a second, OK? I just want to say one thing, I promise, and then I'll -- you can hang up. Just one thing. S'important. Promise.
OK? Here we go: Why were you always such a bitch?
Step 9. Recovery
It is normal, at this point, to have absolutely no idea what happened to steps 7 and 8. Frankly, it's probably better that you leave it that way. You should really try to enjoy the peaceful times right now, because the fallout from the Blackout Steps is almost certainly careening toward you like a freight train. If you're lucky, you'll wake up tomorrow morning to find that you've merely pooped beneath an ottoman; if you're unlucky, you may have challenged Vanessa's crazy hillbilly father to a Swamp Duel, in which case you need to stop reading this guide right now and start researching airboat controls.
Looks like you've built a working computer in a drunken fury, or have at least managed to shove most of the pieces into the case. I mean, that looks like a hard drive out on the lawn, so you're probably not going to be saving things, but you know what? Maybe that's OK. Holding on to things has only gotten you in trouble -- Alan's disappearance, Vanessa, that heat sink the cops seized as evidence yesterday -- maybe it'll be good for you to be a little more zen about this whole computing thing from here on out.
Sure, it looks like you've strapped a partially empty bottle of Bushmills Honey-Flavored Whiskeybortion to the processor instead of a fan, but you've heard of liquid-cooled rigs, right? Whiskey's a liquid. Let's plug this bitch in and check back in with our good friend, free pornogra-
Step 10. Damage Control
So everything's on fire.
And what's worse: Step 8 was apparently tearing ass up and down the street on a fire-extinguisher-propelled office chair.
You're going to need to smother the flames, and for that, you'll want some kind of thick, heavy, expendable fabric. Luckily, Vanessa left that lame seven-generation quilt in the spare room -- you know, the one she keeps begging you to give back, and you keep insisting that you will, just as soon as she tells you the name of her new dickhead boyfriend?
"Just tell me the first letter -- one little letter. Surely that's worth your entire family history, right, baby?"
Grab that sucker and flail that shit into the fire as hard as you can.
You're going to want to stop to vomit some from all the motion, but you need to resist that urge. Keep flailing as spastically as you can, and do your best to keep that puke tamped down; it's almost entirely Honey-Flavored Whiskeybomination anyway -- it's just going to add fuel to what is already a pretty objectively bitchin' inferno.
Step 11. The Fire Is Out
Now you puke. There you go; right under the ottoman. Man, why does every bodily fluid inevitably end up there?
Step 12. The Ol' Switcheroo
Pack up what you can of the melted computer carcass and head on back to Fry's. The guy running the returns desk will almost certainly laugh in your face when you try to get store credit for a charred hunk of plastic with little pieces of Civil War-era quiltwork fused to the motherboard.
Here's what you do: You clench your jaw, you raise your head high, and you be a man.
You tell him Billiam built it for you.
"I didn't think he should screw his tie into the motherboard, but I'm not a computer guy; what do I know?"
The Returns Guy will nod, and roll his eyes, and wave you on into the store. Do not go anywhere near the Computer Parts aisle -- Alan will look at you with eyes full of fatherly disapproval, and you'll confess the whole thing. You grab the first prebuilt computer you see and get the hell out of there.
Oh, and this is important: When they ask if you want help out to your car, say yes.
The fallout from Step 7 will probably be waiting for you in the parking lot, and you're going to need somebody to be your Second for the impending airboat duel. It's the Second's job to swat away any thrown pitchforks; you won't survive the first tilt without one.
Buy Robert's stunning, transcendental, orgasmic science fiction novel, Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, right here. Or buy Robert's other (pretty OK) book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead. Follow him on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.
For more from Brockway, check out 5 Bizarre Pitfalls of Owning a Classic Car and The Hoverboard Lie: How Back to the Future Ruined Childhood.