I’ve decided to spend some of the money that I’m making at my internship on my first PC rig.
I’m still debating the components, but these are the parts I’m interested in for now:
I’ll probably have it dual boot with linux and windows. I’m still deciding on the linux distro. I think since I’m building the computer and aiming for customizability, I should use Arch Linux. It’ll probably have a learning curve, but I think I can get it to have a pretty sweet customization.
I’m not really a gamer (although I think this build will handle games fairly well), so I didn’t spring for a separate GPU or a really fancy graphics card, but I think the sizable investment in an i7 will be a good investment since Intel has some awesome hyperthreading features. I am still looking into some AMD processors though because they seem to be a lot cheaper and some of them even offer more cores, but I’ll have to do some more research here as well.
I don’t plan on starting the build until I move into my new place for the summer, but once I do I’ll make a post about the actual build process.
Side Note: I took an old rig that my family had lying around to my dorm after spring break this year and booted up Debian Wheezy on it. I tested it at home, and despite it’s pretty terrible specs, I was excited to have it in Austin. For some reason, the computer refuses to detect any network adapter though (I’ve tried like 5 now) and will only work with an ethernet connection. Unfortunately, while I had an ethernet port at home, my terrible dorm (side side note: if you attend UT, you should avoid University Towers like the plague) has no ethernet ports, so I’ve basically had a fairly bulky and useless computer taking up space on my desk.
Not that that’s the reason I want to spend $800 on a new rig, but I figure it’s a good investment to make as a CS major. For one thing, I think very few programmers want to code on their laptop for their whole career, but I also think that building my own PC will be a really fun and rewarding learning experience.
Lastly, as general advice that extends beyond just building a PC, if you ever are in a position where you think some tool or equipment is expensive, ask yourself if whatever this purchase is a good investment in yourself. By that, I mean that if the product of interest will help you improve your craft, then in my opinion, 9 times out of 10, it’s worth the buy. Of course, “your craft” should not be something that you’ve been trying for like 2 days, and you should try to get the best bang for your buck (hence why I did not go with this $25,000 PC build… also because I can only wish I had that kind of money).
But generally, investing in your productivity is a good idea, and I think that if I didn’t feel like I was using this computer to a level that justifies the price tag, I’d feel pretty guilty. So in that way, I’d be more motivated to work on more projects and generally use it to code as much as I can. Besides, I primarily use my internship money to buy food.