Freddy Cloud

Frederick (“Freddy”) Cloud has had a passion for all things electronic since he “accidently” caused the class Commodore PET to malfunction in 8th grade. “I swear. I didn’t do it on purpose” He was quoted as saying to a very unhappy computer teacher... Read his full bio

You always remember your first … build …


My very first computer was a Texas Instruments TI99/4A. My parents purchased it for me, and I remember sitting down and being determined to use it to learn how to program in BASIC. There were more powerful machines out at the time (nothing compared to now, of course), but to me that computer was the end all and be all of that era’s computing. I loved that thing, and I was on it every chance I got. Upon reflection. despite my found memories, PC’s back then were quite the dinosaurs; after all, I had to use a cassette tape to save my programs, and I didn’t have a modem. Things have certainly changed …

Fast forward to when I was an adult, and I remember taking advantage of a program at my job for buying from Dell at a really good price, so I purchased my first “real” PC. When it arrived I opened it up, and immediately sat there in awe of all the parts inside that PC case. It was kinda like looking into the engine compartment of a car that first time before you really understood how a combustion engine worked. So naturally, I decided that I was going to figure it out.

The next couple of years I had various and assorted adventures working on that PC. Changing the hard drive, figuring out how BIOS worked, power supply changes, memory upgrades … I wasn’t going to call anyone or take it anywhere to do stuff I could figure out on my own. But one day, my faithful PC finally gave up the ghost. And once I figured out what it would take to fix it, I decided it had enough mileage and it was time for a newer PC. But try as I might, I could not configure the PC on Dell’s website that I wanted. I was either going to pay too much and get a bunch of stuff I didn’t want, or pay what I wanted and have to compromise. So there I sat, irritated as hell with Dell, thinking about what to do next. And then it occurred to me … why am I paying Dell to do something that I can do on my own? So I grabbed my keys and drove to Tiger Direct.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say that there is something therapeutic in the art of creation, but you’ll probably not understand how it can relate to building a computer. It can be a bit intimidating … I mean after all, have you looked in there? Cables, cards, drives, ports … there’s a lot that can go wrong when putting a PC together; I won’t scare you with the story of the CPU that came with bent pins. But you’ll have to believe me when I say that there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with hitting the power switch for the first time and the thing actually does power up. Knowing that you actually built what YOU wanted as opposed to settling for what’s available online for the best price is a feeling of great satisfaction. AND unless you didn’t do your research, you’ve saved a nice hunk of change in the process. Dell won’t see another dime from me. Well, maybe for a monitor … they make (rather sell) really nice monitors.

I had the foresight of buying a nice size case, and since it’s “birth”, I’ve had a bad case of “upgrade-itis“. I’ve changed the processor twice, added liquid cooling for the processor, put in a bigger power supply than the original, more drives than I actually use … I got the bug in a huge way. How bad have I been bitten? I’m already mentally planning my next build. After all, I’ve pretty much maxed out the motherboard I have now, so what choice do I have but to start over? I tell you, this Geek life is rough … really, really rough …

Talk to you soon!

Freddy C.

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