Jonathan ES Lin
Life · Tech · Faith

My First Gaming PC

Sep 11, 2020

Building my first PC

At the ripe age of 32, I finally built my first gaming PC! Is this a quarter or mid-life crisis?

I started playing Call of Duty Mobile on iOS during the lockdown period, as a way to kill time (and escape from the dark realities of self-employment). I found myself winning the COD Mobile Battle Royale 20% of the time. So I thought, PC version of COD would be a better challenge with better graphics. Then I sought to build my own gaming PC to play COD Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Here are some pictures of the initial build:

Internals of the build.

Resolving issues with my build

I cheaped out on the case. As you can see, the HDD is in a weird position because that is the only built-in slot supported by the case without spending more on additional brackets. The main downside of this case is the lack of slots for intake fans (the HDD slot blocked the intake fan slot). So the case is really relying on negative pressure for intake, which isn't ideal but works well enough. There is even a gaping hole at the back in one of the motherboard slots (think I bought a defect case, hence the price). But ultimately the case has met my needs for a first successful build; it performed admirably for what I paid (RM99).

I also fell back on a lower-grade PSU (White), but SilverStone seems like a reliable choice irregardless of PSU grade.

The AMD CPU stock cooler performed miserably. In-game temperatures while playing Warzone were as high as 94°C which is almost unacceptable and downright worrying. Hence I decided to get a relatively cheap CoolerMaster Hyper 212 LED Turbo, which performed admirably for the price point. In-game temperatures were brought down to as high as 85+°C, but it hovered mostly in the 60-70+°C range 80% of the time.

The CoolerMaster Hyper 212 LED Turbo CPU cooler.

I simply did not cheap out on the fundamentals. The mid-tier AMD Ryzen 5 3600, along with 16GB 3200MHz DDR4 RAM and the GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card (albeit from a cheaper Zotac variant), ensures that the build will be good enough for the next 10 years or so.

Overclock

I managed to overclock the CPU with the help of the MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max BIOS. My current overclock limit is at 4.4GHz, I could not push past that without experiencing instability. Given that I'm typing this on a 2.5GHz 2014 MBP, 4.4GHz is actually quite awesome as far as raw CPU speed goes.

Price list

In total, the build costed RM3588 (865 USD), which is a very respectable price for the spec that I am getting.

Price list for my first PC build.

Why you should play computer games

As an aside, I think playing COD games have been good for me. It helps me to develop perseverance. When I started playing COD Warzone / Modern Warfare, I was getting killed left and right out of nowhere. After a while, I progressed from the bottom of the game leaderboard, up toward the middle, and sometimes at the top. I still suck badly, but it doesn't matter, I view it as continuous improvement.

I would like to carry this type of attitude towards life. Badminton also helps me develop this kind of tenacity. I have been doing rather badly in badminton games. But instead of quitting the game or feeling angry with myself, applying the same principle of trying and trying again has helped me to improve significantly in badminton recently.

I hope to apply this to more tangible areas in life such as in career and church (dealing with difficult people who make you want to quit), and in building software worth paying for (KanRails, PageDash, etc.). If I improve enough, maybe I can help make Malaysia great again, from a software domination perspective!

Additionally, in Call of Duty it is indeed heart-dropping to suddenly encounter an enemy out of nowhere while you are running around, or even just the expectation of that. Many things in life, including conflicts with people and stresses of additional burdens and demands, are to me rather heart-dropping and anxiety-ridden. FPS games like COD train me to cope better in real-life anxiety situations.

And well, some Christians reading this will still disapprove of my playing computer games. My response is to mind your own business and mind your legalism!

Disclaimer: I want to caution against games that just take over your life. Especially those MMORPG games where you walk around all day to farm. That's stupid. Even Fortnite seems to be like that. I like COD's definite start and end game boundaries. I only play at most 1-2 hours per day. Don't get addicted.