Building a PC: Style or Substance?

    Building a PC

    I have a passion, and the T-shirt to prove it, for building computer systems; systems with substance.

    This passion of mine began as a child, as I was infatuated with anything related to technology. With my trusty Commodore 64-and a television that resembled the helmet of an astronaut, I started tweaking things at a very young age. Nowadays anything with the ‘Gaming’ moniker attached to it seems to equate to products having to be flashy and infested with superfluous features like RGB colour-changing bars.

    Long gone are the days of every peripheral being offered only in beige, but it begs the question: Have we become so infatuated with style that we have given up on substance?


    I am not going to lie to you, I have always been partial to the style side of things when it comes to my own PC builds. In the mid 90’s I experimented with cold-cathode tubes and homemade plexiglass windows for a few of my early builds. They turned out decent enough, to the point that friends and neighbours wanted me to start building ‘custom’ systems with some style for them as well. Keep in mind that back then, anything that was not beige was considered relatively exotic in the PC world.

    Fast-forward to 2017 and HOLY RGB BATMAN, almost every PC-related item you can think of comes in a variety of colours as well as lighting choices. Nowadays if your #Battlestation doesn’t have an aura of colour surrounding it, then surely you must be doing it wrong?





    Now do not get me wrong, most of these ‘flashy’ parts, like the items seen above, are indeed high-quality components. The problem however is that these items carry a premium price due to their aesthetic flair. RAM for example is relatively expensive to begin with, but the prices of non-RGB RAM sticks can cost less than half the price of their flashy brethren.

    I have recently witnessed acquaintances of mine purchasing components for their PC, based solely on how they looked. For example, when questioned what the speed and timings of the RAM they had ordered were, this person had no idea; “but it will glow in sync with my motherboard!” Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with having these beautiful pieces of artwork within your PC, but there is no sense having all that style if the substance is not there to back it up.

    I am not saying that a powerful PC has to look boring, I just mean that it is important to pay attention to what you are actually getting under those flashy lights. Choose your components carefully; ensure that those luminous new fans actually cool your PC enough whilst looking good doing it.

    Me personally? I like to have my cake and eat it too!



    AcuteJungle66 has been dabbling with tech ever since he tried improving the tape deck of his Commodore 64 back in the '80s. Tech and Gaming have both been interests of his for several decades, he holds Masters of Science in Advanced Internetwork Engineering and a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Cyber Security and Networks from Glasgow Caledonian University. As a proud Military Veteran who spent much of his life on 3 different continents, he is quite content being back home in Scotland; where he enjoys a much 'quieter' life these days as a College Lecturer.


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