Building a New Computer


It’s been a while since I upgraded my personal work computer. My last few personal systems were from Shuttle – they make those cute toaster comps – and it has served me very well. However, I’ve decided it was time for something new and went looking in my garage for leftover computer parts.

In the end, I managed to assemble what you see in the above photo. The system is based around an Abit AW9D-MAX motherboard. I would have used an Abit Fatal1ty motherboard but the only one I had kicking around was made for AMD processors. The Core 2 Duo CPU is cooled by a monster Zalman heatsink and backed up with a NVIDIA 640 MB GeForce 8800 GTS video card and 2 GB of OCZ DDR2 memory. A 600 watt Zalman silent power supply (with heat pipe technology) supplies the juice. A SATA DVD writer and 500 GB Seagate hard drive round out the system.

The nice thing about building your own computer system is you get to decide what goes into it (or in my case, what I had laying around). There’s also the pride of building something yourself. I use self-built systems to show up my cable folding skills. However, since nearly everything is now SATA, folding a cable is a lot easier than the days of IDE. Another advantage to building your own system is the installation of Windows (Vista in this case). You don’t have to worry about all those useless software PC vendors like to bundle with their systems.

The Zalman Fatal1ty Case


The Fatal1ty case is completely modular. Every panel can be unbolted to allow for easy installation of the motherboard and other components. The case is extremely strong – I can stand on top of it and it won’t crush. All the panels are made from thick anodized aluminum. When everything is assembled, the system is pretty damn heavy. Not ideal for LAN party gamers.

The Finished System – Ready To Quake


Building the system took a lot longer than I expected. I spent nearly two hours just working on the wiring (I can’t stand messy wiring). The main thing people notice is the size of the Zalman CPU cooler. The thing is just HUGE! I haven’t overclock system yet but I sure it will overclock very high.


The Zalman Fatal1ty case feature warnings like the above in the view window, front intake and power supply area. They’re meant for fun and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Adding The Bling Bling


You can’t make a system this good looking and not add a light show. In addition to the red LED fans of the Fatal1ty case, the Zalman cooler and Abit motherboard light up the box with a bunch of blue LEDs. The effect it gives off when the house lights are turned down is pretty evil.

62 thoughts on “Building a New Computer”

  1. Always good when your computer also works well as a night light. 🙂

    1. Nomar says:

      lol I agree with you… I hate it when my computer shows me blue screens

  2. Shawn Knight says:

    Ah, the Zalman Fatal1ty case. I reviewed it a while back and wasn’t thrilled. You can’t remove all of the panels without voiding the warranty. I had issues with getting my CD drive to fit properly, and was not able to install a PCI card in the bottom mobo slot due to the case being designed poorly.

    I agree, the case is very heavy. BTW, the panels are aluminum and not steel. 🙂

    Looks to be a solid system that should easily last a few years. Now just get some overclocking in the mix and your golden! Game on!

  3. John the system is high performance and looks beautiful..I am thinking of getting a new system…I was thinking of more like walking into Best buy and picking up one of the following:

    $799 HP Core 2 Duo RAM:1GB HD:320GB
    $899 HP Athlon 64×2 4800+ RAM:2GB HD:320GB
    $799 Acer Athlon 64×2 4800+ RAM:2GB HD:250GB

    It does not have any fancy lighint, but i would like to have that. Whichof the above do you recommend. Also if i decide to build a system like your…how much will it cost?


    1. John Chow says:

      I would go for the Core 2 Duo but I would increase the RAM to 2 GB. Building a system yourself isn’t cheaper than buying a pre-made one. I do it because I like selecting my own stuff. Plus I don’t think any PC vendor uses a Zalman Fatal1ty case.

      1. Thanks John !! how much does a system like yours cos $2000?

        1. John Chow says:

          I have no idea. You can find prices on six of the items with the TTZ Media price boxes.

  4. blogdinero says:

    I like 500 GB too. when you will offer a beer john?

    1. John Chow says:

      Anytime you’re in Vancouver.

  5. I’m going to wait until next year to build a new rig. I can’t wait for the those quad cores to get dirt cheap.

    1. Adam says:

      Im looking down here in the UK…think its going to take more than a year though. 👿 :mrgreen:

  6. How much did you pay for all of this?

    1. John Chow says:

      Most of the stuff was free. One of the perks of owning The TechZone.

      1. Marc says:

        The profit being one of the other perks perhaps? 😀

      2. And to think you just happened to have these things lying around in the garage…you evil man, you! 😈

  7. Adam says:

    Thats one nice machine!! wish I had that 😛

  8. Chicago 2016 says:

    Geez, that thing’s pretty pimped out.

  9. As one who has two failing drives (in different machines) and had having to give up my speakers to the media machine I scrounged together for my wife I sure wish I had your garage LOL


    nice job

  10. It look mad 😈

    I hope it didn’t cost too much heh

  11. Ed Lau says:

    Only one HD? Geez…

    Your Zalman is small compared to my Thermalright. 😀

    1. John Chow says:

      My Zalman looks better. 😈

  12. Alex says:

    Use Ubuntu!

    1. Wahlau.NET says:

      hehe..i think i see a vista box

  13. Zlatan R. says:

    looking really nice 😎

  14. Jenny says:

    wow awesome.
    i’d never be able to figure out something like that. i are newbie.

  15. Tim Spangler says:

    You standing on top of your case would be an amusing picture post if you ever find yourself on a slow blog day. 😀

    I need to get around to building another desktop rig myself; my current one is pushing 6 years. First I want one of the new MacBooks, though. 😯

  16. Uly K. says:

    😯 Wow! The F1 version of your desktop PC!


  17. Tania says:

    I’m so clueless about building a computer! But this looks great. 😯

  18. john says:

    you must say the truth, your computer did not buy it, the company that sells computers gave the computer to him so that you do publicity to him, man lie 👿

    1. John Chow says:

      Where in the post did I say I bought anything? 😈

    2. Tania says:

      Whoever you are – using John’s avatar is not cool!Especially after my post! Some of us are real out here…

  19. Why did you only opt for 2 Gigs of Ram. You need 4! 😉

    1. John Chow says:

      OCZ was cheap. Only sent two.

  20. Moulinneuf says:

    So your going to offer your ex shuttle computer as prize ? ( what ? one man can dream big !! 😉 )

    What else is in your Garage that your not using ? Do you say Open Sesame before entering it ? 😀

    Abit Fatal1ty motherboard but no AMD CPU did you just not went to the Microsoft AMD gig ?

    That’s the one with a maximum of 8GIG of Ram right ?


    ( I am just too curious )

  21. Brown Baron says:

    Nice rig John. You’re right, that cpu fan is gigantic! I think I need a garage like yours 😆

    1. Sign me up for the same garage, too LOL! John’s garage is probably as cool as that PhantomPark contraption.

  22. Mjuboy says:

    Thats a nice machine you’ve got there!

  23. John, wondering why you didn’t use Linux as your OS… Do you like Linux at all?

    1. John Chow says:

      I use Linux where it belongs, on a web server. My desktops are all Windows.

  24. Travis says:

    Holy shit that looks awesome compared to my crap box 😐

  25. Leo says:

    Oooh, nice! My computer is approaching 5 years old and is in need of a major overhaul.

  26. Wow, that’s what I call a computer

  27. My computer is 2 months old but yours makes mine look like junk 😕

  28. Good computer work is very importanr these days. You have made a nice system.. 🙂

    1. Truly something to be proud of, eh. If I could come up with a sweet rig like that, I’d be mighty proud of it, too!

  29. tmhung says:

    My pc have 512mb ram , pentium IV T_T . Don’t have money to buy new PC

  30. Rea Maor says:

    “looking in my garage for leftover computer parts”
    Man… you ARE evil… if I’ll look in my garage the best I’ll find is a family of rats and maybe my old 386 with 14″ monitor.

  31. tmhung says:

    hehe . 386 is a good PC ^^! ( in world war ) hehehehhe

  32. Martin says:

    Only one problem with your system…..Vista its rubbush, I went back to XP after a couple months of using Vista.

  33. that’s some piece of mean machine

  34. Mark John says:

    WOW! that’s an elite computer you’ve got there 😉

  35. I wish I had the guts to put my own pc guts to gether! I figure I’d need a bit of hand holding at least the first time!


    1. I remember the first time I attempted such a feat. That was basically it, I guess — a failed attempt and nothing more, boo hoo. 🙁

  36. Tyler Ingram says:

    I have the Zalman heatsink that has the 120cm fan on it. That thing is huge, it over hangs the ram to help cool them too.


    I could always use a new system.

  37. Desi Baba says:

    wow, that PC looks as if it’s worth well around $2000

  38. Why Vista instead of XP and why do you need a case so strong you can stand on it? Home Depot carries very strong step ladders 😀

    ➡ Don

  39. A dual-purpose case CPU and a foot stool in one — I like it a lot. 😎

  40. All the best with your machine…it looks heavy duty and wel equipped!

    I personally used to do the same….I have always been a PC addict and kept building my own power machines, making sure they look sweet and they have powerful cooling systems and temperature gauge and and and…. until finally I Ebayed a QUAD CORE 3.0 INTEL XEON MAC RPO!
    I stuffed in additional couple of GB RAM and since then I am wondering why I have been bothering with PCs for all those years!

  41. That looks awesome. It must be cool to have so much hardware sitting around you can do this without planning.

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