Building Helvetica

I work with computers all the time, but usually just on the programming side… I don’t often get to mess around with hardware much. Especially not since I switched to laptops for my personal machine about 5 years ago… much less potential for fiddling about inside. (I used to do a lot more. My first PC lasted me coming up for 10 years but during that time almost every component was replaced and upgraded at least once. In the end literally the only original parts left were the case and the keyboard. I’d probably still be using it now if I hadn’t decided I wanted something portable instead).

So when Gavin asked me to help him assemble all the bits for his new video editing computer, I was actually quite excited.

Why “Helvetica” you may ask? Isn’t that a font? Well yes, but it’s also this…

The Helvetica Scenario

…which is way cooler and more bonkers. (If you’ve never seen “Look Around You” before, you should check it out because you’re in for a treat… it’s one of the most awesome things ever).

The parts all arrived speedily from Amazon, so Alex and I took a trip through to Glasgow last night. There, being careful to ensure there was no possibility of the Queen Atom leaving the nest, we set about putting it together.

I love the over-the-top, way too exciting names they give all this stuff. “Alpine”, “Freezer”, “Sabertooth”…

… but the name of the RAM has to be the best of the lot.

(I’m not very sure that “vengeance” is really what I want from the memory in my computer. I think I’d prefer it just to be solid and dependable, so if it was up to me I’d probably name it “Mahogany” or “Concrete” or something. This is probably why I don’t work in marketing).

The case looked very empty apart from the bundle of front panel connectors inside, and the rear cooling fan.

The power supply was the first thing to go in. I love the big fans, they’re so cool. Some people think they suck, but in my opinion they do the opposite ;).

The motherboard was the hardest thing to install. But after a bit of cajoling, it was in place.

Always use an anti-static wrist strap.

And then we hit the problem. We knew there’d be one. There always is when you try and plug a load of separate bits together. We just hoped it would be something more minor than this, like maybe a missing screw or, oh, we forgot to buy thermal paste.

Little processor, big socket. Oops.

We learned too late that not all Core i7 chips will fit on all motherboards that say they support Core i7 chips. So Gavin looked up Amazon’s returns policy…

… while I got on with installing the RAM, hard drive and graphics card. That was as far as we could get today.

To be continued…