Saturday, July 05, 2014

My son David built a gaming computer

This is the guest blog from my son, David Ahronovitz. As part of the summer program, David built a gaming computer, with the help of Scott Boughton, an extraordinary young man and fellow student at Sierra College, who is his tutor. Scott postponed going on to Brigham Young University to help David graduate in Mechatronics next year. Our family was left speechless,  when we learned his decision.

Scott works for Carole Watilo from Progressive Employment Solutions. Alta California provided the funding.

To fully understand this article, please read The Experiment.


My name is David Ahronovitz. During my summer 2014, I built my first computer. I named my computer Enermax. I gave its name because I found this on the computer case I used. The first motherboard that I tried to use was an Asus A55BM-E Motherboard with a MicroATX form factor. This motherboard was chosen because I originally planned on upgrading my 6 year old Lenovo K210. This old computer used the MicroATX form factor. However, I decided to build a completely new computer using the new motherboard and an Enermax case.

To begin building, I installed the processor. I used an AMD A10-7700k APU with Radeon R7 graphics. The clock speed for this APU is 3.4 GHz. I was careful not to touch the gold on the bottom as I placed it on the motherboard. I added heat sink compound to the top of the processor. I tried to attach the APU fan and it didn’t fit on the motherboard. I tried multiple aftermarket APU Coolers but none of them fit the MicroATX form factor of the motherboard. I just gave up and used the APU cooler that came with my processor and this finally worked.

The next part I installed was the DRAM. The type of DRAM that I used was DDR3. I installed two 8GB modules for a total of 16GB. I installed the power supply into the computer case. I used a 550 Watt power supply. The power supply fit perfectly into the case and I secured it with a few screws. After the power supply was installed, I placed the motherboard into the case. Once the motherboard was secure, I plugged the power supply cables to the APU and the main motherboard power connections.

The computer had the basic components to run POST at this time. I connected the front panel wires so I could operate the computer and I turned the computer on. The computer passed the POST sequence. Since the basic configuration worked I added the Blu-ray drive, Graphics card, Wi-Fi adaptor, and the hard drive. I rebooted the computer and I started to install window 7. Everything work correctly except my motherboard did not support USB 3.0. I wanted a USB 3.0 so I decided to get a different motherboard.

The new motherboard I bought was an MSI A88X-G45 GAMING motherboard. With this new motherboard, I also purchased a new graphics card the MSI GFX 750 TI. This new motherboard supports up to 8 USB 3.0 ports and can use up to three graphics cards. It is also designed to be overclocked to make it faster. I have not used these features yet but this will allow me to upgrade in the future. I removed the MicroATX motherboard that was in the case and replaced it with the bigger and better MSI motherboard. I reconnected all the cables and hardware, and then I turned the computer on. The computer ran for a few minutes but during the updating processes it shut down and would not POST.

 I called MSI support and after talking to them they told me to return the motherboard. I removed the motherboard and exchanged it for a new one. I reinstalled the new motherboard and it passed POST but would not load the operating system. I discovered that there was a bad cable between the motherboard and the hard drive. I replaced the SATA cable with a new one and the computer worked. After about 20 hours, a few trips to FRYS, and great support from my parents and mentor I can finally say, “I built my own computer!”


After I put the computer in my room I bought some new speakers for it. I got the Logitech speaker system Z623. These speakers provide a nice sound and I feel like I’m at the movie theater. Since my computer was a gaming computer I also bought a gaming mouse and keyboard. These were also from Logitech. The keyboard is black and the lights are red. The keyboard is a G510s and the mouse is a G400s. Both of these came with software to help them be game specific. I played a star wars game to test them and they work great.  

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