I love building PCs.
First of all, It involves lot’s of studying: learning latest technology improvements in chipsets and interfaces, hunting best price/performance components and figuring out what kind of case is needed to make it silent and still performing setup.
Then, of course, the building process itself. It’s all about hardware, which is a nice change since I’m working mainly with pure software project nowadays. For example, it is always a nerve breaking moment when you glue and press your 300USD CPU into 150USD main board. It is possible to damage both in that process.
If you have seen those buildup reality shows in Discovery channel, you know in the end of the build there is that exciting moment when the bike/car is fired up first time. Same goes with PC build, there is that moment when you press the power button first time. You expect to hear those right beeps from motherboard, and see the BIOS setup screen appearing on the screen. All that hard work is either paying off, or then you end up wondering what an earth went wrong.
After a successful first boot, the next step is to learn if the setup is reliable. You run the computer 24h for days, run performance tests to push the chips into limits. What you don’t want to see is sudden power offs due to too high temperatures, or have any of the parts totally failing. Small things can become annoyance that need fixing, for example quiet but noticeable resonance sounds from the case.
In gaming PC build, next step is overclocking. it is all about getting the best performance out of the CPU and graphics chips. It is pretty much same thing than getting a performance tuning into your car, the only difference is that you decide how much do boosting and take all the responsibility. You need to find a good balance between the gained performance and the drawbacks. Drawbacks include increased noise (more energy consumed, more heat produced) and possibly reduced reliability (hangs/breaks). You need to take the risk that the overclocking reduces the component lifetime.
In the end, it is highly satisfying to have a working PC that you have done yourself. You can hack it anytime, change components and so on. Usually, you also save few bucks doing it yourself. However, prepare to spend countless hours on Internet discussing forums if you choose this path!
Good luck with your PC project!
Check out my Small Gaming PC Build article!