Building a child’s first gaming PC
With Elijah’s birthday coming up, Pam and I decided that it was time for him to start using a PC of his own. Building a child’s first gaming PC, we both wanted a machine that he could use for school and for gaming. Laptops don’t have much room for upgrades in the future so we had to go with a desktop setup. I decided that a budget system was the way to go for him, especially since he currently has an affinity for Minecraft, Roblox and science videos on YouTube.
So onto pcpartpicker.com I went and started choosing the parts. At this point, I decided to go with an AMD Ryzen build. AMD is known well for building systems on a budget. Plus people all over the internet seem to be going head over heels over Ryzen. I decided not to buy an OS only because I had an extra copy of Windows 7 that was unused. I was so glad that I managed to compile a build that was under $500. Below is the parts list that I’ve selected.
|CPU||AMD – Ryzen 3 1200 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor||$109.88 @ OutletPC|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte – GA-AB350N-Gaming WIFI (rev. 1.0) Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard||$113.89 @ SuperBiiz|
|Memory||Crucial – 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory||$36.89 @ OutletPC|
|Storage||Seagate – Momentus Thin 320GB 2.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive||$30.90 @ Amazon|
|Video Card||Zotac – GeForce GTX 1050 2GB Mini Video Card||$112.99 @ SuperBiiz|
|Case||Cooler Master – Elite 130 Mini ITX Tower Case||$45.88 @ OutletPC|
|Power Supply||EVGA – B3 450W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply||$46.26 @ OutletPC|
|Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts|
|Total (before mail-in rebates)||$511.69|
|Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-09-06 02:09 EDT-0400|
Once the parts arrived, it was time to get to work. The first thing I did was mount the motherboard I/O shield. Countless times where I’ve built systems in the past and forgot the I/O shield. I had to completely remove the parts from the case just to put the I/O shield in its place.
Putting the parts into the case was the easy part. Wish I could say the same with installing Windows 7. I was able to get to the install screen, however, two of my keyboards were not getting detected. I was not able to select “Install” to get the installation going. After doing some research online, I found out that I had to use a PS2 keyboard. So glad that Fry’s had a few in stock for less than $5.
I’ll admit, I spent about an hour around at Fry’s after I got the keyboard in hand. I can’t help it. I always have to look around. Once I got home I plugged the keyboard in and I was able to hit the “Install” button. Once the files were loading for installation, I hit another roadblock. After more research, it turns out that AMD does not support Ryzen CPUs on Windows 7. Additionally, Intel has also officially stopped supporting Windows 7 on the newer platforms. Specifically, USB support.
I did not know that building a child’s first gaming PC would get this complicated. Endlessly clicking on links, I was determined to get Windows 7 on Ryzen. Multiple sites directed me to try plugging the external CD drive to a USB 2.0 port. That didn’t work. Then I was told to do an unattended install. I’ve done it before in the past with Windows XP but with Windows 7 seemed tedious. I only wanted to install Window 7 just so I can upgrade it to Windows 10 via “assistive technologies“. Microsoft ended their “Get Windows 10” program last year at the end of July. At the time I was stubborn to upgrade. However, on my current gaming system, I’ve recently decided to upgrade on a whim using assistive technology just like how I planned on Elijah’s system. It turns out as I was digging around the internet, that I was able to use the product key that I had on my extra copy of Windows 7 to activate Windows 10. I knew what I had to download next. Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This download will create a .iso image of Windows 10 and copy it onto a USB drive. After running the tool, I plugged the USB drive into Elijah’s system and booted the machine. I then typed the Windows 7 product key that I had. SUCCESS! The installation was finally happening. Next step after installing Windows 10 was unpinning Microsoft Edge, install Chrome and update the latest drivers for the chipset and GPU.
So what did I learn the struggle from building a child’s first gaming PC? Well, I learned that Intel and AMD still hate each other, keep a PS2 keyboard around and to do my research on CPUs especially if it hasn’t been a year since release. Now the next thing to do is teach an 8-year-old how to use Windows 10. Or not, kids usually figure things out by themselves, right?
Building a child’s first gaming PC doesn’t have to be hard and it gives you room to upgrade as they grow.