How a Nine-Year Old Girl Built Her First Gaming PC

July 20, 2015 | By NZXT | PCDIY

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We all remember building our first PC. Whether it was a beastly rig or a junky hand-me-down doesn’t matter. Every builder looks back at this glorious experience with nothing but fond memories about using our own hands to create something special.

Recently, a Reddit user by the name of Rathkeaux posted a question in the r/NZXT subreddit that caught our attention:

“ Is it possible to purchase the support bracket for the NZXT S340 all by itself? I really like the look of the red support bracket but I want it in the black glossy case and I don’t really want to have to purchase both cases.”

Normally, such a simple question is handled by our excellent customer support team but this was an exception. Rathkeaux wasn’t asking for himself, he was asking for his nine-year-old daughter who recently built her first PC using on of our cases.

And after looking at her computer, we wanted to know more about her and her experience building her first PC.

This is the Story of  Kagome and Her “Monster High” S340

I built my first computer in 23 years in the summer of 2014, the last time I had helped build one I was 10 years old and it was an old 386 PC. That computer – and the Apple IIe before it – provided my brother and I with countless hours of gaming enjoyment when we were young.

When my brother’s aging Linux box crashed, he needed a replacement right as I was assembling the parts for my first build, so that build was repurposed for him.

I started my build in the Fall of 2014 and it slowly became better and better over the next few months.

As it grew so to did my pile of spare parts, and that, coupled with my eight-year-old daughter’s recently expressed desire to play Minecraft with me, inspired us to see if we could build her a usable computer on a fairly meager budget.

I wanted her to have those same fun gaming moments that I had experienced at her age.  

I first came across the awesome case that would become central to the build while  browsing my local computer store. The shining glossy white NZXT S340 just begged to have some decorations adorning its monolithic sides.

How a Nine-Year Old Girl Built Her First Gaming PC

Hardware Hunting

Initially we were going to let her paint it and use dry erase Sharpies to doodle on it, but that all went down the drain when I found some “Monster High” vinyl decals online. She is an avid “Monster High” fan and this was the perfect way to incorporate that into the build. I ordered the decals and we took a family trip to Altex Electronics to let her buy a case.  

I had already price matched the S340 vs, several online stores and they were competitive so I wasn’t too worried. I really wanted to make at least this part of the buying process meaningful for her. We walked back to the case aisle at the back of the store and her eyes lit up when she saw the white S340 standing among a row of its much more drab fellows. That made me particularly happy because it was the case I wanted to build in from the start. We took it home and took stock of what parts we had and what else we needed.  

All told we had a 22″ LG TV, an AMD FX8320 processor, an old Diablotek 750W PSU that frankly still worries me a little, a couple 2GB sticks of 1333 DDR3 RAM and a 250GB HDD. Kagome and I  went online to find everything else we needed: an ASUS M5A97 motherboard from eBay for $23 USD as well as a generic GTX 500 GPU that had no details whatsoever but it was cheap!

I soon realized it was a  PNY GTX 560 so it ended up being a decent deal at $25 USD. We found a cheap white keyboard and mouse set off of Amazon and I scrounged another 4GB of 1333 DDR3 RAM sticks off of r/hardwareswap and we were ready to build!

She still didn’t know about the planned decorations and was fairly interested in all of the parts but keeping her attention on anything can be a challenge. We setup on the kitchen table and ran our open case test before the hodge podge assembly of used and old pieces coughed life into the S340.

The initial build was rather uneventful. She applied the thermal paste, clicked the RAM sticks into the board, and seated the graphics card. I did most of the cable routing and put the CPU cooler on.

The NZXT S340 was a pleasant surprise to build in. With its grommet free cable management bracket and nice power supply shroud, even with a non modular fire-waiting-to-happen PSU everything went in smoothly. Sadly, after the build was complete, it was well past her bedtime and she had school the next morning. After she was in bed, my girlfriend and I busted out the vinyls  and began the arduous task of applying them all in every nook and cranny of the NZXT S340. When we were finished we boxed the case back into it’s original box and hit the sack ourselves.  

The Finished Build

How a Nine-Year Old Girl Built Her First Gaming PC

The next day when she came home from school we unveiled the decorated case to a chorus of excited squeals and it was time to set up her computer desk.  After a somewhat quick download of Feed the Beast and  Kerbal Space Program she was ready to begin her new life as a PC gamer!

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All told I spend around  $175 USD out of pocket for this build and most of the parts were taken from other builds had grown tired of them.

However, like most first time PC builders, she discovered over the subsequent months that all was not well in her little gaming box. The poorly-rated power supply was playing havoc with the eBay graphics card and one of the RAM sticks was not being recognized by the motherboard anymore!  

Once again, /r/hardwareswap came to our rescue with 4GB of Red Corsair RAM, and an equally red MSI GTX 770 graphics card that we got for $90 USD along with a little SSD. My brother bought her an EVGA G1 750W fully modular 80+ Gold rated power supply and she finally a had a computer worth being proud of!

Our final budget came out to $280 USD out of pocket for the computer over the course of 6 months or so. Of course, now we’re repainting her room to match it…something seems backwards here.

She mainly uses the PC to play Minecraft where she excels at getting killed by creepers and Kerbal Space Program where she excels at murdering legions of Kerbals. She also enjoys watching cat videos and reading comics.

Overall I think we both had a wonderfully enlightening experience building this computer together and hopefully we can do it again as she grows and continues to build more computers…and dare I say, maybe even grow out of “Monster High.”

But not matter what happens, one thing’s for sure: her NZXT S340 isn’t going anywhere!

On that note, her panda says we should stop typing and get back to playing Minecraft! Thanks for reading!

-Rathkeaux

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