At computing club, Mr Palmen asked if we wanted to build a computer. We didn’t know if he was joking – it seemed such an impossible task. When we realised he was serious, we all got to work sourcing the components that we would need.
We found a great website (Eclipse Computers), and started designing the computer we wanted. We had a budget of £200. We all shared our ideas and voted for which computer we wanted. (For anyone technical, the specifications were – 4.2 GHz quad core AMD 10, 16 GB RAM, 1tb hard drive, DVD player & writer). Our chosen computer was then ordered.
I was called into the ICT suite a few days later by another member of Computing Club, and I saw a huge box – our parts had arrived, but we had to wait the rest of the week before opening it.
During the next Computing Club, we got to work building it. We saw the individual parts of the computer and began to assemble everything together. We began by placing the processor on the motherboard -I never knew how small the processor would be (half the size of a credit card). The fan then had to be clipped on top of the processor with heat transferring compound in between the fan and processor. Weeks went by, connecting cables up, and screwing components together. The last Computing Club came, and we only had one more lot of cables to connect – however these were very important cables – they were for the ‘on’ button. We were struggling to find where they go. With Mr Palmen’s help, we found the correct page in the instruction manual and connected them up. We were sure we had done everything correctly. We plugged it into the wall, and pressed the power button…
…nothing happened! We tested the power cable, and checked all the electrics. We getting slightly frustrated, but Mr Palmen checked all the wiring and he found a cable that was not plugged in properly. We still weren’t sure if it would work, but as we pressed the power button again, success – the red lights inside the PC turned on! The starting script (bootstrap code) appeared on the monitor.
We were all so happy. We had built a computer that worked! We all helped and contributed – we were a great team. We now need to install an operating system.
I would like to say a big thank you, on behalf of the Computing Club, and to Mr Palmen for allowing us to attempt such a challenging and expensive task. Also a big thank you to the school for allowing us to buy the computer components.
We have learnt so much in Computing Club, and the Year 8s will miss it as we move up to Freman College. Building the computer has been a positive and fantastic way to end such a great year.