Distance Learning and Custom PCs

Welp! It came sooner than we expected but my wife and I decided it was time to shell out for our kids to have their own computers due to Covid-19 and our city recently deciding to go with 100% distance learning.

Now that the new school year is upon us, we noticed that our 3 youngest needed to be ready. We decided that getting pre-build machines would either be too expensive or not diverse enough to upgrade down the line. Lucky for my kids (and my desire not to deal with ridiculous warranty challenges) I decided to build them custom computer builds and forego any possible scenario where I could not upgrade them later on.

One thing my wife and I noticed right from the beginning, is that we knew that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were going to deal with getting parts and hopefully on the cheap. Unfortunately, Amazon's competitive prices and convenience had already killed all our local stores where I would find quality parts for cheap. Fry's Electronics is basically waiting for its last nail on its coffin and Best Buy stores were clearly depleted from quality parts at fair prices.

But, I swallowed my pride and took the risk of buying computer parts from Amazon, despite the recent out-of-stock and missing Prime options. I did get to find some pretty good deals still and ordered all of my parts for 2 separate builds for my oldest and middle daughter. While crossing my fingers that I received functional parts on delivery day, I made sure that I had double-checked and triple-checked everything that I would need. I was confident, so I waited for my parts to be delivered and began building them with my daughters.

I tell ya! There's nothing like a brand new build when it just works the way you put it together. Once all the parts were screwed in and power was fed, we crossed our fingers and hoped for a boot. We were excited to see that indeed we had done it, first try! Now, it was the gruesome task of getting a quick OEM key for Windows 10 Pro and starting to load all the programs and parental controls I needed to make sure the kids stayed on task for what the computers were meant for (at least until their homework was done).

8 hours later, and we had every checkbox checked. Full HD TV as a monitor to be able to switch inputs back and forth between our Google Chromecast ecosystem. RGB fans, keyboard and mouse, because daddy doesn't skimp on the necessary style points, 8-core Ryzen CPUs to make sure there are plenty Ghz to spare for extra curricular gaming. An NVME SSD drive to make sure they have no excuse to quickly load their school programs. And plenty of DDR4 sticks of RAM (2 x 8GB 3200) to bring it all together for a pretty solid build that leaves room for plenty future upgrades when their grades prove deserving.

Don't worry, I shared my STEAM library with them using family share and we all have a private family discord when they want their daddy to play ROBLOX with them or maybe some Portal 2. All in all, I have to say, I'm really proud of our girls of how good they have done this last year and pandemic or not, they have taken this whole scenario with grace shown strong resilience against letting it get them down.

So here's to a weird and crazy school year. I hope these new custom computers help them out.

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