Project Abacus 0.1: Setting Criteria

My first project, Abacus, will be building a PC, so this post is about defining its purpose and deciding on features or any other criteria that are important. Future posts will be about selecting the parts, assembling them, and installing operating systems and other software.

The primary goal is to build a shared PC:

  • It will function as a main hub for sharing information throughout a home network.
  • It will be connected to the TV, making it more convenient to stream videos directly.
  • It should be easy to navigate from a distance, like from the couch.

The following aspects are the most important ones I’ll be keeping in mind while selecting parts:

  • Because it has to fit in the TV stand, I’ll be working with a small size. The case and all of the computer’s components have to fit inside a 10cm x 50cm x 30cm space.
  • I want the computer to be fairly quiet and not create an intrusive noise, so any fans and coolers should be pretty silent or passive.
  • It should have the potential for expansion later on, with space for better RAM or an advanced graphics card.
  • Since I won’t be using it for any intense video or image editing work or for gaming (at least not for the latest kind of specs demanding games), the processor should be reasonably powerful but doesn’t have to be extremely advanced.
  • Bluetooth connectivity will be important for a future navigation system.
  • Having a USB port at the front of the case (to connect HDDs or USB sticks to) would be very convenient.
  • I want to experiment with a Linux operating system, so I’ll be aiming for dual OS installation.

Building a computer is a really simple and accessible (in terms of money, time, and effort invested) way to gain a broader depth of understanding for computer hardware and electronics, particularly when it comes to how they fit together and what makes them work. I’d like to use Abacus as a basis to later on expand my knowledge of home networks, Linux, troubleshooting, and hopefully use this experience to build a much more powerful gaming PC later on.