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I built my first gaming PC about two years ago, right before COVID-19 and the subsequent supply chain issues it has caused. I spent about a month doing my research, handpicking part after part and component that would go inside it. I also watched far too many hours of YouTube videos, detailing how to put a PC together from scratch.
I knew nothing about putting a PC together, let alone one that I had invested nearly $2,000 into. But, after a few trials and tribulations -- and many, many swear words -- I succeeded.
Since then, my two boys have been asking (okay, begging) me to let them build a gaming PC. I kept telling them we would undertake the project when GPUs are easier to find, or at the very least more affordable.
About a month ago, NZXT reached out to me to let me know they were about to launch a new product called NZXT BLD Kit. Instead of selling a custom NZXT BLD gaming PC, NZXT would sell you a kit, complete with the tools and components you need to put together a gaming PC on your own. The Kit even includes all of the instructions, walking you through each step in a handy book, and if you needed a more visual demonstration, there are videos as well.
My boys and I have now completed the build, turning a pile of boxes into a gaming PC that they've enjoyed testing (it's the best part, right?).
You have a couple of options for an NZXT BLD Kit
NZXT currently sells two of its normal prebuilt BLDs that arrive at your door, completely put together and ready for use, marked as also available as a kit. The two builds are the $1,799 Streaming Plus BLD and the $1,499 Starter Pro BLD. They are both powerful enough to keep up with the just-released Halo Infinite multiplayer mode, Fortnite, or any other AAA game. NZXT even includes a list of games and the expected framerates based on the resolution you'll be playing at.
There's a complete spec sheet for each build on the respective page for each model, and you get to pick between black or white housing.
NZXT sent me a Streaming Plus BLD Kit with a white case. The specifications of that build are:
OS: Windows 10 Home
Processor: AMD Rizen 5 5600x
GPU: GeForce 3060 Ti
Memory: 16GB 3200 DDR4
Storage: 1TB m.2 SSD
Motherboard: B550 ATX
Power Supply: 650W Bronze
Warranty: 2 years
It's time to build
Once the rather large box with all the parts and pieces arrived, we started unpacking it and setting it all out on our workstation. We set aside the included tool kit and instruction book. Each box was labeled with a letter. For boxes with multiple items in them, each bag inside that box had a label with a corresponding QR code you can scan with your phone to get more information about it.
The instruction book, or as NZXT calls it, the Adventurer's Map for PC Building, uses those same letters and QR codes to guide you along through the build.
I won't bore you by going through each step of the book, but I will say this: The book isn't laid out like an IKEA instruction pamphlet. It's more of an interactive book that adds a cartoonish feel to the experience, thoroughly explaining each step along the way, complete with images that give you the general idea of the task at hand.
It's designed to make you feel like you're going through an ancient temple, exploring and discovering new artifacts along the way. It's a bit cheesy at times, but it's also very welcoming and approachable for first-time builders.
My kids, aged 10 and 11, both liked the general theme of the book. It kept them intrigued and entertained, all while learning which parts go where, and what they do.
The build starts with the motherboard, installing the memory, CPU, and SSD (that comes with Windows 10 preinstalled on it) and then moves on to installing different components inside the PC case, like the CPU cooler, PSU and where to run all of the wires for a clean-looking build.
There were only a few times that we had to reference the YouTube video for a section -- once when insetting the CPU cooling fan to ensure we had it rotated properly, and a couple of other times just to double-check that they had installed a component correctly. Other than that, the instructions in the book were thorough enough for us to follow them without any extra questions.
A few areas that could be improved
Having built a few gaming PCs myself, I appreciate the approach that NZXT took with simplifying the process of the build. More specifically, by preinstalling Windows 10 on the SSD that comes with each kit. However, part of the excitement of building a computer is turning it on for the first time and seeing the BIOS screen show up, letting you know you did everything right. The next step, then, is installing Windows 10 yourself.
If anything, I think there should be an option to have Windows 10 installed on the SSD or for NZXT to include a Windows 10 USB installation thumb drive to flash Windows 10 for a more thorough setup experience.
Another aspect of the build I wish NZXT would have included at least some detail on is that it's important to learn about your system's BIOS and what settings and features can and should be changed there. For example, out of the box the kit we put together wasn't set up to take full advantage of the system memory's speed. We had to go into the BIOS and turn that capability on. The only reason I knew to check it is from experience, but someone who just finished their first gaming PC would have no idea to check for that.
As it is now, the instruction book skips over the fact that the BIOS even exists. And if you did everything right during assembly, the first time you boot the computer you're going to be greeted by the Windows 10 setup screen. A welcome sight, no doubt. But not the first screen a PC builder would typically see.
Support is only a chat or phone call away
You're bound to run into issues whenever you're building a PC. I did the first time I built one, and I have every single time since. Including this one. The AMD processor that was shipped with the BLD Kit had bent pins out of the box. Bent pins are bad and are almost impossible to bend back and fix yourself. I tried, though. For about an hour. But I couldn't get the pins to line up properly with the socket on the motherboard to seat the CPU correctly.
I reached out to NZXT's customer service for the BLD Kit program and had a brand new processor with straight pins the next day. No questions asked. Even if I had bent the pins while trying to install the CPU, they would have exchanged it.
You can either chat with the support team online or call a customer service number if you run into any issues. Even if it's just not understanding any instructions and you need someone to help walk you through it.
What makes the NZXT BLD Kit so appealing is that you don't have to shop around for different parts and hope you get lucky in a GPU lottery. Everything is included, and it comes with a 2-year warranty.
If you're looking for a gift this holiday season, or something you can do as a bonding experience with a friend or loved one, consider building a gaming PC. I can tell you my sons and I appreciated the experience, which spanned a few weeks due to a broken arm -- but I think what my oldest son said as we were walking out of the room after completing the build sums up the experience nicely.
"I started this project as a boy, and now I'm leaving as a man." I think the entire project meant a lot to him, don't you?