How Landing a Dream Job Led Me to My Dream Rig

by Evan Wilbrecht

Imagine, for a moment, what it’s like to work at NVIDIA.

If you picture gleaming piles of high-end graphics cards piled on desks, NVIDIA-powered cars parked outside, and adorable dogs stopping by to say hello, you aren’t far off from at least my own corner here.

It’s been a dream come true since I joined the company a few months ago.

So when I jumped into this graphics utopia, I knew I had to build my own gaming PC.

Don’t laugh, but the height of my prior PC gaming hardware consisted of a generic ASUS desktop with a higher wattage PSU slapped in to power a GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. Yes, in 2014, I was gaming on a six-year-old GPU.

One  of us: when Evan joined NVIDIA he decided it was time to build a proper gaming rig.
One of us: when Evan joined NVIDIA he decided it was time to build a proper gaming rig.

Embarrassing, I know. If I was going to effectively represent NVIDIA, I had to build a proper rig.

One problem: I had no idea how to build one. The closest I’d come was “helping” a friend build a rig in college. We covered the CPU with thermal paste and it refused to boot for three days. Oops.

If I wasn’t going to let history repeat itself, I knew I had to, you know, actually learn how to do things the right way. Luckily, the GeForce team has an amazing resource for PC builders called GeForce Garage. So, armed with Garage instructions and a bit of advice from our resident experts, I settled on these specs:

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Black
Chassis: NZXT H440 (in green and black)
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark1
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) 1600
Power Supply: SeaSonic X-1250
Storage: ADATA XPG 256GB

Owen WilbrechtIt was a torturous three days waiting for my components. But everything arrived without issue, including, conveniently, my brother Sean, who had flown up from Southern California for the weekend.

Vaguely promised plans of exploring San Francisco were immediately forgotten in light of the glorious task ahead of us. Sean and I have always bonded through gaming, so he enthusiastically lent a hand in building my rig.

Thanks to GeForce Garage, actually putting the rig together was easy – until I tried to get my fan LEDs to light up. For some mysterious reason, when the rear 140mm fan LED is connected to power, the whole PC refuses to boot.

So I ask you, any idea why this happens?

Besides that troublesome fan, putting together the PC was a piece of cake. Sure, Sean installed the fans backwards a couple times, but overall he was a big help. Within a couple hours, we had installed the beautiful behemoth that is the GTX Titan Black and were having a blast playing Borderlands 2.

Evan Wilbrecht rig Borderlands
Testing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on my rig with a 4K monitor in the office produced stunning results.

And that’s really what I took out of building my own rig. At the end of the day, it’s not all about speeds and feeds*. It’s about the things this high-powered gaming PC lets me do: like spend quality time with my little brother.

So this Thanksgiving, when I load up Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel with 4K DSR and introduce Sean to the low-gravity world of Elpis, I’m going to stop for a moment and give thanks for gaming.

May your frame rates be high and your temperatures low.

* But let’s be honest, it’s at least a little about speed. My GTX TITAN Black can hit a stable boost clock of 1,250MHz at 74° C when overclocked – a 29 percent boost.