Superman Builds a Gaming PC

Superman obviously reads S&V. Well, at least he reads this Signals column. Why else would he so specifically follow my suggestion, and then post about it on his Instagram page?

Let me explain. Alert readers will recall that last time, I wrote about the next generation of audio/video engineers, and how, in my estimation, the burgeoning cult of DIY gaming PC building was fertile ground for developing the skills those future engineers will need. And, by way of summary, I suggested that building your own gaming PC was a pretty cool thing, and you might want to try building one yourself.

Well, clearly, Superman, Henry Cavill, that is, read that blog and agreed that it sounded like fun. He ordered all the parts he needed and set to work building his own gaming PC. Naturally, since he is a show business kind of guy, he recorded his effort, and posted the video on his Instagram page. So, how did Mr. Cavill do? Let's take a look at his video, and find out.

The opening shot shows his array of components in their boxes. This shot is, in fact, de rigueur for anyone doing a PC build video. Interestingly, he took the time to blur out the manufacturers' names on the boxes. I think we can infer that this video is not a example of product sponsorship. He legit bought the stuff himself, probably placing his order right after he read my blog.

The manufacturers' names are blurred, but the boxes are easily identifiable. He appears to be building a PC with an AMD Ryzen 9 CPU, an Asus ATX motherboard, NZXT AIO (all-in-one) liquid cooler for the CPU, G.Skill Trident RAM, a couple of M.2 SSDs, RTX 2080 Ti OC video card, Seasonic power supply, and a Fractal Design case. All in all, those are deluxe selections, and should yield a very tasty rig. Incidentally, thumbs up on a well-lit, large and orderly workspace, and a fine toolkit. Ready to build!

Mr. Cavill begins by installing his CPU. We see that he has some trouble getting the chip correctly orientated in the AM4 socket. In all fairness, the socket is square, so it's not obvious. Mr. Cavil might be a first-time builder. Experienced builders would know that both the CPU and the socket have a triangle mark in one corner that guides you to the correct orientation. Fortunately, the chip and socket are also keyed, so only one orientation, the correct one, is permitted. After a few tries, he drops it in correctly, and locks it down. Good job! You know, maybe he knew the correct orientation all along, and was just creating some drama for his video. Actors. What are you going to do?

Next, he tackles the AIO cooler. Thermal paste is applied at the factory, so he correctly skips that step. He attaches the water block to the motherboard without any trouble. After checking the instructions, he spends some quality time with the fans and radiator, checking on various placement possibilities in the case, then after awhile completes their installation. He pops in the power supply and does everyone's favorite part – cable management. It's hard to get a close look at his all-black cabling, but overall it looks clean. Actually, looking again at the top photo with the good light on the back of the case, you can see some very tidy use of cable ties; I'm thinking this might not be his first build. He adds some case fans, then plugs in the video card.

And then, the moment of truth – it boots up! A decent amount of RGB color bling, but certainly nothing garish. Just right, in fact. Uh oh! What's the deal with the AIO? Not a functional problem, but the display on the water block is upside down. Some non-OCD guys would leave it, but Henry will have none of that. On some AIOs, you can simply rotate the block cover to orient the logo or display. Maybe this one doesn't allow that; Henry deftly pulls out the block, correctly wipes away the thermal paste from the CPU's lid, carefully trowels on new paste, and reinstalls the block with the display right side up. Success! Game on!

Alright – The Man of Steel has a pretty busy schedule, saving school buses from hurtling off cliffs and what not. And he just built his own PC. What's your excuse?

jeffhenning's picture

Let's go through it.

• If a big-time, Hollywood pretty boy with average intelligence can build his own PC, what does that have to do with becoming an audio/video engineer? Does building a PC help you understand choosing & setting up microphones? Does it give you an understanding of video compression? Does it give you a clue as to how to mix and master a song? The answer to all is, "No."

• That he's building the thing himself rather than just buying it or having a shop custom make it for him let's you know another thing: the guy has a lot of free time, he's cheap and rather stupid. He has more than enough cash to get the most powerful gaming PC made for him. The reason that gamers roll their own is because they can get the most bang for the buck making their own PC and they aren't millionaires. Cavill making his own and being so vain to make a video of it is pathetic on every level.

• Windows sucks! I have to use it on my Mac since I design web apps & sites and have to insure that they look the same on all browsers and platforms. Using Windows, after a few hours, makes me want to punch Bill Gates and Steve Balmer in the head... and take a shower. It's such a disgusting OS. If all you want to do is play games, though, it does offer the most titles.

• OK, the Idiot of Steel built his own PC. Did he show what his display(s) is? That's as important as the PC for conveying the gaming experience...possibly more. Since you didn't mention it, I'm assuming he didn't. If this was a car, he built the engine and transmission. You still have the body and suspension left. Of course, I doubt he could build a car or even change its oil.

• To show how lame Henry Cavill is, go to IMDB and look him up. He has no credits for anything, but acting. Even that imbecile Keanu Reeves has credits as a producer. If you get a producer or executive producer credit, that means that you have a bit of ownership in the production. You will keep getting paid royalties forever. Everyone seems to do that except for Henry Cavill.

So, given that fact and everything else I've mentioned, why is this dimwit or the act of building a PC so special?

Perhaps next, someone famous will make their own speaker cables, be stupid enough to put it on YouTube and you can offer up an item on that and ask why we aren't doing that as well.

Please do keep us up to date on movie stars doing mundane tasks in their down time.

funambulistic's picture

... the most severe case of Kal-El envy I've ever witnessed! Tell me, do you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about Cavill and just how "lame" he is?

jeffhenning's picture

Reading this article about a Hollywood pretty boy doing what a friend's 14 YO son did almost 2 decades ago with parts he bought from MicroCenter strikes me as being incredibly behind the curve. If I wasn't a Mac guy, I'd have been doing this 20 years ago as well.

As to Cavill, I'm amazed at his stupidity and vanity. A YouTube video about this is what I'd expect from a famous teenager that's in a boy band, not a guy that's 43.

If this doesn't prove he's an incredible lamoid, I don't know what does. But, I guess that the concept of buying PC parts and assembling them at home seems to be a novel concept to both Cavill and Ken Pohlmann. I'm actually more disappointed than anything. Envy doesn't factor into this at all.

Perhaps Pohlmann's next article can be about Jason Momoa building a Dayton speaker kit. Wow, building speakers at home! Who's ever done that?

Old Ben's picture

Jeff, what is your problem with this article? A follow up article about a celebrity doing exactly what was discussed in the first article is certainly relevant to the site. The article isn't displacing another article (as would happen in a print magazine). No one forced you to read the article. If it isn't your cup of tea, move on.

prerich45's picture

I've done this since 386 days. You sound like a MACboy(i). No problem with Mac's - they're just not the primary gaming platform. I'm a builder and tinkerer. I actually built a machine that served as my preamp - and got it pretty quiet too. It's a project that someone took up by reading an article on this sight. I say bravo (by the way - I would have removed the factory grease from the jump as I only use Arctic Silver). No need to dog the guy out. I think a lot of others would use MAC if they didn't lock you down to their hardware. That's why Linux took off as well. Projects like this could lead to building RasberryPi DAC's or venturing in and building an ICE power amp, who knows. Let's just celebrate him doing something with his brains and hands that he's never done just may lead to more.

prerich45's picture

Site not sight.

Biffstar's picture

You're response is clearly in envy or something else to have such a bad taste in your mouth.

The irony of your response however, is not lost.. For being such an Apple fanboy (I use Macs myself as well, but I don't bend over for Tim Cook) with your proclamations about how much Windows sucks, you're acting as if this is Henry's first computer. Pretty much EVERYONE in Hollywood uses Macs.

The novel thought doesn't seem to have occurred to you that he's building this machine strictly for gaming, while stick to whatever other computer he may have (likely a Mac) for everything else. You think this is his first computer ever? You naive fool. Your narrowmindedness is on full display here.

P.S. Neither Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer have been involved with Windows development for many, many years. Stick to being a typical ignorant Apple fanboy. You suck at being that though too.

prerich45's picture

Well said.

supamark's picture

You win for the most pathetic post ever hosted on the Sound & Vision site. Your prize? We're all laughing at you. ALL of us.

John_Werner's picture

Have at it. There's no particular skill-set beyond snapping Legos together. It's a "black hole" as it usually makes a budding mind into more of a zombie existence. I'm kind of amused that I wasn't tempted by the video game addiction as I was born in 1959. I did get hooked into early home theater and it was like chasing my tail as I was never satisfied for very long. This brings me to my honest thoughts that any kind of PC for gaming or home theater is either doomed to the dis-satifaction of the owner or dooms him to his awaiting zombie lifestyle. So I'm harsh...I don't really matter to anyone particularly so what. I have finally learned to embrace two-channel audio and watch movies that way too. The rest will eat your wallet and your mind for that fleeting wonder of whatever it is. I don't have 7.5 ears and I thank my Lord for that.

prerich45's picture

Lego builders will tell you that you never add an "s" to their product (as Lego is a proper noun a company). You should have said snapping together Lego bricks or blocks. Back to your post "There's no particular skill-set beyond snapping Legos together." Yeah...I've heard that before, until they mess up. Then people have to come see me. When a serious issue arises, they know where to go...and that's when techs may receive a gift or two. It's not a black hole to me - it's a good hobby. Even at work - my PC's last longer than anyone else. While everyone else is asking for a new PC every 2-3 years, Mine is almost 10 years old and still running strong...because I service it. When it's time for a new one - I'll run it until retirement more than likely. When there's a file that needs to be converted (video or audio), my machine is the "go to". That little hobby has kept me employed in a pandemic also. I'm thankful...ignorance can breed job security.