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Assembled, checked 3 times, switched on AND....!

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February 5, 2006 3:03:14 PM

Hi everyone
You've guessed – it didn't work! Yes I took 2 weeks just over putting everything together so carefully and with plenty of light, anti-static wrist-strap, earthed to ground and checked about every 30 minutes!! Despite this I need your kind help, because it SWITCHED on and did basically very little else. There was no smoke, or burning or anything like that so perhaps that is OK! And then of course as is usual I PANIC – because that is what we are supposed to do right? I did not let you down on this point.....!! What money I spent – Oh dear, etc. etc. going through my head and then – “ah there is Toms Hardware Forum”.

But before contacting you I did do some good homework myself, so I did try but I have not got the expertise to take it further. I read through lots of the postings and got quite a bit of “what to do next” help and followed it all. So apologies for the long posting, but I am hoping that all the info will help you to help me and thanks in advance for all your usual assistance.

Basic setup is as follows:

Motherboard – Intel D955XBK
Processor, Heatsink and fan – Intel 3.40 GHz Pentium 4 - 2MB L2-Cache 800MHz FSB
2 Maxtor SATA Hard Drives 250MB each
1 Mitsumi Floppy Disk Drive and card reader
Intel's own Front Panel USB/IEEE 1394/ Audio Solution
2 x 1GB of matching Crucial Memory modules
Logitech keyboard PS2
Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical PS2
IIyama 19” Flatscreen monitor – Prolite E483S
HP DVD640 Lightscribe DVD ROM drive
Enermax PSU Noisetaker EG701 AX-VE(W) 600W
Lian-Li Aluminium case PC6077
Graphics card is the Asus Extreme AX550 Gamer Edition PCI Express (in x16 slot)
Fans are (2 in the Enermax PSU)
1 in the roof of the case
2 at the rear of the case
2 in the front of the case
1 on the Asus extreme AL550 graphics card
1 on the Intel Heatsink module

So what I did in the order of things after making sure all power and IDE/Floppy connectors were in place follows. One small point, no LED lights at all in the front panel came on and I realised from reading a posting somewhere that I had probably put the pins on the wrong way round. I had – so I reversed them and then the Blue Power on/off led light came on. But no other ones at all lit up, despite correcting the way round the pins had been assembled.

1.Ignored computer for a while, plugged in Monitor and switched it on. It naturally came up with a message of “No Signal”, which is to be expected. But at least the monitor functioned and I left it on for about 3 or 4 minutes. Then switched it off.

2.Connected monitor to computer, connected keyboard and mouse. Inserted the power supply lead to computer and plugged in to wall socket and switched the monitor and computer on.

3.What happened? Motherboard GREEN LED came on. 9 Fans all began spinning. Monitor indicated “No Signal”. There were no LED lights indicating at all in the front of the machine.
No burning smell or anything like that. The 2 SATA hard drives appear not to spin and to repeat the DVD-ROM drive indicator did not light up either. Basically to me who is uneducated in these matters – it seemed as if the processor/motherboard were not being able to pass the usual messages and checks around.

4. I got in touch with your Forum and read a number of postings on similar issues. As a result – this is what I did.

But just before I do that, let me mention something. When I first connected everything I made sure that firstly the screws that secured the board were carefully installed and was helped in this by the fact the Intel board has an area around each screw, keeping it safe from the board itself. To avoid grounding issues. Nevertheless I still looked between the metal to which it is attached and the underside of the board itself, best I could to ensure no bits and pieces, screws or wire or whatever were present. All looked OK in that respect.

Also I triple checked all connections such as power and floppy connectors, SATA cables and so on were all firmly in place. With regard to the leads for the Intel's own Audio solution they come with very clear labels indicating where each of the 4 color coded connectors should go on the board.

OK these are the checks I did in the last 4 hours following reading the postings on the forum here.

1.Removed each memory module in turn and replaced, testing at each stage. (NO CHANGE)
2.Removed Asus Graphics card and replaced firmly, tested. (NO CHANGE)
3.Removed Heatsink and Fan assembly.
4.Removed Processor and carefully replaced.
5.Replaced Heatsink and Fan assembly ensuring locking pins were firmly in place.
Tested. (NO CHANGE)

So to a beginner like me it seemed the only thing I had not done and truthfully would rather not do because of the extreme care I took in securing the board – is to remove all the mounting screws and replace. Because as I mentioned above it is very unlikely that the screw head would ever touch the delicate parts of the board itself.

I do realise you should keep things simple and always look for the most simple solution first and I did try to do this. In fact down to making sure that the power supply leads to both monitor and computer were firmly in their sockets. Also I took out the D-SUB mini 15Pin connector (VGA) in both monitor and computer and replaced to ensure these were OK too.

So – come on all – please do not tell me either the Processor or the Board are failing, because that would be a problem in 2 areas. (a) The aggro to get things replaced! And (b) I wouldn't know how to check which one or both are faulty!! Lets hope it is the most SIMPLE solution works in the end.

Thanks and I will take 2 pills for my headache and pass it over to the brains...! One day I will report a working computer – how's that for “can do” attitude! If this does eventually get cracked then I hope it will help many others that experience exactly the same difficulty as I have at present. That is one of the reasons for this long posting. Hope you don't mind this.

David :?

PS Incidentally there were no BEEPS at all from the onboard pizo speaker. Could you let me know if a Graphics card was not connecting correctly, would this mean the computer board would not be able to fire up in any fashion? i.e LED lights for DVD-ROM and SATA hard drives etc...
February 5, 2006 3:47:31 PM

Try clearing CMOS (Instructions in the motherboard manual)
February 5, 2006 3:54:45 PM

Sounds to me like a dead PSU, ar atleast a dead rail.
Related resources
February 5, 2006 4:07:24 PM

If your not getting post beep but lights and fans, you've got good power. Its hardware related. Probably to do with the HSF. The Socket 775 can be tricky to get the stock HSF seated right. Its crucial to ensure it is to or you will have problems with it. I would take craftmans advice and clear the BIOS first. If that doesn't work, reseat and make triple sure that fan is seated good on that processor. Also, make sure the fan is plugged into the right connector on the MB making sure, its connected good on those pins. I know that sounds stupid but that is common and it happens to the best of us. While your there, make sure you've got both power supply connections on the MB connected.

I for one don't think you have anything bad there, just something simple that needs a nudge to get it working. Good luck and let us know what happens.
February 5, 2006 4:27:32 PM

Quote:
.....While your there, make sure you've got both power supply connections on the MB connected.

I for one don't think you have anything bad there, just something simple that needs a nudge to get it working. Good luck and let us know what happens.

Thanks so far to you all for your prompt help and I will go ahead and follow the advice. Just for the moment though - Have I done something really stupid?

Your advice "Luminaris" re both power supply connections...
I have only connected that large main connector next to the floppy motherboard connector. Should there be another one, because this could be the reason. I did not notice this!

This could be the WHOLE problem. I can't look at it for about another hour but will do so and later report back. In the meantime - many many thanks. Be in touch.
David
February 5, 2006 4:39:10 PM

yes, there should be a smaller 4 pin molex connector which should connect near the main power feed on the board itself. This supplies supplemental power for the CPU. Also commonly overlooked is the graphics card power connection. This will cause problems too however, my geforce cards have an annoying little buzzer that goes off if this is not connected properly.
February 5, 2006 5:35:49 PM

Still doesnt not justify the CD drives and HDD's not coming to life.
February 5, 2006 5:48:57 PM

do it simple man..

take the motherboard out of the case, on a non conductive surface as well as the PSU. plug it the CPU/FAN, RAM and video card. Power it on. you should see it post, then complaining about keyboard error or that no bootable devices can be found. Which is good, since you don't have any connected.

Go to this point and come back.
February 5, 2006 6:09:48 PM

Once i had a problem ressembling this .try to check the board battery if inserted correctly .I may not be able to help u but i hope that u dont lose anything.LAST option is to get help from a nearby tect.Its difficult for us to know exactly ze problem cause we dont have the rig in front of us.
February 5, 2006 6:13:20 PM

that's right because he's not even getting to post beep which I believe is a power issue. I had the exact same thing happen to my other P4 machine. Turns out, the processor wasn't seated good enough. No post beep, only a yellow light on the front of the case. As soon as I reseated it, everything came to life.
February 5, 2006 7:31:11 PM

A few other things that I thought of off the top of my head are:

One some newer MOBO's they actually require up to 4 power connectors, one being the 20/24 pin, one being the squared 4-pin molex and the other two are normally standard 4-pin molex connections that supply supplemental power to various parts of the MOBO. Make sure that you have all the connections in place.

Yes, the CMOS is very important, make sure you do clear the CMOS, and also make sure that the CMOS jumper (clear RTC jumper) wasn't moved/knocked off during setup.

If your MOBO has one, check to see if the power LED is light.

Something else no one mentioned, if you have a chassis intrusion detector make sure it is disabled, sometimes they will prohibit the unit from posting.

That’s really all I can come up with, without repeating what everyone else has said.
February 5, 2006 7:57:22 PM

Hi - Luminaris and others - many thanks to you all. It is getting a bit late now here in the UK 21:38 and I have been on it all day so think I will have to quit soon. However here is an update because you have all worked so well on my behalf. However I cannot keep up with all the suggestions at the moment but thank everyone for them anyway and perhaps will need them later.

That clue you gave me Luminaris about the extra power supply seems to have helped tremendously. At least now I get a message on the screen, and to assist I have put a picture on my Freewebs website where I am learning that too! The picture is of the message I got on the screen on booting up having put in that extra power supply connector that I had overlooked. It is at this link:
Screen message on boot-up Select Image number 1 and then menu choice "full screen".

No beep however at all on boot-up.
Also no messages on the screen that I expected, of its counting memory and perhaps showing - is it BIOS information and so on. But in the BIOS it seems to have all the necessary information on processor and the like.

With regard to LEDs on front panel:
The HP DVD-ROM light comes on.
The Blue Power on/off light comes on.
The hard disk drives red LED indicator comes on.
Keyboard lights up and works
NO LIGHTS FOR FLOPPY however.
The Microsoft optical mouse shows no LED red light (wonder if this works later).

It is a USB powered floppy and card reader combined and I have taken the +5V power feed from the USB 1 connector currently unoccupied with 10 pins available. Have chosen the connections Pins 2/4/6/8 which are Power +5V D- D+ and Ground respectively. The connection is the right way round too. Has this anything to do with it not showing the LED lights because of this type of power feed instead of the traditional floppy only power connection which I am familiar with in the past. This is the first time I have used a combined piece of equipment like this with a USB feed.

Nevertheless I pressed F2 to see if I could get into the BIOS and I could.
Boot-up order was for the DVD-ROM and then FLOPPY (so does that mean it does recognize it - and I might still have that connector the wrong way round and therefore the lights don't show?) Both "Maxtors" were recognized, and the Processor, RAM and so on.

So are we getting there between us now. Should I still perservere to get that Floppy and Card reader combined to show the light. Or is it good enough that the BIOS recognizes that there is a Floppy drive?

That's about it for tonight folks, and before I leave many many thanks for your help. Because without that comment about the 2 power supply connectors - it would never have got this far.

How soon now before I have to start with my operating system, Windows XP Professional SP2 or have I still got a bit to do with my hardware? For example:

I have got 2 SATA drives but I do NOT want to use RAID - however do I HAVE to install both RAID drivers for the BLUE and BLACK SATA connectors on the board despite only wanting to use them as 2 separate drives (currently connected to the BLACK connectors). I did notice that when I pressed Ctrl S as asked for on the screen initially to have a look at the Utility, it indicated that it was DISABLED. That is surely how I should leave it - yes? But perhaps I STILL have to put in those drivers. Ideas on this welcome.

I sort of feel that if I was to put in the Operating system disk, things would begin to work. Is that correct? Does it for example do my disk formatting and organising partitioning for me?

I suppose my very big error in not putting in that extra power supply may help someone down the line, and the checks I did try earlier may also help if they had not come across them before. I hope so..

Thanks again.
David :) 
February 5, 2006 9:06:40 PM

Quote:
I have taken the +5V power feed from the USB 1 connector currently unoccupied with 10 pins available. Have chosen the connections Pins 2/4/6/8 which are Power +5V D- D+ and Ground respectively.


I'm not following this: USB headers don't have extra pins. If you've got some left over, you're connecting to the wrong thing.

Also, the boot failure message is normal if your drives are new and unpartitioned, but it's not clear that your BIOS is even recognizing your SATA drives. Are they visible anywhere in the BIOS setup menu?

Finally, you DO need to install the SATA drivers during setup.

t-man
February 5, 2006 9:21:07 PM

Quote:

Finally, you DO need to install the SATA drivers during setup.

t-man


Humm... How come, a big company like Intel is not able to have native chipset support for SATA interfave when company like nvidia, SIS, ULI, VIA can all use SATA HDD natively without any drivers and that, for more than 2 years???

Is Intel screwing with their chipset now?

I don't think that, if correctly configured, he needs drivers for normal SATA operation.
February 5, 2006 9:21:29 PM

have the bios update through a floppy asap.
February 5, 2006 9:32:38 PM

Alright, thats good at least we're getting somewhere now. What that means is your BIOS is not registering or seeing your hard drive. What you may have to do is rearrange your BIOS boot order to read DVD ROM then hard drive next. That way you can load your operating system easier. It sounds as if your BIOS is not in the proper boot order unless I read it wrong.

So far, you've got power to the board and it looks good so far. What you might wanna do now that I think about it is go ahead and reset the BIOS. Make sure when you move the jumper, keep it on reset for at least 20-30 seconds for a good reset to take place. Reboot the machine and see what happens.

Still no post beep indicates a hardware problem. More than likely thats because its not detecting the hard drive. Check your IDE cables too and make sure they are not backwards. Usually what I do in these cases where theres trouble is go head and disconnect all IDE cables from the drives except HDD of course until I know the hard drive is going to boot up good.

Hope this works at least your getting closer man. Try these things and post back.
February 5, 2006 9:41:16 PM

Quote:
I have taken the +5V power feed from the USB 1 connector currently unoccupied with 10 pins available. Have chosen the connections Pins 2/4/6/8 which are Power +5V D- D+ and Ground respectively.


I'm not following this: USB headers don't have extra pins. If you've got some left over, you're connecting to the wrong thing.

Also, the boot failure message is normal if your drives are new and unpartitioned, but it's not clear that your BIOS is even recognizing your SATA drives. Are they visible anywhere in the BIOS setup menu?

Finally, you DO need to install the SATA drivers during setup.

t-man

Thanks Turtleman.
OK on this USB having extra pins. My combined Floppy and card reader says that it has to have a USB header on my motherboard to join its 4 socket connector to for it to get its power from. Now I have two blocks of USB headers each configured pin-out numbers 1 to 10 on the Intel Integration guide I have been supplied with at the time of purchasing the motherboard.Now one of the USB headers is populated with a connection from the Intel supplied audio front panel unit and as you suggest covers the entire header.

So all I could have to deal with in regard to USB unless I am missing something is the remaining unpopulated header. On looking at the plan it shows pins 2,4,6 and 8 as I indicated earlier. So I used them, because I could find no other source of power supply. The sockets themselves showed the same power indicators as the headers plan showed - so I used them. This was wrong then - is that what you mean?

I really don't know Turtleman, but I could find no alternative USB 4 Pin-out to use. So please let me know for sure if this is wrong and as I have no further alternative, should I forget this card-reader and go and purchase a basic floppy drive. Grateful if you could advice on this.

Puzzled as to where anyone would therefore find a 4-pin USB pin-out to supply this unit. But thanks for the observation and I wait to hear.

With regard to the 2 Maxtor Hard drives. Yes the BIOS indicated they were both present as it did for the DVD-ROM drive and the FLOPPY drive. It is just that the floppy drive LED did not light up.

Thanks for your kind interest in my problems. With regard to the RAID drivers. Would I first have to ENABLE the BIOS to install them, and because I do not want to set up a RAID system, do I then go back in and disable that section later. But in the course of installing the drivers would I have to set up "volumes" or whatever it asks for and subsequently just forget about them, and disable that setting?

Regards.
David
February 5, 2006 9:55:10 PM

Luminaris
Hi - No actually my BIOS seemed to be OK, when I pressed F2 and went to the BOOT section it showed the following boot order as default:

DVD-ROM (and later it stated that it was the HP model too)
Floppy Drive
then the 2 Hard Drives which it also identified as Maxtor.
(All this about the drives and of course no formatting has taken place, which I was therefore surprised to see) - but I am learning so this is all new.

I did check the above carefully. To me it seemed that the screen message was asking for some media such as the Windows XP Professional operating system. But this was just a guess.

So can you clear something up for me. This beep that keeps being referred to - does it HAVE to occur once if OK and more times if something is WRONG? I had been imagining that if you switched a computer on and all was well it would NOT beep.

I need help in clarifying this please.
David
February 5, 2006 10:04:03 PM

yeah, you should get at least one post beep to indicate a good BIOS boot. Any more than one, you've got problems. If the boot order is good and your floppy is coming up, check the power to it. If the IDE cable was backwards, the light on the drive would come up solid. Keep plugging away at it man.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 5, 2006 10:12:36 PM

"The 2 SATA hard drives appear not to spin and to repeat the DVD-ROM drive indicator did not light up either. Basically to me who is uneducated in these matters – it seemed as if the processor/motherboard were not being able to pass the usual messages and checks around. "

Power supply....

Get another, and ensure your Aux cpu pwr cable (4 pin) is connected to mainboard....
February 5, 2006 10:42:57 PM

Does your floppy connector happen to look like this?



t-man
February 6, 2006 1:27:27 PM

Quote:
How come, a big company like Intel is not able to have native chipset support for SATA interfave when company like nvidia, SIS, ULI, VIA can all use SATA HDD natively without any drivers and that, for more than 2 years???


Well, they don't, Pat. Neither of my last two mobos (both with VIA chipsets) had native SATA support: Abit AV8 and ASUS A8V-deluxe. Both are quite recent technology.
February 6, 2006 3:28:40 PM

Quote:
Does your floppy connector happen to look like this?



t-man

No - the one I was referring to does not look like that and to assist in this posting I have put up a link to my small learning Freewebs website and would ask you to look at images 1 through to 4 and select the FULL SIZE menu choice. Images for you to look at

But Turtleman - you are so right to have put that image there because that is precisely what I should have been looking at!! Let me explain - I have learned a lot today from a local Electronics shop where a man went into quite a bit of detail for me. Here is what happened...

He said that I had failed to grasp the important point that a combined card reader and floppy drive had 2 power requirements, the one was where I had placed the connection on the 10 pin out header. That operated the card reader and it had both power and data needs. Now he added the floppy also needed power which I had overlooked thinking because it was USB powered - that meant everything!! This is where your image comes in I believe - that is the connection I should have made to the back of the combined drive to power the floppy drive itself. So now I did that and it all WORKS!! Phew! Learning all the time...

So thanks again for taking the interest you did.

Now can I join in - but not contribute! because I do not have that knowledge in the discussion you were having with Pat on your last posting re SATA drives. Because I would like to be clear on all this. I have put a BIOS image I took on BOOT-UP for you to look at on the images I have referred you to. Basically the BIOS notes both my SATA hard drives as Maxtor and if I look further (which is not in the image) under some I believe advanced drive configuration - it currently notes them as IDE and not RAID.

Turtleman would this mean in fact that if I did not load any RAID drivers but just ignored the request to install them, that in fact my operating system Windows XP Professional would just treat them as 2 independent hard disks?

Another point that interests me is this. I read somewhere recently something to the effect that a one partition hard disk is better than a multi-partitioned one. Now if having got my hardware to work I believe possibly reasonably, I were to insert the O/S disk and format, when I come to partitioning is the consensus of opinion here that it would be better to just keep 2 separate disks each partitioned as one unit and use Folders to organise things? Or alternatively because partitions presumably keep things COMPLETELY separate, if something went drastically wrong on one partition you could have saved a backup on the other partitions and recover the situation.

Anyway that's it for the moment and thanks to EVERYONE who came to my aid. And as other people join the Forum and come across our discussions lets hope they benefit from all our chats.

Regards.
David :) 
February 6, 2006 3:50:28 PM

That black 4 pin connector is a firewire connector. Or it could be a USB connector. What you probably need to do now is load the operating system and yes, I've read that using dual disks in a raid setup can actually decrease performance in some cases.
February 6, 2006 3:55:43 PM

Intel puts things in their products like SATA support whenever they feel like it, not due to customer demand. Their design cycles are very long, and they can't respond quickly like the little guys out there. An article I read long ago in the RAMBUS dark days referred to the "Intel Ship of State", meaning a large ocean liner can't easily change course. That's why we were inflicted with the RAMBUS mess for so long.

Most USB mobo headers only use 4 pins, if there's a 5th one it's an extra ground for shielding, but unnecessary.

By the way, the metallic rings around the screw holes on the mobo are supposed to be contacting the screws for grounding purposes. (I didn't quite get if you were attempting to isolate them in the first posting, apologies if I misread)

Strip down your system to the bare essentials to set it up, rather than plugging in everything at once. Too many points of failure/contention.

Start with:
Mobo
memory
Power supply
one hard drive
one optical drive
one floppy if you need SATA/RAID floppy support (connect only the floppy cable and power, not the USB portion)
Keyboard
mouse

Get that happy with WinXP installed, then add one component at a time, let Windows discover the hardware, and get it fully happy before proceeding. If problems arise then you have a clue as to what's causing a problem, probably the new component or something earlier that the new item conflicts with. Or you're hitting the limits of the power supply, but I doubt that, it's a pretty beefy reliable PSU.

If this doesn't work, try to substitute a different power supply and see if it changes things. Then try substituting the above components one at a time with something comparable (if it's possible) to determine if you have a bum piece of hardware.

You might need to set up the system with a PATA hard drive first, (in which case disconnect the floppy drive for now) and get Windows happy with the drivers for the SATA and RAID hardware. Then copy the boot partition to the SATA drive using something like Partition Magic and then change it to be the boot drive and remove the PATA drive.

Good luck!
February 6, 2006 5:06:22 PM

That boot message about Media test failure is the network card attempting to find a remote PXE boot image. The message is that the NIC couldn't detect a network cable plugged in.

Usually the boot device of last resort is the NIC, it's sometimes used in large network environments or back in the old Novell days. If you have the ability to turn off PXE in the BIOS, or if there is a "press ctrl-h to configure the network options" or something like that, disable the PXE boot support, it's usually a pain in the ass anyway for home users. I have an IBM server (yuck) that I can't change the boot order to not go to the NIC, and it drives me nuts waiting for the PXE boot to time out and go ahead to boot from the hard drives.

What's happening relative to your problem is that the boot order has been exhausted, it didn't find a hard drive, floppy, CD, USB key, or anything else to boot from.
February 6, 2006 5:49:07 PM

Quote:
How come, a big company like Intel is not able to have native chipset support for SATA interfave when company like nvidia, SIS, ULI, VIA can all use SATA HDD natively without any drivers and that, for more than 2 years???


Well, they don't, Pat. Neither of my last two mobos (both with VIA chipsets) had native SATA support: Abit AV8 and ASUS A8V-deluxe. Both are quite recent technology.

I did install XP on a Chaintec summit kt800 VIA chipset on a SATA drive without drivers...

Anyway..
February 6, 2006 5:56:39 PM

Quote:
Intel puts things in their products like SATA support whenever they feel like it, not due to customer demand. .......


Thanks Cubber for your comprehensive posting. On that SATA comment above. Does this mean, going back to my original point on them referring to them as currently set up as IDE that they will be recognized when I install the operating system?

Quote:
Most USB mobo headers only use 4 pins, if there's a 5th one it's an extra ground for shielding, but unnecessary.


Does it look like Intel is definitely different in this respect then? Because I have in front of me their integration guide and the 2 references to USB Headers definitely have those numbers on them 1 to 10. In addition there are further references to these in that pins on the left side as you look down and view the pins show text as USB-A as being pins 1,3,5,7 with Key (no pin) and on the right as USB-B being pins 2,4,6,8 (pin 10 as N/C).
Then no further references to USB headers can I find.

Quote:
By the way, the metallic rings around the screw holes on the mobo are supposed to be contacting the screws for grounding purposes. (I didn't quite get if you were attempting to isolate them in the first posting, apologies if I misread)


No you didn't misread at all. I had misunderstood the situation. I was imagining those metallic rings were keeping the screws AWAY from the circuit board. But I can see what you are meaning, they in fact ensure good contact with the screw and it in turn with the standoffs into which they are screwed. So getting a good grounding. No it was me - thanks for the sorting things out. Appreciated.

Thanks for the time you have given on this.
David :) 
February 6, 2006 8:49:05 PM

The BIOS should have separate IDE and SATA choices for the different drive connections. Set all of them to Auto or Auto Detect. If you have an IDE drive lying around, give that a try and see if it's recognized. The boot order menu should also differentiate between IDE and SATA.

10 pin USB headers are normal, that way the missing pin is used for keying so you don't reverse the double thick connector. I've noticed most mobo makers and now some casemakers are following the "Intel-standard" pin layouts for the mobo headers. I just assembled a new system and every one of the front panel connectors fit right away, including the audio and firewire jacks. Didn't used to be like that in the old days... I rewired and soldered a lot of cable headers then. :D 

I always took great pains to design circuit boards with solder rings to hit mounting screws. I used to have a roommate years ago that insisted that the screws and standoffs HAD to be insulated from the motherboard. I couldn't convince him otherwise. And he even graduated from the same Electrical Engineering School that I did! I miss him, though, a good friend, he passed away in '99. Thanks for making me think of him and grinning.

You're welcome to the help, it's nice to put some dusty brain cells to use to help others. That's the Cub Scout leader talking.
February 7, 2006 7:51:45 AM

Quote:
The BIOS should have separate IDE and SATA choices for the different drive connections. Set all of them to Auto or Auto Detect. If you have an IDE drive lying around, give that a try and see if it's recognized. The boot order menu should also differentiate between IDE and SATA.


Once again Cubber, many thanks for all the posting. Was very interesting. With regard to the above "SATA" question we have all been talking about. At the moment as you know from my image that I put up to look at the BIOS is not differentiating in any way - it just states in the boot order that they are hard drives and subsequently on that page identifies their names. However maybe that is because it doesn't have to choose, my only having the one type, and just defaults to hard drives and leaves it at that. On this board I have one IDE connection and that is populated by the HP DVD-ROM connector.

However I am today going to have a study of all of the BIOS settings and probably might come across the choices to which you refer. I do not have an IDE drive available so I will have to leave that. At the moment I feel that it might all work after I begin to install the Windows XP Professional operating system. I am not in a rush, so I will take it all a step at a time.

One thing that would help me at that stage is a question on the drivers. The order of installation. For example after the O/S has done its job do I then have to install the Motherboard drivers first and then the Mouse drivers or is it the other way round. Because at present my mouse does not light up as being recognized and I understand that this will come later.

Many thanks.
David :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
February 7, 2006 6:20:21 PM

"I used to have a roommate years ago that insisted that the screws and standoffs HAD to be insulated from the motherboard."

I've seen some 10Base2 adapters designed to be mounted inside a VME chassis that absolutely required a thin insulator from the adapters case (so that it not be grounded to chassis ground), but, you'd think that since no wires or circuit runs in the mb run directly to the standoff rings, that it would be obviously safe to have them grounded. :-)
February 7, 2006 6:40:24 PM

Hi guys on a slightly separate tack...please concerning the BIOS setup for installing the SATA hard drives when it comes to the Operating System. I cannot get my head round this problem.

Now earlier today I did quite a lot of looking around on the Internet and the opinions seem to go "this way and then that" on the subject - so I will summarize what I have deduced or NOT!!

It seems to be the opinion that whether or not you wish to have a RAID setup the BIOS setting preferred was something referred to as AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) in the drive configuration section.
But for myself I would have chosen RAID before proceeding if those were the only two choices available. Simply because if I wanted RAID that seemed to make sense and if I didn't then the other one I did not understand! But now I believe it to be a performance enhancement that some drives have I have read somewhere. It also concerns Serial ATA 1.0a and Serial ATA II.

Now I am puzzled on this, because in the first place there is a simple choice presented to me on my system between IDE, RAID or AHCI.

However this brings me to the real nub of my question. Does it not automatically follow that if the BIOS has defaulted to IDE in the selection, and has noted the 2 drives that I have installed - that the Windows XP Professional Operating system would in its turn automatically recognize them as hard drives on my system?

If not then why not seems a reasonable question to ask as a beginner?

Can someone please try in simple terms to explain to me really what I should do in this respect before I try to do any install of the operating system. Many thanks for contributions.

David :?
February 7, 2006 9:33:06 PM

Don't worry about RAID. You'll take a small performance hit if you go that way, but it's not a big deal. If you really want your disks to be combined like that, go ahead.

Personally, I find that leaving the disks separate works better.

Oh, and be sure to give your OS its own partition (if you've got the space, a partition on the other drive with a second OS install). That way, if the war3z you downloaded hoses your OS you'll be able to just reformat that partition and not your whole drive. Also, if you work on tight schedules, having the second install on the other drive will let you keep working even if the primary drive fails.
February 7, 2006 10:10:40 PM

Mobos are designed to ground via the screws to the case in regular PC systems.

Your driver question: WinXP will recognize your PS/2 mouse and it will function on a basic level. I would install the mouse drivers near the end, the mfgr. drivers usually just add visual fluff and extra button support if it has them. Get the major hardware like mobo, hard disks, and vidcard happy first.

Since you don't want to use RAID, remove the second drive until after Windows is successfully installed. Take a Sharpie marker and write BOOT on the one still installed, and write DATA on the other one. This will insure that you will never grab the wrong one in the future, since they're otherwise identical. Once Windows is happy with all the other hardware drivers, THEN install, partition, and format the second one inside Windows.

Looking at your pictures, the bios screen is showing the boot order menu. This shows that your hard drives are being recognized ok since they're being presented a choice in the boot order by name. The Main menu would have the IDE/SATA choices I referred to in an earlier post. If you had placed the drives in a RAID array, the array would be the boot choice and the individual drive names wouldn't appear.

Since you've pulled out the non-boot drive by now, there won't be any confusion about which one gets the Windows system partition.

Disable the "boot to network" and "boot to removable devices" unless you have a reason for it. Saves the time spent searching for nonexistent devices.

Stick with the IDE choice, that would be the default in any case. That just means "treat all drives connected to me as individual IDE drives and not as part of a RAID array." AHCI sounds like a fancy Intel name for some feature, maybe NCQ, but I don't think those Maxtors support it anyway. Windows will recognize the hard drives just fine.

It's a reasonable question to ask if you haven't worked as much with PC hardware as some of us here. Me, I've been doing this since the mid-80's and I tend to forget some people don't know this stuff.

Set up the stripped-down config I listed earlier, boot to the Windows CD, and let it do its thing.
Then install whatever mobo drivers came on the CD with the mobo.
Then install the video card drivers using the CD that came with it.
After the many reboots, check the Device Manager for unhappy devices, and track down drivers for them.
Get yourself connected to the Internet, and immediately run Windows Update, but ignore Microsoft's suggested hardware driver section.
When that's all happy, look for updated drivers from the mfgr's websites for the mobo, vidcard, and mouse and install them.
Then add the other devices one at a time and get them happy.
Then add your second hard drive, partition, and format using Disk Management.

Once you've get everything fat and happy, declare it a clean install and back it up using a partition imaging program like Drive Image or others. Burn than file to a DVD or CD for safekeeping. If it blows up, or Windows gets screwed up (and it will) you've just made your very own Recovery Disk. Periodically make these snapshots so you don't have to go through all this again. Also document the current configuration an keep it in a Word or text file with each image for reference. It'll save a lot of headaches. :) 
February 7, 2006 11:55:05 PM

Just popped up and...

...for a trivial (& naive) obs: don't SATA drives need to be configured as master/slave?


Cheers!
February 8, 2006 12:05:23 AM

SATA did away with the master/slave settings. One drive, one cable.
February 8, 2006 7:30:17 AM

Quote:
.....Personally, I find that leaving the disks separate works better........
Oh, and be sure to give your OS its own partition .......

Thanks for the post. I agree with your feeling regarding leaving disks separate. Don't understand RAID anyway and have always kept individual disks and manipulated them as and when regarding backups etc.

Yes, also good advice for me to keep the OS in its own partition. I would have failed to do this. I was thinking of partitioning the whole drive as one. Thanks for the reminder.
David :) 
February 8, 2006 8:08:47 AM

Quote:
...

Set up the stripped-down config I listed earlier, boot to the Windows CD, and let it do its thing.

Then install whatever mobo drivers came on the CD with the mobo.
Then install the video card drivers using the CD that came with it.
After the many reboots, check the Device Manager for unhappy devices, and track down drivers for them.
Get yourself connected to the Internet, and immediately run Windows Update, but ignore Microsoft's suggested hardware driver section.
When that's all happy, look for updated drivers from the mfgr's websites for the mobo, vidcard, and mouse and install them.
Then add the other devices one at a time and get them happy.
Then add your second hard drive, partition, and format using Disk Management.

Once you've get everything fat and happy, declare it a clean install and back it up using a partition imaging program like Drive Image or others. Burn than file to a DVD or CD for safekeeping. If it blows up, or Windows gets screwed up (and it will) you've just made your very own Recovery Disk. Periodically make these snapshots so you don't have to go through all this again. Also document the current configuration an keep it in a Word or text file with each image for reference. It'll save a lot of headaches. :) 

Cubber that was a first class posting and one could not ask for anything more. Thank you very much. The only thing that bothered me was this. Everything in your post was of value, every single line! So in a quote - what should I remove? Answer should be - NOTHING!!

But in interests of space I felt I must leave that extremely important information above. It must surely help many people who as they start into this building process like me, will have to get to grips with. It is quite a lot as I read it, but if one takes it calmly step by step it will be of real benefit. As opposed to what I was about to do last night and that was - just put in the Windows Operating system disk and take it from there. But now I will print off and follow your guidance. I am glad I waited that one day for replies from Toms Hardware Forum.

Again many thanks for the particular care and trouble you went to in that posting.

David :) 
February 8, 2006 2:57:48 PM

Unclear guys on BIOS updates when system installed.
My current BIOS on Intel motherboard is referred to as 1452.

On visiting Intel website I note that for my motherboard they have listed an update called 2024 issued on 16 January 2006.

Does this mean that to have the latest BIOS with whatever that would offer - this is what I would have to use please?

As opposed to what I was thinking (that I had to see my number 1452 referred to again which in and of itself had been updated - and then that was what I had to install).

It just seemed that a lot of water had flown under the bridge! between the numbers 1452 and 2024 if you see what I mean. As I am posting this I cannot recall the date of the 1452 but seem to recall it was around March of 2005.

Help on this gratefully received.
David :?
February 8, 2006 5:01:24 PM

Hi, Dave!

Suggestion:

FIRST, make sure everything works, Hard & Software wise. Only then, if all's OK, follow - carefully! - the instructions on how to flash (upgrade) your board's BIOS. An accident while flashing the BIOS can flatten everything you've done, up to now. It happens, even with experienced users.


Cheers!
February 8, 2006 5:28:16 PM

On the subject of partitioning drives to more than one partition really serves no purpose. If one partition has failed so will the other. [Both partitions are on the same HDD].

Raid is really unnecessary these days as HDD's are plenty fast on their own. Usually that is what Raid is used for is to gain some extra speed, or to back up everything on the fly.

For a home PC raid is overkill unless you are running a home based business and had to keep a network or database up or something like that.

As far as the bios goes it's not a bad idea to update the bios, but you need to be careful doing this. If you aren't experiencing any problems with your current bios then you may want to forget this.

Typically I've really only seen it mentioned if you are having problems. Alot of times a bios update can be beta and may contain bugs. So you want to be certain that it's not beta.

Also you want to be certain it is for your Motherboard. If you install the wrong one it could be bad news for you. If you screw up anywhere in the process your board could be toast. Another reason only to do it if you are having problems.

Some basic steps to follow when building a system.

1. Assemble basics. Motherboard, CPU, Memory, Hard Drive [boot drive], video card, power source, CD-DVD, floppy optional unless you have floppy drivers.

2. once assembled and posts set up the bios. Follow the Mother Board manual to set your processor to the correct speed settings, video card settings, memory settings etc. Save the settings and reboot.

3. If it doesn't post after that step you probably set something wrong. Take out the battery for 30 sec and disconnect the power cord from the machine. Get back into the bios and try again. Take notes if you have to.

4. Once you have these settings right load the OS.

5. Once the OS is installed load vid card drivers, mobo drivers and whatever else Windows notifies you of.

6. After you reboot the last time and there isn't another new hardware discovery check the System Device Manager and make sure there aren't any exclamation marks near a device. If there is trouble shoot it, reinstall drivers etc until the problem is corrected.

7. After this is done with the most basic parts then you can install network cards, modem or whatever to connect to the internet. Once there download the latest Service Pack for windows and install it.

You should have cable or dsl internet service otherwise this will take forever. Typical SP's for windows is over 100MB.

8. Once you have Service pack installed then put in additional cards like sound cards, video capture cards or whatever you have left.

9. Additionally it wouldn't be a bad idea to make backups along this road. Ghost is good and there are other programs that make it very painless in case things go bad. It doesn't hurt to make several backups along the way because it can take a full day to install windows, maybe longer if you run into problems. But if you have a known working backup / ghost image you can be back to that starting point in like 5-10 minutes.

So this program is worth it's weight in gold x 2.

Another thing I like about ghost is that you can make clone copies of your system disk or any disk for that matter. Works really good if you have a caddie and bay type setup in which you can remove Hard drives on the fly all you have to do is power down first. Some allow hot swap too so you have to look into that option if it's important to you.

The good thing about cloning a drive is that you can be back up in a moments notice, just power down and restart.

I think that's everything... it's been awhile since I built one myself and since getting ghost it's very rare that I have to start from scratch anymore.

I'll probably be going to dual core for my next rig and maybe Vista if it looks good :p 
February 8, 2006 5:42:29 PM

Quote:
Hi, Dave!

Suggestion:
FIRST, make sure everything works, Hard & Software wise. Only then, if all's OK, follow - carefully! - the instructions on how to flash (upgrade) your board's BIOS. An accident while flashing the BIOS can flatten everything you've done, up to now. It happens, even with experienced users.
Cheers!

OK - thanks for that. Would you say that if everything concerned with the software that I want to use (which is primarily for music recording, home movie editing and photograpy) - if all that is functioning OK. Then I should really to forget BIOS updates just for sake of being up to date with my BIOS.

Only go down that route if there appears to be a problem with day to day activities on the computer - which a BIOS update might resolve.

What do you think?
David
February 8, 2006 5:46:58 PM

Quote:
Then I should really to forget BIOS updates just for sake of being up to date with my BIOS.

Only go down that route if there appears to be a problem with day to day activities on the computer - which a BIOS update might resolve.

What do you think?
David


yeah, don't do it unless you absolutely have to. :D 
February 8, 2006 6:22:09 PM

Very good post pip_squeeker. One or two points to address if you don't mind.
Quote:
On the subject of partitioning drives to more than one partition really serves no purpose. If one partition has failed so will the other. [Both partitions are on the same HDD].

Do you know something, until tonight I did NOT know that was the case. In fact I currently use 3 partitions on my 300GB drive I have at present PRECISELY because I thought if one partition (say which had the operating system on failed) the backup which was on another one could be restored with the same backup program when I had re-installed everything on my say "C" drive (the original partition). Have I understood you correct pip_squeeker that I am WRONG in thinking that in the past?


Quote:
9. Additionally it wouldn't be a bad idea to make backups along this road. Ghost is good and there are other programs that make it very painless in case things go bad. It doesn't hurt to make several backups along the way because it can take a full day to install windows, maybe longer if you run into problems. But if you have a known working backup / ghost image you can be back to that starting point in like 5-10 minutes.

So this program is worth it's weight in gold x 2.


You appear to be the very person I have been waiting to communicate with!! Because.... up to about 2 months ago I had always been a "Ghost" man. The last program being Norton Ghost 9.0. Well the story.....

I used it continually to back up my C partition and put the result on my D partition and as you know thinking this was OK. I went to use it for the usual backup on that fateful occasion as usual and only the "skeleton" of the program came up and I could not use it. Well of course I uninstalled via the ADD/REMOVE programs and re-installed TIME and TIME again daily and as weeks passed I kept trying to install the program. But I could no longer install Ghost to my machine. I even went to the lengths of spending I believe it was about 5 hours removing any reference left behind in the Registry concerning the ONLY Norton program I had - which was Ghost. It always only would show an outline of the program.

All efforts to no avail - and today the program resides in its box - looking at me and is in truth - only a GHOST! Perhaps it will install in the new machine one day. And, as they say "that is a true story". But I for the life of me cannot understand why when you have the original disk, and uninstall in the correct manner you later cannot simply put the same program back onto your computer.

That's it pip-squeeqer and again thanks for the info which has been printed off to study.
David :) 
February 8, 2006 7:06:26 PM

Quote:
Very good post pip_squeeker. One or two points to address if you don't mind.

Do you know something, until tonight I did NOT know that was the case. In fact I currently use 3 partitions on my 300GB drive I have at present PRECISELY because I thought if one partition (say which had the operating system on failed) the backup which was on another one could be restored with the same backup program when I had re-installed everything on my say "C" drive (the original partition). Have I understood you correct pip_squeeker that I am WRONG in thinking that in the past?


yeah the reason is that all the information is all on the same disc [physical hard drive], while in the old days you could have some sectors go bad and what not, this is really not that big a deal anymore because hard drives are so big these days and the software is better to manage these kinds of errors.

Typically if you start hearing clicking noises from the hard disk that is the warning it's starting to go. If you miss that then it's usually too late. Although there are companies out there than can retrieve data off a bad drive it is very costly to retrieve it.

So if a hard drive won't "spin up" then how are you going to get the information off another partition on the disc? short answer you won't.

Additionally by adding additional partitions you actually slow the performance of the drive. So there really is no good reason to do this.

If you want another partition go out and buy a new drive on sale and install it. That's the best way to add new partitions. [1 per drive].


Quote:

You appear to be the very person I have been waiting to communicate with!! Because.... up to about 2 months ago I had always been a "Ghost" man. The last program being Norton Ghost 9.0. Well the story.....

I used it continually to back up my C partition and put the result on my D partition and as you know thinking this was OK. I went to use it for the usual backup on that fateful occasion as usual and only the "skeleton" of the program came up and I could not use it. Well of course I uninstalled via the ADD/REMOVE programs and re-installed TIME and TIME again daily and as weeks passed I kept trying to install the program. But I could no longer install Ghost to my machine. I even went to the lengths of spending I believe it was about 5 hours removing any reference left behind in the Registry concerning the ONLY Norton program I had - which was Ghost. It always only would show an outline of the program.

All efforts to no avail - and today the program resides in its box - looking at me and is in truth - only a GHOST! Perhaps it will install in the new machine one day. And, as they say "that is a true story". But I for the life of me cannot understand why when you have the original disk, and uninstall in the correct manner you later cannot simply put the same program back onto your computer.



Hmm that's very strange and I must admit ghost can be strange product at times. I have learned how to work with it over time. For one they have modified this program many times already.

I am using Ghost 2003 so the program you have is probably quite different from mine. As the very first Ghost I had was DOS only and you couldn't even make NTFS file backups it only worked with Fat32 and lower.

If you're having problems installing I would contact Norton about it, there may be a patch or something that could help. I have had some weird problems occur with it, but mostly when burning the back up to DVD.

I am not certain if the problem was with Ghost or my DVD burner. So anytime you do that make sure you test the back up on a extra drive you have laying around.

Now that I have a caddy/ bay type system set up I just swap out drives and do a clone which copies one disc to another. Real simple and fast. I always pick up drives on sale so I have plenty on hand to do this. And with the caddy bay set up it's the best easiest solution for me.

I have a very basic ghost config burnt to a CD as for some reason my DVD back ups never turn out to well. So be sure to test any burnt copy before you put any faith in it.

Quote:


That's it pip-squeeqer and again thanks for the info which has been printed off to study.
David :) 


sure no problem... good luck with the new rig. :D 
February 8, 2006 7:46:55 PM

Apologies - got your name wrong in my last posting...sorry

Quote:
..yeah the reason is that all the information is all on the same disc [physical hard drive], while in the old days you could have some sectors go bad and what not, this is really not that big a deal anymore because hard drives are so big these days and the software is better to manage these kinds of errors. So if a hard drive won't "spin up" then how are you going to get the information off another partition on the disc? short answer you won't.

If you want another partition go out and buy a new drive on sale and install it. That's the best way to add new partitions. {1 per drive}.

So really then, just put the O/S on the 1 drive and then your other programs and use folders to organize - and that's it?

I actually do have 2 drives. So you are suggesting just back up the important information straight onto the second drive?

OK will do. But I had thought the original idea of these partitions was not so much the spinning of the disk, but if something corrupted the operating system, and you had to re-install, then all your data work would be in a different partition and be safe. But you are referring to if the COMPLETE drive breaks down are you pip_seeker?

Also before I decided to have a go myself at building a computer for music, I was told by computer builders who sold machines that they always put the O/S on a small partition because something to do with the data being away in its own partition was more efficient as it did not get in the way of "messages or whatever" being passed back and forth by the O/S. Didn't really understand it all then either!!

Thanks again.
David :) 
February 8, 2006 8:05:55 PM

Hi

Just checked in BIOS a few temperatures and voltages. Do they look reasonable please?

Some of the computer components:

Motherboard – Intel D955XBK
Processor, Heatsink and fan – Intel 3.40 GHz Pentium 4 - 2MB L2-Cache 800MHz FSB
2 Maxtor SATA Hard Drives 250MB each
Enermax Noisetaker PSU 600W EG701-AX-VE(W)

Temperatures:

Processor temp. 52 degrees C
Internal temp. 38 degrees C
Remote temp. 34 degrees C

V.12.0 showing as 12.250V
V.5.0 showing as 5.188V
V.3.3 showing as 3.302V
Vccp showing as 1.324V

Any ideas on what Vccp refers to and what Remote temp means please?
Cheers.
David
February 8, 2006 8:27:02 PM

Quote:
Apologies - got your name wrong in my last posting...sorry

So really then, just put the O/S on the 1 drive and then your other programs and use folders to organize - and that's it?


yeah that's the way I do it, but I use smaller drives than what you use. I use them as a means of having a way to shuffle data around in the event windows does go bad for some reason.

My caddie and bay method comes into play here as well Both of my Master Drives have Bays with hard drive caddies So I can swap and move data around should a config go south or what ever I can move data over to a backed up version of my OS drive and then Re-clone the one that got messed up once I have all the other needed data off of it.

I also keep backups of important data on both the system drive and the D: or second drive.


Quote:

I actually do have 2 drives. So you are suggesting just back up the important information straight onto the second drive?


Depends on how important it is. If it's very important then I'd keep a copy on the OS drive as well as the second drive. And if the data file size isn't too big I'd zip it and send it to my email box and save it as a draft, just as additional peace of mind.

A hard drive won't last forever so a crash is just as important to prepare for as a corrupted OS. But if the OS becomes corrupted you can still typically access that info if you were to have another way to boot the system. Win95 and all other DOS type OS used to hide other OS. But Win2000 and XP don't do this. You can still get at that data and copy it over to a newer drive.


Quote:


OK will do. But I had thought the original idea of these partitions was not so much the spinning of the disk, but if something corrupted the operating system, and you had to re-install, then all your data work would be in a different partition and be safe. But you are referring to if the COMPLETE drive breaks down are you pip_seeker?


yeah I forgot about the corrupt OS thing, because it doesn't affect me like it used to because of what I mention above. I just swap drives put my corrup OS drive in my D: drive bay and load up with a back up drive that I cloned earlier. I then copy all my needed files from the Corrupt system disk or problem disk then once I am confident I got all my data over it I am free to Re-clone this disk.


Quote:


Also before I decided to have a go myself at building a computer for music, I was told by computer builders who sold machines that they always put the O/S on a small partition because something to do with the data being away in its own partition was more efficient as it did not get in the way of "messages or whatever" being passed back and forth by the O/S. Didn't really understand it all then either!!

Thanks again.
David :) 


Yeah this is an old way to do it and the biggest problem I hated with it is that it adds alot of complexity if you try to back the system up. I used to do this because I had a dual boot machine in which I could boot to WinMe or Win2000 on start up.

But with this kind of setup I had all kinds of problems if one of them got corrupt or had a severe problem, because the partitions were always getting messed up and I even had a third party partition software too. It was just a mess. It's alot easier I've found to just have one OS per drive with one partition.

It's easier to back up and less complex when problems come up.

I think this solution was probably a little better back in the win95 era when you couldn't copy files off a HD with an OS on it because I would hide it from you, but that isn't the case any more thank goodness, Mr Gates got this right.
February 8, 2006 8:51:18 PM

Upgrading your BIOS is something you must be aquainted with, since it's a procedure we all should perform, once in a while (some versions really can speed up your system, support new features & make the sys more stable; while others...). So, you must be sure about what a BIOS upgrade will bring to your system, reading through the relevant info, in THE mainboard's website.
This doesn't mean you HAVE to upgrade, necessarily; but, since you're on to a fresh build overall, it would be a good opportunity to gain (some more) experience on your own, before you install all your software.

As for the "Vccp", it refers to the CPU core voltage (later on, you might as well install "CPU-z", a small & fine app which shows the relevant info about the CPU, BUS, etc.). It seems that everything's OK with your system; I don't know what "Remote Temp." stands for, though. I'm sure it's not the room temperature, right? :D 


Cheers!
February 9, 2006 1:25:44 AM

pip_seeker is right about the HDD failure thing. If the hardware fails, partitioning won't save anything. Still, having the OS in its own partition makes reinstalling much easier.

More than once I've had the OS screwed up beyond hope. One time it was a single critical file that wouldn't work (or repair w/the disc). Another time my networking stuff was corrupted and I couldn't network to a printer. I could've saved myself hours of backing up if I could've just reformatted the OS and left everything else alone.
!