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1st build help.....ready to power up!!!

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November 17, 2006 3:35:20 AM

Well I finally have all the pieces of the puzzle: :D 

- Thermaltake Armor Case
- Thermaltake ToughPower 750W ATX PSU + PFC/EPS
- Intel Core2Duo Extreme X6800 2.93Ghz 4M 1066FSB
- Intel D975XBXLKR Socket 775 Motherboard
- (2) Seagate 320GB Serial ATA HD 7200/16MB/SATA-3G
- (2) Seagate 250GB Serial ATA w/NCQ 7200/16MB/SATA-3G
- ATI Radeon X1950XTX 512MB GDDR4 PCI Express x16 CrossFire Video
- Corsair TWINX 2048MB PC5400 DDR2 667MHz (2x1024)
- Plextor PX-716AL Slot-Loading 16x DVD Burner
- Lite-on Black 52xCDRW/16x DVD Combo Drive
- SAMSUNG 244t-BK Black 24" 6ms (GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor

I am ready to give it power for the first time, but have some questions seeing it is my first build.

1. Do I just turn it on when I have everything installed?
2. I have 2 320gb and 2 250gb hard drives, since I bought two and the wife bought me two not knowing I already had them. How would you suggest I use them? Raid, no raid, etc?
3. How do I install the Operating System, XP Home?
4. What else do I need to know or look out for?

More about : 1st build ready power

November 17, 2006 3:42:37 AM

How would you suggest I setup my hard drives?
November 18, 2006 3:34:20 AM

When I power up for the first time, what steps should everything be done in? Installing OS, setting up drives, formatting drives? What else am I missing?
Related resources
November 18, 2006 3:50:31 AM

I always get right into the bios to see if everything is recognized and running smoothly...ie fans and such.

Then if everything looks good i install os. Then drivers.
November 18, 2006 5:50:40 AM

Very nice rig. However, you wouldn't be doing yourself justice unless you properly configure what is by far, the slowest subsystem and worst bottleneck in todays fast computers...storage.

First, check Tom's Hard Disk Charts to determine which of your drives have the performance edge, then set that pair up in RAID0 on the Intel controller, as it is the faster option. This will cut your boot times nearly in half, reduce hour glass time, open bloatware programs in a snap, run full AntiVirus disk scans and derfag more quickly, and perform any hard drive intensive tasks in much better balance with your high end system.

Advances in hard drive performance have lagged far behind that of memory and CPU's, so until fast solid state storage solutions become affordable over the next few years, give yourself as much hard drive speed and performance as possible, so you don't disadvantage such a nice build.
November 18, 2006 7:33:46 AM

I agree with Comp on this one.. to be completally honest... I would return the 4 HD's and get 2 raptors.. 10k rpm.. raid0 those puppies and you will see a huge diffrence :) 
November 18, 2006 7:22:01 PM

Quote:
Very nice rig. However, you wouldn't be doing yourself justice unless you properly configure what is by far, the slowest subsystem and worst bottleneck in todays fast computers...storage.

First, check Tom's Hard Disk Charts to determine which of your drives have the performance edge, then set that pair up in RAID0 on the Intel controller, as it is the faster option. This will cut your boot times nearly in half, reduce hour glass time, open bloatware programs in a snap, run full AntiVirus disk scans and derfag more quickly, and perform any hard drive intensive tasks in much better balance with your high end system.

Advances in hard drive performance have lagged far behind that of memory and CPU's, so until fast solid state storage solutions become affordable over the next few years, give yourself as much hard drive speed and performance as possible, so you don't disadvantage such a nice build.


I do plan on running raid 0 with two of them. Should the OS go on this raid 0 setup? What about partitioning?

I figure:
320g for storage
250x2 in raid 0
320g for ???
November 19, 2006 12:49:47 AM

To answer your question, it's necessary to discuss data storage philosophy.

Diamond core enthusiasts will spare no expense, opting for three or even four SCSI 15k RPM drives in RAID0 on a high end cached PCI controller card. If you've ever witnessed the astonishing performance such a configuration provides to enhance the overall speed and responsiveness of fast, high end computer systems, it's a jaw dropping experience that'll make you a believer in solutions for the hard drive bottleneck issue. However, it's extremely expensive, and for the vast majority of us, cost prohibitive.

I chose the somewhat more affordable solution of twin SATA 10k Raptor 150's and configured them on Intel RAID0, based strictly upon achieving the goal of gaining as much raw speed as possible for the investment. Partition Magic 8 was used to create two partitions within the total 300Gb available on the RAID0 striped set. A 60Gb C:\ "system" partition has the OS and is all inclusive, with SW installations, as well as data and archives. Many IT professionals will immediately balk at this configuration until the complete architecture is revealed, so let's examine it further.

Since Windows "Restore" is inherantly unreliable, the 240Gb D:\ "storage" partition provides space for DVD's, and has a "backup" folder created by Norton Ghost 03 containing images of the C:\ partition. However, images can be corrupted by "internet schmegma" (virus), hardware failure (drive crash), and you can't boot up your system on image. Therefore, the Seagate 60Gb "backup" drive exists for only one purpose; Norton Ghost 03 is used on this drive via a boot disk, to "Clone" the RAID0 C:\ partition.

The only three situations when I enable the drive controller in BIOS; performing a clone, retrieving files mistakenly deleted, or restoring the C:\ partition due to corruption, such as the inevitable SW install from hell. In the event of SW problems, the backup drive can be booted instead of the RAID0 set, which will allow you to continue working. Cloning is the fastest possible method of creating discrete backups, and unlike RAID1 mirroring, the backup drive is not operating concurrently in Windows with the RAID0 set, so it remains diabled, as secure as a tape on the shelf, imune to corruption, and therefore, 100% reliable.

I also have a USB enclosure with still another 60Gb removable "clone" drive. This may appear to be overkill, but I've seen all the worst possible HW and SW scenarios played out, and they're far too time consuming to consider reinventing the wheel on the fly, when there are fast and efficient methods available to extricate oneself from the binary turd bucket. There's only one catch; the human factor. You must be diligent about running clones and images at appropriate intervals. Speaking for myself, I consider my data far too precious to jepardize, so it demands a grounded attitude to keep it secure.

So what are my recommendations for your system?

(1) Get Partition Magic and Ghost. They're invaluable tools.

(2) Configure the 320's on the Intel SATA controller as RAID0.

(3) Partition the new striped set with "system" and "storage" proportions of perhaps 60Gb and 580Gb.

(4) Add the third "storage" 250 drive to the Intel controller. You will now have 830Gb total storage. Very nice.

(5) Add the fourth "backup" 250 drive to the other SATA controller, thereby allowing that controller to normally remain disabled in BIOS, which will keep your clones secure.

(6) Create four equal 62.5Gb partitions to facilitate clone "grandfathering" and you'll have a fast, secure configuration. You won't need to bother with images.

Note: Prior to running a clone, "label" your C:\ partition with the present date, such as 18 Nov 06 so that the date of your most recent clone is displayed in My Computer. Labeling with the date is a simple method to mange your clones, and each of your four consecutively grandfathered clones will then have a date corresponding to when they were performed. It's a beautiful thing!

I hope this helps you out. Good luck, and enjoy!
November 19, 2006 1:18:46 AM

The good news is you can relax. If you screw this up you havent lost GIGS of data. And computronix advise seems to be right on par.
good luck
November 19, 2006 7:36:16 AM

Agree brand new system installation.. just be fearless and go for it if you mess up something you can always start over.. hopefully you learn something and dont repeat :) 
November 20, 2006 11:32:47 AM

Quote:
To answer your question, it's necessary to discuss data storage philosophy.

Diamond core enthusiasts will spare no expense, opting for three or even four SCSI 15k RPM drives in RAID0 on a high end cached PCI controller card. If you've ever witnessed the astonishing performance such a configuration provides to enhance the overall speed and responsiveness of fast, high end computer systems, it's a jaw dropping experience that'll make you a believer in solutions for the hard drive bottleneck issue. However, it's extremely expensive, and for the vast majority of us, cost prohibitive.

I chose the somewhat more affordable solution of twin SATA 10k Raptor 150's and configured them on Intel RAID0, based strictly upon achieving the goal of gaining as much raw speed as possible for the investment. Partition Magic 8 was used to create two partitions within the total 300Gb available on the RAID0 striped set. A 60Gb C:\ "system" partition has the OS and is all inclusive, with SW installations, as well as data and archives. Many IT professionals will immediately balk at this configuration until the complete architecture is revealed, so let's examine it further.

Since Windows "Restore" is inherantly unreliable, the 240Gb D:\ "storage" partition provides space for DVD's, and has a "backup" folder created by Norton Ghost 03 containing images of the C:\ partition. However, images can be corrupted by "internet schmegma" (virus), hardware failure (drive crash), and you can't boot up your system on image. Therefore, the Seagate 60Gb "backup" drive exists for only one purpose; Norton Ghost 03 is used on this drive via a boot disk, to "Clone" the RAID0 C:\ partition.

The only three situations when I enable the drive controller in BIOS; performing a clone, retrieving files mistakenly deleted, or restoring the C:\ partition due to corruption, such as the inevitable SW install from hell. In the event of SW problems, the backup drive can be booted instead of the RAID0 set, which will allow you to continue working. Cloning is the fastest possible method of creating discrete backups, and unlike RAID1 mirroring, the backup drive is not operating concurrently in Windows with the RAID0 set, so it remains diabled, as secure as a tape on the shelf, imune to corruption, and therefore, 100% reliable.

I also have a USB enclosure with still another 60Gb removable "clone" drive. This may appear to be overkill, but I've seen all the worst possible HW and SW scenarios played out, and they're far too time consuming to consider reinventing the wheel on the fly, when there are fast and efficient methods available to extricate oneself from the binary turd bucket. There's only one catch; the human factor. You must be diligent about running clones and images at appropriate intervals. Speaking for myself, I consider my data far too precious to jepardize, so it demands a grounded attitude to keep it secure.

So what are my recommendations for your system?

(1) Get Partition Magic and Ghost. They're invaluable tools.

(2) Configure the 320's on the Intel SATA controller as RAID0.

(3) Partition the new striped set with "system" and "storage" proportions of perhaps 60Gb and 580Gb.

(4) Add the third "storage" 250 drive to the Intel controller. You will now have 830Gb total storage. Very nice.

(5) Add the fourth "backup" 250 drive to the other SATA controller, thereby allowing that controller to normally remain disabled in BIOS, which will keep your clones secure.

(6) Create four equal 62.5Gb partitions to facilitate clone "grandfathering" and you'll have a fast, secure configuration. You won't need to bother with images.

Note: Prior to running a clone, "label" your C:\ partition with the present date, such as 18 Nov 06 so that the date of your most recent clone is displayed in My Computer. Labeling with the date is a simple method to mange your clones, and each of your four consecutively grandfathered clones will then have a date corresponding to when they were performed. It's a beautiful thing!

I hope this helps you out. Good luck, and enjoy!


Thank you, this helps alot.

Under the 60gb partition for the OS on drive C, what applications, drivers, and such should be stored with the OS? I think this has me stumped the most.

60gb - OS, applications (like?), drivers, what else?
580gb - games, what else?

I also plan on patitioning the 250gb enabled "storage" drive 2.5gb or so for the pagefile.

With the cloning, everytime I run a back up of the 60gb "system" file on drive C. I will use one of the 4 62.5gb partitions in the disabled 250gb stoage drive.
November 20, 2006 5:19:52 PM

Since everything will be redundantly backed up, it's easier to manage hard drive and partition "alphabet soup" if you install everything on the C:\ partition. I would never advise doing this, if you had only a single drive, but as you have more drives than some guys have pairs of shoes, it'll just make things easier to keep track of.

The pagefile should remain on the RAID0 set because it's so much faster than a stand alone drive. Moving the pagefile, in this instance, offers no advantage, as it will marginally decrease performance. If there were no RAID0 set, then yes, placing the pagefile on another drive is appropriate, and would serve to increase performance.

As per cloning, you'll be rotating through the partitions by overwriting the one with the oldest date, which is refered to as grandfathering. By utilizing this method, if you were forced to restore your system drive C:\ partition, it gives you the option of restoring from an older clone, in the event that your most recent clone was performed on an unstable OS, or software that was otherwise compromised, which brings up the cardinal rule of cloning; never clone if there's corrupt software present on the drive - either fix the problem, or restore from a known good clone.

Hope this clarifies. Enjoy!
November 20, 2006 5:43:51 PM

Thanks, tried turning everything on for the first time this morning. No warnings or beeps, everything seemed to fire up. Could not get the bios up. I have the DVI cord atttached to the monitor and nothing? Ideas?
November 20, 2006 6:16:52 PM

Does the DVI cable have any bent pins? Does the monitor and graphics card test OK on another system? Have you re-seated the graphics card?
November 20, 2006 6:25:11 PM

Quote:
Does the DVI cable have any bent pins? Does the monitor and graphics card test OK on another system? Have you re-seated the graphics card?


The monitor blinks green light in 1 sec intervals which signals powersave mode. When I disconnect the dvi cord from the card the screen shows no signal, but that goes away when I reconnect the cord.

I am trying to access the bios via F2 with a logitech g15 keyboard, but that keyboard needs the install disc installed before you are supposed to connect the keyboard to the computer.....
November 20, 2006 6:44:28 PM

If you have access to another PCIe computer, then verify that your graphics card, monitor and DVI cable all test good before continuing to troubleshoot further.
November 20, 2006 6:49:30 PM

Also, try to use a PS2 keyboard, at least until you get your BIOS setup. USB keyboards sometimes won't initialize when powering up a new build.
November 20, 2006 7:15:09 PM

Quote:
Also, try to use a PS2 keyboard, at least until you get your BIOS setup. USB keyboards sometimes won't initialize when powering up a new build.


Don't have access to another pci-e computer. But I am thinking it is this usb keyboard issue, so I am borrowing one from work today to take home and try.
November 20, 2006 7:21:21 PM

The keyboard won't cause graphics BIOS and motherboard BIOS to not post, but simply may give a keyboard error upon post, and not allow you to keystroke "Delete" to get into BIOS, which can be frustrating.
November 20, 2006 7:38:49 PM

Alright, just got myself a different graphics card to try and a non-usb keyboard. When I turn the computer on what should I see on the screen?
November 20, 2006 7:46:44 PM

You should see the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe splash screen. If you get that far, it will verify that your monitor is OK, but your first graphics card is "gerschtunkken". You should then be able to access BIOS, and proceed with configuration.
November 20, 2006 7:51:25 PM

I have the intel 975bx board.
November 20, 2006 8:01:59 PM

Sorry, been repsponding to many threads today, and I'm not the best multitasker. The same will apply with your Intel board. It should post a startup splash screen.
November 20, 2006 8:20:54 PM

Thanks, going to try a few things when I get home.

1. Replace ati gpu with another and use new monitor
2. Hook new monitor up to old computer I am using now
3. Hook old monitor up to new computer and ati gpu

Try to widdle this down, its got to be simple....... :roll:
November 21, 2006 10:53:34 AM

FINALLY got it to boot last night and get to the get to the bios. I moved the jumper turned it on and the fans started then slower down, screen flashed and the bios popped up on the screen. Shut everything down replaced jumper to normal position and tried again, machine started right up with no issues.

Thanks for all the help, now onto the next issue.
!