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New PC, need help getting it up and running properly

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February 6, 2007 1:09:44 AM

Greetings. I just finished ordering the last parts of my new PC. After a few days of research, this is what I decided to get (already ordered, can't change):

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler
EVGA NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
Maxtor HDD 250GB 7200RPM 16MB
OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) Gold XTC Edition DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory
EVGA GeForce 8800GTX 768MBFSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V/ EPS12V 700W Quad. SLi Power Supply
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Black Full Tower Case w/ 25CM Fan
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
Gateway 22" WS LCD w/ DVI
Windows XP SP2

EDIT: just finished buidling, booted it with 1 beep but only one of the case fans are on. One 12cm fan, two 9cm fans, and the main 25cm fan did not come on. The instruction manual won't help, nothing about connecting the fans at all. Is there a special way they need to be connected to the power supply? The 12cm fans had plugs for the mobo, the 9cm's or the 25cm does not. All fans use the 4pin ide connectors. Anything else I should check besides the connection to the power supply and the BIOS to make sure they're on?

Managed to buy some parts at a local Fry's, just waiting for the rest from Newegg to arrive before the inevitable month-long process of RMA'ing defective parts and configuring settings to get this thing to run properly :roll: I'm hoping for some help to avoid as many mistakes as possible on my part. So here are some questions and other things I've found so far (please let me know if any of these are wrong):

1. The manual that came with the mobo may have some incorrect info so I should check the one on the website.

2. Because of the RAM I got I need to go into BIOS and set the voltage on the ram to 1.9.

3. I may also have to turn on all fans manually to 100% and cpuvreg to on.

4. I remember reading a thread here about someone who got artefacts with the 8800 gtx and 680i or 650i. Apparently he didn't update the BIOS or didn't do it properly and it ended up damaging his card. Can't remember the details, has anyone heard of something like this? Is there really some order I need to follow when updating the BIOS?

5. Is there any step in the installation process that I absolutely must not forget to do or it could damage one of the components? Like for example, forgetting to plug in the CPU fan onto the mobo, etc.

6. How are the stock fans on that Thermaltake Armor case? I read mixed reviews on this so I got one Silverstone 120mm fan just in case.

7. When you order stuff from Newegg do they automatically make it so you have to sign for the packages when they're delivered? Checked the FAQ at Newegg and didn't find anything specific. Just found info about UPS leaving notices on your door if you weren't home so I'm guessing it IS that way, but I just want to be sure. Also, do they come in one big box or in separate boxes, depending on what parts you ordered?

8. Out of all the companies these parts come from, are there any RMA nightmares I need to brace myself for? Any warranty forms I need to fill out ASAP or I'll be SOL when one of these things breaks? Never really dealt with this sort of thing but now I'd like to be prepared since this is the most expensive PC I've ever had.

That's all I can think of for now. Any help/advice/tips are greatly appreciated!

EDIT: By the way, I'll be using this PC for gaming and some audio recording/editing (nothing fancy, thats why the onboard audio will be fine) and I don't plan to overclock.

More about : running properly

February 6, 2007 2:15:21 AM

5.) Make sure you ground yourself! Buy an electrostatic wrist guard to reduce RMAs.
February 7, 2007 2:50:57 AM

Thanks! Anyone else?
Related resources
February 7, 2007 2:55:41 AM

Hey First rig builder,

You don't seem like one to worry about a budget, but its always best to keep in mind a final total dollar amount.

Certainly u want a motherboard that combines PCI Express bus instead of the old AGP bus; PCI ex or PCI x adds a great start for video editing.

As for hard drives, you should have 2, that way u can make ur C drive more efficient by sending the Swap file, and the Temp internet folder to the separate 2nd drive. You should also make a Folder called ProgramFiles2 on the 2nd hard drive and Install your miscellaneous software on that 2nd drive. You'll be surprised that your pc wont slow down within a few years like most others do.

If you're going to be adding the new OS, Windows Vista, with your new hardware, you may be surprised or not, that there may not be a Vista compatible driver available for your new hardware as of yet. In this case, goto the manufacturers' website of the hardware in question and search for a Vista compatible driver.

Building your own pc, a few things to know after u get all ur parts.

Don't build your pc after you have walked around on carpet, unless u ground urself 1st. The static electricity build up in your body could damage your memory chips or motherboard during your build. You can ground yourself of static electricity by touching the back of a running computer's bare metal case and hold your fingers there from both hands on the bare metal for 10 seconds. Careful!, don't place your fingers in the fan or USB area.

Treat the hard drives with extreme care: a 1/8" drop on a hard surface of an hdd will cause irreparable sector damage inside, which could lead to Blue screens in the future or total unexplained loss.

THe inside of ur case may or may not have a manual and your motherboard should have a manual.

You should read all manuals very carefully.

One thing to watch out for is a polarity issue.
More specifically, the HDD light, and Power light terminals on the motherboard have extremely small lettering or abbreviations, usually in white.

What you are looking for in the white lettering is positive and negative.

a positive is usually a "+" plus sign. a negative is usually a dash.

Sometimes motherboard manuf's take a short cut to save space and only place a plus sign on the white lettering around the terminals.

There will also be power switch and reset switch terminals.

Its very important to get all the terminals perfectly oriented the 1st time u power on the motherboard! So read the manuals diagrams very carefully.

Some builders will say that there's no danger probably because they didn't take an electronics course, but only the engineer who built the board can tell you if there's a protection circuit built in to protect from blunders.

It always best to get it right the first time so you don't end up damaging your motherboard or power supply.

So inside your case, you will see very small colored wires with small black sockets on the ends.

It's important to know about whats common or ground and whats positive, this is called polarity of the wires in the case.

Your job is to match the polarity of the wires with the polarity on the motherboard.

A red wire is always positive, and black is always negative or common.

What if u have green and white wires? well usually green is common or negative, but it can also be positive and that all depends on your case wires. If you have no red or black wires and lots of green wires, for example :

green - white

orange - white

violet - white

for this situation, these 3 pairs, this means that white is common or ur negative ground because it appears most often.

the other colors will be the positive.

A word about installing your motherboard: your motherboard will come with a rear face plate. Lay the case on your bed, or desk and open both sides of the case, usually 4 screws on the back, use a #2 screwdriver. Within the case you will see a large opening, this opening is where the motherboard will be going into. First you press in the face plate to the back of the case...watch your fingers!! sometimes the edges are extremely sharp inside a case! Make sure that the rear face plate is fully pressed in and all sides are equal. Take your motherboard out of the box and un wrap it. You must try to not touch any metal part on the motherboard!

Assuming you got a standard bag of scres with your case, you then look for brass stand offs. Count the number of holes in your motherboard, usually 3 or 4 in the rear and 3 or 4 in the middle. Usually the holes are not symmetrical.

Examine your motherboard carefully to determine which holes in the case get the brass stand offs.

Also test one of the small chromed screws into one of the brass stand offs for looseness, usually you use the coarse threaded screws to go into the standoffs. Then screw in the stand offs untill they are very finger tight.

Gently place you new motherboard on top of the standoffs within the case, and assuming all holes are matched, start ur screws without dropping any.

Most standard case bags of screws, you'll get 2 types of screws, fine thread and coarse thread. The fine thread screws are usually used on drives. The coarse threaded ones are usually used on the motherboard, expansion cards, some hard drives, internal and external case areas, and the power supply. Now! if u get little red gaskets with your bag of screws then usually these are used to go under the screws to protect the motherboard from too much tightening pressure.

So screw, gasket, motherboard, standoff.....if u dont see gaskets then don't worry about it, just be very careful not to tighten the motherboard screws too much....IF YOU HEAR CRACKING or CRACKLING while tightening the screws...STOP immediately!! you may have tightened too much and possibly caused a crack in your motherboard. If your motherboard doesn't bootup then that could be the problem.

Never over-tighten a screw, what u want to turn a screw to is about 5 pounds of pressure, and that's not much. The approximate tightness is about the same amount of force as closing a new water faucet.

Ok let's take a breather from assembly....let's suppose u connected everything right and then your screeen turns black upon booting...well that could be a number of things.

If your power supply fan is going, then it's not the power supply, Try reseating the video card or reseating the memory.

You see, putting your own pc together, you have to become your own technician :) 

Ok some other points to consider:
Assuming you have a floppy drive as drive a or b:
Create a REstore point after everything is working and installed, and then Create a password Reset disk in case you get a nasty rootkit that changes the way you login. ( this is a necessity now for XP with SP2)

That pw reset disk can only be used for the pc it was made for. It can't be used on any other pc.

Microsoft has all the details about making a Password Reset Disk and how to use it. You should print out a copy of those instructions in case of a future emergency.

Your motherboard may have come with a Drivers cd. What this is is a cd with chipset, video, sound, LAN and USB drivers.

In general, this is the order of driver install after u have installed your operating system: chipset, then video, then LAN and USB, then sound. EAch one usually requires a reboot, so prepare to spend some time getting that right.

One last piece of good advice: don't buy into Vista right away, unless your really sure that all your hardware has all Vista Compatible drivers.

Wanna keep out the nasties, get 2 antivirus, 2 firewalls, and 2 anti-malwares.

nortons and mcaffee

black ice defender and Tiny by CA

Webroot's Spysweeper and www.lavasoft.com Ad Aware SE personal
February 7, 2007 3:31:28 AM

One thing, I woundnt recommend having 2 antivirus programs running at the same time. They just dont work well together in my experience (normally winds up with both being corrupted, which seems to lead to lots of trouble).

Thats just what I've seen, if you've been running both just fine that great, but I've never seen it work well (avg especially doesnt work well with another antivirus, it always seems to get hosed fast. )
February 7, 2007 3:40:55 AM

They tried to put 2 antivirus programs on a computer where I work and now NOTHING on that computer works right. I'd fix it, but it's not my computer and they don't pay me for that.
February 9, 2007 8:12:57 PM

Just got the case. They pretty much just shipped the original box as-is so of course the box was all banged up. Case looks okay but I'll have to wait for the rest of the parts to see if the fans have been damaged. Any other advise please?
February 9, 2007 8:39:10 PM

All the companies above should be ok with RMAs and you can also RMA back to newegg initially if you fall within the return/RMA period. You will need to do a BIOS update (if not for the sole reason of SATA corruption.) Steps? Well, just don't turn off the power while you are updating the bios and make sure you aren't doing it in a storm if you don't have a UPS backup. Other than that, you'll just need to download the bios on to a floppy or USB if your motherboard supports that.

Outside of not plugging in your cpu fan, there shouldn't be anything that would outright damage your components and even then, your motherboard should shut off if the CPU gets too hot because the fan isn't running. The machine just won't turn on if you don't plug in everything or beep at you incessantly.

I don't have a Thermaltake armor case but I do have Thermaltake 120mm fans and they aren't THAT bad. It's more or less a case fan and I don't really have the tools to measure sound and airflow but generally speaking, works as advertised. The Silverstone fans were nice since they come with rubber silencers among other amenities. I might have different requirements than other people though but my case doesn't sound like a vacuum and that's good enough for me. It's not remotely silent either.

I believe by default, yes, you have to sign the packages unless you direct UPS to leave it at your doorstep. I'm fairly sure that's the case as I do remember having to sign them in the past before leaving a note out saying that they could indeed leave it outside.

I think hard drives are far sturdier than what the above poster mentioned but great caution is better than no caution. Hope you have a very decent toolset handy because it'll help out a bunch. If not, it won't hurt to purchase one for yourself.
February 11, 2007 12:06:16 AM

Guys, u have to pre program ur mutliple a/v's

1st thing to do is to go into their options and make sure these items are disabled:

- auto check for online upgrades ( of course this bogs down the pc cause it is trying to upgrade itself when that is not necessary)

- auto run during windows startup ( run them ur self when u do a weekly maint) You can change this in three places, sometimes during install it will give u certain options, 2nd( u can change the properties after it is installed), and 3rd ( run msconfig from the RUN command at ur start button to disable the a/v at startup also.

- Schedule the weekly maint at a time when u dont plan to be using it.

DO i have to explain everyting? :) 

If u do the upgrades manually about 1x a month and keep up with news at the symantec site. then ur pc wont bog down.

When u preconfigure software before letting it loose, u'll have less bog downs.

a very nicely secure pc will have IE6 with sp2, 3 a/v's and 2 firewalls.

firewall configuration is a bit more time consuming than a/v config.
February 11, 2007 4:03:52 AM

So, install 3 anti-virus programs but don't run any of them...

The idea of installing an anti-virus program is to proactively protect against viruses by stopping their installation or detecting them immediately. If he wanted to scan for them once a month he could do that for free over the internet. No need to go through all those steps and no need to update.
February 11, 2007 10:00:19 AM

2 Antivirus + 2 Firewalls + 2 antispyware/malware = extreme paranoia.

I run AVG free, schedule a daily update and scan. I think firewalls are more pain than they are worth for the average home desktop, nothing interesting on my PC to see. And I run ad-aware occasionally, and the MS spyware thing that comes with the updates once a month.

The only viruses I have had were my own stupidity from doing something like running crack.exe without having my AV on. :oops:  I've never spent long cleaning a virus, even if I had to reinstall my OS I always have an image near by. Still easier than dealing with all the excess software IMO.

To the OP,

-watch out for static (bad)
-apply your thermal grease correctly, and be careful when attaching the HSF to the CPU, don't crack the CPU or the motherboard, and don't use a flathead screwdriver to force the clip on, it could slip and scratch the motherboard (very bad)
-read everything you can about the equipment you bought
-read the manual and the website 2 or 3 or more times.
-triple check all connections.
-build on something soft, you'll scratch the hell out of a wood surface (my poor kitchen table :oops:  )

Good luck with your build.
February 11, 2007 10:54:20 AM

i have a very similar setup, here's what i have to say on this

1. the manual is somewhat sketchy, but it is good none the less, couple things i found are that SATA port numbers are labled wrong and thers one other thing i cant pull off the top of my head

2. no you don't. you only need to set the RAM with HIGH voltage ram like. PC8500, anything that requires say 2.1 volts or more. it will automatically set those for you.

3. mmmmmmmm i didnt have this issue ive seen it though. my fans went 100% first boot up all is good.

4. as far as updating the BIOS goes, it will be important chances are your board will be pre P23 you WILL have SATA issues. so as soon as you get the board before even loading windows onto the machine make a floppy with P24 and load it onto the board. will save a headache or two

5. static electricity

6. wouldnt know, i use a CM stacker.

7. not sure

9. EVGA is great on RMA's very friednly. Maxtor im skeptical about i have not heard many great things about them. i like Western Digital personally i use a Raptor great Hard drive.

like i said my setup is nearly identical to yours. so if you have any more questions feel free to add me to MSN messenger or drop me an email at

redberon2003(at)hotmail(dot)com
February 11, 2007 11:35:57 AM

The ram should boot up fine.

anyways where did all this anti virus talk come in? symantec (Norton) sucks dont ever install it. it will seriosly cut performance on your computer. startup times will be slowed any load you do will be slowed. the whole symantec engine is bugged and doesnt work very well. The funniest part is that it doesnt catch what is supposed to. At my university we made a test with 5 computers. 4 with anit virus from different brands and one without any. After a month of testing the computer without any anti virus had 0 infected files so did most of the others but the computer with symantec had somehow managed to get 44 different unidentified programs running. Dont get symantec anti virus it just sucks and makes your comp slow.
February 13, 2007 5:06:54 PM

Thanks again to everyone for the advice! I finally finished installing the hardware and booted it. Got one beep :D  Now the problem I'm having is only one case fan is on. The cpu and ps fan are running, but only one out of the 5 case fans are running. The ones that aren't working are two 9cm, one 12cm, and the large 25cm fan.

I only had time to power it on once really quick to see if it would boot at all so when I have time to mess with it again, is there anything I should check out besides the BIOS to see if the fans are on? The 12cm fans had plugs for the mobo, which are plugged in. All of them have the 4 pin ide power connectors. Is there a certain way they need to be connected to the power supply? Thanks in advance.
February 14, 2007 6:00:47 AM

The fans should turn on as long as the motherboard works like it should. Do you get a BIOS post or anything when you startup ?
!