My first real post here -- when looking around everyone seemed pretty nice and helpful so I figured why not. Hopefully somebody will be able to help me out here. First, I've recently purchased and succesfully put together the following new build. Of course I am open and interested in any comments/critiques regarding my build, but that is not the primary reason I am writing:
Antec P150 Case [Link]
Antec Neo HE 430 Watt PSU (included with case)
Asus P5B Deluxe Mobo [Link]
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 [Link]
G.SKILL 2x1GB DD2-800 2GBNQ SDRAM [Link]
Sapphire ATI Radeon X1950 XT PCI-E x16 Video Card [Link]
Pioneer ATAPI DVD Burner [Link]
Seagate 7200.9 160GB SATA HDD (x2 in RAID-0 Array) [Link]
Microsoft Vista Ultimate 32 Bit DVD OEM [Link]
Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP 24" LCD Monitor [Link]
Everything went together and installed all relatively painlessly. I installed the ASUS and ATI Catalyst 7.1 driver updates for Vista. My "Windows Experience Index" is 5.3 (CPU was the lowest, everything else was 5.6+). Most things seems to be working well and so far I'm very happy.. Unfortunately not everything is working perfectly.
I've identified two applications so far that will cause my computer to immediately freeze and reboot when I try to start them. These are the game "Second Life" and "Windows Media Center". If it was just the game I'd figure it was their software, but the fact that this happens every single time I try to click on Windows Media Center leads me to believe this is something to do with my build. Specifically I'm wondering if it has to do with my x1950. Is it possible my PSU is under-powered?
I've run Prime95's memory torture test for about an hour without any problems so I don't think it's a system memory issue.
Any thoughts and/or diagnostic suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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.
Thanks for your input, WizardOz. (PC_Side_Line.. Your long, detailed response was quite a piece of work but didn't touch on any of my specific questions at all. Maybe you meant to post it somewhere else? Thanks anyway, maybe somebody else will find it helpful).
WizardOz, can I ask why you think it is PSU related? I recently downloaded and successfully ran 3DMark06 without any problem. I'm thinking if it was related to the GPU load then 3DMark06 benchmark should've triggered it or am I missing something? I also ran another application called "Video Card Stability Test" from FreeStone group and didn't have a problem.
WizardOz, can I ask why you think it is PSU related?
Because everyone assumes that the PSU has died - and probably because you used a PSU from your case. These things aren't necessarily bad, and he may be right, I think I'd do more research before I bought a new PSU.
I've read in several places that Second Life has many issues in Vista - but they're working on it. I don't think I'd fret that one too much.
Windows Media Center is another matter entirely. It's part of the Vista itself, and should run flawlessly.
I didn't find this issue listed in the knowledge base. If it were me, I'd probably (I know you don't want to hear this), reinstall the OS.
I think it's your PSU because of the components you listed.
The video card and the two drives will draw a lot of power. Antec make some nice PSUs, but the ones included with their cases are sometimes inadequate for the components people stuff in them. I myself had to upgrade the PSU in my Antec case when I put in a new Socket A MoBo from Soyo with a slightly faster Sempron CPU. No other components in my build changed vs the Asus MoBo I had, but suddenly 350W wasn't enough. Lots of flakey issues. New Thermaltake 430W PSU solved the problems.
There ara a large number of posts in this particular forum that go into a lot of detail on the issue of what constitutes an "adequate" PSU for a system with your configuration. You may want to consider looking into these other threads for more detail.
WRT your OS, well, you have decided to jump right onto the bleeding edge. Vista is brand new, and it is a MS product. You should know better than to buy any brand new MS OS unless you are willing to be a guinea pig and bleed a lot.
You would be wise to read the following article from AnandTech very carefully and thoroughly.
Among other things, it discusses the memory requirements for optimum performance of Vista. It also discusses the poor support for OpenGL in Vista and the trivial detail that the drivers from both ATI and nVidea still need a lot of work.
I expect that you will be unpleasantly surprised at the performance hit that Vista has relative to XP.
OMG ive seen that exact post from PC_Side_Line in another topic, a bot maybe? (it wasnt really important in the other one either) Anyway keep watching this one, the advice is good, but not here PC_Side_Line
Well I decided to take Nil's advice and try reinstalling Vista.. After several installs I eventually tracked it down to one of Asus' driver updates for Vista: either the ATK0110 ACPI Utility or the SoundMax audio driver. If I don't install either of these, WMC starts up and works just fine.. Interestingly, Windows Update appears to automatically update the ATK0110 ACPI Utility, so I'm guessing it's the SoundMax driver that's killing things.
SecondLife still bombs & reboots the system, but I that's pretty much expected. It was WMC causing the reboots that concerned me more. And Wizard, I agree, this sort of stuff is expected with an OS as new as Vista, I never said otherwise. I'm just trying to fix what I can Overall, I've been very pleased with Vista.