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Free beer for build help (I'm completely new at this)

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February 13, 2007 8:50:29 PM

Seriously, I'll find a way to get someone a beer if they can hit a home run on this build.
It's my first time building, and I've spent about a week straight reading (mostly on this site and newegg reviews), but there are still too many options out there for me to really nail it down. So here are my requirements:

$800ish (not including monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers); To be built in late March, early April.

Its primary task will be long hours of Command and Conquer 3, and probably some FEAR. I'd like it to be upgradable for at least 2-3 years, so a decent mobo, psu to buld off of later on. Here's what I'm leaning towards based on today's prices. This is everything but the gpu, which has been the hardest decision for me:

CPU: Athalon 64 X2 4000+ (socket AM2) ($145)
Mobo: MSI K9N4 SLI-F AM2 nForce500 ($85)
Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 (1Gx2) DDR2 675 ($169)
HDD: WD Caviar SE16 250GB 7200 SATA ($75)
Case: Centurian ($50)
PSU: Thermaltake Purepower 600w ($105)

That comes to about $630, which only leaves about $170 for the GPU. If any of this seems like over/under kill - or if the whole thing looks way off, let me know. Also, if anyone could tell me the best choice for an operating system. I'd assume Vista is a dumb move, but let me know what you think.

Thanks!
February 13, 2007 11:01:33 PM

SAm Adams Lager fer me.

u should read this article before u buy ur board with the nforce500 on it.

http://www.techspot.com/news/22174-whql-nvidia-drivers-...

That's a start to help u avoid certain vid cards if u are set on the mobo with the nf500.

And assuming u are brand new to building a pc from scratch, here's a good article i wrote to many others that took me about 2 hrs.....theres more to know such as in cable polarity.

But if u do a build on your own, it needs to be done right the 1st time.

-----------------------

If i were u, i would stick with XP professional, do the MS updates at MS, Pick the CUSTOM updating, not express, so u can choose not to Load in IE7. IE7 is a Pain in most ppls xxxx.

so just make sure u have win xp pro with IE6 SP2. Xp pro will allow u to have a user account to protect ur pc from unauthorized external physical access.

----------------

Ur MSI board has 3 holes in the back, 3 holes near the middle and 3 holes in front for mounting.

tip: Always be gentle when installing memory, you never want to make the board flex beyond straight.


All ur parts look fine, but 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.

I would stick to WIn XP Pro for at least 2 years.

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.

Buy a UPS, most people will use a 750 rated or 1000 rated UPS, APC and tripplite are ones to look for. U plug ur pc and monitor into the back of the UPS on "baatery side", then plug the UPS into the wall and then turn on the UPS, then turn on ur pc.

THe inside of ur pc 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.
This lettering is usually in one corner with gold pins sticking up from the board.

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 and compare them to your mother board.

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.

Its 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 screws 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. Try not to touch any part of the motherbaord with dirty or wet fingers. Fingers must be absolutely dry!

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 your new motherboard on top of the standoffs within the case, and assuming all holes are matched, start ur screws without dropping any. You'll need a #1 or #2 screwdriver.

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 after thee operating system is installed and u get to the xp desktop:
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. You'll need a floppy disk for this ( 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. they should all be highly configured to not check the internet for constant updates. U can do the updates yourself 1x a week.

nortons and mcaffee

black ice defender and Tiny by CA

Webroot's Spysweeper and www.lavasoft.com Ad Aware SE personal

A word about Signal cables: u may be getting into SATA hard drives or EIDE hard drives.

EIDE HDD's have flat and gray ribbon cables with one side with a RED line.

this red line means pin 1.

You'll need to Inspect your hdd and motherboard before u install them to make sure u know where Pin 1 is on them. Then simply match up the red line to pin 1 of the back of the hdd, and pin 1 of the IDE connector on the mobo.

I'll get into primary and slave settings in the next post 4 u.
February 13, 2007 11:44:57 PM

BASS draft here. If you want it upgradable I'd suggest Intel because I'm guessing, absolutely no facts, that when AMD comes out with there new CPUs it will require a different mobo. In addition, Intel is out performing AMD. But the Intel dual core will cost you more.

Check out this Antec, it will save you about $50 because it comes with a PSU which will run what you have.

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

If there are driver problems with the your mobo, I definitely get something else. At least for me important features on a mobo are 3 PCI slots and onboard firewire because I have a digital camcorder. This board has a lot of nice features and will take DDR2 800 RAM but no firewire, which if you don't need it, isn't a problem.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

While I'm not disputing what PC_Side_Line is saying, don't be intimidated by the amount of information. I agree it's best to have 2 hard drives, one smaller 60 t0 80 GB for the OS and programs and a second for storage, how large depends on how much data you have espicially music photos, and video. If your budget is tight, get a larger hdd and be sure to partition it, 35GB to 40GB should be more than enough for the OS and programs. As for the build itself follow the manual instructions as well as those that come with the CPU and case. Take your time. Best to install the CPU, HSF, and RAM before you install the mobo. Make sure you have the exact number of standoffs, no more and no less.
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February 14, 2007 12:04:45 AM

Lets talk about optimizing the way your pc boots up.

ok lets assume u have 4 drives. 2 optical and 2 hdd's

and Assuming we are talking about EIDE drives:

Basically u want your pc to see your hdd's first and your optical drives 2nd.

So this involves an understanding of Primary and Secondary channels on your motherboard

the standard 80 pin EIDE cable supplied with most mother boards yesterday and some today have 3 connectors just like the graphoc down below.

Let's say your gray flat ribbon EIDE cable looks like this, most do.

xyz = 3 separate connectors

{X-----------------{Y-------{Z

X - to your mobo IDE 0 or 1 connector.

Y - this connector to ur 1st hard drive and will be Primary master.

Z - this connector to ur 2nd hard drive will be Primary Slave.

Your motherboard will have very small white lettering around the IDE connectors...look for pin 1 and IDE 0 or 1.

then your 2 optical drives can go on another EIDE cable in the same way but on IDE 1 or IDE 2 connector on the mobo and they will then be Secondary master and Secondary slave.

So now u'd have 2 drives on ur primary channel and 2 drives in your secondary channel.

Assuming that all your connections are correct and all polarities observed then your Boot up BIOS will recognize all 4 drives that i have just explained.

You can control the way ur pc boots up if needed.

If for some reason you want our WIN XP pro cd to boot up from a drive that can read it, then u mite change your BIOS boot up priority.

Thats about all for now.
February 14, 2007 12:32:31 AM

First off, How much beer we talkin?
!