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parts arrived, ready to build. a few q's 1st

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February 17, 2007 10:19:23 PM

i am about to build my home system, but have a few questions, mainly concerning my mobo and the cpu:
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600

1st of all, i carried out a "repair" to my mobo to clear off all the excess goo as suggested at the evga forums:

http://www.evga.com/community/messageboard/topic.asp?TO...

since apparently the amount of goo on the north and southbridge was excessive as shipped from the factory, creating rising temperatures. i followed the steps at the above link and applied a thinner amount of antec silver formula paste as coolant.

ok, so here are my questions before i build:


1) would you suggest oc'ing from the very beginning (ie first boot in bios settings?) or waiting/breaking in the system? along these lines, is there any advantage to doing the oc'ing before games are installed on the system?

2) how best to install winxp sp2 and bios updates? i don't have a floppy drive, and i don't want to connect to the internet until i have as many security updates as possible. can xp sp2 be installed from a cd, and if so, does anyone have a link to find the .exe?

3) i have 2 hard drives-- the western digital raptor which is just for games and the the seagate 320g which is for data storage. neither will be in any sort of backup/mirroring role. what RAID setting, if any, do i need to choose?

and finally, the last one, which concerns whether or not to apply a thin layer of the artec silver paste on the cpu itself. i have read through both manuals for my mobo and cpu (both bought retail) and neither of them mentions anything about applying paste to the cpu. yet on this site in the diy portion of building a rig, there is this step:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/12/14/how-to-build-a-p...

"Installing The CPU Cooler
Thermal Paste
Thermal Interface Material (TIM) fills tiny spaces between the CPU and its cooler to assure optimal heat transfer. Most factory-supply coolers come with a stiff TIM pre-applied that becomes soft when heated by the CPU, but other coolers will require the use of thermal transfer grease or paste.

There are several ways to spread thermal paste, but dabbing small dots onto the contact area is probably the least wasteful. Though many well-read enthusiasts would panic at the "mess" seen in the left photo below, applying and removing the CPU cooler proves adequate spreading. A small additional amount will squeeze out from the edges over time.

Other methods, such as spreading the paste with a smooth piece of plastic, are often recommended by paste manufacturers, resulting in more paste being stuck to the spreading apparatus than the CPU. The concept is to provide a thin, even layer of paste on the CPU without creating an over-thick heat barrier, but modern pastes are usually thin enough to prevent this problem.
Excess paste will squirt out around the edges of the CPU, so it's important not to apply so much as to create a mess."

note that on this page they are mentioning several coolant methods. i have not bought a 3r party coolant method, just plannng on using the fans that came with the cpu and mobo.

so, do i need to apply the antec silver paste atop the cpu? and if so, why would both manuals neglect to mention that? the instructions on the intel core duo cpu go from inserting the cpu into the mobo directly do attaching the fan heatsink onto the mobo, no mention of any coolant goo.

by the way, i do plan on overclocking.

thanks.
February 17, 2007 10:40:49 PM

I wouldn't overclock until your sure the computer is working and if there any bugs, i.e., I'd give it couple days up to week.

You install XP using your optical drive, if you don't have XP with SP2, you can download it latter.

You'll have to check the mobo mfg website as to how to update the BIOS, some require a Floppy, i.e., they won't install through Windows. Given Floppies are less the $10 I think it makes sense to have on. They're not using any resources and are unobtrusive.

Depending on how much overclocking you plan to do, you might need a different HSF, I don't overclock but I understand it can generate a lot of heat. If your just overclocking by using the Performance setting in the BIOS it shouldn't be a problem You really don't need thermal paste if the CPU/HSF are new, i.e., never been turned on. If your goiing to use thermal paste, you have to clean the CPU and HSF to get the paste that was on off, rubbing alcohol works well with a coffee filter. Unlike beer and sex, more is not better with thermal paste.
February 18, 2007 1:25:48 AM

thanks g-paw, i just had a look at the heatsink that comes with the core2 cpu and notice that there are 3 strips of what appear to be thermal compound on the back, which will contact the cpu, so evidently it is already on there.

i think what confused me about the tom's article is not clearly understanding that the above is a necessary step only if the goo isn't already present on the heatsink that comes with the cpu. also, i am sick w/ a fever right now and somewhat out of it :D 

no, i don't plan on overclocking beyond those settings suggested in the BIOS.

i certainly hope i don't need a floppy for BIOS updates, as i don't plan on putting one in. the mobo i'm getting is fairly new, so i wonder if there even is a new BIOS? i'll check.

so, a final question- how strongly do folks advise updating the BIOS? when i had an alienware their tech guys would always tell me not to do unless absolutely necessary. of course, in this situation now my system is brand new so i am not at risk of losing any data. what's the verdict- update it or not?
Related resources
February 18, 2007 1:46:30 AM

one other q-- does it matter it do flash update the BIOS after installing winxp, drivers, various programs, etc? or should the BIOS update be done before installing all those?

so basically, what stage should the bios flash be?
February 18, 2007 3:52:05 AM

BIOS flash first, because it might affect the later things like WinXP install. As for security, if you don't have one already, buy a $40 Linksys cable/DSL router/firewall. That'll take care of just about everything.
For the install, you may find this post helpful:
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...
February 18, 2007 10:16:35 AM

many thanks for the link
February 18, 2007 12:15:41 PM

Quote:

i certainly hope i don't need a floppy for BIOS updates, as i don't plan on putting one in. the mobo i'm getting is fairly new, so i wonder if there even is a new BIOS? i'll check.


I know you're not alone in not wanting to put in a Floppy and I'm curious why?
I don't think it's the cost given newegg has them at $7 or so. While you seldom need them, when you do it's usually critical, can't boot from anything else. Again, just curious, don't own any stock in a Floppy mfg and am not a member of the Floppy Preservation Society :) 
February 18, 2007 4:33:52 PM

i just found out that there's a newer bios for my mobo and evga recommends the floppy method, so i will be getting a floppy drive today
February 18, 2007 8:18:57 PM

Quote:
i just found out that there's a newer bios for my mobo and evga recommends the floppy method, so i will be getting a floppy drive today


If you're in the US, would not pay more than $10 or so, can get them from newegg for $6 or $7
!