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Computer Died, Help Build a New One with the Parts I have

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April 7, 2007 4:41:54 PM

Hey there:

For a year now, my 3 and a half year old PC has worked flawlessly, thanks in part to the wonderful pieces and parts I made it with from the help of people in these forums. Now I come back to you again trying to either fix or remake my PC.

Recently, my PC has been kind of strange in terms of power. It doesn't shuts down completely (if I hit Shut Down, it automatically starts again) so I have decided to always leave it ON. Yet, yesterday I came home and it was starting up and immediately shutting down endlessly in a cycle that never ended until I killed the switch on the back of the PC. After turning it back ON (back of the PC, since the front buttons weren't responding) it kept doing the same thing until weird crackling noises were made from inside the PC.

Not knowing what it could be (maybe the Power supply or CPU fan or something) I decided to come here and ask for help. If you guys know how to solve this let me know. If not, try to suggest what pieces I should buy in order to make a new PC. I don't game on the PC anymore so I don't need an extremely high end card. I use XP and Ubuntu, so linux friendly pieces would be extremely welcomed. Here is my present day PC. I am planning to use as much old pieces as possible as a start. My current plan is to build something that is future friendly but not at the high end spectrum.

My PC:

Antec Solution Series Case SLK3700AMB with Power Supply
Asus A7N8X Deluxe MOBO
Overclocked Athlon XP 2500+ Barton Core
ATI Radeon 9600 XT
2x512 MB Ram Sticks (1024 MB in total)
Western Digital 80 GB (not SATA)
Sony DRU-510A DVDRW/CDRW
Creative X-FI Platinum Sound Card

Right now, I know times have changed and the motherboards are different so its possible my PC Tower will need to be replaced as well to match the form factor. Remember I want a motherboard with a socket type that will be future friendly as well as features that will be as well (PCI Express, etc...) I don't absolutely need to use my old Hard drive since I have the important information backed up in a DVD (but I could use it as a secondary drive). If theres a cheap DVDRW/CDRW combo thats faster than what I have, I will definitely take it. I would also like dedicated video card and could use the 9600XT (if the MOBO has AGP slot) to have low costs on first buy. I will also keep my soundcard.

So the stuff I think needs upgrade are:

-CPU
-MOBO (since it doesn't support new sockets)
-Case (since it doesn't fit new MOBOs)
-More RAM

Optional Stuff to Upgrade:

-New Video Card (not high end)
-DVDRW/CDRW
-Hard Drive

I will not buy Vista, have a PC Monitor, mouse and keyboard.

I plan on buying stuff online (had great experience on Newegg when I first built my PC) or maybe eBay. Also, for the first upgrade I dont plan to pass the $800 mark. So the lower the better, keeping in mind that I don't game on PC, I want a future proof PC.

Know it has been a long post but wanted to give as much details as possible. Please let me know and thanks in advance.
April 7, 2007 5:32:23 PM

It seems I can use same case for new PSUs and MOBOs so I will keep mine. So right now I absolutely need:

-PSU
-MOBO
-CPU
-New DDR2 Ram

If Mobo has AGP, I could keep my 9600XT for now but it would be great if MOBO had quadcore support and PCI Express along with AGP slot... If not Ill buy a new videocard.

Also, a TV Tuner would be good...

If you guys think that replacing the PSU will absolutely solve my problem, I will do that for now and then consider upgrading the other parts slowly.
April 7, 2007 6:49:15 PM

Here is a list of suggestions from other forums:

EVGA mobo $159 after rebate
E4300 $169
G. Skill DDR2 $164
Corsair 520w PSU $119 after rebate
EVGA 7600GT $99 after rebate

MSI P6N $113
CPU: e4300
RAM: G Skill
PSU: Corsair 520w
Video: EVGA 7600GT
HDD: Seagate 320GB $74
Case: Enermax Chakra $69

For $45 more you can get a new DVD/RW as well: Lite-On SATA

Send over opinions and suggestions for repair/upgrade.
Related resources
April 7, 2007 6:58:15 PM

The problem is very likely your PSU and/or mobo. I've never had a PSU die on me but have had a few mobo deaths - they can resemble almost anything and can take other components with it (cpu and some memory iirc in one case).

Unless you plan on using SLI, I'd recommend a P965 mobo. I was looking at the MSI but many posts got me to change to a Gigabyte DS3 (Rev 3.3 supports upcoming 1333 FSB).

You can buy G.Skill right now from NewEgg for $129 (see this link). Unless you will be majorly overclocking, no point in getting more expensive RAM.

Corsair is a very nice PSU.

The suggested CPU and video card (since you don't game) will work just fine - more a matter of preference and price. I definitely recommend Intel C2D and nVidea (but you already have those listed).
April 7, 2007 7:04:20 PM

That Gigabyte DS3 looks like a great MOBO but it doesn't sport a AGP slot. ISs there any great MOBO that is future proof and that carries AGP? I dont want to spend on a new video card at the moment if its not necessary since I don't game and won't buy Vista.
April 7, 2007 7:14:57 PM

Not that I know of. I have not been impressed with any of the mobos I've seen that support both AGP and PCI-e.

In PCI-e video, I see 7600GS on NewEgg for as low as $90 or a 7100GS or 7300LE for <$50.

I would highly recommend going with a current mobo (like the DS3) and buy a cheap graphics card. It will be a far more future proof system (I doubt any of the AGP/PCI-e boards support 1333 FSB - wouldn't surprise me if they didn't even support quad core).

Although, I could be wrong - what specific model EVGA mobo was recommended (assuming that one supports AGP and PCI-e)?
April 7, 2007 7:48:27 PM

Well I could consider changing my graphics card as well if it is required to go with a future proof system. All I ask is for a cheap midrange card since I am pretty sure I will stick to my 360 for gaming (only game that I have an eye for on PC is Crysis which I hope eventually is ported). I had great experiences with ATI, but I think currently nVidia has better products and better linux support. Either one is not important.
April 7, 2007 8:45:01 PM

Here's the beast of a PC I put up for you $825 :lol: 

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Windsor 2.6GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail (It's at only $170 now!!! Couldn't resist)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M2N-E Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 Ultra MCP ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SeaSonic M12 SS-500HM ATX12V / EPS12V 500W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CE, CB, TUV, FCC - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3120811AS 120GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total with no shipping/taxes after rebates = ~$825

Use the same DVD writer and old HDD for storage (or if you want, don't even buy new HDD and just use old HDD for everything to save you $50)

If you have the need to save a bit more money then you can downgrade the graphics card, but to be honest if you really want to future proof this system, this is probably as good as it might get for $800
April 7, 2007 8:55:01 PM

Will that socket and mobo support future quad-core processors?
April 7, 2007 9:23:27 PM

It's uncertain as of today, but many people believe it will be able to take AM2+ CPUs but not exploiting all the features of AM2+, don't worry so much, if you feel the sudden urge to get a quad core (not really necessary in the forseeable future) just wait until you can find cheap $60 AM2+ socket mobos and drop in a quadcore (and all of the stuff above) on it.

The thing is you probably won't even want to touch your 360 after gaming with this thing.
April 7, 2007 9:25:27 PM

Hmmm it seems the general consensus is to go with Intel Core 2 Duo. WHy do you recommend AMD?
April 7, 2007 9:31:11 PM

I see that you're on a budget, that's why I recommend AMD (they seem to be dropping their prices like crazy these days) if you can go for a $900-1000 build, then definitely go for Intel C2D.
April 7, 2007 9:37:08 PM

WHat are your system recommendation strengths compared to these ones:

EVGA mobo $159 after rebate
E4300 $169
G. Skill DDR2 $164
Corsair 520w PSU $119 after rebate
EVGA 7600GT $99 after rebate


I think for now I will buy the PSU, MOBO, New RAM, CPU and Videocard if new components fit my ATX ANtec case. I could also buy another PSU and be done with it...
April 7, 2007 9:40:12 PM

Do you recommend a new case or new PSU? I say new case since some cases come with a PSU and cost more or less the same than stand alone PSUs...
April 7, 2007 9:46:59 PM

Quote:
WHat are your system recommendation strengths compared to these ones:

EVGA mobo $159 after rebate
E4300 $169
G. Skill DDR2 $164
Corsair 520w PSU $119 after rebate
EVGA 7600GT $99 after rebate


I think for now I will buy the PSU, MOBO, New RAM, CPU and Videocard if new components fit my ATX ANtec case. I could also buy another PSU and be done with it...


If you want an intel build I can show you a similar build to the AMD (terms of performance) for about $890. for an intel mobo go for the Gigabyte DS3 (worth $110) proven to be a great mobo, the E4300 is a great CPU, but pales in comparison to the AMD X2 5000+ (at stock speeds anyway, overclock might be different story), I posted 2 gigs of DDR2 800 Ram for $138 (after rebate) it's up to you on that one, PSU might be fine but need to take a look at the exact model.

If you want to future proof a system, it might be worth considering spending those extra $120-150 on the video card for gaming? (better than the 360, I assure you that) and maybe even amazing HD playback.

and no, Im not the kind of guy who likes to be changing case on every build, I say keep the case and buy a GOOD PSU that won't fry your components when it dies.
April 7, 2007 9:51:11 PM

OK, if you can lower the price to maybe 600-700 it would be great keeping 2GB of RAM and a future proof mobo (quad core)
April 7, 2007 9:54:25 PM

Yes I can, hang on a second.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+(65W) Windsor 2.4GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-M61PM-S2 Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIPER HPU-4R580-MS ATX12V v2.2 580W Power Supply 100 - 120V UL, CE, TUV - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 ST3120811AS 120GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$735 after rebates!!! I really outdid myself this time. the CPU is a bit slower now, nothing to really affect performance in general that much (Trust me on this, you won't touch that 360 :p )
April 7, 2007 10:05:32 PM

Seems nice. Well, I will touch 360 because I don't have any particular PC game interests. Is the PSU brand reliable?
April 7, 2007 10:08:19 PM

I believe so, and we'll see about that 360 after you get your hands on the pc 8)
April 7, 2007 10:10:02 PM

Also, I could do with a much lower end card in the 256 MB area. Again, trust me I won't game alot if any on the PC. What does HDTV on video card mean exactly?
April 7, 2007 10:15:30 PM

Im guessing is that it fully supports all HD Features, not sure.
April 7, 2007 10:21:35 PM

Well a cheaper card would be appreciated....
April 7, 2007 10:27:40 PM

EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total = $615 after rebates

Should consider keeping the 8800GTS for Dx10 support (who knows, you might regret it in the future) and if not, then maybe up the CPU a bit.
April 7, 2007 10:53:46 PM

Normally I recommend people to go with the 8800 but with him saying he plays at most one game on the PC, I'd suggest saving money and getting something cheaper (7600 is <$100 and provides all the graphics anyone needs unless they play games or use graphics-heavy apps). That way he saves money and can get a better graphics card later if he needs/wants it.
April 8, 2007 1:20:08 AM

Do you guys think its definitely the PSU that is damaged? I could just buy the PSU first and think of the other stuff with more time.

THe PSU now doesn't start no matter if I put the back switch to the ON position. At first the fan would try to start but then it stopped quickly, like a jolt. After some tries, it doesn't turn on at all. I opened the case and saw no MOBO problems. I smelled the PSU and I smelled a bit of plastic but don't know if its normal scent of the PSU or something gone wrong.
April 8, 2007 2:43:11 AM

It's probably the PSU but could be the mobo (or both). If you have an old/low-quality PSU, it could take out the mobo when it goes.
April 8, 2007 3:02:33 AM

How can I know for sure that the MOBO is not damaged without bringing another power supply to test it all?

The built in (on Mobo) ethernet network plug lights up whenever I put the power supply on ON position...
April 8, 2007 4:46:01 AM

I don't think there is a way to tell if the mobo is okay without getting a new PSU.
April 8, 2007 5:46:39 AM

Someone suggested this:


OK, you can give this a try. With the machine open look closely at the main PSU connector to the motherboard. There is a single green wire in that mess. That green wire is the PWR_ON command line to the PSU. That wire is normally held to a logic high (+5 Volts) even when the machine is Off. This is done with the 5 Volt SB from the PSU. Placing that line at a logic low should start the PSU.

You can try using a small jumper wire or a paper clip to force the PSU to turn on. You short the Green to any Black wire by carefully slipping the paper clip (Bent to Fit) or a small jumper wire down into the connector beside the wires (green & black) in the connector.

Doing this observe things! Don't leave the thing jumpered indefinately. You just want to see if the thing starts and maintains. My guess from your post thus far is likely a bad PSU, however, remember a faulty motherboard will also keep a good PSU from starting and maintaining. Forcing the PSU on is merely a starting point in troubleshooting.
!