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Everything is ordered....

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August 23, 2007 10:40:03 PM

I finally ordered all my parts, and received most of them. All that's currently not here is the CPU, GPU, and PSU.

Here's what I ordered:

Acer 20" Widescreen LCD
Coolermaster Centurion 534
Gigabyte GA-P35 DS3R
Seagate Barracuda 320GB SATA HDD
G.Skill 2x1GB DDR2 800 RAM
EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 640MB
Intel Quad 6600 Kentsfield
Sony NEC Optiarc DVD r/w 18x
Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard with free black usb optical mouse
Antec NeoHE 500w PSU

I'm pretty pumped up about having all this stuff... but I'm not 100% on how to put it all together...

Seems like a pretty good system though don't you think? I have XP Pro to put on it... all the drivers should be easy to find right? I'm always so nervous about drivers because I feel like I don't get the right ones, and then I'm missing out on something special.

Any advice/tips/links you guys can provide to help me in this endeavor would be wonderful.

My CPU/GPU I ordered with overnight fed-ex this morning, so I should have them by tomorrow. I ordered the PSU from buy.com (and regret it now) last Friday and still nothing... how long does it usually take them to ship?

Thanks in advance for any help and advice. (Or comments on my build).

Also feel free to let me know if you think I need to get any extra fans or anything for it... I'm real new at all this, so... I don't want to mess anything up (especially for something as silly as over-heating)

Thanks again.

-Will

More about : ordered

August 23, 2007 11:28:27 PM

Since it's your first build i'd suggest this one thing: READ EVERYTHING. From your manuals, your mobo's QVL (quality vendor list) for memory to the layout of your psu's cabeling to what goes where in the mobo's manual. Plan out your build mentality, put it to paper if you have to cause when you start opening boxes and putting stuff in you need a plan. I've followed this method when putting together PC's over the years:

  • Get PSU in the case first cause putting the PSU in with the mobo seated in the case can turn into a frustrating endevor.
  • Install the DVD drive and HDD's into the case. I do this without the mobo inside cause you want the freedom to reach into the crevases of the case to pull the drives in without worrying about hitting the mobo or having it get in the way. Get your drives inside set and secure then...
  • Install the motherboard. Get it all in and seated proper. Then you can start installing the memory modules and then the cpu. I save putting the heatsink in place for last so i can...
  • Connect the PSU wires to the mobo. Do this without the heatsink in place cause depending on it's size it just may get in the way visually (like a huge Zalman fan for instance). Connect your main mobo power cable then start connecting the cables from the PSU to the HDD's and drives. Connect the case's cables to the mobo at this point as well like the sata/IDE cables, the case's power and reset button cables and the front panel stuff. Then...
  • Connect your heatsink in and just plug it into the cpu fan connector. Some people choose to connect the cpu to the mobo when it is out of the cage but i like to do it when the mobo is bolted to the case because doing so requires a lil force to get the pin all the way closed securely and i'd rather apply that force in a secure seated mobo then on a flat surface of a work table. Everyone has thier preference really and you'll develop your own as you build more systems. So with the cpu inside and the heatsink attached start...
  • Installing your video, sound, and any pci cards you have. Get then all inside and powered to the psu if they need it.
  • Now you have all your stuff inside. Start doing a few checks. See if your cables are clear of any fans like the heatsink and the video card's fan. Make sure nothing is dangeling over them so when the system cuts on nothing gets sucked in (i actually seen this happen before). Do so as well for the case's fan wires and such. Once everything is clear, double check the PSU and see if all components are connected to it properly. Now check the mobo and see if stuff like your sata and IDE (if you have any) cables are connected properly. Once all these checks are done...
  • Power on the PC. I highly suggest you lay the PC flat on it's side with the side panel off so you can visually see all the components running and see just how good your airway paths are. Keep the case fan off while you install the OS and get the PC running 100%.
  • Once your at the desktop shutdown your PC. Now restart it. This is to check and see she's all good rebooting windows fresh without any issues. Now that you confirmed windows is working proper install your vid card's drivers and get that working. Then start installing whatever drivers for your PCI cards if you have any. Your system should reboot after this so once it does and everything is installed and working proper shutdown the PC. If you have any other HDD's start formating them now via windows and get them working.
  • Your PC's side panel should still be off at this point. At this stage your PC is working 100%, you have your vid card's drivers installed and your HDD's formated and working proper. Start doing some cable management now. The reason you keep the side panel off all this time is so that you can access the hardware quick and easy incase something went wrong. ALWAYS save cable management for last AFTER your PC is running 100%. Cause at this point your system is 100% operational and now you just need to do a lil nip/tucking of cables. If something were to have gone wrong and you did your cable management before getting the PC working at full capacity you'd have to undo all your cable work to troubleshoot the problem and redo them again when it's fixed.
  • Good cable management helps with airflow within the case and clearing the heatsink(s) of any dangeling cables. Make sure there are no obstructions in front of any fans like wires. Whatever cables can be tied to a surface or bar within your case, do so to make them secure. Use an empty drive bay, preferbly the top bay, to tuck in any cabeling you are not using (this is for non-modular PSU's. If your PSU was modular then whatever cables you are not using would not be connected to the PSU).
  • Once all your wires are tucked away and your system is basically clean and neat connect any case fan molex cables to the PSU and stand your PC upright for the first time. Double check the PC again. Gravity sometimes is your enemy. See if any cables are not dangeling downwards because of the PC's new orientation (you can't see this when it's laid on it's side) and see if all your fans, again, are clear of any obstructions. Once all is good and your cables are stable and tied down correctly put on the side panel start up your PC and enjoy.

    Every builder has thier own method. Some like to seat everything into the mobo before placing it into the case and some like to get it in first and start putting stuff in second. It's all really up to the builder's personal method and what works for them best. And by the way, Buy.com sucks. They have the worse customer support I have encountered in a while and their shipping speed is just not great at all so i'm not suprised your still waiting on your PSU. I'm sure others will post thier own building methods after me and you can compare and see what methods work best for ya. Feel free to ask any questions and good luck with the build.
    August 23, 2007 11:45:58 PM

    It all looks good.Only thing I can tell you briefly is read the instructions and don't handle parts on a carpet or when wearing a wool sweater etc.due to static.Touch the case with your hand before installing anything just to make sure. If in doubt about something double-check the instuctions ,look at some online guides on building a PC and ask on the forums.Above all take your time,learn and have fun with it.
    Related resources
    August 23, 2007 11:54:38 PM

    Nice response, wingsofzion.

    I like to mount the memory first, then the heatsink outside of the case. The memory goes first because sometimes a big heatsink will interfere with memory installation in the first slot. The cpu heat sink installation can be tricky, particularly for a first time installer. Mounting it outside the case makes it easier, and you can more clearly see if it is on properly. The psu cables can be a pain if the mobo is already installed, but you could probably install them just before the mobo was seated.
    One other suggestion: Keep all the boxes and packing materials. You might have missed something if you throw it out early, and if you need to rma something, you will want the boxes.
    Get a copy of memtest86+ and run that first for a few minutes, before trying to load windows
    August 24, 2007 1:39:07 AM

    wingsofzion - Thanks a TON for that post :D 

    uberman - Thanks for info about avoiding carpet etc.

    geofelt - Thanks as well to you. I just don't understand what is memtest86+ and how can I run it if I have no windows?

    ~~~

    Also one other thing... you guys keep mentioning hsf and adding one and such... all I got is the Q6600 with stock cooler... (retail version or w/e) Do you think I'll need a separate cooler?

    Also with that Centurion 534 case... you talk about airflow and air paths... do you think I'll need any extra fans, or what? I don't really understand how to get airflow etc other than I read somewhere you should have more exhaust than intake...

    The only card I have to put in the motherboard is the Video Card... the rest (sound + NIC) is onboard I believe.

    ~~~

    Just kind of a side question... but do you think this will be able to run Oblivion? I've always wanted to be able to play it and every time I was looking at computers or set-ups in the past I'd get mixed reviews on if it would play well or not... I'm starting to think that Oblivion just doesn't play well on any computer.

    Other than that... Don't really have my eyes on any new games just yet... I've been thinking about trying that Overlord game... or maybe Supreme Commander... I can't play online games with my internet connection... so that kind of limits my selection of available games.

    Thanks again to the three of you for responding to my post, I'll be sure to take all the advice you've given and put it to good use. I'm off to find some more guides, and possibly to make a plan of "attack" for setting up my 'rig'.
    August 24, 2007 3:08:19 AM

    pous said:
    You guys keep mentioning hsf and adding one and such... all I got is the Q6600 with stock cooler... (retail version or w/e) Do you think I'll need a separate cooler?

    Honestly i never use the stock cpu cooler with my cpu's ever since the last one on a P4 rig i build in 2005 just didnt do it's job. Core 2's and Quads are suppose to cool better but they do get hot, maybe not as hot as older P4's but they do fairly run hot at times. If your rig is going to be placed under heavy load by you either 1) playing games or 2) using some sort of resource heavy program (photoshop, movie/audio editing software, etc..) i'd recommend investing in a 3rd party cpu cooler that will do a better job at keeping your cpu cool. Zalman makes great cpu coolers. And since this is your first build i'd say start there. When choosing a cooler ALWAYS make sure it is a silent one or one that is marketed as being silent. You dont want your newly built PC sounding like a Boeing 57 taking off the runway. Stock heatsinks are not built to be silent, they are just built to work period, that's it. They do keep fairly good temps, dont get me wrong, but for a rig i know will be pushed to it's limites i use a 3rd party cooler. A special cpu cooler like a silent cooler is made out of different material that make's it's operation silent especially under heavy load. Now of course there is no 100% purely silent cooler (unless you delve into the liquid cooling arena) but they do run much much quiter than stock intel cpu's hands down. Some have mixed results but I've been using Zalman fans for my builds for years and they are pretty impressive for a $40 to $60 dollar investment. Do a lil research into it before you decide what you want to do. Research is a first time builder's best friend. Trust me on that.
    pous said:
    Also with that Centurion 534 case... you talk about airflow and air paths... do you think I'll need any extra fans, or what? I don't really understand how to get airflow etc other than I read somewhere you should have more exhaust than intake...

    True about the exhaust. Remember the goal of a good airflow is to push more air out than take it in. Now on this particular case your a bit limited fan wise but that may not be a bad thing. You have 1 rear fan and 1 side panel fan. If you use a stock intel cooler your heatsink will push it's hot hair upwards which will be caught by that rear fan and pushed outwards. Now this case does have a exhaust near where your heatsink will be so it'll work to push that air out. I just recommend you keep your PC clean on the inside (clean meaning cable management wise). Invest in like a 100pk of black twisty ties ($5 bucks) to manage your cables. Keep them clear and away from your intake/exhaust fans and the heatsink. Remember your power supply will also do it's work to push air out but it's more for it's own purposes than helping the CPU. Do you need a cooler? I'd say yes but i'm a bit concerned with that air duct i see reaching into the case from off the side panel. It may hit the heatsink (cause a 3rd party cooler like a Zalman is bigger and more importantly taller than a stock intel cooler) and you may have to take that off completely for the door to close properly. This is basically a 50/50 possibility. One thing to do on future case purchases: if your going to reuse a case for future expansions always buy a full tower. You'll just have more room for whatever newer stuff that comes out. But this case will do you right for your first build. Use the stock intel hsf for now but just make sure you make the right choice. Thing about 3rd party coolers is that many require you, for support reasons, to install a backplate support bracket. This bracket is installed behind the mobo and comes out of the holes your stock intel heatsink would have screwed into. These brackets are for support of bigger heavier heatsinks and really should be install BEFORE the mobo is seated into the case. So you have to decide now what your gonna do cause if you decide to get like a Zalman fan or another cpu cooler later, you have to completely remove your mobo from the case just to install that back support bracket. This operation is much more easier when done at the initial build of the PC and not later. Don't fret, the actual installation is actually rather easy even for a beginner.
    pous said:
    Just kind of a side question... but do you think this will be able to run Oblivion? I've always wanted to be able to play it and every time I was looking at computers or set-ups in the past I'd get mixed reviews on if it would play well or not... I'm starting to think that Oblivion just doesn't play well on any computer.

    When Oblivion came out in '06 i was still using my gamer at the time comprised of a Asus P5WD2 mobo, P4 3.2GHZ, 74GB Raptor, 120GB Hdd, 2GB Crucial DDR2 533 memory, running on a 256mb 7800GT card. I played games like BF2, FEAR, Prey, COD2, HL2, Far Cry, and Oblivion at full max settings without one performance glitch. I still play Oblivion with full settings, even with the bloom effects, with no hiccups at all. Your build will be much faster than that PC and if it handled those games at full blast yours can do the same. If you build it right that is, lol. Don't worry, Oblivion will run 100% perfect on your rig.

    August 24, 2007 3:22:19 AM

    Thanks again for the replies.

    I'll look into getting those wire ties... not entirely sure how or where to use them though I guess... I'll have to read up on it or something.

    Glad to hear that the cooling should work for the case I chose... I was trying to justify spending 150 on a case, but couldn't really... and then I upgraded last minute to the q6600 and the 8800gts and I'm kind of wishing I'd gone with a bigger case (the thermaltake armor) or something...

    As for 3rd party, you keep mentioning Zalman, and I saw a picture of one once and almost cried... it's scary looking. I hear good things about the tunique (Maybe? spelling might be off) and the scythe series... do those require these back plate deals?

    How hard would it be to remove that side air tunnel deal if it gets in my way? I'm all nervous now that I might need a new cooler, and that if I get one things won't fit, and then my computer will overheat and explode... (or at least stop working).

    Also thanks for the bit about Oblivion, it made me feel good inside. I'm really excited to play it... I bought the fancy DVD version with a special documentary about the making of it and the special coin, and a book (122 page guide to the realm) or some such.... I'm a pretty big elder scrolls nerd from back in the days of Arena/Daggerfall... so yea.

    Anyways, thanks again for all the tips.

    Also, sorry if I'm asking the same questions over... I'm just... nervous a bit I guess, I really want things to work out well for this build.
    August 24, 2007 3:50:48 AM

    Try the stock heat sink first.As long as you aren't overclocking you will be fine.If your motherboard doesn't come with some temp monitoring utility there are apps out there to do that.Memtest is to run after the machine is up and running and stress tests the ram to make sure there are no issues there.That machine is better than mine and I play Oblivion fine with settings between med to high.If the duct in the case is in the way of something it can probably be removed without ill effects.It is there to direct flow thru the case so just check temps to make sure.You can check temps in the bios also.
    August 24, 2007 4:07:50 AM

    Memtest86+ is a memory testing program. It does not need an operating system like windows. You download it to a floppy or a cd and boot it from the floppy or cd. It is an easy way to do a first check of your new system.
    August 24, 2007 10:58:06 AM

    Hmm I'll try finding this... Memtest86+ (It'll have to be CD because I have no floppy drive)

    As for the monitoring temperature deal... no idea really :D  I'll have to figure that out too.

    Thanks for the replies guys :D  It's good to know that the cooling should work for me, who doesn't plan to over clock.
    August 24, 2007 10:42:32 PM

    You should be able to find Memtest on download.com as well as other apps you might need.I use rivatuner to monitor,oc,or adjust fan speeds etc. on my graphics card.MB,CPU I use the utilities that came on my Asus MB.But there others like Mother Board Monitor,or Speedfan that others use.I'm not sure but you can probably run memtest on a USB key if you don't have a floppy.
    August 25, 2007 12:53:10 PM

    Thanks uberman. Rivatuner and Memtest, I'll go find those.
    !