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New system after 7 years, how to start off?

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December 31, 2007 5:52:08 PM

http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?sku_id=... (Desktop PC)

http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?sku_id=... (21.6" Samsung LCD Monitor)

http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&...
OR
http://visiontek.com/products/cards/retail/2600XT_PCIe_... (Visiontek HD2600XT 512MB)

I ordered those online yesterday and it cost ~1200$CAD. Yes I know "eww you should've built your own system" but I'm 12 and my parents wouldn't have let me build my own computer and I know NO ONE that has experience with things like this. The computer is gonna be used primarily for games (by me) and web-surfing by the rest of my family.
With my old system that my bro bought for $3,000, he fixed all the drivers, OS and the rest of the thingamabobs. But he moved far away so the burden will be on me to set-up the new computer. It supposedly has Vista Home Edition 32-bit pre-installed but we'll see. We're gonna take the computer to futureshop or bestbuy's GeekSquad to get them to install the video card and make sure everything's working properly, or if you guys can tell me how to do it, I can. But before that, I'm gonna have to install mobo chipset drivers and stuff like that right? I basically want you guys to tell me EVERYTHING I have to know about using a new computer and what drivers I have to install, in what order, etc;
-What software do I need? Fine-tuning stuff? What anti-spyware do you recommend other than Ad-Aware for vista?
-Also, how do I know that my computer is running right and everything's okay?
-As for security, I'm probably gonna get AVG Free along with Comodo Firewall but what about spyware?
-Do I need to remove any useless software that comes with the computer?
-Should I/Do I need to do the backup/restore thingy?
-My card supports DX10, should I get that or get DX9?

edit: Should I put the video card in the case as soon as I get it? Or do I wait and see if the computer's working properly with the OS and everything?

More about : system years start

December 31, 2007 6:39:25 PM

If you cant build your own computer then its alright but honestly...installing a new card and the drivers for the videocard is very easy. No need to send it to geek squad or fs for them to do a simple installation which in return would cost you about 20 or so dollars even. I would guess that the only thing you would have to worry about is if the power supply included with the hp computer is powerful enough for the video card. Check first, if it is when you do install the card make sure you go into the bios settings of the computer (could be f2 or f10, f12 i belive depending on which computer brand) and disable the integrated video card. For your antivirus I hear that for a limited time you can get avg pro (better then the free version) legally free for 1 year at http://www.computeractive.co.uk/avg/index
December 31, 2007 6:44:42 PM

If you're purchasing a computer off-the-shelf, you shouldn't need to mess around with motherboard chipset drivers. They should be reasonably up to date. If you're really concerned about it though, you can go to http://support.hp.com (HP owns the Compaq line now) and click on the software and Driver downloads link.

Installing a graphics card is really a very easy procedure. Go to http://youtube.com and search for "installing graphic cards". You'll get a number of videos showing pretty much the same procedure:

1) Shut down the system
2) Unplug the system
3) Open the case
4) Remove existing graphics card (if one is there)
5) Install new graphics card
6) Close case
7) Plug in the system
8) Power the system up
9) Install graphic card drivers

The only change I would make over the instructions given in most of these video is they say to install the drivers from the CD. In many cases, the drivers on the CD are already out of date. I prefer to download the latest drivers from directly from ATI's web site, save them to your hard drive, and when the new card is installed and the system is powered on, install the downloaded drivers instead of the ones from the CD.

-Wolf sends
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December 31, 2007 7:12:00 PM

The only thing I would add to the above is that both the mobo you buy and your pc should have instructions on installing the card. Just read through both of them - they should tell you the same thing.
The instructions with the PC should tell you if you need to change the bios to recognize the new video card - and maybe how to do it.
December 31, 2007 7:15:09 PM

The video card in the comp is Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100, which is probably integrated right? If it's integrated, is it still a "card" that I can remove from the case? Or is it mixed in with the mobo? Wow I've watched some videos and it so DARNED easy! Screw futureshop's 40$ service, I'm going to do it myself!
Also, how do I know which slot is PCI-EXPRESS x16?
One more thing, after that I remove the existing card and put in the new one, it's not "installed" yet right? Will I still be able to see what's going on in the monitor, meaning will I have a display? Or will the monitor be blank?
After placing the video card in the mobo slot, do I need a screw driver? What other tools will I need?
As for drivers, do I remove the old drivers BEFORE removing the old video card and putting in the new one?
December 31, 2007 7:16:12 PM

just a suggestion, don't bother with geeksquad. most of the time, they have no idea what they're doing :p 

and whenever you hear intel graphics, that means integrated. theres no actual card. and as long as the card actually works, just drop in the new one and you'll still be able to see what's going on.
December 31, 2007 7:40:22 PM

Do I have to "disable" the integrated card like I saw in one of the youtube movies? It said go to desktop, properties, display, advanced and then disable the old integrated card AND THEN opening the case and putting in the new graphics card.
December 31, 2007 7:44:04 PM

Wolfshadw said:
If you're purchasing a computer off-the-shelf, you shouldn't need to mess around with motherboard chipset drivers. They should be reasonably up to date. If you're really concerned about it though, you can go to http://support.hp.com (HP owns the Compaq line now) and click on the software and Driver downloads link.

Installing a graphics card is really a very easy procedure. Go to http://youtube.com and search for "installing graphic cards". You'll get a number of videos showing pretty much the same procedure:

1) Shut down the system
2) Unplug the system
3) Open the case
4) Remove existing graphics card (if one is there)
5) Install new graphics card
6) Close case
7) Plug in the system
8) Power the system up
9) Install graphic card drivers

The only change I would make over the instructions given in most of these video is they say to install the drivers from the CD. In many cases, the drivers on the CD are already out of date. I prefer to download the latest drivers from directly from ATI's web site, save them to your hard drive, and when the new card is installed and the system is powered on, install the downloaded drivers instead of the ones from the CD.

-Wolf sends


One thing you forgot. Uninstall the old video card drivers before shutting the system down and proceeding to 1.

Here is a link that should help.

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=16154

Driver cleaner pro is a program that can remove all of the old drivers.

If you computer has on board video don't forget to go into the bios and disable it.
December 31, 2007 8:15:06 PM

You're going to be so happy getting a new card over the integrated graphics. Its not hard, its great to see people doing these improvements on their own. You'll be having people ask you to build their systems in no time. Just don't forget to uninstall the drivers.
December 31, 2007 9:17:33 PM

caamsa said:
One thing you forgot. Uninstall the old video card drivers before shutting the system down and proceeding to 1.

Here is a link that should help.

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=16154

Driver cleaner pro is a program that can remove all of the old drivers.

If you computer has on board video don't forget to go into the bios and disable it.
Assuming the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 is "onboard", how do I go into BIOS and how do I disable the integrated card? I don't wanna mess up any settings. I read that link and I'm gonna try without the driver cleaner. How do I go into safe mode? I've read in that link that I should install drivers while in safe mode.
Also, is it possible to reinstall the drivers for the integrated graphics in case the new video card doesn't work?
As for the disabling part, do I disable the integrated card before or after uninstalling old drivers? Do I insert new video card before or after disabling the integrated card?

edit: As for drivers, video card drivers are all I have to worry about?
December 31, 2007 10:17:33 PM

There is no need to disable the integrated graphics. Just plug your monitor into the new card. If you wanted three monitors, you could plug in three devices. All vga cards will work with no drivers except what windows or vista provides. The display may be a coarse 640x80, but it will be useable and able to boot vista. Before you update anything take a system checkpoint. If it really gets screwed up, you will be able to get back to the checkpoint.

One warning, though.... Pre-built systems put in the bare minimum of components that will work. Your psu may not have the amps on the 12v rails to power a good vga card. You need to find this out first. When it arrives, look at the specification sticker on the psu, and tell us what you have.

---good luck---
December 31, 2007 10:26:23 PM

How do I set up a system checkpoint? Also, about the internet, do I just have to replug everything in? How do I get that "Sympatico High speed" icon to show up on my desktop? I need internet in order to install latest drivers. As for installing the video card, I got a question. After you open your case, you have to unscrew/knock out a metal plate and then put the video card in right? What do you do with that metal plate later?
December 31, 2007 10:32:34 PM

Go to control panel/backup and restore center/
select create a restore point
key the create a restore point , then enter some text to describe the checkpoint.

Later, if vista boots, you can restore from there, and if it can't, you can restore from safe mode.
December 31, 2007 10:57:45 PM

Sorry I haven't responded sooner. Just getting home from work and running an errand.

System restore points (I guess this is what you mean) are created automatically whenever you install a new application or driver (See Link).

I didn't mention uninstalling previous drivers, because there is no need; given the system does not already have a graphics "card". Personally, I prefer to leave the integrated graphics chipset active. That way, in the event of some error with the graphics card, I have an immediate fall back that I can use to diagnose the error.

One thing I did note, looking at your computer's specifications (found here btw). It states that you cannot run onboard graphics and a PCI-Ex16 graphics card concurrently. Now whether this means you have to disable the onboard graphics before installing the new graphics card or just that you cannot have monitors plugged into both at the same time, I don't know.

One thing I did fail to mention and I'm not even sure it's valid with Vista (I know it is with XP). After the new graphics card is installed and you power up your system for the first time, Windows may prompt you with "New Hardware Found" windows and will ask you if you want to let Windows install the drivers. CANCEL this window.

You'll be running on basic VGA drivers until you get the drivers you downloaded installed. So in answer to your previous question, yes. You will be able to see what's going on after you install the graphics card, but before you install the drivers.

Hope this helps out some.

-Wolf sends
December 31, 2007 11:13:33 PM

So you're saying the onboard graphics in my computer don't have drivers? If it did, how would I go about uninstalling them? Also, in the case that I DID have to in fact disable my old integrated card, how do I go into BIOS and what do I do there.
January 1, 2008 12:06:52 AM

Your onboard graphics do have drivers. For now, I would leave them alone. Should you need to remove them, you can use a program like Driver Sweeper.

To get into BIOS, you need to watch your system as it boots up. During the boot up process, there should be a message that tells you to press a specific key (usually a function key like "F8") to enter setup. Once in BIOS, look for an option that states, Onboard or Integrated Graphics Enabled/Disabled. Set it to disabled, then Save and Exit.

Again, I only recommend doing this if you need to.

-Wolf sends

Edit:

And just for the record, I've never had to remove the drivers or disable onboard graphics for any system I've built or bought. This doesn't mean you won't have to. Just that I've never had to.
January 1, 2008 4:27:07 PM

Ok, this is what I understand as far as video card goes:
1) Get the computer ready, get internet and antivirus on it, download and save to desktop the latest ATi drivers
2) Close the computer, unplug all the cables, open the case, insert the video card and then close the case
3) Plug everything back in, start the computer, install the ATi drivers from desktop and reboot
-If it doesn't work, I uninstall integrated graphics' drivers. If it still doesn't work, I disable integrated graphics, am I right?

Ok I understand the video card part now, what about the rest? What should I do to get my computer set up and ready to go?
January 1, 2008 5:35:29 PM

@OP: You should have built it your self, I built my 1st PC when I was 11.
January 1, 2008 5:46:51 PM

There shouldn't be anything else to do. When you get your system, set it up. Plug in the monitor (to the onboard graphics port), keyboard, mouse, and speakers. Connect your Internet connection and start downloading updates (support.hp.com, windowsupdate.microsoft.com, ati.amd.com). Once you have updates from HP and Microsoft installed and drivers from ATI downloaded, go through the steps you outlined. Once your system is back up and the graphic drivers are installed, start installing your games/software/whatever.

-Wolf sends
January 1, 2008 8:50:44 PM

Hmm, check this out, I do have to disable onboard graphics before installing new video card: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...
That link gave me a lot more detail and I think I'm set... Actually, about the hp drivers, which ones do I get from here : http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareList?os=2093...
Those drivers are "original"..does that mean they're old? It says fall 2007 afterall, the latest drivers for HP are probably already installed. I'll make sure to get updates from microsoft and drivers from ati though.
January 1, 2008 9:11:29 PM

@OP: You need to also disable on board Video from the BIOS or else it will still use part of your RAM. You can download the graphics drive for ATi/ Nvidia from their websites.
January 1, 2008 9:14:05 PM

Wolfshadw said:

Edit:

And just for the record, I've never had to remove the drivers or disable onboard graphics for any system I've built or bought. This doesn't mean you won't have to. Just that I've never had to.


If you don't disable the Onboard Video through BIOS it still will use your RAM, which defies half of the reason you are getting a graphics card.
January 2, 2008 3:14:22 PM

Ok, so let's say I disable onboard video, and install the video card. The new video card doesn't work, the integrated is disabled. I'm unable to see anything, right? What can I do?
January 2, 2008 3:32:29 PM

power off, open the case, check to make sure you have any required power cables connected to the card first, swap the monitor cable to the on-board connector, uninstall the card, boot back up and enter BIOS.

Check to see if the primary video card is set for the slot you wish to use. Mostly likely either PCI-E or AGP. Save settings and shut down.

Install the card and any necessary cables, swap cable back to the card and reboot. Ensure the display is using the right input.

January 2, 2008 4:06:19 PM

Akifuddin said:
Ok, so let's say I disable onboard video, and install the video card. The new video card doesn't work, the integrated is disabled. I'm unable to see anything, right? What can I do?


Worse case scenario,
The Docs should contain instructions on how to reset the BIOS, which is normally a jumper on the mobo.
This will re-enable the onboard graphics if you have a major problem with the new card.
January 2, 2008 5:15:52 PM

Everyone is giving you fairly good, sane advice so far. The only thing I'd like to add is this:

No, adding cards and accessories to your PC is not brain surgery. Anyone with a screwdriver and a little self-confidence can do this stuff. But given the season and your location, do be extra careful about static electricity. One of those anti-static wrist straps would be nice but not critical. Just touch a grounded metal object somewhere before you handle computer components, don't shuffle around the area a lot while you're working on the computer, and try to handle things like cards by the edges without getting your fingers all over electrical contacts.

Lotsa' luck!

-B
January 2, 2008 5:28:54 PM

To add to what bberson ^ said.. Just work on your computer off the carpet if possible.. Otherwise to be super safe touch the ground and your case at the same time before you begin tinkering.. Good luck..
!