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Build prep and setup

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May 16, 2008 5:28:21 AM

I just finalized my newegg order so the parts should be here after the weekend. This will be my first complete build so I'd like to ask a few questions to make the process as smooth as possible. I'm fairly confident about the physical installation of each component, but I'm a little unclear about the settings.

I wont list every piece in the order but here is the general rundown:
E6600
GA-P35-DS3L
4GB DDR2 800
620HX PSU
2 Seagate HD + 1 DVD Burner (all SATA)
Vista Premium 64

After doing some searching it sounds like the best method for the first boot and initial setup is to use only 1 stick of RAM and 1 HD. Is this correct?

Other than switching the boot order, are there any settings in bios that I need to change before installing windows?

How should I setup the jumpers on the 2 hard drives and the dvd burner? Cable select on all? Or will they change if I install windows on the first drive before installing the storage drive?

Installing OS --> Mobo drivers --> Gfx drivers is the correct order?

Do I need a special program to create a partition for Vista before I install windows? I probably won't try to get fancy with moving the page file, but I'd just like to separate the OS from other programs on the first HD.

I've never used vista before, so are there any tweaks or major initial changes I should make after installing?

If anyone has any other tips, recommended programs, or general comments about the build or prepping for the build, I'd really appreciate it.

More about : build prep setup

May 16, 2008 11:13:05 AM

Yes, the best way to do a first bootup, is with as few parts as possible. That way if anything goes wrong it's not an all day thing to figure out what is wrong.

You should be good to install windows right off the bat.

I couldn't say about the Hard Drive jumpers, as i only have one myself.

Yes assuming everything is working as intended, that would be the order.

As for the windows partition, i believe when installing the OS you'll be presented with some options. Whether or not to do a partition, and where, etc. That's if i'm remembering correctly.

First thing i'd do once Vista is installed is to disable that damned annoying "are you sure" thing. I can never remember the name of it, but i sure as hell learned how to turn it off..and quickly. Also disable driver signing or whatever it's called. I'm sorry it i can't be more specific. But it once disabled it'll alleviate some potential driver issues. Basically if it doesn't have a digitally signed driver it will most likely have trouble installing, if at all. Turning it off will make it so that programs without a signed driver, like most 3rd party programs, can be installed without a hitch.

Initially you'll want some anti-spyware, anti-spybot, and anti-virus software. I use AVG, Spybot Search and Destroy, and Spyware Blaster.

Make 100% sure you're grounded at all times while handling any of your computer components. I'd recommend buying a static mat just to be on the safe side. Keep any pets locked out of the room, particularly cats...AKA walking static machines.

Oh, tip, RAM sometimes requires significant force to become properly seated, so again be 100% sure the notch is lined up!

And good luck with your first build :sol: 
May 16, 2008 12:10:11 PM

"After doing some searching it sounds like the best method for the first boot and initial setup is to use only 1 stick of RAM and 1 HD. Is this correct?" - Yes, but I don't unless the pc won't post, then I remove all but one stick of ram.

"Other than switching the boot order, are there any settings in bios that I need to change before installing windows?" - Minimal changes would be load defaults & change the boot order to:

1 = CD/DVD
2 = HDD/FDD
3 = HDD/NADA

"How should I setup the jumpers on the 2 hard drives and the dvd burner? Cable select on all? Or will they change if I install windows on the first drive before installing the storage drive?" - You should. It can eliminate conflicts. The middle end of an IDE cable connects to nothing or the slave drive. Set the master/slave jumpers on the drives accordingly. That's all you need to know.

[MOBO]==========[SLAVE/NADA]===========[MASTER]

"Installing OS --> Mobo drivers --> Gfx drivers is the correct order?" - Yep. Don't forget to disconnect network before OS install. You can activate it after security software installs & updates/service packs.

"Do I need a special program to create a partition for Vista before I install windows? I probably won't try to get fancy with moving the page file, but I'd just like to separate the OS from other programs on the first HD." - No. MS is good enough to include a basic partitioning tool in Windows setup. You may have to click advanced or customize when Vista asks you where to install the OS. Just make one big partition if you have 2 drives or make a small one for OS & a big one for My Documents if you have 1 drive. i.e. 100GB for OS, the rest for data.

"I've never used vista before, so are there any tweaks or major initial changes I should make after installing?" - No, but I'd install security software such as antivirus, antispyware, antitrojan, antirootkit, firewall, system securing tools, etc. The ones in Vista are adequate for the average user, but not a security-conscious user like me. I spend an average of 30-min to 1 hour to secure a fresh install of XP.

"If anyone has any other tips, recommended programs, or general comments about the build or prepping for the build, I'd really appreciate it." - Run some stability tests before you install OS.

http://www.memtest.org/#downiso - reboot & run for 1-5 passes

After os install:

http://www.xtremesystems.com/pi/ - do 2mb
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=200 - click download & run for 1-8 hours
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2008 12:39:13 PM

Follow the instructions on the arctic silver web site for application on the e6600 if you are using arctic silver. A line of paste, not a dot.

http://www.arcticsilver.com/pdf/appinstruct/as5/ins_as5...

If you are using the stock cooler, do not be afraid to push on those pins until you hear the click. Use a roll of duct tape to support the motherboard and push hard.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2008 12:55:55 PM

A good way to start is by simply installing the CPU/heatsink and fan, the video card, and 1 stick of memory. Lay the motherboard on a piece of cardboard beside the case, and hook up all the wiring, including the monitor. Start it up and see if you can get into the POST screen. If you can, remove the video card and mount the board into the case, replace the card, try again. Then add your HDD, install windows. Then add 1 thing at a time from there. It is so much easier to do this than install everything, and then hit the power button, and nothing. Then you have to backtrack and uninstall everything to find the problem, if there is one.
May 16, 2008 1:51:50 PM

deftech said:
I just finalized my newegg order so the parts should be here after the weekend. This will be my first complete build so I'd like to ask a few questions to make the process as smooth as possible. I'm fairly confident about the physical installation of each component, but I'm a little unclear about the settings.

I wont list every piece in the order but here is the general rundown:
E6600
GA-P35-DS3L
4GB DDR2 800
620HX PSU
2 Seagate HD + 1 DVD Burner (all SATA)
Vista Premium 64

After doing some searching it sounds like the best method for the first boot and initial setup is to use only 1 stick of RAM and 1 HD. Is this correct?

I usually install with everything all connected but yeah it's good practice to minimize the components for initial setup.

Quote:
Other than switching the boot order, are there any settings in bios that I need to change before installing windows?

You shouldn't have to unless you want to set up RAID or something.

Quote:
How should I setup the jumpers on the 2 hard drives and the dvd burner? Cable select on all? Or will they change if I install windows on the first drive before installing the storage drive?

They're all SATA so it's not necessary. Generally plug the HDD into the first SATA port.

Quote:
Installing OS --> Mobo drivers --> Gfx drivers is the correct order?

Yes

Quote:
Do I need a special program to create a partition for Vista before I install windows? I probably won't try to get fancy with moving the page file, but I'd just like to separate the OS from other programs on the first HD.

No, you'll have the option to do that during the Vista install. (I think you have to choose Advanced during the "choose where to install Vista" part.

Quote:
I've never used vista before, so are there any tweaks or major initial changes I should make after installing?

I always turn off User Account Control (UAC) the thing that pops up every click to ask you if it's ok. I do this at least while installing everything. Once the PC is good to go you can turn it back on if you like that kind of feature. It's in Control Panel -> User Accounts -> User Account Control.

Quote:
If anyone has any other tips, recommended programs, or general comments about the build or prepping for the build, I'd really appreciate it.


Sounds like you have everything in order. Most of the utilities I install are for overclocking. You might want to download CoreTemp to make sure you're not running too hot (i.e., the heatsink isn't installed correctly) but otherwise I don't think you really need much. Good luck with the build.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2008 3:49:07 PM

uguv is right - no jumpers on SATA devices - each drive has its own data cable.

I like akhilles advice on running a bootable memtest before loading OS. I use BartPE and its tools (and it also makes a great rescue disk) and doesnt need Vista pre-loaded.

You shouldnt have to mess with the boot order to load Vista. With just 1 HDD installed you shouldnt need to use the Advanced Install options.

Vista will ask you if you want to create a named account for yourself. I'd skip that step inititally and use the Administrator account to complete you setup options (and turning off the UAC like uguv mentioned).

Here are some software recommendations (AV, Firewall, etc)

If you havent done so already download the motherboard manual and get familar with your board. http://america.giga-byte.com/FileList/Manual/motherboard_manual_ga-p35-(d)s3l_e.pdf




May 16, 2008 10:45:59 PM

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I just got the confirmation that the order shipped, so everything should be here in a few days. I'll spend the weekend prepping the case thats being reused from an old cyberpower PC. It should work well but the cooling is limited to 80mm fans, so I'd like to do some cutting and swap in some 120mm fans.

I'm toying with the idea of using vlite for the vista install but I'm not really familiar with what can be taken out safely. Would the following work out well? I'm a little unsure of the partition sizes and how big to make the page file.

Hard Drive 1 - 50 gig partition for vista, rest for programs
Hard Drive 2 - 8 gig partition for a copy of the page file, rest for data

One more question, would I have to worry about flashing bios? Or will it be up to date since I just ordered it?

I'll have to look into the post setup programs. Is there a good program to overclock the evga 8800gts?
May 17, 2008 1:49:24 PM

My strategy is KISS: keep it simple stupid!

Since you have 2 non-raid drives, I suggest you use the 1st for OS & 2nd for storage/my docs. It's simple to upgrade in the future. i.e. you can swap the storage drive out for a larger one with no change to partitions. There is only one partition on each drive. All you'll have to do is use the manufacturer's tools to copy/migrate the old drive to the new one. It's truly plug & play.

If you partition the drives like you said, that's ok. However, you might forget it & change the layout of the harddisks to 3 drives or 1 drive. Then the os wouldn't boot. You'd pull your hair out. "WTF. It was booting this morning!!!!"

I also image/backup the os to D drive with True Image on a schedule every morning while I sleep. Any malware or screwup, I'm back in biz in 10 mins. :)  Also full defrag. And malware scans. I'm back up in the morning the computer is ready for another day of torture. :D 

KISS.
!