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Gigabyte GA EP45 UD3p

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May 6, 2009 6:56:29 PM

Hi,
I'm new to forums, forgive me if I offend any protocols?

I'm about to do a new 1st time build; previously have only ever installed hard drives, expansion cards etc. (easy stuff)

I've done lots of research, think I've come up with final hardware spec; but suddenly aware of how much I don't know...scary!

Am hoping someone might cast an eye over it, advise on any glaring mistakes, or alternative suggestions,
-& whether all these components will work well together.

...& later, when all parts have arrived, to walk me through the build?

lot to ask, I know!

Spec so far:

Case: Coolermaster RC690
MB: Gigabyte GA EP45-UD3P
CPU: Intel Q9550 EO Stepping
CPU Cooler: OCZ Gladiator
RAM: Geil Black Dragon DDR2 8GB (4x2GB)
PSU: Be Quiet Darkpower pro 750w modular
GPU: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB
HD's: 2x WD 500GB 7200 (for OS's & Apps), 2x1TB WD Caviar (Storage)

I Plan to use XP Pro 32 bit to set up, as I know xp well, (yes, I realise memory limitations), then when everything's working well, set up a dual-boot with vista 64 bit, to access the 8GB memory.

I need a very stable, long-lived machine, mainly for 2D stuff, (photoshop, illustrator etc.) not gaming, mainly image editing & heavy graphics work (I'm a designer), sometimes files are over 2gb, with loads of multitasking, and my old dual AthlonMP with 1gb ram setup tries hard, but is really not up to it (but stable, never blue-screens).

Pls. can anyone reassure me that I've got the spec right before I waste time & money?

Thanks in advance!



More about : gigabyte ep45 ud3p

May 6, 2009 11:35:23 PM

I think your choices are fine.

For the PSU, if you are getting the Darkpower pro 750w for a decent price, it is fine. I don't think you'll need that much power, since you don't game and probably won't overclock either.
a b V Motherboard
May 7, 2009 1:18:20 AM

Hi

First boot instructions: First boot with as few components as possible. PSU, CPU/Heatsink, 1 stick of ram in the B1 slot, 1 video card in the primary slot. Post, reboot, and flash to current bios. After flashing shut down and unplug the PSU. Remove CMOS battery and discharge the motherboard by holding in the power button while touching the metal part of the case for approx 30 sec. Put the battery back in and post. Apply your bios settings especially your mem voltage and then you can add the rest of your components.
Related resources
May 7, 2009 9:00:57 AM

flyin15sec said:
I think your choices are fine.

For the PSU, if you are getting the Darkpower pro 750w for a decent price, it is fine. I don't think you'll need that much power, since you don't game and probably won't overclock either.



Thanks for your reply, Flyin15sec,
The Darkpower is £119, best price I can find in UK.
I will be wanting to add more harddrives in the future, and to be confident I could add anything else and still have enough power, within reason.

Overclocking sounds fascinating, and I will have a go, way in the future, but doing the first build is learning curve enough at the moment!

Sorry about the delay in replying; uk time, and bed was calling...

Thx again!

May 7, 2009 9:22:42 AM

starams5 said:
Hi

First boot instructions: First boot with as few components as possible. PSU, CPU/Heatsink, 1 stick of ram in the B1 slot, 1 video card in the primary slot. Post, reboot, and flash to current bios. After flashing shut down and unplug the PSU. Remove CMOS battery and discharge the motherboard by holding in the power button while touching the metal part of the case for approx 30 sec. Put the battery back in and post. Apply your bios settings especially your mem voltage and then you can add the rest of your components.


Thanks for your reply Starams5,
And as before, apologies for delay in replying; UK time, and sleep necessary!

You advice re. first steps very very welcome, and will definitely save me tons of trouble; I would have put in two sticks of ram, and the hard drives & who knows what else.

After the stages you've recommended, I'll only add components one at a time, I think. I've read lots of web chat about problems getting four sticks of ram working, so initially I'm intending to just get it going with two, and when running smooth & stable, with OS installed, and individual sticks mem-tested, then add the other two; is that sensible?

Mem voltages; if left on auto in the bios, won't motherboard automatically set correct voltage for the memory? (& CPU for that matter?)

Sorry if this is a really stupid question, just that I assumed I wouldn't have to play with mem settings until installing the second two sticks of ram?

Oh dear! the more I learn, the less I seem to know...

Your help much appreciated.
a c 156 V Motherboard
May 7, 2009 3:09:36 PM

ev13,
I post from Saudi Arabia, so I am used to being 8 - 10 hours out of sync with U.S. Sometimes the time stamps on my posts make me look like an insomniac. :) 

Component choice looks pretty good.

Comments on hard drives:
For a little more money, you can substitute WD640AALS drives for the 500 GB drives. The 640's are appreciably faster. if you do this, make sure that you get the AALS model. For the 1 TB drives, WD has two consumer models, the FALS "Black" performance drive and the EADS "Green" model.

Memory & motherboard:
I googled your memory. It comes in two models - CL4 and CL5. CL4 needs 2.0 volts; CL5 needs 1.8.

When you put the CPU inthe motherboard, it will automagically program the motherboard to provide the "correct" voltage. If you are not going to overclock, you can leave this alone. Default memory voltage is 1.8 volts. If you have CL4 RAM, you will need to go in and adjust the memory voltage. Gigabyte uses a "default + n volts" to adjust the RAM. So you should go in and set the memory voltage to "+ 0.2 volts". You should not need to play with memory settings other than that.

staram5 has good advice about installing only minimal components during the build process.

However, we differ in opinion on the need to flash to the latest BIOS. Two schools of thought on this:
1. Automatically go out and get the latest BIOS.
2. Wait and see if you have problems that could be BIOS related. If you do, then get the BIOS. I am a proponent of this. Neither of us is right or wrong.

First time build:
Look at this checklist (contains many common mistakes):
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-build-post-...

I am a proponent of breadboarding - basically building the computer outside the case on an insulated surface. It lets me test the parts before I go through all the work of installing them in the case. For a look at an "extreme" example (I have a KVM switch):
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-262730_13_0.ht...

Good luck; have fun.
----------
Overclocking since 1978 - Z80 (TRS-80) from 1.77 MHz to 2.01 MHz


May 7, 2009 4:00:29 PM

Jsc, Thanks for your answer;

lots of info there, will follow links you've provided, & look into the WD alternatives you recommend -thx!

When I was trawling e-stores for best price for the memory, I didn't check if CL4 or 5; will check now.

re. memory voltages...understood now!

Re. BIOS updating, hmmmm...I think I'll err on the side of caution initially, and, as you suggest, wait & see if any probs first; I've only ever flashed BIOS twice before, and with all the dire warnings out there, it was heart-in-mouth time until it completed. (Staram5, no offence intended?)

I'll check out the links you sent later on...family calls now...

Much appreciated input(s),
(& everyone)

a b V Motherboard
May 7, 2009 4:21:35 PM

Like JSC said we differ on how and when the bios should be flashed but his advice on the mem voltage is right on the money so just read what he said because I couldn't have said it any better.
May 7, 2009 8:09:02 PM

Hi to Starams5 & GhislainG,
Thx to both for your help; Starams5, I can see the logic of early bios flashing, before setup gets complex -easier to identify where problems originate when only very few components installed.

-But as in my reply to JSC, It's always been a bit scary for me, though my current setup makes it particularly difficult, especially with a flaky A drive.
The Gigabyte board does seem to make life a lot easier.

Ghislain, I'll look up the G.Skill -I've seen this recommended a lot, but it seems not to be so easily available in UK; wish we had a NewEgg here!.
The Geil spec. 'says' 1.9-2.0v, with 4-4-4-12 timings, and is a bit cheaper for 8Gb, but since you reckon it's better spec., I'll take a look and see if I can find any at a reasonable price.

Thank you all for your invaluable help!
May 7, 2009 8:12:12 PM

Oops, sorry, in previous post, I meant I'll look up -G.Skill- (not Geil) to see if I can find any at reasonable price in uk...
May 7, 2009 8:28:46 PM

One word of advice when installing XP on the UD3P. Be sure to use a version that has SP3 with the installation. The original XP, without service packs, will BSOD when trying to install it due to lack of drivers needed. I'm not sure if sp1 or sp2 will install. I've read about others with this problem and personally had it to.
May 7, 2009 8:32:28 PM

Hi JSC,
I've followed your links, -best step by step guide for relative newbies I've seen yet, I feel a bit privileged to have replies from all these people of such calibre; hope one day I'll have half the ability you all seem to have!

I see from your pic that you literally mean 'breadboard'-ing -brilliant! ...so if I put a sheet of plywood over my (varnished) desk, that would be sufficiently non-conducting? or do I have to go with the special anti-static mat stuff?

I've got about four old machines (486s, pentium1's & 2's) I've cobbled together in the long distant past, but times & technology have moved on so far that now it's a bit like starting at the beginning again. ...but fun anyways...
May 7, 2009 8:39:23 PM

orangegator said:
One word of advice when installing XP on the UD3P. Be sure to use a version that has SP3 with the installation. The original XP, without service packs, will BSOD when trying to install it due to lack of drivers needed. I'm not sure if sp1 or sp2 will install. I've read about others with this problem and personally had it to.


Hi Orangegator,
oops, my XP is the original (no sp's) which I've slipstreamed with sp2...guess I'll have to find out about slipstreaming SP3, or go buy a new XP SP3...
But thanks for letting me know, you've saved me a whole lot of time & pain trying to diagnose the BSODs.
a b V Motherboard
May 7, 2009 9:17:13 PM

In regard to flashing from a floppy. Check the user manual and see if you have a bios option to flash by USB stick which is actually the safest. ASUS and EVGA has this option, in this day and age Gigabyte should have it to. And yes, I flash at first boot because at this point bios has not seen many components, much more chance of a successful flash. An updated bios can address many problems such as CPU related issues, memory related issue, etc;
a c 156 V Motherboard
May 7, 2009 9:50:35 PM

1819944,12,422834 said:
I see from your pic that you literally mean 'breadboard'-ing -brilliant! ...so if I put a sheet of plywood over my (varnished) desk, that would be sufficiently non-conducting? or do I have to go with the special anti-static mat stuff?

said:
I just use a cutting board. If you want, you can just use the anti-static bag that the motherboard comes in.

One suggestion for when you do flash the BIOS. I don't have a UPS, so when I do flash, I flash really late at night. The BIOS, I mean. :)  Power grid seems more stable late at night.

The G-Skill memory is the same spec as the Geil CL4.
May 7, 2009 9:55:31 PM

starams5 said:
In regard to flashing from a floppy. Check the user manual and see if you have a bios option to flash by USB stick which is actually the safest. ASUS and EVGA has this option, in this day and age Gigabyte should have it to. And yes, I flash at first boot because at this point bios has not seen many components, much more chance of a successful flash. An updated bios can address many problems such as CPU related issues, memory related issue, etc;


Hi Again Starams5,
Yes, EP45 UD3P is flash-able via USB stick (according to Gigabyte spec of board & people with board); that's what I meant by the gigabyte board making things easier.
The reference to floppy disk was from my previous experiences with P2's & current Dual Athlon system = BIOS flash Horrid to do.

Hmmm...am really undecided when to do bios update...will consider for while!
Thx again!
May 7, 2009 9:59:34 PM

jsc said:
1819944,12,422834 said:
I see from your pic that you literally mean 'breadboard'-ing -brilliant! ...so if I put a sheet of plywood over my (varnished) desk, that would be sufficiently non-conducting? or do I have to go with the special anti-static mat stuff?

said:
I just use a cutting board. If you want, you can just use the anti-static bag that the motherboard comes in.

One suggestion for when you do flash the BIOS. I don't have a UPS, so when I do flash, I flash really late at night. The BIOS, I mean. :)  Power grid seems more stable late at night.

The G-Skill memory is the same spec as the Geil CL4.
said:
said:


Thx Jsc,
I usually do most computer stuff late at night, -less distraction from family!!
and I don't have UPS either, so message understood!
Ta!
May 7, 2009 10:09:58 PM

ev13 said:
Hi Orangegator,
oops, my XP is the original (no sp's) which I've slipstreamed with sp2...guess I'll have to find out about slipstreaming SP3, or go buy a new XP SP3...
But thanks for letting me know, you've saved me a whole lot of time & pain trying to diagnose the BSODs.


If you've slipstreamed sp2, then it may work. Give it a try first. I just slipsteamed sp3 the other day after getting bsod when trying to install with an original xp disk. No need to buy a new copy.
May 7, 2009 10:15:53 PM

Hi Orangegator,
I might slipstream SP3 anyway, seems a good idea, since it'll make life easier in the long run.
May 7, 2009 10:46:43 PM

ev13 said:
Hi,
I'm new to forums, forgive me if I offend any protocols?

I'm about to do a new 1st time build; previously have only ever installed hard drives, expansion cards etc. (easy stuff)

I've done lots of research, think I've come up with final hardware spec; but suddenly aware of how much I don't know...scary!

Am hoping someone might cast an eye over it, advise on any glaring mistakes, or alternative suggestions,
-& whether all these components will work well together.

...& later, when all parts have arrived, to walk me through the build?

lot to ask, I know!

Spec so far:

Case: Coolermaster RC690
MB: Gigabyte GA EP45-UD3P
CPU: Intel Q9550 EO Stepping
CPU Cooler: OCZ Gladiator
RAM: Geil Black Dragon DDR2 8GB (4x2GB)
PSU: Be Quiet Darkpower pro 750w modular
GPU: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB
HD's: 2x WD 500GB 7200 (for OS's & Apps), 2x1TB WD Caviar (Storage)

I Plan to use XP Pro 32 bit to set up, as I know xp well, (yes, I realise memory limitations), then when everything's working well, set up a dual-boot with vista 64 bit, to access the 8GB memory.

I need a very stable, long-lived machine, mainly for 2D stuff, (photoshop, illustrator etc.) not gaming, mainly image editing & heavy graphics work (I'm a designer), sometimes files are over 2gb, with loads of multitasking, and my old dual AthlonMP with 1gb ram setup tries hard, but is really not up to it (but stable, never blue-screens).

Pls. can anyone reassure me that I've got the spec right before I waste time & money?

Thanks in advance!


get the WD 640GB hdds instead for your OS and apps, they are better value and perfom really well
May 7, 2009 10:52:11 PM

Thanks cybot_x1024

-I'll look into those!
May 8, 2009 10:25:46 PM

Hi everyone,
just want to thank you all for your help; I think (?!) I've got enough to go on for now, though If I encounter probs. during build, hope you won't mind me returning here for help?

I've decided to amend my spec. as suggested, i.e. the WD640AALS's instead of WD500GB's, and the Gskill PI Black's instead of the Geil's; I read elsewhere that many people have had probs with the Geil Black dragon on the EP45 mobo, though for most other mobos, it's great.

Re. the when-to-flash issue, I think I'll compromise, by following Jsc's recommended seq. of one addition at a time, using system beeps, until Mobo, PSU, HSF, 1stick RAM, are all working, then connect keyb & mouse, then video card, then run memtest (from bootable usb) on each of the four sticks of RAM. Hopefully Ram will be ok, THEN I'll go update BIOS, (with only one stick RAM installed). After that, add rest of RAM, one at a time, adjusting bios if/as necessary. Then 1 Hard drive , partition, install OS & Drivers for GPU, then disassemble and install in case. then add rest of RAM, other HD's, etc. (one at a time again, & test each...!)
Sound reasonable?

So thanks again to everyone; I don't know the protocols (or how to) close this topic now, or if I need to?
!