I'm getting ready to build my first system and I think i have a pretty good grasp on how to actually construct the computer, however I'm not as comfortable on what to do after the system is built and you turn it on for the first time.
Some questions I have are:
What should happen when you first turn it on? BIOS window should appear?
How to you partition the harddrives? Does the computer prompt you to do this in the BIOS?
I've heard about running a test to check and see if the components are working properly, what's that test and how do you run/get it? Do you run it right after you turn your computer on for the first time?
These are questions that I've looked for and can't seem to find the answer for.
My system specs are:
AMD Phenom II x4 965
dual 4890 graphics cards
Intel X25-M 80gb SSD
Seagate external 500gb
(I'm gonna use this computer for gaming purposes only that's why I have just the one ssd drive.)
Also, do I put one of the graphics cards in or both when I'm first building it?
When you turn on the computer for the first time, it should POST. which means you'll see the devices being discovered by the BIOS. You can enter the BIOS by pressing the Delete key (on most motherboards). You might hear some beeps as well so pay close attention to them. If it beeps once, usually you're good. If it constantly beeps, then you're screwed.
Nowadays, hard drives are so cheap that I don't make multiple partitions on a hard drive anymore. i just format the whole thing as one big drive. If you plan on doing a dual, boot then you can partition the hard drive. The partition is made when you install Windows. You have to do a Custom Install and create a new partition. It will let you choose the amount of MegaBytes to use. By default, it uses all the space.
There are some tests that might be in the BIOS like RAM testing. I would just download Ultimate Boot CD and use the tools on there. I use Memtest86+ to test the ram, and I just use Check Disk to check the hard drive. Most hard drives/motherboard use S.M.A.R.T disk monitoring so if that reports any errors, you're screwed.
You can put both graphics cards in. Install the drivers, then enable CrossFireX in the ATI Catalyst Control Panel. It's pretty easy. Just make sure the CrossFire bridge is connected.
You should also see if there are any BIOS updates or firmware updates for your components. I know the Intel SSD has one, but its been pulled so you might want to wait on that one. I never install the graphics driver off the CD. I always download the newest ones.
Purostaff - You need to start your own thread instead of hijacking this one. The short answer to your question is NO. You can rarely just take a hard drive out of one system and put it in another one. Even if it appears to work it will be slower than a fresh install due to registry entries and drivers for your old hardware.