New Build, First Power Up Checklist Help Needed

Hi, I'm building an almost entirely new system for the first time. I have a one Hardware question left, but I have an awful lot of questions about the first power-up/setup process. This is going to be a big post. I hope you'll bear with me.

If it matters, my old pc is a HP a1620n running Windows XP Media Center '02 SP3.

Here's the list of new items:

AMD Athlon II X4 631 Llano 2.6GHz Socket FM1

ASRock A55 PRO3 FM1 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX

G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)

HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D HDS721075DLE630 (0F13179) 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

APEX SK-393-C Black Steel ATX Mid Tower

MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan


PNY VCGGT5201XPB GeForce GT 520(Fermi) 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP

Rosewill RNX-N150PCe (RNWD-11011) IEEE 802.11b/g/n PCIe 2.0 Wireless Adapter

Netgear CG814WG V1 Wireless Cable Modem
Technical Specs are in manual, Page 67 if interested here:

Acer G205HVbd Black 20" 5ms Widescreen

Cables Unlimited 6 ft. Easy Transfer Cable for Windows 7, Vista and XP Model USB-1400-06

I'll be using my old keyboard, mouse, speakers, and this CD/DVD Burner:


I think I've established compatibility, but if anyone notices anything, please speak up. Also, I have one more question regarding specific compatibility.

My Motherboard specs state USB 3.0 (backwards-compatible). If I connect the internal USB connectors that go to the Case Front Panel, will I have backwards compatibilty on USB devices connected via the Front Panel? The Motherboard's rear I/O panel has different sockets for USB 2.0 and 3.0, so I was just curious.

Anyway, I think I'm set on the Hardware side, and will have no problems putting it all together. What I want to do is compile a checklist for my first power up and the setup process. I've looked at several good guides, but they vary on many steps. This list is what I've puzzled out for myself from everything else I've read. This also assumes no glitches. *crosses fingers*

(Note: I'll be using the term "BIOS" since it seems to be the more popular, but my AsRock Motherboard uses the newer "UEFI")

Step 1. Enter BIOS: What settings do I need to double-check that should be auto detected, and which Settings do I need to set manually the first time? I was going to avoid trying to make any tweaks the first time I power up, and save that for afterwards as long as it doesn't have any problems detecting my components, but I have read that there are some things you need to do yourself the very first time before installing Windows. For Example: setting the Boot Sequence to the DVD Drive, and setting Hard Drive to AHCI.

Step 2. Install Windows7: Easy enough.

Step 3. Install Hardware Drivers: Some guides recommend using installation CD drivers first, then updating afterwards with any newer ones available online. Also, my Motherboard driver page has 10 different drivers. How do I know which ones I need? What about the Utilities?

(Note: Regarding adding any Hardware drivers/BIOS updates, MemTest, and the Prime95 Blend Test, should I do any or all of those before setting up the internet connection on the new pc?
If so, can I download these onto my old pc, then use my USB Data Transfer Cable to transfer them to the new pc instead of having to use a flash drive or burning them to aCD/DVD? Should I use the transfer software that comes with the cable, or should I download Windows Easy Transfer?)

Step 4. Run MemTest and Prime95 Blend Test.

Step 5. Install Anti-Malware Software.

Step 6. Install/Connect Modem: I'm switching from hardwire (old pc) to wireless (new pc) for the first time. Should I install/setup internet on my new pc with my old hardwire modem first before changing to the new wireless modem?

Step 7. Update Windows, Hardware drivers, everything. Update, Update, Update.

Step 8. Make additional tweaks to BIOS: If everything's gone ok so far, I could really use some help with what I need to check again, and what can and/or should be tweaked. There's a gazillion options. For example: CPU Configuration, North & South Bridge Configurations, all the Power settings.

Step 9. Install additional programs as desired. Surf the Web. Play games. Enjoy.

If anyone knows steps I missed, or has a suggestion for different order, I'd be happy to be educated. Also, I could really use some guidance from somebody who's familiar with that new BIOS, the UEFI. I couldn't find a single guide online for the thing, and every BIOS guide I've found so far is years old. I don't want to overclock my new PC at all, just figure out what I should pick for all the settings to make my pc run right. I really appreciate any help anyone can provide.
5 answers Last reply
More about build power checklist needed
  1. Usb 3.0 may have a different pin count for a front case connector. Can't answer that.
    Test your board/cpu/heatsink/ram/keyboard/onboard video on a breadboard or the cardboard box the board came in. Keep the power supply out of the case so the leads will reach the board for testing. After connecting the power supply leads and monitor, you power up by touching the case pin cluster with a screwdriver until it fires up to the post screen. Use the f key as instructed to enter the bios, set the boot order to dvd first and disable all settings referring to the old fashioned floppy drive, which you won't need to flash the bios. Save and exit. Then install the backplate, check the standoffs inside the case and remove any extras that aren't needed (you only need to use 5 or 6 for mounting the board). slide the board under the backplate after bending or breaking off the overhang metal tangs. Then install the drives or power supply, depending on the hardrive cage position. Here are some more videos to checkout: good luck
  2. I would pick up the machine and give it a very gentle shake, to make sure there is nothing loose in there.
  3. Usb 3.0 is a 20 pin socket so you can't use the usb 2.0 connectors by mistake and once you plug in the usb 3.0 connector the front panel usb ports will be active and backwards compatable. I would wonder why you are building a new computer with such out of date components. Is this supposed to be a retro computer of some sort.
  4. inzone said:
    I would wonder why you are building a new computer with such out of date components. Is this supposed to be a retro computer of some sort.

    I concur!
  5. Here's newegg's shellshocker special for this morning: It includes some newer parts than the ones you selected, even an ssd.
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