Friday, January 25, 2008

My New Computer Part 1

Research and Purchase

After much deliberation and research I finally came up with this list:

Linksys WMP54G Wireless-G PCI Network Adapter 802.11G (54Mbps) $39.00
Seagate SATAII NCQ 250GB 7200RPM 16mb Cache $84.00
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit version (OEM)purchase with Hard $249.00
Asus P5K 775, CORE2EE, P35Chipset, 1333FSB, PCIEI6, AUDIO, GbLAN, ATX $155.00
2GB (2x 1GB Kit) Value Select PC-5300 (667MHz) Corsair $69.00
Antec Atlas Server Case - BLACK 550W PSU $195.00
Asus DRW-2014L1tT 20x DVDRW SATA LightScribe Retail $42.00
Acer X193W 19 Wide LCD Monitor Silver DVI (HDCP) 5ms 2000:1 ACM $224.00
Gainward GF8800GT 512MB DDR3 600Mhz PCI Express Dual DVI HDT $355.00
Intel ATX E8400 CORE 2 DUO /3.0GHz/6MB/1333FSB/LGA775 $268.00

Prices at Umart Online around the 10th January 2008.

Originally I was looking at an MSI motherboard with an 8600GT but as the weeks went on the 8800 GT came out and became cheaper still.

The problem I had was that as I kept putting it off, the technology kept changing and every-so-often I had to reasses what I wanted to buy. Originally I was looking at getting XP Pro... Then I quickly realised that for only $30 more (OEM - with hardware purchase) I could just get Vista Ultimate!

And in hindsight it would have been easier to get a more expensive motherboard but with built-in Wi-Fi then getting the slightly cheaper mobo and seperate Wi-Fi. Though at the time I chose the Wi-Fi card I chosen a cheaper mobo so the price difference was more acceptable. Then my original mobo ran out of stock so that's when I chose the one I did, and subsequently I didn't think to check the price differences on the new equipment. But oh well, if it's a problem in the future (say like, I actually want an extra pci slot :P) then I can do something about it then.

The Build

Skipping getting it all home, unpackaged and reading the manuals... My first problem was getting the case back panel sheild cover to fit the motherboard. (The mobo supplied one of course) Or more correctly getting the motherboard to fit in the shield. Eventually I worked out that some of the little pointy things that originally were stamped out of the holes, had to point out, some had to be bent all the way back and some could just stay as they were. Once I got the sheild to fit the mobo ports I could easily get the motherboard to fit in the case. Screw it to the standoffs and that was that.

Putting the CPU on was fine: lift up locking lever, take out and keep PnP cap, align the gold triangle on the CPU with the corresponding bit on the mobo, close the lock, and lock down lever. Follow the instructions in the motherboard and cpu book and it's fine.
Followed the instructions in the heatsink and fan assembley however and they didn't tell me how hard we were actually supposed to push to afix it to the motherboard. We had to push the clips in really hard and it was surprising how much the motherboard flexed in the process, but apparently it's ok. Plus it didn't seem to harm it.

The RAM was fine getting in, but you have to push hard, and the locks have to go back to 90 degrees.

The graphics card was pretty good getting in too, execpt for the power cable, as the back of the card was kind of tight with the drive bays.

At this point things get interesting... Connect everything, power cables etc. and try to boot, no POST. Re-seat GPU and ram and try again, no POST

Bring it to a friend's place and swap components (yay, I didn't break anything on installation) , everything works, but I find out that the BIOS needs to be updated to understand my ultra new CPU... So we put his in, flash the BIOS with a USB stick and it works all good. (Thanks again :) ) Put the hard drive, DVD burner, and WiFi card in and install Windows. That's all good.

Windows was installed fine too. I'll put up pictures and my experiences with the system soon hopefully.