Success! (Built a new rig and...) **UPDATE

As some of you know from my previous posts, I decided to build my own computer instead of buying one from Dell or Alienware. Well, I built my new machine today. Amazingly everything went right the very first time. I expected the computer to go up in a small mushroom cloud when I powered it up, but after seeing a quick succession of “success” tags, and then a request to begin formatting the HD and install Windows, I knew I was OK. Here are the final specs:

AMD 3800+
BFG Geforce 7800GT OC
1 GB Crucial Ballistix RAM
36 GB WD Raptor 10K RPM HD
DFI Lanparty SLI motherboard
Win XP

Some pitfalls:

  1. I first bought an MSI Neo4 board, but after seeing all the complaints on Anandtech with buggy BIOS updates, I decided to go DFI. Unfortunately, DFI has poor instructions in comparison to MSI. This definitely is not a newbie-friendly board.

  2. Attaching the CPU heatsink and fan was intimidating. I thought I was going to snap the damned motherboard while I tried to press the clips down.

  3. Embarrassing, but I could not figure out how to attach the floppy drive to the MOBO. The floppy is a 34 pin connector, but the MOBO has no spot for such a cable. (It only has 2 39 pin IDE sockets, and something called a FDD socket, which I have no idea what its purpose is) I ended up NOT installing the floppy at all. I never really use one, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Its just strange that I could figure everything else out, but not the oldest piece of equipment on the computer.

  4. I have no idea how to get back into my BIOS. The startup screen passes so damned quickly that I can’t see which button to press to enter it. (F1,F2,F10,F8) And, of course, the manual says nothing about how to get into the BIOS.

Overall, it was a relatively painless experience. I’m putting the system through a stress test at the moment, and I’m carefully watching the temperature of the CPU, HD and GPU. I plan on downloading 3DMARK, to see how optimized the entire system is in terms of speed.

Thanks to everyone who gave me assistance in my hardware posts.

Floppy Disk Drive.

The feeling that you will snap or break something vital if you exert even one additional ounce of pressure often means you are installing the heatsink correctly. I’m not big on God/Intelligent Designers, but I usually feel like I’m giving my new system over to a higher power at this stage.

In seriousness, congrats on successful completion of your first system. Soon you won’t even bother installing the screws that secure the case, because you’ll be swapping components so often.


Floppy Disk Drive.[/quote]

Floppies are pretty unnecessary nowadays. I haven’t built one into my systems for the last 4 years and I haven’t missed it.

…but how else are you supposed to upload the virus into the alien computer?

  • Alan

Hey congrats on the new system! It’s a pretty rewarding experience throwing your own together. Once I built my first one there was just no going back to retail computers.

Floppy Disk Drive.

<groan> And here I thought it stood for some strange, wonderful new device. Damned acronyms. WTF?! The fact that it is mounted SIDEWAYS on the MOBO through me off! That must be it!

…but how else are you supposed to upload the virus into the alien computer?


Floppy Disk Drive.[/quote]

Floppies are pretty unnecessary nowadays. I haven’t built one into my systems for the last 4 years and I haven’t missed it.[/quote]

Windows XP install + SATA = floppy drive.

unless you make a slipstream CD then you dont need it.

Good job and nice computer. I guess i’ve built about 3 computers but i’m always freaked every time i do it. This time i just got the boxed AMD, and that was simple-simon to install.

You do really need to get into you BIOS though, there are memory timings and other misc items you’ll need to adjust. It’s almost always the DELETE key at the boot screen.

For a authentic XP install from original MS disks?

No you make your own disc but it doesnt matter because it uses the files from the XP disc.

For end users, slipstreaming can also be useful. For example, you can copy the installation directory from your XP CD-ROM to the hard drive, slipstream the XP SP2 files into that installation directory, and than write it back to a recordable CD, giving you a bootable copy of the XP setup disk that includes SP2 right out of the box (so to speak). That’s the process we’re going to examine here. And slipstreaming isn’t limited to service packs, either: You can also slipstream in various product updates, including hot-fixes. Previous to the release of SP2, I created a bootable XP CD that included the original “gold” version of XP, Service Pack 1a, and the Security Rollup 1 update, all meshed together into a single install. Now, I’ve tossed that CD aside for one that includes XP SP2 instead. Let’s take a look at how I did this.

Windows XP install + SATA = floppy drive.

I’m sorry but this has me confused. My Raptor HD is a SATA drive and I installed XP without a floppy. Is there more to SATA than I understand. My HD was an OEM version from Western Digital, and it came with no instructions. I just attached the power cable and then the SATA cable to my motherboard’s SATA 1 location. That was all.

The only strange aspect of the SATA installation was that an Internet website recommended that the SATA cable never be folded to a 90 degree angle because there was a small chance of data loss during transfer.

I installed XP on my S-ATA computer by using a USB CD Burner. It worked quite well, and the hardware is much more useful than a floppy drive.

Update question

Finally got itnto my BIOS. (It was the delete button as mentioned above.) Could some of you posssibly overlook these BIOS settings and see if they should be changed. Stability, not overclocking, is my main concern.

Thank you!

**please note my DRAM is Crucial Ballistix
Cas Latency: 2.5
Features: Ballistix Tracer 184-pin DIMM (with LEDs)
Timing: 2.5-4-4-8
Voltage: 2.8V
DDR 500
PC 4000

HD= WD Raptor 36GB SATA-150 10K RPM
Average Latency: 2.99ms
Average Seek Time: 5.2ms
Average Write Time: 5.9ms
Cache: 8MB

CPU=AMD 3800+
MOBO= DFI Lanparty NF4-SLI Socket 939
Video=BFG Geforce 7800GT OC 256mb
on board sound (my audigy hasn’t arrived yet)
PSU=520 watt Antec Stealth

CPU internal cache=enabled
external cache=enabled
quick power on self-test=enable
first boot device=removable
second boot=HD
third boot=CD/DVD
APIC mode-enabled
OS Select for DRAM=non OS2
HDD S.M.A.R.T. Capability=disabled
delay for HD=0
full title logo=disabled

Advanced chipset features

Errata 94 enhancement=deisabled
CPU spectrum spread=disabled
SATR spectrum spread=disabled
CPU Thermal Throttling=50%
System Bus cacheable=disabled

Genie Bios features

FSB Freq=200
LDT/FSB freq=auto
LDT/FSB Trans with= (up)16 (down)16
CPU/FSB frequency ratio=auto
K8 Cool and Quiet Support=Disabled
CPU Vid startup value=startup
CPU vid control=auto
CPU vid special control=auto
LDT voltage control=1.2V
Chipset control=1.5V
DRAM control=2.6V
Run Memtest=disabled
Internal SATA 1/2/3/4=enabled

Temp Management

Current IDLE temps according to system:
CPU=39 degrees C
PWM Area= 42 degrees C
Chipset= 47 degrees C

Shutdown temp=disabled
CPU fan fully on if >50 C
Fan 2 fully on if >35 C
NB fan fully on if temp> 55 C

DRAM Configuration

cas latency=auto
RAS to CAS delay=auto
min RAS active time=auto
ROW precharge=auto
ROW cycle=autoROW refresh=auto
write recovery=auto
write to read delay=autoread to write delay=auto
refresh period=auto
write CAS latency=auto
DRAM interleave=enabled
DQS=AutoDQS skew value=0
DRAM drive str=auto
Asynch latency=7.0 nano
precycle time=auto
idle cycle limit=256
dynamic counter=disable
R/6 Que bypass=16X
Bypass max=07X

None of that means anything unless you tell us the specs of your memory and other parts more in detail.

Like Memory is CAS 2.5 2-3-3 or however it goes. Of course i didn’t see anything in what you posted but i’m sure they’re in the BIOS somewhere.

I posted fuller system specs above. My memory is: (from the crucial website)

Cas Latency: 2.5
Features: Ballistix Tracer 184-pin DIMM (with LEDs)
Timing: 2.5-4-4-8
Voltage: 2.8V
DDR 500
PC 4000

Numerous reports show people putting it to 2-2-2-5 and 2-3-3-6 but I’m concerned about redlining my memory.

In my experience, most modern default BIOS specs err on the side of stability over performance. I run the default “auto” timing settings you list and haven’t had any stability issues.

A few minor points:
*Check to make sure your processor is being recognized by Windows XP correctly (in My Computer->My System Information). Sometimes you have to change the FSB Freq setting in order to have XP see it correctly.
*Under normal conditions, you probably want to boot from your hard drive. You might gain .2 milliseconds on your system start-up time if you switch your “first boot device” to the Hard Drive setting. Strangely, I don’t see that setting listed on any of your current boot devices. It might be your 2nd boot – I’m not familiar with the “DH” abbreviation.

Thanks, Sidd_Budd.

The processor is showing correctly in Windows. Also, that “DH” should have been “HD”. Typo. :)