The agony of owning a PC

Both of the discs are pristine, and I know for a fact already work because I installed both of these games on my old hard drive. I have an uneducated guess that if there is a power problem that the drive isn’t being powered fully throughout the installation, causing files to be misread. 'Course I have no clue if such a thing is possible.

Cool. I’ll start pricing these.

I’ll try that. On a related question, does it matter which power cable I use? I tried to use the same one that was plugged into my old hard drive, but given that I swapped the things in and out four or five times, I can’t honestly remember. Do all the cables from the power supply get the same juice?

Actually, I did exactly what you suggested. New hard drive, all alone, in the system, with a new OS installed. I then changed the jumper on one of my old hard drives to be a primary slave so I can get to my old files. From now on I’m going to keep my slave as just my “non-installed” files such as MP3s, Mame Roms, photos, Outlook backup, etc. This way I can reinstall my primary OS drive and have a warehouse of key files always ready to go.

Thanks for all the helpful tips. I’m going to start researching right now.

Have I mentioned how cool it is having Case and Co around on this forum? No one piss them off ever please ok?

Should I put a Paypal button in my messages?

:wink:

Just kidding.

Is anyone going to answer his power supply questions?

Uh… several of us already have.

Uh… several of us already have.[/quote]

Not this one:

On a related question, does it matter which power cable I use? I tried to use the same one that was plugged into my old hard drive, but given that I swapped the things in and out four or five times, I can’t honestly remember. Do all the cables from the power supply get the same juice?

Ah, yes.

The right answer it so experiment, unless you’re savvy with a voltmeter. A power supply may have multipler 12V rails, and different cables may have indendent current delivery. Cheap power supplies, though often don’t.

I certainly appreciate the free advice Lloyd. I cracked open my case and looked at my power supply and it is 350W, which I thought would be plenty, but now may not be.

A friend of mine is going to come over this weekend and we’re going to install a new mobo, chip, and ram and start doing a process of elimination with these weird problems.

Thanks, again.

[quote=“Jim_Preston”]

I certainly appreciate the free advice Lloyd. I cracked open my case and looked at my power supply and it is 350W, which I thought would be plenty, but now may not be.

A friend of mine is going to come over this weekend and we’re going to install a new mobo, chip, and ram and start doing a process of elimination with these weird problems.

Thanks, again.[/quote]

Its not the wattage thats the problem. The problem is that your power supply, based off the -12V reading, just sucks in general. Read Tim’s post above. If you’re going to be replacing a bunch of other stuff, replace the power supply too. If your RAM passed memtest 86, then your RAM is fine. A bad power supply can cause all sorts of erratic problems.

It’s not the wattage count that matters as much as getting a decent brand name. Just get an enermax-whatever.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that after I grabbed memtest86 I found it needed a floppy drive, which I do not have. The site now has an .iso for making a bootable CD-ROM for the program, but since I have no idea what to do with that, and the site offers no explanation, I am left wondering do I burn just the iso to the CD-ROM? Do I use it with the original memtest86 program? If so, is there a folder structure? Etc. Like my general experience with PCs, a lot of knowledge is assumed, making me feel like a jackass and forcing me to run to the forums and tie myself to the railroad tracks in hopes that someone will rescue me…and my PC.

As for my power supply, I double checked and it is a Cheiftec ATX 12V with 30A(+5), 15A (+12), and 28A(+3.3), if that means anything. I have no idea if that’s a brand name or not.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that after I grabbed memtest86 I found it needed a floppy drive, which I do not have. The site now has an .iso for making a bootable CD-ROM for the program, but since I have no idea what to do with that, and the site offers no explanation, I am left wondering do I burn just the iso to the CD-ROM? Do I use it with the original memtest86 program? If so, is there a folder structure? Etc. Like my general experience with PCs, a lot of knowledge is assumed, making me feel like a jackass and forcing me to run to the forums and tie myself to the railroad tracks in hopes that someone will rescue me…and my PC.

As for my power supply, I double checked and it is a Cheiftec ATX 12V with 30A(+5), 15A (+12), and 28A(+3.3), if that means anything. I have no idea if that’s a brand name or not.[/quote]

Most all cd burner programs will have a “burn CD from image” option, and the ISO file is an image. Burn the disk from the memtest86 image and poof, you’ll have a bootable CD-ROM that does nothing but run memtest86. Make sure your BIOS is setup to boot off CD-ROM, put the CD in, and watch it go. I don’t think the built in Windows XP cd burner can burn images, but Nero and Roxio’s can, even old versions.

You know, I don’t mean to be mean to people around here, but the “build the PC yourself, its easy!” spiel results in things like this, where non-obvious things like heat, poor quality power supplies, loose cables, or what have you can make a PC pass the “plug everything in and power it up” test, but fail the “why does it crash randomly every 15 minutes” test.

Now, of course, mad l33t skillz don’t mean that you’re immune from this. I’m the one that just roasted my video card after all, because I thought it would be neat to put a picture of a duck on the side of my computer.

But the advice around here has been excellent. It’s been a decade since I did PC installation, and obviously heat is a major element in PC construction these days. I’m pretty sure that it’s the crappy 240W power supply on my PC that’s been causing all the problems. Well, that and the fact I’ve had no reboots since I stuck a big honkin fan at my motherboard.

So, quick quiz question:

I’ve got my Celeron 2.4 gig processor along with the packaged Intel fan. There’s a thermal pad already attacked to the heat sink, and I read the official installation instructions on the website, and they say that as long as you do it right, you’re cool.

Is there any reason that I should use some extra thermal paste?

If you’re not overclocking, then no. Leave it alone.

If you plan to overclock, clean the surface of the heatsink, polish
it with extremely fine grade sandpaper and use Arctic silver or similar
thermal compound.

[quote=“Andrew_Mayer”]

But the advice around here has been excellent. It’s been a decade since I did PC installation, and obviously heat is a major element in PC construction these days. I’m pretty sure that it’s the crappy 240W power supply on my PC that’s been causing all the problems. Well, that and the fact I’ve had no reboots since I stuck a big honkin fan at my motherboard.

So, quick quiz question:

I’ve got my Celeron 2.4 gig processor along with the packaged Intel fan. There’s a thermal pad already attacked to the heat sink, and I read the official installation instructions on the website, and they say that as long as you do it right, you’re cool.

Is there any reason that I should use some extra thermal paste?[/quote]

You should be fine with the default heatsink and compound. In any event you would never want to use paste in addition to what is on there. You might want to use it instead of what is on there but never in addition. Maybe that is what you meant but the way it is written I wasn’t sure.

– Xaroc

I’ll certainly second that. I remember watching an episode of The Screen Savers on TechTV a few weeks back, and they had this bit on “building a complete PC in 20 minutes.” They put all the parts in a pile on a table and had their techie guy do everything in real-time while they did other stories and talked to him every few minutes. Sure enough, by the end of the show he had gone from an empty case and pile of parts to a PC that was booting to the XP install disk. They way he talked about it, it looked no more complicated than making a sandwich. That hasn’t been my experience.

The paste provides better contact and heat transfer than the pad will. If you have good airflow and aren’t overclocking, you should be fine with the pad. If you are worried, peel it off and use some Arctic Silver instead. It’s not difficult to apply. Just don’t use too much–a thin layer over the chip is all you need.

Building your own PC isn’t that difficult. Anyone that does routine hardware upgrades should be able to handle it. Just do some research first (there are plenty of websites that can walk you through the basics), plan everything out, and take your time. And remember that while you’ll save some money, it is a risk. If you screw something up (or if something screws itself up despite your best efforts), you have no warantee or service plan to fall back on. It’s always good to budget an emergency fund, just in case.

If the system has been running for awhile, “peeling off” the pad is an exercise in patience, and often requires an Xacto knife and some solvent. If it’s working, I wouldn’t mess with it. In fact, not using the pad will actually void the warranty if it’s a boxed, retail CPU.

Goof-off will dissolve that shit quick.

Yeah, if the system has been running (and working fine) with the pad, I’d leave it alone. Building new, it’s a judgement call. Methylene chloride will take it off pretty quickly, though, if you go that route. Just wear gloves, and clean everything well afterwards.