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Tech check for first build please


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#1
digitalmunky

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Hello everyone

I decided a couple of weeks ago that my old aspire E380 just could not pull its weight anymore. I use my PC for all the usual stuff but I am a heavy Photoshop user and things were getting a little too slow for me.

I first thought of upgrading the E380 and then had one of those moments and realised, after a ton of reading and research that these pre-built systems are a complete rip-off and what you could do to them upgrade wise was very limited.

Anyway, I have ordered the following.

Antec Sonata III Silent ATX-500w €114

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition €95.90

Asus M4A785-M AMD 785G Socket AM3/AM2 microATX- €73.90

XFX Radeon HD4770 PCI-E 512MB GDDR5 €119

From the old E380 I will pull

4gb Kingston DDR2 800mhz

Hard drive

optical drive

I hope I have it covered here. please let me know if I missed something or messed up somehow. I am very excited to be creating something like this, but scared to death at the same time

The bit Im not looking forward to is the placement of all the wiring, im sure its going to take a week for that bit alone.


I have just been reading further about the Asus M4A785-M AMD and its capabilities and ended up at the following link
Hybrid crossfire

and from what I understand hybrid crossfire x could save me the cost of the GPU. As I stated earlier im an avid Photoshop user and I had upgraded the onboard graphics in my old Aspire E380 with a Saphire Radeon 2400 xt to help Photoshop do its thing.

At the above link I have understood that the Saphire is compatible with crossfire x.

Have I understood correctly or will I still have to fork out the money for the new GPU?

Thanks
Peter
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#2
Ferrari

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Hi digitalmunky,

Don't worry too much, you'll look back and love the fact you built your own computer. I have a question though, did you forget to purchase an Operating System? You haven't listed one, and the one on your old hard drive will not work... you can't just pop a hard drive in with an OS from another computer and have it work.

Secondly, everything looks to be compatible and not too bad of choice on parts... so good job. :)

Lastly, I think you should stick with the 4770. I don't think using the onboard graphics combined with the Sapphire 2400 would have the same power as the 4770. Since you are a big Photoshop user, I recommend sticking with the better card. Hybrid Crossfire isn't anything I really ever recommend or would consider as being something special.

I am very excited to be creating something like this, but scared to death at the same time

Don't worry. You'll do fine. I can step you through every single process if you want me to. I can provide pictures and links to help translate what I'm trying to say or where to place certain wires. You'll be able to do it, I promise.

The bit Im not looking forward to is the placement of all the wiring, im sure its going to take a week for that bit alone

I got you covered. Again, no worries. :)

Also, something worth noting... if you choose Windows 7 as your Operating System (which is what I would recommend) it installs via DVD, so your optical drive must be a DVD player. You didn't mention what kind of optical drive you have. :)

Ok, let me know what you think and we can go from there. See ya soon.
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#3
digitalmunky

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Hi Ferrari, allow me to say a big thank you for your support, encouragement and help!!! :)

I was lucky enough to get windows 7 home premium retail as a gift last Xmas, so I have that covered.

I have been thinking about and researching the Hybrid crossfire or 4770 further and wondering if the Hybrid will do the job for Photoshop as I have come to understand that a GPU such as the 4770 is more for gamers than Photoshoppers. What do you think?

I have ordered a Samsung optical drive with a sata interface.

I plan to start the build on Monday morning as the house is too busy at the weekends, I managed to get the day off work so Ill have plenty of time to build

I have also decided to upgrade my hdd to Samsung Spinpoint F1 500GB SATA from my old Deskstar 250gb.

Your offer of support and help is really refreshing, thanks!!

Peter
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#4
Ferrari

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Well most video cards are designed more for gaming, so you are right. I'm not a huge Photoshop guy so I did a little research for you. It seems the more memory you have and faster multiple core processor you have is what you need for Photoshop. A faster hard drive helps as well. Several people say this HERE. I think I changed my mind, stick with the old graphics card and try out the hybrid crossfire if you'd like. You can always upgrade in the future if ever needed.

I have also decided to upgrade my hdd to Samsung Spinpoint F1 500GB SATA

As for reasons stated above... GOOD! :)

I plan to start the build on Monday morning

I work Monday through Friday unless it rains in my area. I check my email and am at the computer consistently in the evenings... so look for my first response on Monday evening I guess.

Things that really really help...

How to Build Your Own Computer

Here are some useful tips when building your computer:
  • Always use standoffs between the motherboard and computer case. CLICK HERE to see what they look like. Your case will come with them. These ARE ONLY NEEDED WHERE YOU SCREW THE MOTHERBOARD TO THE CASE, NO WHERE ELSE.
  • Be sure to consult your motherboards manual on which RAM slots to use for the two sticks of RAM, and how to Enter The BIOS. <--should be the DELETE KEY
  • Your Motherboard may have more than one PCI-Express x16 slots, you want to use the one closest to the CPU when only using 1 video card
  • Remember to plug the power connectors into the video card before first booting the computer (if your video card requires it)
  • You want to change the AHCI Mode in the BIOS to SATA mode if it isn't already configured to do so. This is for SATA hard drives only! Please note: If for any reason you plan to install Windows XP, you must use IDE mode as XP does not have the supported drivers for SATA mode. If you only plan to have Windows 7, then don't worry about, just use SATA Mode.
  • In the BIOS, configure your boot priority to CD ROM first, then Hard Drive second. This is needed in order to boot from your Windows 7 Install Disk.
  • See how to install Windows 7 HERE
  • After you install the OS, you may need to install drivers. Go to Windows Orb(start), Right Click Computer, Select Properties, in the window that opens, Click Device Manager in the top left hand corner. If there are Yellow Exclamation or Question marks, you need to install a driver for that particular item. The most common are, Ethernet, Video, and Audio. These are all located on the disk that comes with your motherboard.
  • If you are a Gamer, I recommended downloading and installing your video cards latest driver from their website for the best possible performance, usually the drivers that come on the CD are outdated. Nvidia.com and ATI.com
  • Install an Anti-Virus and other security software. Here is the recommended Free Security Software by Geekstogo. I use Avira for my AV.
After all the drivers are installed and you protect your computer with an Anti-Virus, you can start enjoying your computer. There may be Windows Updates very frequently for a while until everything is finally up to date, they will settle down. If you'd like to get them out of the way quicker, go to Windows Orb (start), Click "All Programs", Click "Windows Update".

Here is a picture I made for you... Consult your motherboards manual on where to put the power button, HD activity, reset button, etc on the Front Panel Connectors labeled in Neon Green. Don't worry, positive and negative doesn't matter, you just need to complete the circuit.

Posted Image


When the computer is built, here are a bunch of free programs for benchmarking your computer. You can run these on your old computer or a friend's computer to compare. Also, you can go online and see what other geeks computers are benchmarking at with similar or better hardware.
  • Cinebench R10 is a popular one for benchmarking. When you click on "(rendering xcpu)" how many seconds does it take to load the image? Mine takes 56 seconds with 8 logical processors... your processor has 4 logical processors.
  • 3D Mark Vantage is another one. The free version is a one time run and you have to give them your email address to get the trial key. I scored P5357 3D Marks, 31159 CPU score, and 4198 graphics score.
  • PC Wizard 2010 is an excellent System Tool that shows you temperatures, fan speeds, all of your hardware, and more. (If you do a custom install, keep the "web updates" as your hardware is so new... it may not even be fully recognized by PC Wizard 2010 yet)
  • CPU-Z is a useful utility to see ALL of your CPU info. What does the QPI or FSB in mhz register? Let me know. My QPI is 2388mhz, about 2 times faster than a core 2 duo or core 2 quad with a FSB of 1333mhz.
  • HD Tune will benchmark your hard drive. The higher the mb/s the better.
  • Speedtest.net Click on different cities to see if you internet is the speed you pay for.
  • Another real world test is open 5 programs right in a row (all at once) and see if your computer handles this fairly well... Some computers would die. :)
  • Also Windows 7 (as does Vista) has an assessment score it gives. Do this: Click start (windows logo), click Control Panel, Click Performance Information and Tools. What is your score for each component? You may need to run the "assessment test" for the first time to find out. My scores are: Processor 7.4, Memory 5.9(I only have 3gigs), Graphics 6.8, gaming graphics 6.8, Primary hard disk, 5.9.
You can go HERE and download the latest DirectX for your computer.

Let me know if you have any more questions, like I said, I'm at the computer often so I usually respond in less than 24 hours if not sooner. Keep in touch. :)
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#5
digitalmunky

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I just could not wait any longer,I have been hard at it since this morning putting my system together. Everything has gone without a hitch until now.

I get the normal post, I go to bios to select first boot device, I choose the CDrom drive, save and quit.

I have my windows cd in place and all I keep getting is, REBOOT AND SELECT PROPER BOOT DEVICE OR INSERT BOOT MEDIA IN SELECTED BOOT DEVICE AND PRESS A KEY.

so back into bios, in a column on the right of the boot priority screen it says a device enclosed in parenthesis has been disabled in the corresponding type menu. So now im totally lost as to waht to do now.

Im running asus bios on the M4A785-M mobo

Kind regards
Peter
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#6
Ferrari

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OK. Most of the time you have to press a key to boot to the CD. When you are trying to boot to the cd do you see anywhere on the screen that says "boot to CD" or "Press any key to boot to CD" while its starting up with the usual black screen and white lettering?

Also, is there any boot device in parenthesis? If so, somewhere on that BIOS screen there should be instruction for how to enable it (if it's the device you need, like the CD or hard drive).

Also, some BIOS's give options for CD, DVD, and some will actually list your model number of the CD/DVD player. Punching through the options, do you see anything like that?

You are doing it correctly, but if I had to guess you are missing when it says "boot to CD" or something like that and when you see that you have to press any key. If you see a screen like that, press the space bar quickly. If you miss it, try again.'

It's really not any more complicated that what I just told you. So, Set the correct CD/DVD first, save and exit, wait till you see a screen that prompts for booting to CD, press any key when you see it, the computer will boot to the CD. Note, some computers will automatically boot to the CD, so far, it doesn't seem like yours does. "Boot to CD" may not be the only thing on the screen, so keep trying and looking for anything along those lines of talking about "CD Boot".

Good luck... let me know how it goes. Reading the motherboard manual on how to boot to CD might help as well.

Edited by Ferrari, 19 March 2010 - 11:25 AM.

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#7
digitalmunky

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Hi Ferrari

Thanks for the input and advice!!

Both the Cdrom and my hard drive are in parenthesis. In a side panel on the boot priority screen it says, (a device enclosed in parentheses has been disabled in the corresponding type menu)

I have been right through the bios and cant find the (corresponding type menu)

There is nothing during boot related to press a key for cdrom

Totally lost Ferrari


Kind regards
Peter
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#8
Ferrari

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On the same screen as the boot priority where you see CD ROM and HARD Drive in parenthesis, there should be instructions at the bottom for how to enable and disable certain devices. Sometimes its the delete key or possibly the space bar. It could the left or right arrows. All BIOS's are different.

You can also trying pressing enter when you are on the cd or hard drive, that may give an option to enable.

Can you take a picture for me and upload it? Or if the file is too big use photobucket.com to host the image.

How to post a screen shot:
  • With the window up you want to post a screen shot of
  • Press Print Screen
  • (Usually top and to the right after the "F" keys
  • Click Start
  • Click All Programs
  • Click Accessories
  • Click on "Paint"
  • Once opened, Press CTRL key and keep holding, then Press the V
  • Go to the File option at the top and click on Save as
  • Save as file type JPEG only and save it to your Desktop
  • Attach it in your next reply
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#9
Ferrari

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Also, did you plug the power connector into the hard drive and CD drive from the Power Supply? Looks like this... http://upload.wikime...power_cable.jpg And it goes on the drives like this... HERE
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#10
digitalmunky

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Hi Ferrari

I have attached both the cables shown in your links. I have attached the photo of the bios screen, I have tried pressing enter when cdrom is selected on this screen but you only get the option to move another device to first boot device or to disable it completely.


Peter

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#11
Ferrari

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I don't think those are disabled. That is how it's supposed to look. Are you sure you aren't missing the boot cd message and not pressing a key in time?

Try this,

Restart the computer
Start tapping the space key repeatedly
Do this until you receive any kind of message or the computer boots to the CD.
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#12
Ferrari

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I just reread your message you said you are getting. What happens when you "Press a Key"? This is sort of what I was talking about.

REBOOT AND SELECT PROPER BOOT DEVICE OR INSERT BOOT MEDIA IN SELECTED BOOT DEVICE AND PRESS A KEY.


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#13
digitalmunky

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Here is the weirdest thing Ferrari

I thought why not try the cdrom from the old acer E380. So i swapped it for the new sata and guess what? Windows is now installing.

I am completely puzzeled by this :) so now its installing, but what is this saying about my pc? What happens once windows is in and I reboot? Will my new cdrom ever work with my homebuild?

Once the OS is in should I swap out for the new sata as it wont be required as the primary boot anymore?


Jeees this is killin me!!!


Peter
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#14
digitalmunky

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I forgot to say the old one is an IDE cable.



Peter
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#15
Ferrari

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That's good news and very good thinking.

Once windows is completely installed, turn the computer off and install the SATA drive. Then test it out for reading a cd, burning a cd (need burner software), playing a dvd Movie(need a media player like VLC), and burning a DVD. If everything seems to work fine, I'd say keep it and just remember the SATA drive may not boot a cd. ??? You can try booting to a cd too once windows is installed and see if it works. Why hasn't it worked? I have no idea :)

If it fails at reading CD's or DVD's, etc... then return it for another one. It must be bad or broken.

What happens once windows is in and I reboot? Will my new cdrom ever work with my homebuild?

Yes it will work, just turn the computer off and install it. Then reboot. The SATA drive should automatically be recognized and the drivers will install automatically. If it doesn't, it may be broken.

Edited by Ferrari, 19 March 2010 - 02:33 PM.

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