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New Computer finally done


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#1 Herk

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 11:14 AM

I've been building a new computer to take the place of my six-year old machine that died. (Might only have been the power supply, but I was due for a new one anyway.)

I've had relatively few problems but was amazed at the complexity compared to most of the computers I work on. The only real problem I had was the video card - after loading and uninstalling drivers and software about twenty times, I was unable to figure out why I couldn't get rid of the errors. Trying to run DirectX 9 would reboot the machine. But I got that fixed. I'll address that first, since it seems to be a common problem.

The card is a cheap but sufficient ATi Radeon 9200 - under $100 at Wal-Mart. It's compatible with DirectX 9. They could really do some work on their software and their customer support - downloading drivers and programs from the site was a useless venture. Hunting for a solution was a long waste of time.

I had originally bought the AGP card for the earlier machine, and it worked fine, until the big crash, about six months ago. I've been squirreling away money for the new box ever since.

Anyway, after playing with it for much of a day, one restart produced an error, and I sent it to Microsoft. In what must be the event of the century, I got an immediate response, saying, "We have a fix for you!"

Blew me away. The fix was to go to Microsoft's Windows Update site and download a new driver for the card. I had immediately downloaded Windows Updates after installing the operating system using the plain jane 4mb PCI video card because it explicitly states in the video card manual that it will not work until AGP drivers are installed to the motherboard. (In other words, it's a better replacement card than one for a new install . . .) So I didn't see the hardware driver there while I was getting the updates.

Amazingly, that fixed all the problems. From that point on, the ATi toolbox-thingie would pop up on startup and it passed all the DirecX tests without a hitch.

The error message I was getting before the repair was: "AtiSServ failed to provide required interfaces!" During the software install, the error code: 0x80040707 appeared and the install could not complete. After getting the new driver, everything appears to work without re-installing anything.

As to the rest of the system - wow! It's fast. Here's a list of hardware:

A-Top black 901-BK-C case (very large tower - gorgeous - side fan - removeable
motherboard tray, tooless drive installation - tight fit on the ASUS board because
the 3-1/2 drive bays extend to the edge - unable to use one of the HD slots.

ASUS A8V Deluxe motherboard

AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Socket 939

1 gigabyte of Corsair Value Select Dual-Channel matched RAM

1 Western Digital Special Edition 80 Gig IDE hard drive, 7200 rpm
set as master - alone on primary IDE channel

Cooler Master Real Power 450 watt power supply (the cables are far too long)
Has nifty blue-lit power guage that mounts in 3-1/2" slot - I'm using plastic
drive adapter/carrier for a 5-1/4" slot between optical drives.

ATI Radeon 128mb DDR RAM AGP - retail

Lite-On DVD/CD burner set as master on secondary IDE channel.

LG 52x CD-Rom set as slave

HP 4-slot 7-in-one card reader, mounts to USB plug on motherboad - no drivers needed.

Mitsumi 1.44mb floppy

Stock processor fan from AMD retail box

2 Cooler Master 26 db 80mm case fans

1 80mm case fan in side opening - came with case.

Microsoft Basic keyboard 1.0A w/basic optical mouse 1.0A
mouse needed more to bite on than gray desktop so I stuck a linen/colored
placemat beneath it to keep it from jumping around the screen and it works fine.
Keyboard has three extra keys: Mail - Web/Home - Search and they all work fine
right out of the box. Keys are a bit small - I'm used to Natural Keyboards.

MS Windows XP Home w/Service Pack 2(I would have preferred Pro - but I needed the disk :thumbsup: )

Current CPU temp: 29C/84F (courtesy of ASUS probe)

Current motherboard temp: 22C/71F

ASUS Cool & Quiet says my CPU frequency (standard clock) is 1800.00 @1.4250v

The power guage says I'm running at about 60 watts at the moment.

ASUS POST voice needs to be enabled in BIOS prior to bootup - it's disabled by default. Caution must be taken to not mix firewire and USB plugs on the motherboard. Fans are plugged directly into the motherboard except for side fan. Power supply has a plethora of plugs for everything, including SATA, two floppies, lots of HD's or opticals, 12v, and 24-pin with converter to 20-pin main cable long enough to plug into another nearby case. I wish I had some pin tools to do a little customizing.

All parts black except for silver Cooler Master guage and gray HP card reader
Most parts bought from NewEgg except Mitsumi floppy and card reader from Geeks.com and plastic ($2.50) drive mounting kits from Wiredzone.com and Lite-On burner and Radeon 9200 from Wal-Mart.

System is protected by an old TrippLite 650VA UPS. Might be time for a new one of those. Connected to internet with onboard Gigabyte LAN through Blitzz wireless router and Motorola cable modem. (Two other computers use wireless - this one uses 10/100 cable.)

I have read reviews where the ASUS BIOS had to be updated before it would recognize the 3000+ processor, but this board had an updated BIOS already and recognized it with no problems. One great feature of this board is that the BIOS can be reloaded from either the install CD or from a floppy to recover from an overclock or BIOS corruption, even if the machine won't boot - which is great to recover from overclocking problems. And the current BIOS can be copied to floppy so you don't have to redo everything.

Needless to say, I am quite pleased with the project.

And I'm using AVG, Zone Alarm, Ad-Aware, Spybot, Spyware Blaster and Automatic Updates.

I seriously considered going with SATA drives, and this board is capable of RAID 1, RAID 0, and RAID 1+0, but decided I wanted to keep it simple and relatively inexpensive. ASUS provides SATA cables and beautiful charcoal-colored ribbon cables, but I switched to blue round IDE and floppy cables to aid airflow through the case. Temporarily, I am using one of the ribbon cables because the 18" IDE cable was just a tad too short - I'll be ordering a 24" cable to replace it.

Assembly went well. Only problem was that some of the standoffs didn't seem to be tapped correctly and I had to remove the motherboard from the tray a couple of times - but there were extras. Tip: test the screws and standoffs before screwing them to the plate. There are four USB ports and a firewire on the main bank, and an extra pair of USB ports and game port on a PCI slot plate, and another firewire port, too, on another plate. Both sides of the case open, which is handy when you need to wire fans or something. Case shipping weight - 24 lbs. I got it from Geeks.com without power supply in new, unopened box, for an unbelievable price. I don't know if it's a closeout or what. I'd recommend a slightly narrower ATX board, though.

The case is the 901 shown on This page.

Extremely good service from all companies concerned. Since I had the case shipped FedEx standard, it took about a week, but considering the ridiculous price (I paid $110 for an earlier version of the came case six years ago, and this one was $17.95 and $13.00 shipping!)

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#2 LoLucky

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 01:18 PM

Very nice don't be stupid like me and put Windows 98 SE on that machine

I bought Windows XPSP2 and a 21" CRT Monitor at same time well lets just say Put the software on top of the Monitor not under it *Sigh* still waiting on replacement disk from Microsoft.

#3 Herk

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 03:02 PM

Put the software on top of the Monitor not under it *Sigh*


Ouch! Yeah - I took really good care of the software package until it was installed. Then it went into a hard CD case in a box I keep all the programs in for re-install. Sorry to hear about yours. We live & learn, hopefully. :thumbsup:

#4 LoLucky

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 03:15 PM

We live & learn, hopefully.

Gee thanks! :thumbsup: Hmm... i guess you all are starting to know me too well :flowers:

#5 junkdk

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 03:58 PM

Hey Herk,

Give us a bottom line on your new computer...roughly price wise.

If you don't mind.

Sounds like a super computer...congrats. :thumbsup:

Junkdk
Your Hardware Guide.

#6 Herk

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 08:08 PM

Give us a bottom line on your new computer...roughly price wise.


Sure - keep in mind that the shipping is extra and depends on where you live and how fast you want it. I often ordered parts 2nd day, and sometimes just basic FedEx ground. (FedEx doesn't throw the boxes around as much as UPS . . .) So this is price of item only - of course, you can go to the sites and check out the current prices for yourself. Some prices are approximate.

ASUS - A8V Deluxe motherboard $125
AMD Athlon 64 3000+, 512k L2 cache $146
Corsair Value Select (Dual Pack) 512mb X 2 $91
WD800JB 80gig 7200rpm Special Edition HD $62
MS Home OEM --------------------------------- $93
Cooler Master Real Power 450 watt Power S. $60
ATI Radeon 9200 video card (Wal-Mart) ~ $100
A-Top 901-BK-C full tower case (no PS) $18
Lite-On 16X DVD R/RW CD-R/RW Double Layer $89 + 6% sales tax
2 - Cooler Master case fans @4.99 --------------- $10
LG 52X CD-Rom ------------------------------------ $18
Blue floppy round cable ---------------------------- $6
Single blue round 10" HD cable ------------------- $3.50
Double IDE round 18" cable ----------------------- $4.50
MS basic keyboard & optical mouse set ---------- $29
Mitsumi 1.44mb floppy ----------------------------- $7.50
HP 7-in-1 card reader (gray only) w/cable -------- $8.25
black 3-1/2" to 5-1/4" plastic drive adapter ------- $2.50
____________
total $873.25

I don't remember what all the shipping was. Sometimes, it can be more than the cost of the part. NewEgg has pretty good shipping prices if you aren't in a hurry. Sometimes, I was in a hurry and paid more. It's worth paying the extra couple of bucks at NewEgg if you want faster service - it can take an extra day if you don't. All the boxes arrived in pristine condition. I insisted on FedEx every time, even if it was a bit more. Although I have a 19" Cybervision monitor, I'm considering a new LCD monitor, a VHS to DVD converter, and maybe even new speakers. I'm using onboard 6-channel sound or 7 or whatever it is, but don't need anything fancy since my hearing isn't what it used to be.

And so far, every program I've installed has worked fine. Word Perfect 9, Word/Works Suite 2000, Irfanview for XP, an old version of PrintShop Pro Publisher, and so on, as well as AVG, Spybot, Spyware Blaster, Ad-Aware, and Zone Alarm.

#7 twinsdad

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:18 PM

Herk: Really sounds cool. A lot of machine for the bucks. I'm green with envy about anyone who could build something like that from parts and make it fly. I hope it lasts a long time. Regards.
"Love to eat them mousies, mousies what I like to eat; bite they little heads off, nibble on they tiny feet". B. Kliban

#8 LoLucky

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 07:35 AM

Corsair Value Select (Dual Pack) 512mb X 2 $91

Umm... is this for all 4? or Each?

Lite-On 16X DVD R/RW CD-R/RW Double Layer $89 + 6% sales tax

=( You over paid

Cooler Master Real Power 450 watt Power S. $60

Quite a good deal makes up for the over payment of DVD Writer

WD800JB 80gig 7200rpm Special Edition HD $62

Whats "Special" about this other than sorta Cheap?

A-Top 901-BK-C full tower case (no PS) $18

Nice Case might get it and dismantle my current Computers!

Blue floppy round cable ---------------------------- $6
Single blue round 10" HD cable ------------------- $3.50
Double IDE round 18" cable ----------------------- $4.50

Funny how the smallest cable cost the most

all in al i would say you made out quite well.

#9 Herk

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 12:52 PM

Umm... is this for all 4? or Each?


The memory came in a 2-pack, of 512 sticks - total 1 gig. It's Dual Channel so it had to be matched.

=( You over paid


The burner, yeah. But no shipping costs, and it was readily available, and I like Lite-On drives.

Whats "Special" about this other than sorta Cheap?


I don't know, really. It looks like a regular IDE drive to me. I required the 8mb buffer. I knew that would make a performance difference.

Nice Case might get it and dismantle my current Computers!


I've been using a beige one almost identical to it for about six years and have always loved the serviceability. Pop off the front and unplug the wires and the drives just slide out. Pop the slides off the drive and pop them onto another and stick it back in. I was originally going to re-use the same case, but with the price of only about $18, I couldn't resist going to black.

Funny how the smallest cable cost the most


It's a bit different than the others - I think it's the shielding. Since I don't have a window in the case, it didn't matter if it was exactly the same. And although the ASUS A8V Deluxe is a great board, it's not real pretty - just a brown board and standard slot colors.

#10 LoLucky

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 01:13 PM

Corsair Value Select (Dual Pack) 512mb X 2 $91


Umm... is this for all 4? or Each?

Yeah had a small memory lapse you said 1GB of memory up in first post but when you said it like (Dual Pack) that already had me thinking "K there is 2 in a Pack" but then you said X 2 I i thought Oh two 2Packs which = 4 Chips

Miscommunication/brain activity on my part (should be used to it by now :thumbsup: )

but with the price of only about $18, I couldn't resist going to black.

This will be a quote from Queens of Comedy on Comedy Central the other night "Once you go black you never look back!"

and I like Lite-On drives.

Yeah thems be good Err... I had one its amazing how well these work for what they cost. and they are VERY easy to customize with a Blue LED. :flowers:

Me liky blue me liky blue me liky blue (snap out of it Lois) (semi Quote from Family Guy Lois has a flash back of when she was young and pudgy hopping up and down saying "me liky pancakes me liky pancakes" Stuey also says this quote when Meg gets a job at a restaurant)

DANG I WATCH TOO MUCH TV! :trumpet:

#11 Herk

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 11:33 PM

I had one its amazing how well these work for what they cost. and they are VERY easy to customize with a Blue LED


Ack! I never thought of that. Of course, I'll go hunting for LED's now. I've also got a green power light on the case that needs changed.

"Once you go black you never look back!"


I'm familiar with that saying and, though I'm not black, I believe it may be true. :thumbsup:

#12 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 09:41 PM

Hey Herk thats great! Welcome to the AMD 64 bit world! Isnt that CPU great? I know you can not use the 64bit part really. I have a AMD 3200 64bit its great.

I was looking at prices and you said you paid a little under 100 for the ATI 9200 chip? Thats too much as Bob Barker says! I paid 40.00 or something for mine new.

You got a nice looking pc but (hope you dont mind just my opinion) you paid a little to much. Ahh I am just a deal finder or am I cheapskape?

Way to go on the new PC!

#13 Herk

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 11:35 PM

I was looking at prices and you said you paid a little under 100 for the ATI 9200 chip? Thats too much as Bob Barker says! I paid 40.00 or something for mine new.


I got the card at Wal-Mart at least six or seven months ago. I was desperate as my ASUS Geforce2 AGP card had bit the dust and I needed something right away to get up and running. So much for Wally World's pricing!

There are a number of versions/brands of that card. Mine's the Radeon, and not the se version. Pricegrabber.com has cheaper ones in OEM configuration, which means no retail box, but they don't sell stuff like that at Wally's.

The fan in the ASUS card had died some time before that, and I had replaced it with a fancy Thermaltake fan, but that didn't last a month. I suppose the card might still work if its little processor hasn't fried.

Of course, the 9200 doesn't even have a fan. One less part to screw up.

#14 jdavnport

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 05:03 PM

Hey Herk

I built a simalar system, AMD64 3500 and I think used a simalar motherboard ( I think I used the same or darn close)I didn't use the RAID. I got 1.5 gig ram,I could go to 4 gig but whats the point. I still need to experiment with making DVDs
/copies. I used the nvidia geforce fx 5500 256 mb video card and a Sound Blaster
Audiolgy. I play games once and awhile and the system is sweet. I still feel I have a small bug or 2 but I think it is software related.

If you know of some good software for dvd burning/coping or a good site for info
PLease let me know
Thanks
Jeff

#15 Herk

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 10:22 AM

Nero is a good program for burning and copying. It comes with a lot of burners. In order to get Dolby Digital, you have to upgrade to the pay version.

Another good place to start would be Here.




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