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General assembly/disassembly questions


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#1 curtis73

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 11:09 PM

I have a computer that was built for me several years ago with the cream of the crop stuff back then. 3.2 P4, ASUS P4C800, SB Audigy 2ZSpro, the works. Over the years I upgraded to 2g memory, and reformatted a couple times, but its seen cleaner times. Its currently so riddled with viruses and crap that it won't let me update my virus software, so its time for another formatting. Multiple questions separated by bullets. The plan is to disassemble, clean, and reassemble before reformatting and wondered what some ettiquette might be.

-Cleaning: The power supply is caked full of dust, the heatsink on the processor is caked full of dust, the space between the MB and case is packed full of junk. What should I use to clean it? Tools I have at my disposal include: shop vac/blower, air compressor, can of compressed air (which does nothing), and other various ideas. I would love to blast it out with the blower side of the shop vac, but was concerned about the moving air creating a static charge. Should I disassemble it all or just pull a few things out to get in the nooks and crannies?

-During this "rebuild" I want to add a second IDE HD. I tried this before and never got anywhere. I tried using jumpers to assign slave and master, even tried cable select, but no matter what I did, if both were plugged in the Bios couldn't find either one. I read the book that came with the MB and it was vague, saying that it might or might not work, try it on the second channel, consult HD manufacturer... very unhelpful to a guy like me. All I know is that I have a few ribbons in there already. There is a ribbon from the HD to the #1 IDE, a ribbon from the DVD to the #2 IDE, and a floppy ribbon from the floppy to the "floppy" input. All of the ribbons (except the floppy) have a total of three connectors; two on the component end and one on the board end. Hooking up multiple IDE drives hasn't worked so far. This MB and power supply is SATA ready, can I add a SATA drive and keep the original IDE as well, or is it not possible to mix formats on the same board? I just need a general walk-through on how to hook up multiple drives.

-Also during this rebuild I would like to jump up to 4g memory since I do some video and audio editing. How important is it to match all four DIMMs? Should they be the same brand, or just the same speed/configuration?

-This MB also has a RAID controller. How would I go about hooking up that, and would it be any benefit?

-I would also like some opinions on some software that will let me assign a drive (or partition) to automatically back up certain things. I'm not a big fan of partitions. I am a big fan of open source freeware :thumbsup:

Edited by curtis73, 27 April 2009 - 11:12 PM.


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#2 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:26 AM

From the top,

Everybody has their own method of doing things.
Mine is rather straight forward .
I would disassemble the computer,
I have a small soft bristle paint brush I use to lightly brush off a motherboard
It is best to remove the heatsink fan to clean the dust & dirt out of the heatsink.
Since you probably have a Socket 478 motherboard be careful when removing the heatsink.
The heatsink has a nasty habit of sticking to the CPU & literly ripping the CPU out of the socket.
The best way to avoid that is to open the case, turn the computer on, use it for a bit [to get it fully warmed up], turn it off, diconnect the power cord, press the on button to discharge stored electricity, & remove the heatsink before it & the CPU get cold.
You will have to clean the CPU & heatsink with rubbing alcohol & a piece of paper towel & put fresh thermal paste on.

The most likely reason you couldn't get a slave drive to work is because the RAID is enabled in the BIOS & since you added a second hard drive the BIOS was expecting, & looking for, a RAID setup.
If you want to use a Master/Slave setup go in the BIOS & disable the RAID.
If you want to use 2 hard drive & set the RAID to automatically "mirror" [backup] the 1st drive to the 2nd. you will need 2 of the same drives.
[A "matched" set, same brand/model/capacity]
To use the RAID you would need to make a RAID driver floppy disk & reinstall Windows.
During the install ,when the disk first boots there is a message that says, "If you need to install 3rd party drivers press F6"
You do that & use the RAID driver floppy disk to install the RAID drivers & configure the RAID.

As for the backup software I can't help on that one.
[I don't use it so I can't make a good recomendation]
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#3 garmanma

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:16 AM

cleaning the pc interior

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/cleaning-the-inside-of-your-pc/
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#4 curtis73

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:47 PM

Thanks for the help, folks... keep it coming. :thumbsup:

#5 curtis73

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:41 PM

I got it disassembled, cleaned and reassembled. So far it boots properly and Device Manager says that all of the hardware is kosher so I must not have missed any wires, but it did bring up some more questions.

I have the Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS pro sound card with the add-on front interface. When I removed the main card, I noticed a wire that went nowhere. It was plugged into "CD IN" on the card, but nothing else on the other end. The wire itself was fished up toward the front bays which suggests that it may have a home in the front interface. I also found a plug on the MB that fits it and its labeled "CD". I left it alone for now, but wondered where its supposed to live.

The tower also has an aux panel on the front with a firewire, a couple USBs and pink and green audio jacks. If I follow the cords back to the MB, they all have homes except a cluster of plugs for the audio... which explains why my headphones never worked in that jack. Where do they go?

I always plugged my speakers into the green audio jack from the MB and it worked fine. But is that using the Audigy sound board, or just the resident sound on the MB? I guess what I'm asking is, does the MB take audio, send it to the sound board, then spit it out on its own resident 1/8" jack, or do I have to plug into the sound board itself in order to get sound from the sound board? The reason I ask is because there are all kinds of audio features available from the Audigy and I might as well use them. Right now its not an issue since I'm just using two little speakers, but wondered how it worked for the future.

#6 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:38 PM

The wire attached to the CD in originally attached to the back of the CD drive to provide sound.
If you have sound when playing a CD remove the wire.
Most computers don't actually need the wire.

Look on your sound card & see if there is a group of pins for the front panel sound/mic to hook to.
You would probably need the manual [or at least pin out] to connect it properly.

If you are hooking the speakers to a sound connection on the motherboard you are using the "onboard" [built on the motherboard] sound.
In a case like that you don't need the add-in sound card & your motherboard should have the front panel sound/mic connectors.
You can go to the motherboard manufacturers web site & download the manual for the model motherboard you have.
That will have the pin out for the front connectors.
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#7 curtis73

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 12:06 PM

Ok, thanks. So far I have sound everywhere it should be (except the headphone jack on the tower) so its fine for now. If I want to use headphones, there is a jack on the speakers so its a non-issue.




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