I'm not much of a hardware guy but have been forced to work on it lately and it's really not that bad--altho some things I still dread.
A few weeks ago my computer would not start up except for a few seconds before cutting off again. Wasn't real sure what to do about it, but tried unplugging for several seconds then plugging in again. That got me back up and running and I didn't look into it anymore because it wasn't completely broke, and I was in the process of figuring out what to do about a bad LCD monitor on my sister's computer (wound up replacing it with a new one of 24"), then replaced my old CRT that had gotten too dark to see, and researched what the best deal was on a good replacement mouse. On each issue it took me about a week to research and decide what to do.
When those projects were done I addressed this issue by replacing a 300 Watt Startech PSU with an Antec Earthwatts 500 Watt (actually made by Seasonic). Besides hoping that it would fix my powering up issues, I am seriously considering adding a video card to take more advantage of my new monitor's capabilities, so wanted to be sure I had enough power for that. Also the Antec is 80+ certified so is much more energy efficient.
Well, I had the new PSU installed for about a week, then I heard a small pop, the mouse pointer disappeared from the screen and then another pop and the computer shut down. I did the unplugging thing, but it won't stay powered up for very long now. It will POST and boot and sometimes get to the login screen, but I haven't been able to log in to my user account before it dies.
Again I wasn't sure what to do to even figure out what the problem was--even if I take it to a shop I like to know what to expect. But late the next day--Monday--I began fiddling with it and lucked out by finding the culprit pretty quickly. I moved the case fairly roughly and saw that the CPU fan wasn't fastened securely--one side was completely loose. I tried to reattach but couldn't and when I researched it on the net it appears that it is a common problem for the plastic pushpin fasteners on Intel fans to break off. I'm assuming the pops I heard were the plastic breaking free but who knows.
I found one site where I could replace just the push pins:
Also considered this CPU Stabilizer kit:
also considered replacing the whole fan/heat sink.
Then I decided that while I was doing this, I could upgrade my CPU from a Celeron D to a Dual-Core--since a new fan and heat sink comes with the CPU I could kill two birds with one stone. So I ordered the following, which should be delivered here some time tomorrow:
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5400 Wolfdale 2.7GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
I'm not interested in high end gaming but do like casual games--and my elderly parents that partially own this computer love Zuma and Peggle. So I don't need the latest and greatest, but will appreciate the improved performance. And as I understand it, the dual-core produces less heat, consumes less electricity, is reasonably priced and so is a good economical choice for my needs.
But at this point I have some questions that aren't easy to find thru research so I need the help of you good hardware guys. First let me give my important specs:
Motherboard: ASRock 775VM800
Old CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel Celeron D Prescott
New CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5400 Wolfdale 2.7GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
RAM: One stick 512 MB Samsung SDRAM DDR PC2100
One stick 128 MB Samsung SDRAM DDR PC2100
Monitor: ViewSonic VX1932wm-LED 19-Inch WLED-Backlit Energy Efficient LCD Monitor
OS: XP SP3 Home
The ASRock supporting the Dual core processor is another reason I thought of upgrading. I ordered that new CPU because my research indicated that it was the same socket type and the mobo supports the 800MHz FSB--but now I have some other concerns about it being compatible.
Question One: Prescott is printed in big letters on the motherboard--is there going to be any problem with the new CPU being a Wolfdale? Does anything else jump out at you that I should worry about?
I am thinking strongly of upgrading the motherboard anyway--dual cores were new when I got it so it's getting old, but my first priority is to get the PC up and running as soon as possible and worry about more upgrades later so I would like to use this mobo if possible. I also intend to upgrade RAM to probably 2 GB. I saw in a user review somewhere that someone had to use a different type of RAM with their dual core processor--I think, but I didn't save the link. So...
Question Two: Does anyone know offhand if it's possible the new CPU won't be compatible with my old RAM and that this would prevent getting the computer up and running again?
Next, I've been reading over the following tutorial:
How to Upgrade Your CPU
It's a bit dated but otherwise pretty good. However, this has me concerned:
Before replacing your CPU we strongly recommend you to perform a BIOS upgrade on your motherboard to update your motherboard with the latest available BIOS. Please read our How To Perform a BIOS Upgrade tutorial for further instructions. This will assure you that your motherboard will recognize your new CPU. Several times when you install a new CPU that you know that your motherboard supports your motherboard won’t turn on because it needs a BIOS upgrade, and you will have to install back your old CPU in order to do this. Avoid this hassle by performing a BIOS upgrade before replacing your CPU.
This is just the kind of thing that I want to avoid. However, my next project, that i was just about to go into when the computer died, was to update the BIOS anyway. The native resolution of my new monitor is not supported by the onboard video card of this mobo, but according to ASRock, an update to the BIOS will correct that--see the first FAQ here:
So my plan now is to use the new fan that comes with the new CPU, but leave the old CPU installed--see if I can get the computer up and running, then update the BIOS and switch to the new CPU later--maybe upgrade the mobo while I'm at it if that is suggested by you all.
Question Three: Should I do that or do you think it is OK to try the new CPU first?
Finally, I didn't order any Thermal Grease like I had meant to. I'll need more if I want to install a CPU more than once. I called a local shop to see if they had any they could sell me, but the guy said he just uses what comes in the box with Intel CPU most of the time and is almost out of extra. But while we were talking, he kind of confirmed that the loose fan was probably my problem and gave me some tips on installing--but he said that you don't want to turn the push pin fasteners of the fan/heat sink before you push down on them. That is opposite of what the mobo manual says to do. It says to rotate the fasteners clockwise, then press down. They are adamant about that, and the guy who I talked to was adamant about his advice--he's been building computers for years for schools and businesses, not to mention for home use. He says you only turn the pins to take the fan off. So the final question:
Question Four: Could someone describe in detail, step by step, the correct way to securely fasten the pushpins--and relate your own experiences with them?
Altho I think I may have figured this one out. Another tutorial (with nice photos) also doesn't mention turning the pins before pushing down. http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=602&pgno=3
But it does say to turn the pins counter-clockwise to remove. So, when installing, are they turning the pins clockwise as far as they will go before aligning the pins to the through holes?
I appreciate all input. I will have some more questions, especially about upgrading to a video card, but it will have to wait til later.