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First build


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Bashan

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 01:42 PM

I'm taking some computer repair classes and I wanted to put together a new system for the learning experience. I got the components on sale at Tiger Direct and am pretty sure I can sell this unit and make a little money for the next project. I thought I'd post this as I go along in case it might help some other noobs and hopefully the experienced guys can offer comments. It will be a low end system, here's the components:

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The motherboard is a MSI 760GM

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As I said, low end without an HDMI or even a DVI port:

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The CPU is an AMD Phenom X4:

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The HDD is 500GB which I think is fine for the casual user, the capacity race is out of control IMO:

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A nice 8G RAM set:

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The Thermaltake V3 case came with a 550W Ultra PSU and a pre-installed fan:

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And an OEM Windows 7 OS:

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The whole system with OS included cost me $340.00. I thought I'd try to sell it for $550.00 with a one year bumper to bumper warranty and tech support. I'm pretty sure I already have a buyer for that amount. I'll start putting it together tomorrow.


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#2 rotor123

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 01:51 PM

Low end for sure, There are lower end CPUs of course

It should have decent speed. The things I noticed and why I said lower end, Only two PCI express slots, One 1x and one 16x. That limits the expansion. Add a USB3 card and a video card and you are not going to be able to add any other PCI express cards.

Good Luck
Roger

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#3 Bashan

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:59 AM

The things I noticed and why I said lower end, only two PCI express slots. That limits the expansion. Add a USB3 card and a video card and you are not going to be able to add any other PCI express cards.

I noticed that when I ordered. Since I had a target selling price of $550.00 I was constrained by the purchase price limiting me to just a few options. I figured if the client wants WIFI I can use a micro external USB adapter and save the slots for something else.

I was stuck in the basement Tuesday while they were installing new carpet in the house so I got more done than I thought I would. I wanted to try bread boarding for the experience so I hooked up a PSU to the mobo while on it's shipping bag with the fans and the ON switch. Then a monitor and keyboard:

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I used an Athlon CPU from a non-functioning mobo so I could test if it was the CPU or board. Lift the zero pressure arm and out it comes:

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Line up the triangles on the chip and the mounting base and carefully push the arm down and latch it:

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These 4G RAM chips are different from the previous pics, the other was a special I ordered for other projects. The chips popped nicely into place with a little downward pressure. I was worried about that step from the horror stories I had read online about ruining the chip:

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I hit the switch and NADA, no POST beep, nothing. It must be a bad CPU. So I put the new Phenom in and latched the arm:

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I hit the switch, got a POST "beep", and a screen message:

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I shut it quickly down before the chip could get too hot. Now I wanted to get the new mobo ready to put in the case. The Phenom CPU fan needed to be installed. This unit came with the CPU and I was a little surprised that it was smaller than the fan and heat sink on the Athlon. But it came in the CPU box so I figured it was made for it. On it goes with the pre-installed thermal paste:

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The retaining clip is a tight fit on a delicate CPU, that was a little unnerving:

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I'll post more in a few days. I know this must be boring old hat for the vets but it's new, exciting, and a little intimidating for me. Any thoughts, even criticisms are welcome. I'm just trying to learn here.


#4 rotor123

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:24 AM

No post with the old CPU could also just mean it isn't a supported CPU. Going to the Motherboard makers website and looking at the CPU compatibility list for your Model Motherboard will tell if it should work or not.

Roger

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167 @ June 2015


#5 xXAlphaXx

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:38 AM

I am going to agree with Roger on the unsupported CPU theory.

Also, I wanted to add: Even if your turning the computer on to test the CPU, I would NEVER do it without a heatsink/fan. This video shows exactly why. Sure, the CPU was under a load in the video, but you can see how radically quick things can go wrong upon the removal of the heatsink. It's just too risky for me, so I recommend against it.

Edited by xXAlphaXx, 13 September 2012 - 11:41 AM.

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#6 rotor123

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:32 PM

In the old days with the Socket 462 Athlons you'd get a quick puff of smoke and a dead CPU. Those were the ones that had a small rectangle that actually touched the CPU with four rubber pads on the corners to help keep the heat sink level.

Modern day Motherboards usually slow down the CPU or shut off for overheat conditions.

Roger

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167 @ June 2015


#7 Bashan

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:56 PM

I didn't think about checking the board manufacturers website about compatibility. It turns out it does support the Athlon II X2. The mobo in question is from an old HP Pavilion I took apart for learning purposes. I think I trashed the CPU with static hence the subsequent grounding mat you see in the pics. That video was awesome and gave me a queasy feeling. I knew about the heat sensors on the board and in fact downloaded SiSoftware's Sandra which is a real learning experience. I was counting on the board shutting things down if it got too hot but I was still kind of uncertain. The video convinced me not to try that again even with the temp shutdown function. The Phenom chip was indeed quite hot to the touch, surprisingly so, after the POST.

The Thermaltake case had a combination of built in standoffs, a stud like standoff without a screw hole, and spots for two regular standoffs. I felt that was kind of strange and would have preferred regular standoffs all through. The HP I mentioned had built in standoffs and I wondered if that had something to do with the trashed CPU.

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The mobo installs over the standoffs, then the optical drive and the HDD:

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Then attach SATA cables onto the back of the drives and plug the HDD into SATA 1, and the optical to SATA 2:

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Then the amazing mess of wires from the front panel plug in according to the really vague instructions that come with the mobo. Yes, I did look on MSI's site and they didn't have squat. I used a combination of looking at their diagrams, looking for labels on the mobo, and matching up connectors that would fit. It'll be easier the next time:

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The PSU goes in, I later turned it over so that the intake pointed up into the case and not down on a grill:

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The 24 main power connector goes in and then the 4 pin CPU power connector, the two fan connections are also visible:

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The HDD used a SATA power cable:

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And the optical uses the older 4 pin:

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Well, I guess that's it, time to hit the ON button and see what happens:

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The fans come on:

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And I get a message!:

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I rebooted and repeatedly hit the DELETE button to check out the BIOS, you should set the correct time:

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I was going to set it to boot off of the optical but a friend of mine who repairs computers told me that Windows will boot regardless if inserted in the machine. So I popped it in the optical drive and hit the space bar without rebooting:

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Hello Mr. Gates:

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I was all set to format the HDD but the Windows program did everything. I was kind of disappointed since I had prepared for it:

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It's up and running now with very little on the desktop. I'm going to have to get some freeware on it to make it look tasty for the customer; any suggestions? My plan is to sell it for $550.00 which includes a one year complete warranty including virus removal and free labor on upgrades. We'll see how it goes.

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Edited by Bashan, 13 September 2012 - 05:00 PM.


#8 xXAlphaXx

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:02 PM

Freeware? Perhaps CCleaner and MBAM and maybe a free AV such as avast! or AVG.

I don't know, I personally would love a squeaky clean PC if I were buying one so I don't have to get rid of all that preinstalled stuff.
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#9 rotor123

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:29 PM

A couple of suggestions.

1. That Optical drive is a SATA drive and if you have a SATA power plug you should use it to reduce the amount of connectors. What you are showing is a 4 pin to SATA Adapter cable.

2. Try and route all the wires against the right side of the case so it looks neat and use some wire ties to make it look really neat inside since you have that window in the side they can look in. As you look into the case What I try and do is get them out of sight and neatly tied to the other side of the drive bays.

I have also used a product that wraps around the wires in a spiral pattern to keep them neat looking.

3. If I were offering virus removal for 1 year I would qualify that to say.

Free Virus removal for one year, data recovery is at a extra cost. Then once you have the computer completely set up make an image of it so if they screw up windows you can just restore the image and done. If they want the data saved that is extra $$.

You can also look here for ideas Freeware Replacements for Common Commercial Apps

I also use VLC for playing any kind of music or video file. and I only use ImgBurn for cd and DVD and BluRay burning.

Good Luck
Roger

Edited by rotor123, 13 September 2012 - 05:31 PM.

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#10 Bashan

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 02:56 PM

You are of course correct, the wires should look organized for the prospective client. A few zip ties cleaned things up:

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Live and learn on the connection, I didn't notice but I will the next time:

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Thanks for your help, I learned a lot. I'll let you know if I sell it.


#11 xAPMx

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 01:10 AM

As for freeware, I agree, the less the better. I would perhaps reconsider the consequences of putting in "free virus removal" with the warranty Lol.

I would install MSE or Avast/AVG. I personally prefer MSE.

IMO I would also install,
- MBAM
- CCleaner
- OpenOffice.org
- NeroBurn Lite (freeware)
- Chrome

and I would leave it at that

#12 Bashan

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 03:53 PM

Thanks for the advice on the freeware. I'm using MSE on all of my computers. My wife had a HDD restored because of a virus and the tech activated MSE and she really liked it. It cost $150.00 which is one reason I got into this. I also have Chrome, Open Office, Picasa, and I get Windows Live Essentials cranked up for the client. I will download the others tomorrow. I am going to limit my virus removal to run a scan in safe mode and if that doesn't work restore the hard drive with the recovery disc I'm keeping on hand. If they do the scheduled backups (HAR!) I'll reinstall their files. I have another job so this is kind of a hobby and learning experience for what I may do in a few years. If this arrangement with the client is problematic I'll figure something else out. I also am offering the tower for $450.00 with a 30 day hardware warranty. Maybe that's the better deal...for me! :blink:




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