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Posted: 1/3/2006 8:41:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 6:35:30 AM EDT by jthuang]
Happy 2006 to all of ar15.com!

First, I'd like to thank y'all for helping me out with planning my first PC build. I was really sick of my Dell 8100 and its turboprop-loud fan and non-upgradeable motherboard.

I was off all last week so I started with a pile o' parts from Newegg.com and went to work. One afternoon later, I ended up fashioning the following parts into a (mostly) working PC!

Motherboard: Asus A8N SLI AMD Socket 939

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3700+

Case and power supply: Antec 640B Performance Case with 400W Antec power supply. Additional cooling provided by Antec 80mm blue LED fan.

Video card: XFX GeForce 7800 GT

Monitor: Dell 2005FPW 20.1" widescreen LCD

Memory: Corsair 1GB (2x512MB) 184 pin RAM

Hard Drive: Western Digital 320GB 7200rpm SATAII

Optical Drives: NEC dual-layer DVD R/W and Lite-on DVD-ROM drive

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200). I recycled my existing Dell USB keyboard, Harmon/Kardon PC speakers and GE optical mouse. I also bought a $5 grounding strap for the build.

Grand total, after rebates, and including shipping, was around $1600. A comparable Alienware system would have cost me $700 more!

First, I'm surprised at how QUIET this computer is, especially given that the cooling systems used are not top-notch. My Dell 8100 is LOUD. The fan on my Dell sounds like a lawn mower. My built system, in contrast, despite having two additional fans (one chassis and one videocard) that the Dell does not, produces a soft whirring sound and is MUCH quieter. I am very happy with this result!

Second, the performance kicks ass. I have been experimenting with Far Cry (which came with the video card) and the video is truly amazing. There are some problems with the game not being able to produce shading on some of the mountainsides and shadowing effects of the game, but I think they're a problem with the game and not the card itself.

Now I have one (actually two) fan issues that I was hoping I could get some help with:

1. The CPU and supplemental chassis fan (the 80mm Antec mentioned above) don't always run on power-up. Most of the time, they do not run and I have to shut down the computer and re-start, after which they both perform well. I've re-seated the connections to the motherboard but this seems to be a constant problem, so it's not a flaky error or something caused by a loose connection. I'm thinking the next place to look is the motherboard. Ideas?

Also, the CPU fan (when it works) spins rather slowly. It normally chugs along at 650rpm or so. I'm told that the number is a bit low. The temperature monitors say there is no problem as even after long sessions the temp is around 31 C (or 90+ F) ... so this may not be a big deal at all. Am I making a mountain out of molehill here?

2. The second power supply fan does not work at all. There are 2 PS fans ... one blowing air in, one blowing air out. It's the latter that doesn't work at all.

I think there is a loose or missing connection somewhere, or the fan itself is bad. This is why -- the PS fan connector is a standard connector, with dark blue and black wires. I can see the wire leading to the bad fan and the colors are red and black. This might mean that the power supply fan that works uses the blue/black wires, while the second fan uses red/black wires. So either I missed the connection entirely (and I double checked so I don't think this the case) or the fan itself is bad.

Any help is greatly appreciated. The two issues above are not fatal to the computer (at least as far as I can tell) but I'd like to get them fixed if possible. Thanks!
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:51:02 AM EDT
The more advanced hardware controls the fans on an as-needed basis. The page you referenced for the case even has a reviewer that says the power supply fan only functions on an as-needed basis.

The CPU fan itself might need to be replaced, as it should run all the time on most motherboards.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:54:08 AM EDT
For reference, my CPU fan is turning at 4500 RPM, the Power Supply fan at 1460 RPM.

Do you have the MB's P/S and CPU fan connections mixed up? Re-check the MB manual for correct placement.

Case fans normally just run off of the +12v harness from the power supply and do not connect at all to the MB.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:58:14 AM EDT
taggage, because I am going to build my own soon here. Sorry I can't help you dude.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 8:59:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
For reference, my CPU fan is turning at 4500 RPM, the Power Supply fan at 1460 RPM.

Do you have the MB's P/S and CPU fan connections mixed up? Re-check the MB manual for correct placement.

Case fans normally just run off of the +12v harness from the power supply and do not connect at all to the MB.



Yup.

The CPU fan should run off of the motherboard, but the rest of the case fans ought to run independently.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:03:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 9:04:42 AM EDT by cruze5]
intel chips i have seen run at 2500 rpm and faster. the amd chips 5000rpm or more not usually less. ill check my 64bit 3000+ when i go home today. 650 does seem slow.

one of the fans on the powersupply might not be spinning because you don't have it plugged in maybe? some of the antec's I belive have the regular 3 pin power connector(case fan) that needs to be plugged in fan speed control for sure. Not 100% sure for power.

the cpu fan might not spin all the time due to a bios setting. for the fan control. it might have a "quiet" setting. might want to check on that.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:04:05 AM EDT
you may want to upgrade your power supply, video cards nowadays are power hogs (your requires 350w by itself). It better to have extra than just enough.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:08:23 AM EDT
The very first review of the Case and PWS at Newegg:

Pros: Don't be freaked out by the power supply fan -- it only comes on when it gets hot enough too. It says so right on the sticker that covers it ;-) other reviewers have thought they had a bad product because of this.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:10:23 AM EDT
Well I can fix your Farcry problem, get the latest patch for it, it will fix all the graphical glitches.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:13:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200).



Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:14:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 9:15:29 AM EDT by Max_Mike]

Originally Posted By John_Wayne777:

Originally Posted By SWS:
For reference, my CPU fan is turning at 4500 RPM, the Power Supply fan at 1460 RPM.

Do you have the MB's P/S and CPU fan connections mixed up? Re-check the MB manual for correct placement.

Case fans normally just run off of the +12v harness from the power supply and do not connect at all to the MB.



Yup.

The CPU fan should run off of the motherboard, but the rest of the case fans ought to run independently.



Not always.

My motherboard has 3 pin connections for 2 case fan these connections control the case fan speeds… the fans still get power from the 4 pin power connector.

As a noise control measure some case fans have connections to the mother board that control the variable fan speed as needed for cooling. As they case temp goes up the fan speed increases some actually shut down when not needed.


Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:15:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By jthuang:

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200).



Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.




you got hosed too, you can get WinXP Pro for free if you know where to look or who to ask.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:28:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Chokey:

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By jthuang:

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200).



Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.




you got hosed too, you can get WinXP Pro for free if you know where to look or who to ask.



Yeah, but you may be limited on updates as I found out. I can get all the updates up to SP2, then it starts doing the verification BS.

BTW JT, that Dell widescreen looks kickass. It's amazing how much LCDs have come down in price in just 1-2 years. My 17" Samsung LCD was $500 in mid 2004.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:30:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Chokey:

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By jthuang:

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200).



Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.




you got hosed too, you can get WinXP Pro for free if you know where to look or who to ask.



One problem: I'm not a thief.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:36:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:39:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Defcon:

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By jthuang:

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200).



Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.




Where is that? I could use a copy.



mwave.com has good prices. $82 for a copy bought with hardware, $88 for a copy without hardware.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:42:24 AM EDT
Since you insisted on Windows and not Mac OSX
make sure to get one of these ASAP:

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:46:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rock7:
Since you insisted on Windows and not Mac OSX
make sure to get one of these ASAP:

homepage.mac.com/mmanus/.Pictures/mskeyboard.jpg



I honestly cant remember the last time windows locked up.

I only use CRTL ALT DEL occasonaly when FireFox goes into a memory leak
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:49:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 9:51:14 AM EDT by Max_Mike]

Originally Posted By Defcon:

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By jthuang:

... plus a new copy of Windows Home XP ($200).



Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.




Where is that? I could use a copy.



$93.95 at NewEgg.com
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:55:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JBowles:

Originally Posted By Rock7:
Since you insisted on Windows and not Mac OSX
make sure to get one of these ASAP:

homepage.mac.com/mmanus/.Pictures/mskeyboard.jpg



I honestly cant remember the last time windows locked up.

I only use CRTL ALT DEL occasonaly when FireFox goes into a memory leak



Yea that tired old bit is about as orginal as dirt.

XP just don't lock up very often.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 11:29:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Janus:
The very first review of the Case and PWS at Newegg:

Pros: Don't be freaked out by the power supply fan -- it only comes on when it gets hot enough too. It says so right on the sticker that covers it ;-) other reviewers have thought they had a bad product because of this.



Thanks, I missed that.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 11:29:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
Do you have the MB's P/S and CPU fan connections mixed up? Re-check the MB manual for correct placement.



I will go back and double check. I am pretty sure they are in the right places but you never know; this is my first build.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 11:31:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Holy crap you got hosed.

You can get windows XP home for around $80 if you know where to look.




Yeah it felt like getting hosed when I was buying it but I checked newegg and Best Buy () and they were both selling XP Home for $199. I bought from Newegg and then they lowered the price on XP Pro to $120. Oh well, I'm just trying to stay legal and all.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 11:32:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ShadowOne:
BTW JT, that Dell widescreen looks kickass. It's amazing how much LCDs have come down in price in just 1-2 years. My 17" Samsung LCD was $500 in mid 2004.



Yeah, I love it! I had a 17" Dell CRT and the 2005FPW is soooo much better. With DVI and the GeForce 7800 it's very clear and performs very well for my needs. The prices really are dropping ... I got mine for just a smidge under $400 with a coupon code from fatwallet.com about 3 months ago.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 11:34:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hellraiser:
Well I can fix your Farcry problem, get the latest patch for it, it will fix all the graphical glitches.



Thanks, I didn't think of it ... this build really has me paranoid. As it is my first build, I assume that any problem is my fault (as the builder). So when Far Cry started to flake out on the shadows (especially when you are driving a car over terrain) I assumed it was my fault.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 11:35:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 11:40:32 AM EDT by jthuang]

Originally Posted By Chokey:
you may want to upgrade your power supply, video cards nowadays are power hogs (your requires 350w by itself). It better to have extra than just enough.



I did think of that, but I thought 400W would be fine until I went SLI on the video cards?

The really weird thing is that my power supply has a special plug marked "PCI-E" but it doesn't fit into the power connnector on my video card (which is a PCI-E x16 card)!

[eta: hmm, maybe this isn't just me ... one of the reviewers sez "Its odd that this video card uses a 4 pin molex rather the 6 pin power plug."]
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 1:34:59 PM EDT
you can buy xp home upgrade from compusa and other computer stores for under 100. i guess that what they are talking about
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 2:01:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 2:11:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 2:12:00 PM EDT by Skin45acp]
For you guys that do run Copied XP(Pro) . You should still get the Security updates. Just make sure you set them up as automatically downloaded. Here is a great little website I found that updates when MS does.have
http://www.softwarepatch.com/

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 2:21:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 4:05:30 PM EDT by Sniper_Wolfe]
As far as the video card power connector:


My friend has the XFX 7800 (not GT), it had the same thing. You're alright, he said it used a weird power connector (he previously had a 6600 GT).

Edit: I remembered there is no 7800, just GT and GTX, my friend has the GT, so it's the same as yours.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 2:43:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By cruze5:
you can buy xp home upgrade from compusa and other computer stores for under 100. i guess that what they are talking about



No

You can get the FULL OEM version (not a upgrade) of XP Home from NewEgg for $94... IF you buy hardware with it. Hardware meaning a $2 cable.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 5:15:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By madman_kirk:
Make sure you have all the power sockets on the MB plugged in, you have three.
also DON'T install the nvidia firewall, very buggy and i've not hread one good thing about it.
Why did you buy xp home when you just built a 64 system ? xp64 is $142, then you could download the farcry64 patch.



Thanks ... yeah I hit all 3 power sockets, the 20+4 connector and then the EZ Plug and then one other which escapes my mind.

Will remove the NV firewall ... I haven't heard anything good about it either. Only problem is that I am left with the resource hog firewall known as Norton Internet Security 2005. I need to download Avast or something better.

I didn't even know there was such a thing as XP64 ... is that available at Newegg?
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 5:51:03 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:30:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By madman_kirk:
When you buy OEM OS from newegg they inclued a cable splitter as the hardware requirement.
here's the link for xp64. www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16837102034



Cool, thanks. I will give that a try next time!
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:31:25 AM EDT
Pile of parts!

Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:32:11 AM EDT
POST test. Mr. T/BA Baracus watches in expectation to pity the fool who can't get his PC to work.

Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:33:03 AM EDT
Final assembly completed, BIOS setup in process. Moved PC to coffee table to work on it. Notice can of Guinness to celebrate.

Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:33:46 AM EDT
Last, a view of the internals.

Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:37:57 AM EDT
Looks good. Take some zip ties to the spaghetti guts you've got going on in the case to improve air flow.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:43:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/4/2006 6:45:04 AM EDT by JackieTreehorn]
what no cooling system
you should get one for that rig
with round IDE cables to improve air flow
then it will be
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:48:50 AM EDT
Neaten the wiring and you'll be good to go.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 6:54:27 AM EDT
looks pretty good so far..
going to slap one together later this year.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 12:56:42 PM EDT
Yeah I know my wiring is messy. I'll have to get some zip-ties.

No $ for a cooling system. I looked into a liquid cooling system and it would have blown my budget.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 12:58:51 PM EDT
I didn't read the thread, but did you learn why SATA is not a mature technology? ;)
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 1:02:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tostitos:
I didn't read the thread, but did you learn why SATA is not a mature technology? ;)



Yes, they went through that in the Maximum PC guide I bought to help me with the build. They basically said SATA wasn't going to provide a huge boost in performance but it couldn't hurt to get it for future upgradability.

Hey, it saved me from using one of those stuipd ribbon IDE cables ... with the above setup I was able to run the primary IDE to the first DVD ROM drive (master) and the secondary IDE to the second DVD RW drive (also a master). The hard drive hooked up to the SATA port and I've still got 3 SATA ports left to expand if I want to add more drives.
Link Posted: 1/4/2006 2:10:32 PM EDT
Oh, ok. You didn't have to dick around with raid drivers and whatnot.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 4:59:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tostitos:
Oh, ok. You didn't have to dick around with raid drivers and whatnot.



Nah, no RAID (right now) and no plans to implement one. 320 GB seems huge to me; I couldn't fill up the 60 GB hard drive that was in my 2001-2005 computer.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:12:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:

Originally Posted By Tostitos:
I didn't read the thread, but did you learn why SATA is not a mature technology? ;)



Yes, they went through that in the Maximum PC guide I bought to help me with the build. They basically said SATA wasn't going to provide a huge boost in performance but it couldn't hurt to get it for future upgradability.

Hey, it saved me from using one of those stuipd ribbon IDE cables ... with the above setup I was able to run the primary IDE to the first DVD ROM drive (master) and the secondary IDE to the second DVD RW drive (also a master). The hard drive hooked up to the SATA port and I've still got 3 SATA ports left to expand if I want to add more drives.




I built a PC about a month ago using a new Seagate 7200.9 to SATAII specs and it screams.

Of all of us who play BF2 online each night, I'm typically the first person to load into the maps. Not just out of our group, but out of the 32-64 other players in the game I am typically first one in.

I don't know what a person would have to do to load in faster than me, I really want to see how my PC would rate if I had something like a 10k RPM WD drive or better yet a 15k RPM Seagate Cheetah.


My build uses a socket 939 3700+ San Diego AMD, 2 gigs of PC3200 RAM, and a Geforce 6800GS. I couldn't see spending 300 on a graphics card when the 6800 was such a bargin at barely 200, the 100 I saved I used towards another 1 gig stick of RAM.

Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:16:34 AM EDT
anybody know if I can upgrade (new MB etc) my Dell 8200 case? would like to do that.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:17:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2006 5:18:09 AM EDT by ArmedAggie]
I pity da fool mess wit dat computa!

ETA: Crap, didn't see the caption above the pic.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:21:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:
Last, a view of the internals.

i33.photobucket.com/albums/d93/huangover/2005%20PC%20Build/Step22-internalrunningsmall.jpg





I would seriously get a few cable ties and practice my cable-gami. Bundling them out of the way will seriously help your airflow and keep you computer cooler.



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