Building the Perfect Beast (Part Four)

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Thread: Building the Perfect Beast (Part Four)

  1. #1

    Building the Perfect Beast (Part Four)

    Even though all my parts came in mid-week, I decided to wait until I had a full day to assemble my new PC. I chose Sunday, and penciled-out the whole day. I was hoping it would only take a few hours. But as us old guys are fond of saying:
    “Spit in one hand, hope in the other. See which hand fills first.”
    I needed the whole day. And then some.

    First on the list was to decommission my old FX-6300 based rig. I was going to need a few things out of it, so it was respectfully unplugged and dissassembled whilst I hummed “Taps”. With the deck / desk cleared, I turned my attention to the card table where my new case sat. I would find out later that the card table was about six inches two low. My back would remind me all week.

    It’s a good idea to pre-assemble some parts before inserting the motherboard into the case. My new processor dropped right in, like it’s supposed to. They are called ZIF (zero insertion force) sockets for a reason. If yours does not fit, you’re doing it wrong. The RAM only goes in one way, although there are four slots for two sticks of memory. Check your manual. Dual channel memory must be inserted in a specific order. My slots were colored-coded grey / black. Almost idiot proof. The heatsink / fan was monstrous and heavy, so I decided to wait on installing that.

    Before dropping the mobo in, next I inserted the power supply and hard drives into the case. Both simply screwed into place. The trick would come later with the cable management. Modern computers are power hungry. Some parts, like the video card and the CPU have their own dedicated power cables.

    The assembly itself went well. The I/O plate in the back snapped-in, and the mobo connectors lined right up. I screwed in the optical drive. The heatsink / fan was a little wonky. It just didn’t seem to snap as tight as I thought it should. I’d check the sensors for thermal output (temperature) readings after I powered it on.

    Cabling these days is much easier. Since my power supply is modular, I only plugged-in the power cables my specific configuration needed. And the Serial ATA cables are much thinner than earlier data cables. After plugging each in, I zip-tied the excess and tucked it away as much as possible. Clean look? Sure. Better air flow in the case, that’s the important thing.

    I think the whole process took less than 2 hours. The worst part was connecting the case’s plugs for power and USB into the motherboard. The pins on the mobo are tiny, and there’s (not) helpful writing on it that’s even smaller. The mobo manual does describe each, but it’s still a pain. I had my glasses AND a magnifying glass.

    In no time, I was already plugging in the power and one of my monitors to my new tower. I held my breath as I pushed the power button. The second or two it took the system to initialize seemed like an eternity.
    The POST (power-on self test) greeted me, and I exhaled. I immediately pushed the F2 key to enter the motherboard settings page. It looked like the motherboard recognized all my parts. The sensor showed the CPU was running a bit hot, but my research already warned me that this processor did run warm.

    I have to admit, I was a bit enamored with the slick lines of my new PC. It’s smoked tempered glass showed-off the LED lit interior. The black and red accents blended perfect. I spent $59 on the damn case, and it worked. Yes. I shop well.

    With the first hurdle crossed, I grabbed my Windows 7 disk and began the fun task of loading windows. I had already read-up that since Win 7 was a “legacy” system, some functions may not be supported during assembly. Like USB. Luckily, I have a couple of old PS2 connector mice and keyboards. But, the mobo only had one PS2 plug.
    My son came to the rescue and reminded me that Windows Accessibility Mode has a ‘soft’ keyboard that can be displayed on the screen. Now, with my mouse, I was able to continue the set-up typing on my screen.

    As some of you may know, as soon as Windows does it’s initial install, the first thing you have to do is update it. That means internet connectivity. If you happen to be near a RJ45 plug, you’re golden. But for most folks, you must get your WIFI up and running.

    This can be a tricky “chicken and egg” scenario. You need specific WIFI drivers. The WIFI drivers are on the internet. You can’t get on the internet without the drivers. Lucky for me, my mobo manufacturer included a basic driver on CD that got my integrated WIFI operational. Whew. That’s why you want that old optical drive in your PC. Plan B is usually to download the driver from another computer onto a USB drive and then load it on your new PC. Except when your new PC’s USB drives aren’t working. Because you can’t get on line to download the drivers.

    The updates take hours. By this time, I was famished and decided to take a break while Bill Gates spawn do their dirty deeds on my OS.

    It seemed like a few of the updates didn’t load, which is normal. Especially after the first batch or two. But something was amiss. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but having done this so often, the tempo of the updates felt off. I tried running the RAID disk utility to sync my disks. It threw an error message.

    The small things were frustrating me. I was still concerned regarding my CPU temp, especially after loading the motherboard manufacturer’s included utility. On line, I read other users were averaging 55-65c under load, and low 30’s at processor idle. Mine showed 80 degrees and 40 Celsius, respectively. I wasn’t about to melt my CPU, but it was too high. The max rating before auto-shutdown is 95c, or just under the poling point of water. As I said, it can run hot.
    I suspected the mobo utility wasn’t reading correctly, and my on-line research showed other users got a more accurate reading from the official AMD app. So, I downloaded the app, and it wouldn’t run. I double checked everything… it did not work. By this time it was getting late, and I had work the next day. It had been about 8 hours. This was taking WAY too long. But ya gotta know when to step back.

    Throughout the week, I did some research, tinkered, and did some more research. My computer was running, but no where near where I wanted it to be. A novice would point to my use of Windows 7 was being a cause of my issues. But AMD and the other part vendors supplied approved drivers for that OS. It would turn out that in this case, the novice would be correct.

    This stuff is stranger than fiction. Microsoft purposely “throttled” updates for new hardware running on their “legacy” Win 7. Although they purported to support Windows 7 until next year, they would not provide updates for new hardware. Later that week, after I tried to force-load a few, I got this odd pop-up window from Microsoft. I don’t remember the exact text, but it was some double-talk that they wanted to provide their customers a better “experience” and “encouraged” them to update to Windows 10 to enjoy all the features of their new hardware.
    I’ll temper my remarks by simply calling them a bunch of duplicitous damn jerks.

    I did attempt to address the slight overheat by removing and re-installing my CPU fan / heatsink. There was no appreciable improvement, even after I fangled the AMD app to give me a reading. No way I’m running my new system at an above-average temp.

    There’s a takeaway right there. When building something as seemingly simple as a computer, be ready to make adjustments.
    "No plan survives contact with the enemy" Helmuth von Molke, Old Prussian Dude.
    Windows 7 was not going to work (properly). And, while the AMD provided CPU fan was adequate, it fell below my expectations. Time to make a couple of more purchases and try to wrap this thing up.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"

  2. #2
    Aww man, you forgot to add the liquid cooler.

    Your narration is very good, and you have the ability to explain complex instructions in a manner that even beginners can follow. That actually takes some skill to do.

    Keep at it. If you can write this stuff well, then you can write anything.

  3. #3
    Aww man, you forgot to add the liquid cooler.
    If you haven't already, see Part Five, homie.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"


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