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Putting Together First Computer-See Any Problems?

Old 01-02-02, 03:14 PM
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Putting Together First Computer-See Any Problems?

It would probably be lame for every newbie to ask if their computer will work, but I don't know how else to get the answer. I know there are other alternatives to what I am proposing, but tell me if there are any potential conflicts or anything I left out with this particular system. I don't do gaming and this won't be my main source of watching DVDs.

AMD 1600+/266 FSB Athlon XP PROCESSOR CPU - OEM $117

Thermaltake VOLCANO 6Cu. $13

ECS K7S5A SiS® 735 SOCKET A MOTHERBOARD – RETAIL $57

Kingston Value RAM 256MB PC133 $38

ENLIGHT EN-72370X3C4 MEDIUM ATX TOWER CASE with 1 Internal CaseFan - OEM 300Watts $47

Arctic Silver II $6

Lite-On 16x DVD $58

Creative Modem Blaster V.90 PCI 56k Modem OEM $18

TOTAL: $322

I didn't go with DDR RAM because of problems others have had with it and modems.

From my old computer I am keeping a 30GB 7200RPM WD EIDE hard drive running Win98 and a 10X HP CD-RW
Old 01-02-02, 03:29 PM
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I just did a very similar system. Do a search for K7S5A within the last month for some things to consider about the motherboard. I think it's ok, but you can't assign IRQs and on-board sound is potentially bad. These things can be overcome but then other problems are introduced such as floppy writing errors under Win2K.
Old 01-02-02, 08:20 PM
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I know it's obvious, but since I've seen it happen many, many times... Make sure to have the HS/Fan on before applying any power to the machine. I don't know how many computer "experts" I've seen fry their CPU because they didn't put it on and hook up the power cable.
Old 01-03-02, 09:32 AM
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Re: Putting Together First Computer-See Any Problems?

Originally posted by gbub


I didn't go with DDR RAM because of problems others have had with it and modems.
What issues are people having with DDR Ram? The only thing I've ever heard has been that since the board accepts DDR and SDRAM, not to mix the two.
Old 01-03-02, 10:11 AM
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didn't see a video card in your list (unless I missed it..) or maybe it's onboard?
Old 01-03-02, 10:19 AM
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Nazgul: I've read that, for some reason, you can't use an internal modem if you're using DDR RAM with this motherboard, but an external will work

Shuki: It has an onboard sound card which has its limitations, but from what I understand, I don't need a video card for the DVD-ROM if I'm just watching them on the monitor. The DVD-ROM comes with PowerDVD.

Is this enough or am I misinformed?

Last edited by gbub; 01-03-02 at 10:22 AM.
Old 01-03-02, 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by gbub

Shuki: It has an onboard sound card which has its limitations, but from what I understand, I don't need a video card for the DVD-ROM if I'm just watching them on the monitor. The DVD-ROM comes with PowerDVD.

Is this enough or am I misinformed?
You absolutely need a video card. There is not an onboard one. What are you going to plug your monitor into without a video card?

As for the sound, I hope you know how to flash a BIOS, or are willing to learn, because you may very well have to.
Old 01-03-02, 10:40 AM
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gotta have a video card. The player reads the dvd and the software decodes it to your PC for you but you still need something to channel it from the PC to your monitor/TV (or something like that...) anyway, you will need a video card too. I don't know how cheap you can go there especially wanting to view DVD through it?!?! But if there is one area in my computer I wouldn't want to skimp on it would be the video card area!! But that's just me
Old 01-03-02, 10:43 AM
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Ah, yes...duh! I guess I could go with the K7SEM board. It has onboard sound and video, but doesn't support DDR RAM. This is essentially so my daughter can watch DVDs in another place other than the main tv, and we can access those DVD-ROM only extras.

Oddly at newegg.com both of these boards are out of stock even though both were in stock yesterday.
Old 01-03-02, 11:03 AM
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I got my K7S5A at http://www.pc-beyond.com/ . You might want to see if they have a board there.

I'd be careful with the video on any board for DVD play. The K7SEM says it's capable of 1920x1200 16-bit color which I believe means it has 4MB memory. You definitely want better than 16-bit color for DVD, 24-bit anyway. And there's no telling how good the picture would be from the onboard chip. You could probably disable it if you needed to, but I wouldn't sacrifice any other features to get it built-in.

I'd suggest looking around for a decent, inexpensive PCI (or AGP) card instead of the onboard video. I stuck a relatively old ATI PCI card (around $40) in my son's computer and it works fine for DVD and games. There are good deals on decent cards if you look around.
Old 01-03-02, 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by gbub
Oddly at newegg.com both of these boards are out of stock even though both were in stock yesterday.
give them a day or two, they'll be back in stock

onboard video sucks! If you want to do any gaming at all, you might as well forget about a 4MB video card! I don't see how it can handle DVD?!?! Go with an AGP one or you'll probably regret it later....
Old 01-03-02, 12:55 PM
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I've got a quick question about a motherboard I may be purchasing...will this motherboard ASUS A7M266 AMD 761Chipset 266/200MHz FSB Motherboard allow the Athalon XP 1600 processor? Also, any pros or cons to this board? Thanks
Old 01-03-02, 01:05 PM
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can you wait a couple of weeks? the new p4 chips come out on monday and prices for the cpus are likely to drop soon after including the AMDs. also, are you sure you don't want DDR RAM?
Old 01-03-02, 01:26 PM
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Yes, I can definitely wait (I figured I should try and get a few opinions before I actually put down the money and make a purchase) and no, I am not sure about any of it yet I think this one does actually use DDR RAM though, but don't quote me on that one So how long should we expect to wait before we see a price drop?

Whoops, thought you were answering my question

Last edited by Lampei; 01-03-02 at 02:00 PM.
Old 01-03-02, 01:52 PM
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I saw on one site that they will be raising RAM prices today (Thurs)! In general, people seem to think RAM prices are going to keep rising for a while. Since DDR RAM is more expensive than SDRAM right now anyways, I think I'll just buy a 256MB stick of SDRAM and hope prices come down again.

I guess I can wait for CPU prices to come down, but they better soon. Being an American I need to gratify my spending urges.
Old 01-03-02, 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by Lampei
I've got a quick question about a motherboard I may be purchasing...will this motherboard ASUS A7M266 AMD 761Chipset 266/200MHz FSB Motherboard allow the Athalon XP 1600 processor? Also, any pros or cons to this board? Thanks
I am far from an expert (in fact just getting started in this) but judging from the specs I would say no, that board does not support XP processors. Now it might have a bios flash that will add xp support but if it were me, I would just start with an xp ready mobo. Again, just my .02

http://usa.asus.com/mb/socketa/a7m266/overview.htm
Old 01-03-02, 04:29 PM
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Thanks Shuki. So the A7M266-D does support it though? (I guess the D makes all the difference ) Is this a good Asus board?
Old 01-04-02, 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by Lampei
Thanks Shuki. So the A7M266-D does support it though? (I guess the D makes all the difference ) Is this a good Asus board?
From what I've read it's good, but the D model is a dual processor board. The regular A7M266 is single processor and does not support the XP processors. You can easily find out what supports what at http://www.asus.com
Old 01-04-02, 12:32 AM
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If you're looking for a pretty economical solution, and aren't the most hardcore gamer, take a look at the nforce chipset. It has integrated video that is well past most peoples needs. You can allot 32 megs for it. It's also got onboard sound and NIC. The sound is top notch. I suppose it is a little pricey for a mobo, but considering the features, it isn't that bad of a deal imho.
Old 01-04-02, 01:35 AM
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a7v-266e looks great! Maybe a little pricey though ($161 at Newegg.com)? I don't really know your price range.... http://usa.asus.com/mb/socketa/a7v266-e/overview.htm

I bought the a7v-133c a few weeks ago along with a 1.33Ghz athalon tbird with the ayhja stepping. Paid less than $200 for both ($97 and $99). Asus support if FANTASTIC! I can't recommend them enough. Plus my mobo cd came with an Asus update program that automatically flashed the bios for me from windows. I simply clicked the buttons and it did all the work. Rebooted and *poof* latest bios version And that update was to add support for the XP processors. maybe you want to go that route?

I would recommend Newegg.com for all your online computer shopping needs! Cheap, reliable and fast!
Old 01-04-02, 02:01 AM
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I'd never get onboard sound or video, even if it was for a computer for my parents who only do a little web surfing and minimal word processing
Old 01-04-02, 02:10 AM
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The A7M266 does support XP with a bios upgrade. without it you will not be able to even boot to a floppy. So to update the bios you need to first install a duron or athlon boot to a floppy, flash the bios, pull out the processor after powering down,then install the XP processor.

A pain to do
I should know I had to do it.

Also it supports DDR not Sdram. so to use it you would need to sell the sdram and buy DDR.
Old 01-04-02, 02:18 AM
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replace the XP with this
AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1GHz 266MHz FSB Socket A PGA PROCESSOR for 73.00 plus 6.95 shipping

video go with this
ATI OEM RADEON 7000 32MB DDR W/TV 45.00 plus 6.00 shipping

you save some on the processor( I felt the XP was wasted on the system you were building)

and get a better video card than onboard video. It will play dvd's far better also

both at newegg.com
Old 01-04-02, 04:16 AM
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Originally posted by gcribbs
The A7M266 does support XP with a bios upgrade. without it you will not be able to even boot to a floppy. So to update the bios you need to first install a duron or athlon boot to a floppy, flash the bios, pull out the processor after powering down,then install the XP processor.

A pain to do
I should know I had to do it.

Also it supports DDR not Sdram. so to use it you would need to sell the sdram and buy DDR.
Did you check your mobo cd? Mine (a7v-133c) had this auto update program that installed into windows. All I had to do was connect to the net and run that program. Easy as 1,2,3 for me to update my bios.
Old 01-04-02, 11:18 AM
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I decided to order from American Computech because they will put together almost the same computer I initially proposed AND test it for a slightly higher price than ordering it in pieces from NewEgg. I'll probably get flamed for not using a better fan, but it's still better than the generic fan I could have gotten.

AMD Athlon(tm) T-bird/XP PC Configurator
* ECS K7S5A Socket A SDR/DDR Retail Box
* AMD Athlon(tm) XP 1600 1.4GHz Socket A OEM
* Thermaltake A1110 Volcano 5 Socket A Fan
* 256Mb PC133 Kingston SDRAM Non-ECC Retail Box
* AGP ATI Xpert 2000 32Mb OEM
* 16X LiteOn DVD-Rom IDE Retail Box
* PCI 56K V.90 Phoebe Voice Fax Modem
* ATX Deluxe MidTower 300W P.S.
* Case Cooling Fan

Subtotal: 424.20
Shipping Charges: 22.23
Tax: 0.00
TOTAL: 446.43

On a side note, this is about what I payed for my 233MHz Pentium 3 years ago so it should be an improvement.

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