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Small Upgrade, Big Project.

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Verikon, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    I've been getting the upgrade itch lately. In the night I'll wake up in a cold feverish sweat, nightmarish visions of Intel fanboys mocking my single core 939 Opteron still etched in my mind's eye. On the street, I swear I can hear people laughing about my pitiful single gigabyte of RAM under their breath as I walk by. My friends wont even speak to me anymore...

    It had to stop! So I fire up my US Robotics 28K modem and get on the WWW, and after 5 minutes of waiting for NewEgg to load, I find her! A dual core s939 Opteron for only $100? Do my eyes deceive my heart so boldly? Nah, tis true. Oh how beautiful she is!

    Well a boy can't take a fine lady like that out with only 1GB of RAM in his sockets, am I right guys? So I priced out a 2GB kit to go along with it. $110?! Ouch... what is a DDR1 user to do?

    UPGRADE TO DDR2, duh!

    I figure, if I can replace almost everything in my computer, I'll have two computers and will be able to sell my old one and cover the cost of the new one. It will be much easier for me to sell a complete system, rather than a single chip and RAM. I felt like a genius! I was on cloud nine! Maybe even cloud ten, if you can believe it.

    So I'm all up on that NewEgg. I decide to go budget as I want this upgrade to be completely covered by the sale of my old computer. $500 was the budget, and here is a list of the rash part choices I now thoroughly regret:

    ASUS M2N-E SLI (I swore I'd never buy another budget board again, but here I am...)
    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (Not a poor choice I suppose, and I got a mad discount for bundling it was my CPU)

    Stuff that was probably a decent choice:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+(65W) Windsor (They're just sooooo cheap. I'd love to go C2D, but I just can't afford it on this build.)
    Seagate 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB SATA

    Stuff I will never regret buying:

    COOLER MASTER Centurion RC-534-KKR5 (Tired of my 50lbs full tower, and have loved this CM case for a long time.)

    With the order processed and parts being loaded on to brown trucks across the nation, I was ready to rock! BUT OH SNAP! I still needed to prep my old computer for prompt sale! Well that's a ton-o-fun in itself. Clean, swap out the parts I'm keeping, install the spare parts I was getting rid of.

    So here's what I started with, in all her dusty glory(half disassembled for cleaning. I don't run it like that, kthnx):

    [​IMG]

    And here she be all spit 'n polished, dusted, cable managed, unOCed, and downgraded (running my RAID array and PSU externally since I'm keeping both for the new computer and didn't feel like installing them just to be removed later.)

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    And that's about all there is to report at the moment! Once the new parts arrive on Tuesday I'll show the system building process of the X2 system (it might be kind of brutal to watch since I told my girlfriend she could help...), and the two complete systems rocking side by side.

    'til Tuesday.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  2. Cuzza

    Cuzza New Member

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    Oh come on.... you've got nothing to be ashamed of. Not compared to me anyway
     
  3. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    Shhhh, I'm trying to rationalize my frivolous spending!

    My girlfriend took it surprisingly well, seeing as we have a vacation planned next month that we're both supposed to be saving up for. Before I even told her I'd be able to pay it off by selling my old computer she chimed in, "can I help build it?!"

    I think she's a keeper.
     
  4. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Verikon says thanks.
  5. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    I actually passed that board up because it's not a passively cooled northbridge(I hate those damn fans), and it does not have firewire. The only real problem with the Asus board, besides the mixed reviews it has gotten and the apparently horrible audio quality, is that it only has 4 SATA ports, but really that shouldn't be too much of a problem as I only have 4 SATA devices. The 570 and 500 chipsets are almost identical otherwise. Do you really think the performance will differ? That is my only concern.

    But... I finally looked at the C2D price drop sheet and I should have just waited and got a E4400. Oh well, live and learn! I'm sure the X2 will be fine, and if all goes as planned this wont cost me anything so it's not as if I am losing money.
     
  6. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    All righty. Today was the big day. I couldn't sleep last night and I've been shaking all morning. UPS lady rolls up, and I thought I might pee myself.

    That is until I realize she is only carrying one box. "It's cool, it's cool... maybe the she couldn't carry two at the same time. The missing box is my case and that would be too heavy, right? RIGHT?" Nope. The explanation: "Did you get your other package from another driver, because I can't find it on my truck?"

    Well crap. So I got the system rolling, but it's just chilling on my side table... all exposed like. *Shutter*

    It's fast, I'll give it that, even if it is bare and ugly at the moment. The whole thing started up without a hitch too, thanks mostly in part to the fact that the RAM I purchased can run at as low as 1.8v -this board apparently can't run RAM higher than that- which was my main concern. Also, I've decided to rewrite my "never buy budget motherboards" rule: my new rule is "never EVER buy budget motherboards." Apparently the "CPU Voltage" option only allows you to decrease the voltage... yeaaaaaah, that's handy.

    Well I know what you people come here for, the money shots, so I wont disappoint:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    All right y'all, you feelin' this?

    I gave up on the budget motherboard. I knew it was a bad call from the minute I hit "Confirm Order" and she hasn't let me forget it. Monday morning she goes back to NewEgg; I'm down $15, but I've learned a valuable lesson: always look for that one customer review out of 200 that says "Can't change the vCore."

    Her replacement arrives Friday along with my Zalman CPU cooler:

    ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe
    ZALMAN CNPS 9500 AM2

    Oh, and my case finally arrived and I am quite pleased with it. It's strange going from a full tower to a standard case, and I'm at a loss as to where to route my SATA cables. The included 120mm fans are very quiet, but obviously don't push much air. We'll see how that works out once I start OCing.

    That's about it, so here are some pictures of the build as she is now in her temporary form:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    Got the Zalman cooler today, but no point in installing it until the new motherboard arrives tomorrow. That didn't stop me from taking some review-esque photos of it. Can't wait to fire it up tomorrow:

    [​IMG]
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  9. Verikon

    Verikon New Member

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    And sceneeee...

    The M2N-SLI Deluxe came today, and installation went off without a hitch. POSTed fine, everything detected correctly, Windows begins to boot, and... BAM: restart. Safe mode, VGA mode, last known good configuration. Nothing. Windows wont boot. It ain't no thang, I'll just format my RAID and get back on track.

    Well it wasn't that simple. The Windows install would crash after loading drivers. Not even crash, it would BSOD. So I knew something wasn't kosher. I hit up NewEgg and Ctrl+F'd "RAID" through the customer reviews. Turns out this board absolutely hates RAID arrays. It's like a Klingon cosplayer who stumbled into a Star Wars convention.

    I grabbed the newest BIOS from Asus, and thankfully the BSODs stopped, but Asus didn't ship the board with SATA drivers on floppy... and of course my computer wont boot so... yeah, kinda hard to get those. Luckily my parents' computer had a floppy drive and after a dozen up-the-stairs-down-the-stairs trip, I had a working system. Phew.

    The weirdest part is that when I went from my old s939 board to the first AM2 board -the M2N-E-, I just dropped in my HDDs, it saw the RAID and booted it no problem. Strange that this nForce570 board had so much trouble, when going from an nForce4 to an nForce500 board didn't give me no guff.

    So thanks for watching, this concludes Verikon's AM2 upgrade build.

    [​IMG]
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