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Thread: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

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    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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    First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    After months of research, purchases, and seemingly never-ending questions here on Hexus, I'll finally be building my own PC for the first time (final part comes tomarrow; building will start the day after Christmas). Below is listed every component I've purchased:

    Case: Raidmax Smilodon ATX mid-tower w/ 1x120mm fan, 4x80mm fans
    Video Card: eVGA GeForce 8800GT Superclocked
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
    CPU Cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler
    Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5
    Motherboard: Abit IP-35 Pro
    Sound Card: Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
    Optical Drive 1: LiteOn DVD-RAM (and all other formats) Lightscribe Burner - SATA connection
    Optical Drive 2: LiteOn CD-RW Burner 52x32x52x - IDE connection
    Floppy Drive: Sony Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive
    Hard Drive: 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA 3.0GB/s in RAID-0 configuration
    RAM: Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB(4 x 1GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Kit
    PSU: Antec NeoPower 650 Blue ATX12V / EPS12V 650W
    Keyboard: Saitek PK02 2-Tone USB Standard Eclipse II
    Mouse: Logitech G5 (2007 7-button reissue) USB laser mouse
    Monitor: Samsung 226bw 22" LCD monitor (S-panel)
    Operating Systems: (Dual Boot) Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit, Windows XP Pro w/ SP2 & all hotfixes through July

    I was hoping you kind folks here could give me any tips or anything for doing this, because frankly I'm a bit overwhelmed at the prospect. I've looked at a couple of how-to guides, but I was hoping for some more specialized adviced geared towards what I'll be using, etc. I also still have a couple of questions that I haven't found answers too.

    1. About Arctic Silver 5...I've heard two ways of doing this and don't know which is really right: the instructions on their website say to use a verticle line down the middle (not using too much), then set the HSF directly on top and slightly rotate it about a degree to the left and right. But many of the PC build guides (and both of my close mates who have done this before) say to use a sandwhich bag to smooth a layer onto the entire top of the heatspreader, then mount the HSF. Which is right?

    2. I've heard how you have to load SATA drivers when installing XP, but I was wondering if this still has to be done if the XP disk I'm using has SP2 (and most of the post-SP2 hotfixes) slipstreamed in? If you do still have to load SATA drivers, whats the proper way to do this? And will Vista require the SATA drivers to be loaded too when I install it?

    3. Whats the proper way to setup RAID-0 with this mobo and with XP, and then with Vista?

    4. Does the IP-35 Pro ship with the newest BIOS, and if not, should I go ahead and flash it to the newest version before installing Windows?

    Thats all I can think of at the moment. Aside from those questions, I'd also like to hear anything else I should know; the easier this is for me, the better. And I'd hate to do soemthing stupid that would make me troubleshoot for hours, or render a part useless, if I can avoid it.

    I'll appriciate any imput at all from you guys!
    Last edited by 2Cold Scorpio; 22-12-2007 at 01:52 PM.

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    Number 1 is easy. You don't need it.

    The freezer comes with MX-1 pre-applied

    2. you don't need SATA drivers for that motherboard just plug and play.

    3. In the BIOS enable RAID.. it will be obvious when you have it but i'm sure someone will help when you have it in front you.
    Then boot press one of the F buttons and you get a simple bios style menu. You litterally pick RAID 0 and the drives you want to use with it and its done

    Took me 30 seconds to do and i've never done it before lol.

    4. Maybe, maybe not. Wait and see. Don't flash it before you have got the PC sorted. It will be fine on it's standard bios whatever that is.

    Make sure you use the little motherboard risers when attatching the motherboard to the case. I didn't with my first build and blew up the graphics card

    You might want to build the main components outside of the case first with the motherboard on a bit of cardboard.. it will be easier to diagnose any problems you may have that way as shorts are not uncommon with the pc is inside the case. You don't have to do that but if you have problems you may have to get it all back out of the case to do it later.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    I wasn't aware the Arctic 7 Pro came with MX-1 pre-applied (I've never even seen this mentioned once before); is it as good as AC5? If so, looks like that was a wasted 5 bucks... lol

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    I've used both on mine. There was about a 1 degree difference, the AS5 being slightly better but it's not worth the effort.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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      • Internet:
      • 15Mb/s Cable, Optical Drives: 1. Lite-On DVD+-R/+-RW/RAM w/ Lightscribe, 2. LiteOn CD-RW 52/32/52x

    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    So you just stick the AC7Pro straight on after putting in the processor then? If thats the case, thats very handy! That was probably the main part I was worried about screwing up (applying the thermal compound properly).

  6. #6
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    yeah thats it. Make sure it points the right way, fan facing towards the back (assuming your rear fan(s) is an extractor and not an intake).

    you're right thermal compound is the worst part of a build so you've dodged that bullet lol

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    Mostly Me Lucio's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    If you're worried about applying something like Artic Silver, the Zalman thermal compound is a piece of cake to apply since you just brush it on.

    One suggestion I'd make is to try Vista first, see whether or not you actually *need* to run XP. Also, why 32bit Vista?? The whole point of the new technology is to take a step forward and Vista 32bit is no better than XP (or infact slightly worse), but 64bit is a step forward (not least being able to use your 4GB RAM properly)

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    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    XP is primarily for DirectX 9 gaming (KotOR is a beast to get to work in Vista, and in other things like Oblivion, I'd like to get all the performance I can). As to why 32-bit Vista: I got Vista Ultimate upgrade for only $35 with my student discount, thats why. They didn't have the 64-bit version with it. *shrug* If MS wil llet me order a 64-bit disk for just the shipping, I may give it a try i na few months when the driver situation is a bit better. The reason I got 4GBs of RAM anyways was because the 4GB kit was only $20 more than a 2GB kit and another 1GB kit to get the 3GBs I initially wanted.

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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    The other thing I would ask is do you really need RAID 0? If it for speed reasons, unless you are doing specialised processing requiring lots of sequential writes (usually large database applications) you probably won't see any real advantage, and it is just one additional layer of complexity. RAID 1 might be worthwhile if you want additional resiliance and minimal downtime is important to you - but of course halves your total disk space.
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    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    I'm mainly doing RAID 0 to help improve gaming performance, and to help speed up large installs. I don't expect a massive boost, but every little bit helps. ^_^ I don't want to use RAID 1 because I'd lose half my space (I have other backup methods in mind anyways), and managing fiel structures on two different HDs isn't worth the trouble, especially given the XP partition will only be about 100-150 GBs or so at most to accomidate my older games. I'd rather have the slight speed boost.
    Last edited by 2Cold Scorpio; 20-12-2007 at 10:35 PM.

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    Lover & Fighter Blitzen's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    Two things:

    1. Lose the CD-RW....If you must have two optical drives then get another DVD-RW...maybe one with Lightscribe.

    2. Forget the EVGA Superclocked 8800GT. That is a very high price for that card so do yourself a favour and pick up a new gen 8800GTS as its a much better card........ EVGA if you can afford it. If not get the BFG or Gainward. (They are the only makes i would touch anyway)

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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    Hi just my 2pworth.

    I did use artcic silver and am happy to do so. Their method i think is best as it shows you where the heat dissipator is and that the small line is most efficient. No point having it where there is no heat. It's not hard.

    The best advice I have seen is to do as much as you can outsode the case this moght mean attacjing sata cables, knowing where the screw points are and putting them in the holes and knowing your power connectors. It's a whole lot more dffciult once the screw is in place.

    Some peopleprefer silence on hsf.

    I prefer the samsung spinpoints. I think the 7200.10 got quite average ratings and they are on .11 or .12 now. I presonally wouldnt worry too much about raid.

    I prefer the LG H66 Sata drive- LG make great writers. I would scrap the Liteon cdrw and make it at least a dvdrw drive, theres a teeny price difference, but you cna do disk to disk then. If you get the LG then look for a drive that excels in ripping i.e the process of burning dvds to disck. There are websites that willpoint you in the right direction. If you want lightscribe then fine, although I find the media to be a bit pricy.

    Take your time doing the build. Motherboard, cpu, memory first

    Then attach the heatsink.

    screw it in and then attach graphics card, floppy and HD then boot it. Sata drives used to be hell imo, but now I think the OS deals with it or my motherboard did.

    You learn a lot from your build so good luck.

  13. #13
    Lover & Fighter Blitzen's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    I prefer the LG H66 Sata drive- LG make great writers
    The LG DVD-RW's were recently part of a benchmarking exercise in MicroMart and fared very badly next to the Lite-On's and Pioneers

  14. #14
    No-one's Fanboi Thorsson's Avatar
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    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    Ah well I have a Lite-On and a Samsung, and the Samsung is a better writer (the Lite-On's a better reader). But I think the OP has bought his kit already, so there's no changing any of it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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      • Memory:
      • 4x1GB Patriot PDC24G6400LLQK Extreme Performance PC2-6400 OC'd to 900MHz 5-5-5-18 timings 2.2v
      • Storage:
      • 2TB Samsung Spinpoint F4 5200rpm (main), 2x 250 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA in RAID 0 (backup)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • eVGA Geforce GTX 460 1GB Superclocked
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      • Internet:
      • 15Mb/s Cable, Optical Drives: 1. Lite-On DVD+-R/+-RW/RAM w/ Lightscribe, 2. LiteOn CD-RW 52/32/52x

    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    Two things:

    1. Lose the CD-RW....If you must have two optical drives then get another DVD-RW...maybe one with Lightscribe.

    2. Forget the EVGA Superclocked 8800GT. That is a very high price for that card so do yourself a favour and pick up a new gen 8800GTS as its a much better card........ EVGA if you can afford it. If not get the BFG or Gainward. (They are the only makes i would touch anyway)
    I've already bought both (and got both on sale, anyways). My DVD-RAM drive *is* a Lightscribe drive already; the CD-RW drive is mainly for CD installs (it has a faster read/write speed). I was considering dual DVD drives for a while, but frankly I don't foresee having ot do it enough to make use of the dual DVD drives; if I need to copy a DVD to another, I can always use software to make it an .iso and then burn it.

    About the 8800GT, I managed to get one for $290 with shipping, and judging from the benchmarks I've seen, the new GTS isn't *that* much better unless you're playing at high resolutions (the highest my monitor will go is 1620x1050). Also, I'll likely upgrade it to a 9 series card in a year anyways. I do appriciate your imput; I've just already purchased the parts (in the case of the drives, I got them two months ago).
    Last edited by 2Cold Scorpio; 21-12-2007 at 01:00 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member 2Cold Scorpio's Avatar
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      • 2TB Samsung Spinpoint F4 5200rpm (main), 2x 250 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA in RAID 0 (backup)
      • Graphics card(s):
      • eVGA Geforce GTX 460 1GB Superclocked
      • PSU:
      • Antec NeoBlue 650w
      • Case:
      • Raidmax Smilodon Steel ATX
      • Operating System:
      • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
      • Monitor(s):
      • Samsung 226BW 22" LCD Widescreen (S-Panel) @ 1680x1050
      • Internet:
      • 15Mb/s Cable, Optical Drives: 1. Lite-On DVD+-R/+-RW/RAM w/ Lightscribe, 2. LiteOn CD-RW 52/32/52x

    Re: First-time PC Builder - Need helpful tips & a couple of answers

    Quote Originally Posted by 999tigger View Post
    Hi just my 2pworth.

    I did use artcic silver and am happy to do so. Their method i think is best as it shows you where the heat dissipator is and that the small line is most efficient. No point having it where there is no heat. It's not hard.

    The best advice I have seen is to do as much as you can outsode the case this moght mean attacjing sata cables, knowing where the screw points are and putting them in the holes and knowing your power connectors. It's a whole lot more dffciult once the screw is in place.

    Some peopleprefer silence on hsf.

    I prefer the samsung spinpoints. I think the 7200.10 got quite average ratings and they are on .11 or .12 now. I presonally wouldnt worry too much about raid.

    I prefer the LG H66 Sata drive- LG make great writers. I would scrap the Liteon cdrw and make it at least a dvdrw drive, theres a teeny price difference, but you cna do disk to disk then. If you get the LG then look for a drive that excels in ripping i.e the process of burning dvds to disck. There are websites that willpoint you in the right direction. If you want lightscribe then fine, although I find the media to be a bit pricy.

    Take your time doing the build. Motherboard, cpu, memory first

    Then attach the heatsink.

    screw it in and then attach graphics card, floppy and HD then boot it. Sata drives used to be hell imo, but now I think the OS deals with it or my motherboard did.

    You learn a lot from your build so good luck.
    I was going to use AC7 until staffsMike said the Arctic Cooler 7 already has thermal compound on it, so I'll try it out first as-is; if I'm not happy with it, I'll take off the HSF, clean the thermal compound off, and apply the AC7.

    My initial plan is to install the PSU, CPU, RAM, HSF, and attach the SATA cables while its open (the IP-35 seem to have its SATA conenctions at a 90-degree right angle from what I understand, so I'll install my HDDs and DVD drive while its open), then close it up, attach power cables, fan cables, & front panel cables, put in the video card, boot it, make sure it works & to disable onboard sound, turn off, install sound card, etc., and finish up. Then turn back on, setup RAID, cross some fingers, and try to install Windows XP. Assuming all that works, after XP is running smoothly, I'll install Vista to D:\, and then start the long, ardious task of reinstalling everything. Maybe after a couple of days I can finally get ot playing Oblivion.

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