Whenever I build a PC, whether it is used or new I always like to do a quick bench test before I actually build the system. This way if I do have a part that is totally dead or DOA I can catch it early. Building a system only to find out that you have a bad motherboard is quite a drag. When I perform one of these quick bench tests I place the motherboard on a raised NON CONDUCTIVE (very important) surface such as a card board box. If you place the motherboard on a raised surface you will be able to test with your expansion cards installed, their brackets can just hang off the side of you raised surface. Then I install the CPU, RAM (memory) and any PCI AGP or PCI-E cards I will be using. I also like to use the power supply that will be going inside my case if I can help it. If it’s bad it will get caught now versus later. After everything is installed I turn on the power supply, short the motherboard power switch pins with a pen or screw driver and wait to see if the rig turns on and posts (If you are unfamiliar with what I mean by “posts” this article will clear it up). If it does turn on and posts I like to go into the bios and check a few things. I check the bios to see if all of the memory is detected and if my CPU is running at the right speed. Last but not least I also check the temperature of the CPU.
With project jalopy all of the memory was properly detected. However I did have to change dip switches on the motherboard to get the CPU to run at the right speed. Then I hit the build’s first problem! A problem already? This early? It is no big deal actually, we caught it early and it’s an easy fix.
I will give you all a photo run down of what has happened so far.
It was actually so dried onto the CPU that it would not come off in places. I had to put a little bit of new paste on anyway, run the system and let it heat up. After that, all the old paste came off and I was left with a clean surface. Then I put the cooler back on after I applied fresh thermal paste.
That is our snag. It bugged me because I wasn’t even doing anything with the system. I was just sitting in the bios. To make matters worse that was the slower Sempron, not the faster Athlon XP. It became obvious that I needed a better cooler. The stock cooler would simply not cut it. I jumped on Newegg and found just what I needed. They had a bigger copper base cooler for Socket A CPUS! Not only was I excited to see one still in stock, I was even more excited to see that it was only $7.99 with free shipping. Needless to say I bought it right away.
That’s where project jalopy stands right now. So far it’s cost $7.99. I am optimistic though, the new fan looks much nicer than the old stock fan. As I have written this I realize that I am talking to someone who has built a PC before. If you have never built a PC before this video is great to watch. It’s a video from Linus Sebastian’s Linus Tech Tips. The video is about building a new budget system but he does a great job at visually showing you how to build a PC. He actually starts building it on part 3.
Categorised as: Hardware