Saturday, March 12, 2011

Computer Love

And computer hate…

The PC that’s out in our barn/studio was having some issues so I had the bright idea of building a PC from components.I spent many hours on Newegg’s site looking at components, deals on components, reviews of components, compatibility of components, well you get the idea.


Henry unboxing the Antec Two Hundred S ATX case.


It’s big.


Henry opens the BIOSTAR A770E3 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard box.


By the time we had the CPU (AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor) installed his interest was flagging. But it was quality time while it lasted.


There’s a lot of room in the case.


Once it was all put together I hit the power switch and…nothing.


There’s a tiny jumper (red circle) on the motherboard for BIOS reset that was in the wrong position.


It’s alive!


After an attempt at cable management.

Here’s a list of all the components:

1 x ($39.99) MEM 2Gx2|WINTEC 3AXH1333C9WS4GK R
1 x ($39.99) PSU ANTEC| EA-380D GREEN RT
1 x ($59.99) CPU AMD|ATH II X2 245 2.9G AM3 RT
1 x ($59.99) MB BIOSTAR A770E3 770/SB710 R
1 x ($-14.99) DISCOUNT FOR COMBO #581112
Total $228.96

I had hoped to use an old DVD burner (notice the IDE cable in the last picture) but it was so old it wouldn’t recognize several DVDs. So I later purchased a LiteOn DVD burner for 15.99 w/ free shipping that was on sale.

The 500GB hard drive was out of an old machine. I cloned it from an 80 GB drive I did the XP install on. That way if I screwed up the Win7 install I had a backup.

The video card is an old 512MB Geforce 8400 graphics card that I bought for $3.00 at a yard sale I hit last summer.

First I installed an XP home upgrade ($28.50 at Goodwill!) that I had laying around, then I installed Windows 7 Home from their “family pack” upgrade. It was $109.99 on sale at Amazon for 3 licenses ($36.67 each license). I installed the 64 bit version. I had a few problems at first as I forgot to install the Win7 drivers for the graphics card and motherboard. It’s a good idea to do a system image backup when you first install Win7 so you can revert back to a good configuration if you get constant cascading BSODs. Thankfully I had done just that.

My strategy on picking components was to buy the least expensive highest rated components with the smallest percentage of negative reviews. Seems to have worked as the PC has been up for weeks now without problems. But you never know. It has more than enough speed for web surfing and entertainment while working and will be upgradeable (The motherboard will accept more ram and a faster processor and it has the latest AMD socket type and ram type.) either as a backup for Felice and my computers should anything go wrong, or for the boys in a couple of years.

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