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AMD Motherboards & CPUs Questions or comments on AMD products?


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Old 22nd November, 2002, 04:56 AM
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AOA Guide to Basic Computer Building.

Here we have the basic components that you need to build a new computer. The components to be used in this particular system are as follows:

1) EPoX 8K5A2+ Motherboard (Great motherboard for stability with serious overclocking options)

2) ATI Radeon 9000 Pro Video card (Decent 3D performance while providing the use of dual monitors)

3) ATI TV-Wonder Video Capture TV Card (I like to watch TV...)

4) Pioneer DVD-117 DVD-ROM Player (The fastest DVD-ROM out there and it runs DMA which uses less resources than PIO)

5) 256MB Corsair PC3000 CAS2 DDR-SDRAM Memory (I'm planning to run this setup around a 180Mhz Front Side Bus and PC3000 is rated at just around that speed)

6) Thermalright SK-7 Heatsink (Serious heatsink with performance bested by only a couple of others that cost much more)

7) 2 x Maxtor 60GB 7200RPM ATA133 Hard Disks (I'm planning to run RAID 0 and it's best to have identical hard disk drives for such a setup)

8) Chieftec Blue Workstation Tower (I like the color)

9) 5 x Sunon 80mm 2.1mA Fans. (They're cheap and they're quiet)

10) Floppy Drive (Have to flash the BIOS...)

11) Athlon XP 1600+ (Should have waited for the 1700+ T-bred)
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 04:58 AM
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BEFORE WORKING WITH ANY ELECTRONICS, IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAT YOU GROUND YOURSELF. STATIC ELECTRICITY WILL KILL ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS!!!

After opening all the packages, the first thing to get ready is the motherboard. Take the motherboard out of the box and out of the static proof wrapping. Lay it on a non-static surface. I normally like to use a phone book.

Here is a picture of the heatsink I will be using. It is a Thermalright SK-7. Thermalright has made a name for themselves recently with excellent performance heatsinks. Although not as effective as an SLK-800, the SK-7 is sufficient for this particular system, not to mention, considerably cheaper.

The first thing to do is apply a thin layer of thermal interface material (TIM). I use Arctic Silver 3, but you can use whatever suits you. Just make sure to get something good. A poor TIM can negate the effects of a good heatsink.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:01 AM
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The goal in applying the TIM is to get as thin a layer as possible. I put a tiny little drop on the base of the heatsink. I personally use a credit card to spread it out on the heatsink. It allows me to thin the TIM as I see fit. You can use a razor to do the same. Some people prefer using a cellophane wrapped finger. When you spread the TIM, make sure you do it in a dust free area. A single speck of dust can literally burn your CPU if you are unfortunate.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:02 AM
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Here is a picture of the CPU. It is an Athlon XP 1600+. Apply a thin layer of the TIM to the core (the little square in the middle) of the CPU.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:03 AM
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Here is a picture of the CPU with the TIM applied to it. Again, I personally prefer to use a credit card, but a razor will also suffice as will a cellophane covered finger.

Once the TIM has been applied to both the heatsink and the CPU, you’re ready to put them onto the motherboard.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:05 AM
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First find the motherboard if you misplaced it. Locate the socket and Zero Insertion Force lever on the side. Raise the ZIF socket lever so the holes in the socket are visible, as in the below picture.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:06 AM
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Next, place the CPU into the socket making sure the pins line up. Socket A CPUs can only be inserted in one position. Match the pin pattern on the bottom of the CPU with the pattern on the socket. There should be NO resistance when the CPU is inserted. Once the CPU is in place, lower the lever, while gently pushing down on the CPU, to lock the CPU into the socket. Once properly inserted, it should look like the picture below.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:08 AM
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The next step is to attach the heatsink. Athlon XP CPUs generate a LOT of heat. Without a proper heatsink in place, the CPU will burn to a crisp in about 0.3 seconds after the power button is depressed. NEVER NEVER NEVER power up a motherboard without a properly installed heatsink in place. In the picture below, you can see that the heatsink attaches to the socket via clips that attack to the lugs on the side.

Gently (I mean that, you can easily crack the core of your CPU if you’re too rough) place the heatsink on the CPU. The heatsink fits only one way. One side of the heatsink will have a step in it. Line that side up with the side of the socket that has the matching step. Once the heatsink is aligned correctly, you are ready to install it.

The clips that attach to heatsink to the socket will have 2 different sides. One side will have a small slot to fit a screwdriver. Fit the other side first. Once that side is placed correctly, carefully use a screwdriver to push down and out, then back in, to finish the installation.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:11 AM
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Some heatsinks come with the fan pre-attached and if so, you can skip the next step.

Using the provided clips install the fan onto the heatsink. This part was actually fairly easy with the motherboard out of the case.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:12 AM
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Next is the memory installation. Before inserting the DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module), make sure the side tabs on the DIMM slot are in the open position. DDR-SDRAM is keyed so it can only be inserted in one direction. Match the notch on the DIMM to the key in the DIMM slot.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:13 AM
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Press down until the tabs come up and slip into the notches on the sides of the DIMM. Sometimes, if the slot is a little tight, it takes quite a bit of pressure to install the DIMM. I personally like to remove and reinsert the DIMM a few times to loosen up the slot to make sure I get good contact. If you’re sure it’s installed correctly, then move on. Notice the tabs in the picture below are in their installed positions now.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:17 AM
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The next step is to prepare the case for installation. I like to move all wires and cables out of the way before I install the motherboard. It just makes things easier to work with. Look carefully at your motherboard and look carefully at the holes on your case. Check how many motherboard standoffs you will need and in which positions. Check it again. A misplaced standoff can short motherboard traces and destroy your motherboard. When you're sure they're in the correct positions, screw in the standoffs.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:18 AM
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Now you are ready to place the motherboard in the case. Carefully place the motherboard in the case. Line up the various sockets with the back panel and match up the holes in the motherboard with the standoffs.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:20 AM
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Screw down the motherboard. Please refrain from using a magnetic screwdriver. Although it does make things easier, it can easily damage sensitive electronics.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:26 AM
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Thank you for a truly excellent How to Guide, Well done Mookydooky! I've copied it to our FAQ!!
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:27 AM
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Next, using your motherboard’s instruction manual, find the pins to connect the following:

1) On/Off Switch
2) Reset Switch
3) HD LED
4) Power LED
5) Speaker

Find the lead wires from the your case's front bezel for the above connections. Connect the leads from the case to the appropriate pins.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:29 AM
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This particular case had front USB ports and coincidentally, the motherboard supports additional USB ports other than the standard two you find in the back. To connect the front USB ports, find the pins for the front USB ports (look in your motherboard manual) and connect the appropriate leads from your case to the correct pins.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:31 AM
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Since I will be using the onboard sound, I will need a gameport if I wish to connect a non-USB joystick. A gameport bracket was included with the 8K5A2+. Find the pinout for the gameport bracket and install the bracket into a PCI back panel slot as shown below.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:35 AM
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Wow, now we’re making some serious progress!

Next step is to install the video card. Since the Radeon 9000 is an AGP card, it will go into the one AGP slot on the motherboard. The AGP slot is distinguishable from the other slots by the fact that it is placed farther back and it is usually (but not always) a different color (it's brown on the 8K5A2+). Once the video card is properly seated in the AGP slot, screw it down into the back panel.

ASIDE: Before some of you hardcore gamer guys jump on my back for my choice of video card, I had a particular need that this particular video card was able to fulfill. I know there are better performing video cards at a cheaper price, but I needed dual monitor output. This was the cheapest solution I could find with reasonable video performance thrown in.
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Old 22nd November, 2002, 05:39 AM
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At this point, it is possible to actually test the machine to see if everything is going right. To do so you need to:

1) Connect the monitor to the video card.
2) Connect the ATX power lead from the PSU (Power Supply Unit) to the motherboard.
3) Connect the power cord to the wall socket (or power strip) and your PSU.
4) Hit the power button.

OPTIONAL: If you will be using a CPU that runs on a 133Mhz front side bus, you may want to set this now. On the 8K5A2+, it is done by moving a jumper on the motherboard. Specifically, jumper JCK1 should be moved to connect pins 2-3 from pins 1-2. (Thanks to Ronin1967)

If everything is going ok, you should see the POST (Power On Self Test) screen on your monitor. Once you see the POST, you can power the machine down by pushing the power button again. Unplug the plug from the socket.

Now that we've confirmed that everything is in working order, we will start installing the rest of the devices.

This particular machine will include a TV capture/tuner card. Seat the card in the PCI slot and then screw it down into the back panel. If the PCI slot is a little tight, you might need to use a little pressure.
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