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Old March 21, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Default Things to do When You Build a New Computer

Well, I figured I could make this kind of thread for the whole HWC community. Seems like a useful idea to me, since there are so many people building their own computers here. Make it into a new sticky or something.

I would like it if you would all chip in, and I will edit this post as needed. (Or a moderator can take over, change or delete this thread, or move it. )

The reason this idea came to me is because I've heard of some useful programs to run when you first try to boot up a new computer. In particular, a type of program that would "burn in" the hard drives for you, that worked in a way that would tell you if the hard drive was in proper working order or not. The problem is that I have no idea what it was, and I had the thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if HWC had a nice listing of all the useful programs you can run for diagnostics and benchmarks right after you first build your computer?" You know, for all the little newbies like me, or people who are just trying to find some fun, new programs they've never heard of, perhaps.

A collection of the knowledge of the HWC community, if you will.

So, I ask for your help. A list must be created (hopefully with links) of all the fun/useful/important programs that you guys can think of that could be of even the slightest amount of help in ensuring that a computer's components are running properly. Anything that runs benchmarks, diagnostics, or just does something to which the word "spiffy" may be applied with a straight face is welcome.

(Also, I'd like you to note that there are a couple of my military buddies over here who saw my build and asked me to make something for them. I don't want to give them faulty machines, and have them blame me. )

Beginning of Editing

(Thanks to Mr. Gruntsworthy!)
CPUID Hardware Monitor to accurately keep track of the temperatures of various computer parts in your system.
RealTemp for the CPU specifically. This'll let you know, if, say, your CPU heatsink isn't sitting properly, or your case cooling is inadequate.
HDD Tune--lets you monitor your HDD's SMART data, as well as run read/write benchmark tests to see if your hard drives are up to snuff.
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Last edited by crispex; March 21, 2009 at 05:23 PM.
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Old March 21, 2009, 05:13 PM
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CPUID Hardware Monitor to accurately keep track of the temperatures of various computer parts in your system (though for the cpu specifically I'd use RealTemp). This'll let you know, if, say, your cpu heatsink isn't sitting properly, or your case cooling is inadequate.

HDD Tune--lets you monitor your HDD's SMART data, as well as run read/write benchmark tests to see if your hard drives are up to snuff.
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Old March 21, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
CPUID Hardware Monitor to accurately keep track of the temperatures of various computer parts in your system (though for the cpu specifically I'd use RealTemp). This'll let you know, if, say, your cpu heatsink isn't sitting properly, or your case cooling is inadequate.

HDD Tune--lets you monitor your HDD's SMART data, as well as run read/write benchmark tests to see if your hard drives are up to snuff.
All this stuff has already been Posted in a Sticky...OC'ing Utilities....and other assorted Utilities...

Overclocking tools of the trade

How many Threads do we need??
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Old March 21, 2009, 07:24 PM
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Perhaps rename this thread to "Programs you run when on a new build?"
We do already have lists of programs that people run / install on a new computer. rjbarker posted the OCing ones, and there is also the list of other freeware:
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...ware-gems.html

When I built my current main rig (Nyrrium in my sig), my first battery of tests was from a Linux live CD, Ubuntu 8.10 x64 specifically. I use it because it can test your memory, CPU, and HDDs without having to trust a Windows install.
Link here: Ubuntu Home Page | Ubuntu

This was my sequence of Ubuntu tests

1. Memtest86+
Linux Live CDs run off system memory, so it's quite pointless to even think of booting if you haven't verified this. Pop the CD in, select the Memtest86+ option, and wait...

2. Simple CPU test - BurnK7
I know that OCCT, Prime95, etc. can test the CPU more effectively, but this is the easiest to install provided that Linux recognizes your network card.
I boot up the Linux, open up a terminal window, and type install the cpuburn package:
Code:
sudo aptitude install cpuburn
This install a bunch of very simple uniprocessor testers, including burnMMX, and burnK7. Open a pile of terminals (equal to the number of CPUs / Cores / Hyperthreads you are testing) and type "burnK7" or "burnBX" into each one.

Of course since you're under Linux and if you have enough RAM to do so, doing a single SMP unit with the -oneunit option is another way to test

3. Hard Drive test - smartctl and badblocks
Provided the test of the CPU is at stock settings (if you're booting up for the first time it better be stock), you can assume that the system is stable enough to test the HDDs at the same time.
This requires installing some more stuff to the temporary 'Nix...
Code:
sudo aptitude install smartmontools
Assuming a new drive with no data on it, I like to run badblocks or zero-pass it before installing Windows on it. I know the free hdtune only does a read test, so why not do a write test now, while there's no OS installed and eliminate that virus that a rogue manufacturer may have stuffed in the drive
I do the write test using following the guide here (warning strange banner): https://calomel.org/badblocks_wipe.html
After the HDD has been written to a bunch of times that satisfies me, I follow up with the SMART test.
Code:
sudo smartctl --test=long /dev/sdX
This thing tells you exactly how long the test takes, so you wait a little longer than the test and then do:
Code:
sudo smartctl --all /dev/sdX
The information on the test passing / failing is at the bottom of the giant dump that it gives you; verify there's no errors here.

** If you don't like playing with the console that much, you can also DBAN (Darik's Boot And Nuke | Hard Drive Disk Wipe) the drive and then run the SMART test using the manufacturer's test or smartctl.
(You may argue that you don't need to DBAN or zeropass if you do the manufacturer's test, but from what I saw, some of them are brain-dead. Samsung's test failed to identify a defective drive that HDTune did.)

That's my two cents for verifying a computer without dealing with Windows. I'm not aware of any test you can run on the GPU from Linux, so any suggestions there would be great!

EDIT: typo
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Old March 21, 2009, 07:29 PM
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Five million.

Hah, I'm sorry that I missed those, but my point for this thread was to put everything in one, relevant spot for a relevant topic. I'm just trying to put stuff out there for anyone actually building something, who is not entirely interested in looking at the OC'ing section...

Unless I'm entirely missing it, there's not a thread like this in the "New Builds" section, is there? If I'm just being a moron, would a mod please delete this thread?

Otherwise, I really think this would be at least marginally helpful.

(EDIT: That huge post got there just before I hit the button for this one! Sorry if it's a little confusing!)
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Old March 21, 2009, 07:58 PM
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Yeah... sometimes I throw so much stuff down for a forum post that I have 2 browser tabs open... one writing the post, and the other tab to monitor the thread before I press the button
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Old March 21, 2009, 08:08 PM
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Adobe Reader
Java Script
Splash Screen
Free Anti Virus
CCleaner
Regedit
Defraggler
DriverSweeper
Winzip
Evga Precision
Evga E-Leet
CPUID
CPUZ
Everest
Core Temp
Real Temp
LinX
OCCT
Prime95

....and the list goes on and on and on and on.....
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Old March 21, 2009, 08:35 PM
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So we take that list and consolidate it here, with short explanations of each one's capabilities and, hopefully, links. Like I said, I'll be editing that first post to make it easy to read through.

I know that people could just go out and find these programs themselves with only the name to go on, but wouldn't it be more interesting with input about them from people here, in this forum, who've used them? Like what Frontier did. (Thanks, man!)

I feel like one of those people that is always trying to get the couch potatoe to go outside and run a few miles or something... haha...
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Old March 22, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Adobe reader???
Foxit reader!! Way lighter and does the job just as well...

I also have a downloaded copy of the SP1 patch for Vista...that way after I do a fresh install I can just run it from the disk...no need to wait.
Now if there was just a way to get windows to do that with all the updates that are out since I got my copy of Vista....

I also have the usual, HDTach, HDTune Pro, CPUID, Defraggler (there are mixed thoughts here on defragging, but I know from my own experiences, it helps.)

I also immediatly install Spybot S&D.

I have all the software on a secondary drive so I can just install it without needing to download everything....
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Old March 22, 2009, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toronto122 View Post
I also have a downloaded copy of the SP1 patch for Vista...that way after I do a fresh install I can just run it from the disk...no need to wait.
Now if there was just a way to get windows to do that with all the updates that are out since I got my copy of Vista....
Use vlite and stream SP1 onto your copy of Vista, burn a new disk, and voila! You can also set options like UAC off, and set it up for unattended install.

vLite - Windows Vista configuration tool
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