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  #1 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14
Default upgrade

I'm a new member, been lurking for a while.
Though I'm not a techie, I do have enough experience to follow directions. Mostly.
Here's the scoop.
I have an HP m8000n desktop, that I've done some mods to.

Amd 5200+
4gb ddr2 ram
700 watt power supply
pny 8800 gtx xlr8
Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit.
All of the above are running great.

I want to keep what I can, so you'll see why I chose the upgrades I bought.

ASRock N68C-S UCC AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7025 / nForce 630a Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
which I think will take the 8800, plus let me reuse my ddr2 ram

Couldn't help myself with this.
AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - C3 Revision HDZ555WFGMBOX
I've never tried overclocking, and want to try to unlock the extra 2 cores.

I figured I would have to reinstall windows anyway, so I couldnt resist this, for $70.00.
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

This is all ordered from the Egg, and should be here in a couple of days.
I know it's a mix of old and new, and has the potential for me to spend a lot of time on here with all you fine folks.

I have an external hard drive, so I can do a backup of my existing drive.
Will the windows image thingy save most of my programs?
I know enough not to add my video card or try overclocking anything until everything is up and running.
I think I should just put the raptor in, and remove the "old" drive, to be added back later.

Any and all tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 399

My System Specs


Motherboards have no preference for GCs and will take any GC you throw at it as long as the PCI Express slot fits. You may use the old DDR2 if you want to.

I don't think it is such a good choice to actually try to unlock the extra 2 cores because there is a lot of luck involved. It may be a binned 4 core processor but most likely sold as a dual core due to not passing QC and therefore 2 cores are disabled and sold as a dual core. Instability may happen depending on how good the locked cores are. I would recommend the AMD Athlon II X4 640 instead although it costs $10 than the AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE.

Newegg.com - AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W

But of course if you're lucky and managed to unlock the extra 2 cores and it is totally stable then it is a win win for you.

I would recommend getting a SSD over the VelociRaptor but I can't seem to find a reasonably sized SSD for $70. An ideal SSD size to me should be 60GB or larger but there are only 30GB in that $70 price range.

Nowadays I don't even bother cloning to another HDD. Formatting a computer these days are pretty darn fast I'd say.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14

Thanks for your thoughts.
My concern for the video card is because of it's massive size.
I have an 80 gb ssd in my laptop, but they come at a hefty price.
It must be a mid-life crisis thing.
I just got the 8800 gtx about a month ago for $80.00 on e-bay.
Always wanted one, but couldn't justify the cost.
Same with the Velociraptor.
Older technology, but king in their day.
If I come home with a '67 Mustang convertible, I'll know I have a problem.
As for the 555-BE, all the reviews I've read, the majority unlock the extra 2 cores.
My wifes computer is an i7-920 setup, but she won't let me mess with it.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 05:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 399

My System Specs


I know you want to reuse your DDR2 but I think it would be good to consider a change to a better motherboard with DDR3 so that your rig can be ready for a Bulldozer processor.

Motherboard manufacturers like Asus and Gigabyte are claiming that their AM3 motherboards can support Bulldozer processor with a BIOS update. I'm kinda skeptical about the news but if it is true then it could be an added benefit.

If you're lucky and you've managed to unlock the AMD Phenom II X2 555 BE then it is a definite plus over buying the AMD Athlon II X4 640.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14

The motherboard i got is kind of strange.
It can take ddr2 or ddr3, but not both at once.
ASRock N68C-S UCC - AM2/AM2+/AM3 nVidia GeForce 7025, DDR2/DDR3 5.1 Channel Audi Digitalpromo.co.uk
This is the same board, but from a U.K. site.
I think I already regret not just getting a new AM3 board with all the new features like USB 3.0
This is the largest upgrade I've done,
I've only done simple things like add ram, add a video card, swap p.s.u. and add an SSD.
Thats why I've come here for help.
I think the first thing to do would be swap the hard drive. It's recertified, just to be sure it works, so if I do have problems, I can rule things out.
That's what I was hoping for here. A guide of what to do first, how to check things to make sure they work etc. before I actually plug it in.
Should I back up the drivers to a flash drive? How?
Or will Windows7 cover them when I reinstall?
I think when I swap the M/B i should only plug in the mouse, keyboard and monitor, then add things 1 at a time.
But what I think and a twonie will get you a Timmy's.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 1,352

My System Specs


Hmm sounds like a fun build...
Windows 7 has a good deal of drivers already there, especially because you have older hardware. I won't be surprised if you don't need to get drivers at all, but
you will want to get drivers for your video card and sound, since those are the most likely to bug up games. Don't bother saving old drivers, just download new copies from the manufacturer's web site (e.g. your motherboard's web page for mobo-related drivers, and nVidia for your 8800).

Windows's image backup will save EVERYTHING on the selected partition - programs, documents, your page file, etc. If you have your drive partitioned into C:\ D:\ etc... it will only save C:\.

If you want to test your WD VelociRaptor, download the Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows from WD's web page: WD Support / Downloads / SATA & SAS / WD VelociRaptor
Use that tool to perform a "long" self-test on your drive. If it passes, you assume it's good (although there are exceptions for everything). Note I've had this test fail if I was using the drive for something else, so if possible, plug the drive into a different computer that doesn't use it and run the test that way.

For other self-tests / stress-tests you can try, check out this thread:
Overclocking tools of the trade
On my new builds / rebuilds / upgrades, I test RAM using MemTest86+, CPU with OCCT (Linpack), and GPU with OCCT (GPU). How long you should run any of these tests? You'll get a different answer from most people on this forum
"The computer programmer says they should drive the car around the block and see if the tire fixes itself." [src]
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14

Thank you for the great links.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old March 21, 2011, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 399

My System Specs


That motherboard will have 4 lanes of RAM but with 2 dedicated for DDR2 and the other 2 dedicated for DDR3. The notches on the bottom of the DDR2 and DDR3 are at different location so it is physically impossible to even fit a DDR3 RAM on a DDR2 slot.

I do know that you can clone your HDD to a new drive but usually I just do a clean format because formatting is easy and fast these days. Acronis is one of the better cloning softwares out there and there is also Norton Ghost. Both are not free but they do work well.

Drivers are easy to find these days. I've even found ASrock drivers for a P4 machine not long ago when I wanted to format it to Windows 7. I'm surprised that some form of drivers support still exist for such an old machine. Here is a link for the drivers of the Asrock N68C-S UCC. link

There is no problem plugging everything before testing. You won't find your computer not booting from a connected hardware at the I/O. The 24 pin and 4 pin power are important. 6/8 pin PCIE power as well if your GC needs it. The HDD SATA power is important and necessary SATA cables. For the front panel connectors refer to the user's manual.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old March 23, 2011, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14

User's manual?
About the only thing left for the users manual is the dvd player.
I was really having buyers remorse over the motherboard.
It's a good board for slowly upgrading, but it won't be used for that.
I have the cpu, Velociraptor and M/b.
I couldn't put 2x 1gb sticks of ddr2 with the other upgrades.
i couldnt see waiting to get the ddr3 ram. So it's been ordered.I thought about returning the motherboard and getting a better one, with more bells and whistles.(usb 3, 6 gb sata), but thought screw it.
This is just going to be a down and dirty play toy.
I'll have that thing smoking.
One way or another.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old March 26, 2011, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 14

I got the Asrock board. D.O.A.
The blue LED on the front panel lit up for a few seconds and that was it.
Tried a different power supply, still nothing.
It happens. I know.
But what really ticks me off is the RMA process.
With shipping and taxes, it cost about $65.00
To return it, shipping about $23.00.
Restocking fee, about $7.00
If I didn't live in the boonies, it would be nice to have an actual store to buy things at.
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