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A speed bump and a stumbling block

PC Hardware | Thursday, July 20th, 2006 | 10 years, 10 months ago

I’ve been neglecting my proud nerdly heritage out of exhaustion and frustration. I tried assembling my new PC on Tuesday after a long day but was stopped cold by a rude awakening – apparently new motherboards require a 24-pin EATX power supply and I only had the old 20-pin ATX type.

I googled EATXPWR (the label on the power plug with too many holes) and quickly read that I was far from the first person to be surprised by this switcheroo at the last second. Yesterday I zipped over to PC Village where the proprietor apologized immediately and told me what I needed before I could even explain why I had returned. He told me that supply is low and demand is high for power supplies right now so he recommended against upgrading to an SLI-certified PSU just now. Luckily, he had a $10 20-pin to 24-pin coupler for me.

If a simple cable that reconfigures the wires to different holes was all I needed, why the fudge did they have to introduce this new plug in the first place?!

So after a late family dinner I was too pooped to build my new baby last night. Hopefully my tentative social plans tonight won’t pan out so that I can set up my new box!

I’m loving the new motherboard just by its looks alone. The copper heatpipe is really snazzy and the heat sink and fins are serious business. The board features 1 IDE plug, 6 SATA plugs plus 1 SATA RAID plug (don”t know what the difference is), 4 onboard and 6 expansion USB plugs, 1 onboard and 1 expansion Firewire plug, dual gigabit ethernet, 8 channel sound with SPDIF, and it’s jet black!

I had a little booboo while installing the CPU heat sink. I HATE installing the damn CPU heat sink and my heart stops pretty much throughout the entire procedure. I fumbled with a little guesswork at first but retreated to the wordless pictograms included in the package. It was a little confusing until I realized the paper illustrated installation instructions for 3 slots, 2 of which were completely irrelevant. I thought I followed the instructions to a tee but I screwed it up some how. I connected the clasp on the side of the plastic actuator arm first, then used a flat screwdriver to slip the other clasp on. The final step is to crank the actuator arm to secure the heat sink in place but the arm wouldn’t turn! It felt like it would snap right off if I applied too much pressure, and the heat sink feels really snug already, so I guess it will have to do. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get the thing off now! I guess I’ll have to destroy the heat sink the next time I upgrade. What a start!

So hopefully tonight’s the night! Benchmarks to beat are 45000 in Aquamark 3, and 220 for the DirectX9 SM3.0 test and 780 for the CPU test in 3DMark 2005. For reference, my old Athlon XP 2200+ scored about 2300 in Aquamark 3. I don’t know if that old benchmark will see any improvement on a dual core CPU but I’m hoping for big things from 3DMark05.

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