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Assembling a PC: Lessons Learned -- Part 2

Masayo Arai

Assembling a PC:

Lessons learned

Part 2 of 2

by Masayo Arai

October 15 evening

I read the manuals that came with the motherboard and CPU. They were completely unreadable, but worked (I mean only the jumper setting section was needed for me).

On the old chabudai table, or Japanese low table (not in the case), I connected the following parts:

CPU: Pentium MMX 166MHz with cooling fan, 19,800 yen

Motherboard:Giga-Byte GA-586TX2, 18,800 yen

Floppy drive: Disconnected from Beauty

Keyboard: 101 keyboard, disconnected from Beauty, 10 or more years old

Power unit: Disconnected from Beauty

Video board: MGA Millenium, borrowed from Mike

Monitor: NEC MultiSync II, disconnected from Beauty, 7 years old

I prayed that the BIOS would say something on the monitor screen. I turned the power on, but nothing happened. (Sigh!)

October 15 midnight

I was almost hopeless, but I read the manual again, had dinner, and took a shower. I decided to connect all the basic peripherals anyway and try again.

I added the following things:

Hard disk: 540MB IDE and 2GB IDE, disconnected from Beauty

Memory: 8+8+4+4, second handed from Mike

Sound board: Sound blaster AWE-32, second handed from Mike

Speakers

I powered on, then voila, BIOS message and Energy Star logo appeared. Congratulations!

Lesson 9: If no memory is installed, nothing happens (maybe…I did not confirm).

October 16, 1997

I put all the parts in the case, connected all the cables to the jumpers and connectors.

I named the new PC Beauty II, because it looks exactly the same from the outside though internal parts are all changed.

Lesson 10: Spacers between the motherboard and the case should have enough height.

Especially the corners of the board which have slots. When connecting the adapter cards to the motherboard, the board should be stiff and have enough clearance from the case. If the spacer is too thin, it shorts some pins on the back of the board by accident. (see photo of internal devices)

Lesson 11: If there is enough space in your room, larger cases are recommended.

I used Beauty's mini tower case, so the case is almost full and there's no more space for storage devices. If space allows, a full tower case is much easier to assemble and to enhance the system, especially for the people who have big hands.

October 17, 1997

On the old Beauty, the MKIF/PC SCSI adapter caused many problems. I wanted to try using the extra PCI SCSI adapter borrowed from a friend. I could not try it because the old Beauty had no PCI bus.

The PCI SCSI adapter only has an internal connector. My MO drive was an external device. I decided to disassemble the external type MO drive and see if it could be converted to an internal drive. This is not recommended because the manual says "Do not disassemble." But my curiosity could not resist opening it up.

A floppy-drive-looking naked small MO drive apeared. It had three cables connected, ID selection switch, termination and Mac/PC selection DIP switches, and access LED. They were like tails (see photo.) First installation was all these tails connected as they are. The MO drive worked pretty well. It acted exactly the same as when I had been using it as an external device. The settings were the same as before:

ID 4

Terminated

For PC (not for Mac)

I tried if it worked when these tails are removed. It worked properly. The settings changed a little:

ID 0

Terminated

For PC (not for Mac)

I had a very good additional gift by converting the MO drive. After removing the case from the MO drive, the MO disks mount pretty well with a solid "clunk" sound. With the case, the MO drive did not mount disks very well. I had to repeat ejecting and mounting several times before the disk was properly mounted ( I do not know why). If any of you have a similar problem with an Olympus drive, you can try disassembling it (careful, it is not allowed according to the manual.)

Lesson 12: Be aware converting a device is dangerous, but sometimes worth doing.

October 19, 1997

After the motherboard was replaced, almost all the problems were gone. Beauty II is working excellently except for one thing.

The last problem that is still not solved is the monitor resolution. I upgraded the video adapter from S3805 to MGA Millenium, and lost resolution. I can only use 640x480 resolution with the old MultiSync and new Millenium combination. With the old S3805 video adapter, the MultiSync II monitor displayed 800x600 with 16-bit high color. I cannot use the S3805 for Beauty II because there is no VL bus. I think I have to upgrade this old monitor.

Lesson 13: Even if a monitor can be used with high resolution with a video card, the same resolution is not always available with another video card.

Summary:

The story still continues. I'm currently testing to connect additional SCSI devices. So far, so good. Beauty II is working very fast and properly.

I'm proud of my accomplishment of my goals to save money, study the PC, and use parts already owned. The new items (only motherboard and CPU) cost about 40,000 yen. I'm using all the devices abandoned by Mike. I learned a lot about PCs. I got confident in assembling PCs. A few years from now, I will do it again.

See you soon!

Arai@saed.tmg.nec.co.jp


© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

December, 1997

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor


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