[sf-lug] build-a-box project report

jim stockford jim at well.com
Tue Sep 12 14:22:24 PDT 2006

    as usual, great fodder: the usual wild, over-the-top

    i want to defend actnet--it was i who screwed up
the power supply choice by insisting on something
bigger/better at the last minute.

    hmmm, the power supply unit looked new: sleek
and fine, what with the cable sheaths. Rachel (at
ActNet) claimed it was missing the proper adapter.
your swag could be right, of course. I believe it's
450W or so.

    I'm gonna have them put it all together rather than
kluge a fit between the case and the motherboard.

    we read the manuals as we went, specially the
part about RAM and sockets--how'd you figure it out
from just reading the manual?

    EXTRA thanks re the fans: I'll make a point to them
later today. they already know that quiet is the goal,
but good to remind.

    (sigh) i got started with a soldering iron and
oscilloscope, learned about CPUs and busses,
then started learning about software and whoosh!
everything changed. now it seems that hardware
is hard. and so much of it!

On Sep 12, 2006, at 1:53 PM, Rick Moen wrote:

> Quoting jim stockford (jim at well.com):
>> the motherboard seems not to fit the case, so we built it on the
>> workbench.
>> the motherboard presents four prongs for power to which the power
>> supply can't mate.
> Well, the manual's your friend.  It's available online here (though
> presumably you also had a dead-tree copy):
> ftp://dlsvr03.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/socket775/P5P800%20SE/ 
> e2196_p5p800se.pdf
> Your reference to the "four prongs" presumably refers to the square
> four-prong socket in the corner.  You _do_ need to connect that 4-pin
> one, but also the one set in about two inches from the middle of the
> motherboard's rear panel, that has two rows of twelve pins each (24  
> pins
> total).
> Any ATX12V 2.0  PSU _should_ include cables and plugs
> for both the 24-pin thin connector and the 4-pin square one.  If your
> PSU lacked one of those, then it wasn't a real ATX12V 2.0 PSU, but
> rather an old one not usable on PCI Express motherboards.
> My SWAG (silly wild-assed guess) is that they accidentally gave you a
> slightly antique PSU -- e.g., an old pre-P4/Athlon64 original-ATX
> PSU that used 20-pin power connectors and lacked the auxiliary 12V
> feed from that extra 4-pin pug.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATX
> The PSU should be rated for at least 350W, for this model.
> It shouldn't be a challenge to fit this motherboard into a _modern_
> case:  It's barely less deep than the bog-standard ATX size (which is
> 305 mm x 244 mm, aka 12" x 9.6"), has six screw-holes in the usual
> places, and should fit into basically anything -- and, in that regard,
> I'm amazed they found a case that _didn't_ work.
>> to get interleaved RAM memory, do we put the 1GB RAM sticks into the
>> two blue sockets or into a single pair of one blue and one black
>> socket?
> Blue DIMM sockets first (channel zero), then black DIMM sockets  
> (channel
> one).  This is detailed in the manual.
>> ...(with new, better case, per Rick Moen's comments, that has more
>> fans, per Nathan's comments) and afterward we can take it apart to see
>> how it's done by the pros.
> More fans _can_ and often does mean more noise, especially where people
> use tiny fans with cruddy sleeve bearings spinning really quickly so as
> to compensate for their size.  Which is unfortunately the norm, and
> you're not going to get anything better unless you take a more active
> role in your hardware.
> All other things being equal, a case with only a couple of
> _large_-diameter (and thus slower) fans with good ball-bearing sets is
> preferable.  And don't forget the PSU and CPU fans (if any) -- and
> sometimes one on the video card (if any).  Those are noise and  
> vibration
> sources, too.
> Get to know hardware.  You'll learn that some cases and fans are just
> designed and built better.  Just telling a vendor "Get me a good one"  
> is
> no substitute, and doesn't accomplish anything useful.  In fact, their
> response is generally just to pick the next-more-expensive unit off
> the shelf, something heavier, noiser, with garish neon lighting to
> better appeal to gamer kiddies with more money than brains.
>> a note about grounding straps: some use 'em, some don't. I'm in the
>> use 'em crowd, tho' i occasionally step out.
> Static-electricity damage to chips tends to be cumulative and silent.
> You _will_ damage chips, transistors, diodes, etc., if you don't take
> precautions, though you won't realise you're doing it at the time.
>> these same some recommend wearing a grounding strap that's connected
>> not to just any old piece of metal but to earth ground (the round hole
>> in an electrical receptacle).
> You want to be on the same electrical potential as the equipment you're
> working on, and that should ideally be consensus ground level.  But you
> can't just assume that the "ground" connector of an electrical outlet  
> is
> grounded; all too many are not.
>> Julie at Actnet says bring it back, they'll put it together
> If it were I, *I* wouldn't do that.  I'd say "Please swap out this PSU
> and case for ones that _work_ with an ASUS P5P800 SE".  And then I'd
> _read the motherboard manual_ thoroughly, make sure I now _really_ have
> all the required parts, and try again.
> BTW:  Personally, I prefer retailers who pay attention and don't sell  
> me
> incompatible components.
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