Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

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A Computer Renaissance shop near me is proposing, for my

-- a Micro-Star PM8M-V SATA motherboard, description at
terid=11864214. Computer Renaissance wants $57, which is
more expensive than a number of online places but less
expensive than some as well.

-- an Intel Celeron D 2.13 Gigaherz CPU. description at
08. Computer Renaissance wants $70 for this, which is a bit
more than New Egg

Any red flags go up? I am at the point that I feel there are
at least dozens of mobo and CPU configurations for under
about $140 that would suit my purposes just fine and last at
least four years. I sense ultimately this is about taking
the plunge and continuing to learn.

I do not play video games or do intense and extended
mathematical computations.

I have selected a cheap-o mid-tower ATX case. It's
see-through on one side (though has access through only one
side) so I can nail dust bunnies, with the new CPU has fans
galore, and comes with a 450 watt power supply. The 450
watts was the clincher, though I know manufacturer's name
can be important. I also will be buying Windows XP home
edition for about $100.

I'm back to more or less building my own system. I will
cannibalize my current, three month old 100 Gigabyte Seagate
hard drive and maybe convert the original Seagate 18
Gigabyte hard drive to a slave.  I will abandon everything
else in my old, 2001 Gateway micro-flex case setup, with
half the RAM (128Mb), 1/3rd the power supply size, and the
(I dunno; cursed?) Windows ME.

Buying from Computer Renaissance will give me some support
(based on reports from others and the attitude) of the guy
in charge there. I think that may be worth paying a little
more for components this time around. Though I am going to
try like heck to do this on my own. Er, with the gracious
input of fine folks at computing newsgroups now and then.

From an earlier thread where this particular saga first
began: PC Club could only sell me either a floor model with
rebate; a floor model with tiny discount less than the
rebate; a new model with no rebate nor discount. After I
started waffling, they were very courteous and expeditious
about refunding me my money. They could have charged me a
non-refundable labor charge but, without my saying anything
until after the fact, simply refused to. I would consider
them again, though that is perhaps because now I am a little
savvier, thanks to many of the folks here.

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

With all your apprehension, why not just buy a budget PC from Dell. Their
warranty is fine and although a little hard to understand, their customer
service is always helpful

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Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

Because AFAIC it's not all that more cost-effective,
especially if I stay ignorant of rebuilding computers in the
long run. I have never been impressed by troubleshooting
efforts performed over the phone or, for that matter, by
shops I've tried.

Computers are not well-engineered. It seems we all need them
to get by these days, so we put up with half-assed software
like MS Windows. And Bill Gates gets rich. I suppose this is
very much similar to the first autos put on the road. All
sorts of bugs the first few decades. Reliability improves,
slowly but surely. Simultaneously, one can't be sure if
designs are driven more by the almighty buck rather than
actually making a superior product.

I did check Dell's econo PC. $299 after the rebate. Not bad.
And I have heard Dell's customer service is superior to
others'. Still, I think I'd rather spend $300 on my own
package, largely assembled by myself, and so know my system

I do appreciate your comment about my "apprehension,"
though. That means a lot to a woman with advanced degrees in
engineering, a PE license, published research, design
experience, etc.

I don't know it all. I know when to study and investigate
like hell and ask questions.

Don't respond if it's inconvenient to you.

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from Dell. Their
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their customer
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last at

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

I applaud you. I felt exactly that way a few years ago and decided to build
my own PC. I too was surprised at the information you are privy to, by
having all the documentation that comes with motherboards, video cards, etc.
You can get all the technical help you need from the net. My advise would be
to buy hardware from a reputable etailer like Newegg, and investigate their
customer reviews on the various parts. Good luck

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Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

RBM, sorry for my first, arrogant cynical response. I am
looking further into Dell, because it does have an
additional special offer of $80, and I would get a little
more in such a Dell econo-package. Shipping costs a $100 but
it still may be a better deal. Yours was a good suggestion.

Since I first posted today, I have indeed used newegg's
review sections. People give a thumbs up to the processor I
listed earlier. The only major caveat on the motherboard is
setting BIOS. That seems to be a common problem and I will
keep investigating it. Dell's customer help told me the mobo
make and model of the computer at its site I'm looking at,
so I'm off to research that a little.

Again, pardon my being an arse before. Your input helped.

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decided to build
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privy to, by
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video cards, etc.
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My advise would be
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investigate their

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

Elle, no apology necessary. You were right. Forget about cost effective and
Dell, you will be far better off with a machine you build yourself. You will
have understanding and control of the machine, that you won't get from any
store bought machine and obviously with guys like Paul out there, you'll get
all the technical help you need

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Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

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There are some comments here:

MSI PM8M-V Socket 478 VIA P4M800 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


Supported processors:


"SATA question" - you are probably going to use a disk with a ribbon
cable, but this will help answer your future questions about adding
a SATA drive to the computer:

The only thing I'd be careful of, is the Celeron D 310 comes
in a couple of versions.

SL7WS 2.26GHz 533MHz 90nm D0 256KB 478 pin  Celeron D 320
SL7XG 2.26GHz 533MHz 90nm C0 256KB 478 pin  Celeron D 320
SL7XY 2.26GHz 533MHz 90nm D0 256KB 478 pin  Celeron D 320
SL87K 2.26GHz 533MHz 90nm E0 256KB 478 pin  Celeron D 320
SL8RZ 2.13GHz 533MHz 90nm E0 256KB 478 pin  Celeron D 310 <---
SL8S4 2.13GHz 533MHz 90nm G0 256KB 478 pin  Celeron D 310 <---

This Celeron D 310 (B80546RE046256 OEM) has family code 0F42

This Celeron D 310 (BX80546RE2130C retail) has family code 0F41

Since MSI doesn't list the 310 as supported, and the other
supported processors have family code 0F41, I'd want to
verify the processor you are buying is the E0 stepping and
not the G0 one. Buying a Celeron D 320 would be another
option, like this E0 stepping one (BX80546RE2267C):

In any case, if you can get the order code or the SLxxx number
from your retailer, you can look up the processor on . While there probably isn't going to
be an issue using the 310, I'm just trying to select a chip
that looks like the ones that are supported.


Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

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snip but all comments understood

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I see that the Microstar site above "okays" the SL87K 2.26
GHz processor above (and no 2.13 GHz Celeron D's). I also
see the site says that the SL87K
has a family code of 0F41. The other 2.26 GHz processors
have a different family code.

Regardless, I see your point and will run this by the tech
at Computer Renaissance, as another check. BX80546RE2130C is
the "boxed order code" number on the form he completed for
me. Like you noted, that is in the family of at least one of
the approved CPUs for the MSI motherboard I named. (Not that
I know what all is implied here by "family" etc. But I get
that, technically, the processor proposed to me is not
necessarily okay according to Microstar.)

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I understand, and, wow, thank you for excellence in writing
and careful research!

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?


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The board and processor is very low but the WIN XP add on price is a
killer at 100. Ive looked at Academic pricing online and its not much
better. People have claimed online that if you buy it at a campus
store it can be as cheap as 20 bucks but Ive never actually seen any
real proof of this.

FRYs/outpost also has combo deals all the time killer combo deals in
terms of processor + board but the board is made by ECS which is a
cheapo MB maker.


I was looking at system deals offered and noticed there were quite a
few being offered. At CC some decent ones expired Sat but there are of
course new ones starting today.

There are probably a lot more too in todays SUNDAY ad at CC BB and

The all involve hefty rebates 150-250 but you can get a bare system
cheap. Generally Ive gotten my big rebates fast which means 1.5 to 2
months or so. The small ones can range from 2-6 months and the ones
actually paid out by COMPUSA or Cir City etc are much better than the
ones usually paid by manufacturers.

COMPUSA - basically a 3100 sempron
This is a clearance item so its limited to stock on hand cant order
one so some stores may have only a few of them

199 after 150 rebates
No monitor, only CD burner ,80 gig HD
256 meg memory built in graphics
Win XP home



Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?


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Best buy is selling WIN HOME XP for
$79.99 no rebates this week starting today.

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 03:39:37 -1000, ""

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Im scanning the Sunday ads right now.

This is a popular combo. FRYs/outpost has them all the time.
FRYs/outpost uses cheapo ECS boards but many use them and say its OK
but it is cheapo. I would take the nforce3 combo --- thats a nice
system and use your graphics card which is better than most onboard
video though its a PCI card itll work. If you want a faster graphics
card in the future you have a AGP slot.

nforce3 + 3100 sempron

Has onboard graphics INTEL

Thermaltake PS 430 watts 29 after 10 buck rebate at newegg

Case any cheapo case you like that doesnt seem too flimsy. A cheap one
at a local store might be the best since shipping can cost a bit on
If there is a COMPUSA near you they always have this 29 no PS

Its cheap and old fashioned looking though and small.

DVD burner at NEWEGG the popular ones that are good are NEC and BENQ
this NEC is $38

Circuit city is having another memory sale $25 for a 512 meg stick
after rebates. Check their website.

Its best to have a CC near you though as some boards can be
incompatible with some memory sticks. Not a huge problem but it is a
problem with some combos.

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

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I just confirmed this online via the "local ads" section of
Best Buy's site. The regular part of the site says it goes
for $199. The local ads section says it's regularly $99 but
is offering $20 off through Saturday, hence the price you
give above. Odd.

I appreciate the tip on using a campus bookstore, but I
don't have a campus ID.

I like the "Matrix Black" case I have selected at Computer
Renaissance for $40 (possibly less in a package). Here's a
link to a photo
54 . It's snazzy appearance totally sucked me in, even
though of course the construction is going to be a bit
cheezy for the price. But the ventilation looks very good,
and it has all the bays I want for cannibalizing CD and
floppy drives from my old computer.

Dell's econo-computer DB110 was looking okay until (1) I
couldn't find anything to rave about with its Intel Alviso
yada motherboard; (2) I found the shipping cost was at least
$100; and (3) the advertised instant $80 off would require
purchase of the monitor. I already have a one-year old
flat-screen monitor. So, assuming the rebate would still
apply, I could have Dell's system for about $320. But I'm
thinking the $50 rebate would be voided via the instant $80
discount, so I'd be up to $370, with a mobo about which so
far I wasn't wild. Good deal for someone who isn't hankering
to do-it-yourself, but not for me. I'm still trying to come
in under $300. I confess I think I also got someone from
overseas on Dell's toll-free number. English language
problems when trying to get assistance don't make my day.

Unless I see a great package in the next day or so, I still
want only a motherboard, CPU, and RAM and intend to assemble
this myself.

Circuit City is close and I will scan its ads today. CompUSA
is not close and has a raggedy appearance where I am. (I
know that's not the norm for CompUSA, whom I've used or
considered in the past. It seems to be just a bad local
operation.) Still, I will scan BB, CC, and CompUSA's ads in
the next few days, if only to feel confident in my
decision-making. I will likely buy Windows XP (sp2) Home
edition today at Best Buy. I'm not going to install it for
at least a week, so I can always take it back. Thank you,

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

There's two things I refuse to "economize" on in computers- power and
memory. Here's a cut and paste from a review on the power supply that comes
with your case:

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If you are in the market for a cheap power supply for a side project or as a
temporary/emergency PSU, these PSU may suit your needs. However, if you are
planning for your main rig with the state of the art, high-power consuming
components, perhaps look into one of the higher quality power supplies from
Fortron, Enermax, PC Power & Cooling, or Antec; which would provide some
muscle to back up their claims.<

Check out this at

A respectable 350W power supply with a total of 25A on two 12V rails. More
than enough to meet your needs. The specifics are on the Antec site.

Good Luck,


Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

Thanks, Fitz. You make a good point about not expecting much
in the way of performance from the power supply, given the
case/power supply's price. I had sort of been thinking in
the back of my mind I simply don't want a lot of bells and
whistles (I've never needed all that much from my personal
home computer), so a cheap-o power supply putting out 450
watts would be okay. I will keep studying.

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computers- power and
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supply that comes
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even produce their
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fact that the two
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the same paired
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can really output as
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too good to be
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seem unrealistic to
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side project or as a
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However, if you are
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high-power consuming
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power supplies from
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would provide some
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12V rails. More
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Antec site.

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

On Mon, 30 Jan 2006 01:21:11 GMT, "Elle"

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Avoid cheap-o, generic power supplies.  Overrated and lots
of problem areas like fans and capacitors.  For same price
you can get about same capacity in an budget name-brand such
as a median-sized Antec bundled with a case or a

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?


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Yeah everyone will tell you its not just the watts. The other things
the rated amps and the build quality. Most poeple are actually
obsessed with build quality of Power Supplies. You can get PSes with
amazing claims of specs --- watts and amps but they cost $10 ! Compare
that with the respected brandnames in the PS field and they cost
50-100+ dollars. Whats wrong with that picture?

Directron an online dealer has or used to this whole chart and web
page about how often weight and quality seemed to have  correlation
with PSes. They looked at lots of brand name PSes and they all weighed
3-5 pounds. The cheapo brands were often feather light. So they
claimed a really rough measure is weight is you have no other means to
judge a PS. Obvously thats NOT the only measure.

Anyway your matrix case ---- read the reviews at NEWEGG two out of the
6-7 point out the PS is really cheap and one says it died very

I think the Thermaltake is a decent choice better than the Powmax. The
rebate is until Jan 31.

I think the general rule should be buy a separate PS and case without
PS unless you find a sale on a namebrand combo like Antec where it
comes with a PS and CASE.

Try to find a decent PS on sale separately since right now there is no
namebrand case on sale.

The ECS motherboard nforce3 + 3100 sempron is a very good combo more
than enough for your needs and like i said you can use your ATI card
which is more than enough for your needs also. But like i said ECS
isnt the top name in MBs but a lot of people buy the Outpost combos
and claim they are work OK .

The Circuit city $25 stick of 512 megs is the perfect amount for you
but it does have something like 35 in rebates and like I said
sometimes some sticks dont work with some motherboards.

If you dont like rebates check Newegg for memory stick prices.
Sometimes they have some for cheap with no or small rebates.

Re: Motherboard &Processor: Any Red Flags?

snip to avoid too much repetition
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and web
all weighed

other means to
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Yes, I saw this Directron page a few days ago, read it, put
it in my notes, and forgot about it. But I see the posts
from Kony and I think one other guy reinforcing your point.

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two out of the
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Thanks, newegg's reviews of the PS on this Matrix case are
where I was headed this morning.

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Powmax. The
case without
where it
there is no
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combo more
your ATI card
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said ECS

Yes, I noticed the reviews were not quite as positive as
they were for the MSI mobo at which I am looking.

I will rethink my strategy.

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amount for you
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Much obliged. This gives me a lot of ideas and is a good

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