New XP build finally ordered :)

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I finally settled on:

ASUS P5KPL-AM EPU LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
$63 (w/ shipping)   Item=N82E16813131615

Intel Core2 Duo E7500 Wolfdale 2.93GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W
Dual-Core Processor BX80571E7500
$125 (free shipping)  Item#: N82E16819115056

Thermal Compound:
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
$10 (free shipping)  Item#: N82E16835100007

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ
$40 (free shipping) Item# N82E16820231098

SAPPHIRE 100252DDR2L Radeon HD 4550 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0
x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
$30 (free shipping) Item#: N82E16814102896

Case & PS:
Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower
Computer Case with EarthWatts EA 500D Green power supply (80 PLUSŪ
Bronze certified) 1 rear 3-speed 120mm Tricool fan (standard) and
built-in washable air filter
$130 (w/ shipping) Item#: N82E16811129024

Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer
$20 (free shipping today)  Item#: N82E16827106334

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA
3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$50 (free shipping) Item#: N82E16822136073

ASUS VK222H Black 22" 2 ms (GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor w/Webcam
300 cd/m2 ASCR 5000:1(1000:1) Built-in Speakers
$184 (w/ shipping)  Item# N82E16824236043

Seal Shield STK503 Silver Storm Washable & Antimicrobial Keyboard
$33 (w/ shipping)  Item Number:  S094-0014  ---   ****  Tiger Direct  ****

Adesso 3 HC-3003PS Desktop Optical Scroll Mouse - Metal Scroll, PS/2
$8  Item Number:     A68-1301

Total with shipping was just wee bit under $700

Changed the motherboard over what you guys recommended, this one looks
better, we will see. Also had to try out the dishwasher safe keyboard,
didn't know such a thing existed, and I could sure use it ;)

Special thanks to:
Paul, Jan & Grinder for your expertise and patience. I ordered the above
this evening and will let you know how the build turns out next week. No
doubt I'll be bugging you for more information on how to build it, so a
big thanks in advance!


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

John wrote:
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Finally got all the parts and everything went together nicely. Really
quick XP comp. Believe it or not Windows boots faster than the BIOS. The
hard drive you guys picked out is absolutely silent - amazing - I mean
no sound what so ever even during a format, and when I did that the case
side was off. Overall the only thing you can hear is a slight hum from
the rear case fan. I set it on medium speed, the slowest speed was
silent but wasn't moving much air and since the video card is passively
cooled I thought it could use some help. So far the stock processor fan
is dead quiet but then I haven't run any speed tests to push it yet,
still loading up the software.

The monitor is very nice, much larger than I imagined. Its sound quality
isn't great but then I knew that going in, if I want music I'll buy

Only problem is minor, the hard drive activity light isn't working, no
doubt I connected something backwards, have to take another look at it.

Thanks again to Paul, Jan & Grinder for all your help, you guys picked
out some great stuff.


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

John wrote:
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Regarding the LEDs which connect to the PANEL header on the motherboard,
they have "polarity". If the LED is not working, shut down and power
off the computer, pull the 1x2 connector and cable from the header, rotate
it 180 degrees and reinstall.

The LED is rated for reverse polarity up to about the 5V level. That
means you can accidentally connect the LED backwards and no harm comes
to it. Just turn it around, and it'll be "blinking in no time". The
LED drivers on the motherboard are current limited, which is also
why they're safe with the computer case LEDs.

Not all LED devices are so tolerant. The cheap LEDs can tolerate reversed
polarity quite well. Some of the "power LEDs", to be used in lighting
applications, have poor reversal properties, and you have to be more
careful with those. But the $0.10 one in your computer case, should handle
the situation well.

Your PANEL header will likely have a POWER switch and a RESET switch.
Those don't have polarity. The component parts of the switch, are
electrically isolated from chassis ground, by a plastic body. That means
the two wires on the switch are "floating". And that's why the 1x2 connector
on the switch, can be installed in either orientation, without side effects.


With regard to BIOS boot time performance, it's possible to
go into the BIOS and make some changes, to make it boot faster.
But only worthwhile, if the delay is egregious (like 3 minutes
or something). If it's only a few seconds, it might not be worth
the research and test time.

On my machine, I can cut a few seconds from boot, by disabling
the separate IDE controller for my CD drive. But then, I
couldn't read CD's :-) So far, I don't own any SATA DVD/CD drives,
and still connect them via the ribbon cable interface. So I have
to keep the associated chip enabled in the BIOS.

Some BIOS have a "pseudo RAM test" of no particular value,
and sometimes disabling that will save some time. But the machine
may still need time to zero all the RAM at startup, which could
take one second or so of the boot time. If you're one of those
people who installs 16GB of RAM in the computer, even the time
to zero all that RAM, takes a few seconds. As far as I know,
the RAM isn't smart enough to zero itself.

If your Southbridge had four or six SATA ports, some BIOS
feature the ability to go in and disable individual ports.
If all the unused ports are disabled, that may reduce the
"detection time" the BIOS allocates. Some BIOS have 35 second
timeout intervals on storage interfaces, and it would be
a slow slow drive that needs that amount of time. The BIOS
may wait that period of time, for a "drive to show up".
The drives might be ready in around five seconds or so if
they aren't damaged. So if you're bored and want to play around, you
can have hours of fun with the BIOS :-)

The reason I don't mess around with my BIOS, is the danger
that the BIOS will reset all the settings on an "overclocking
failure". Some BIOS interpret *any* kind of computer crash,
as an overclocking failure. And the BIOS designs vary, as
to what settings they change or reset. If you've invested
significant time customizing BIOS settings, then you may have
to re-enter all those settings. Some BIOS even feature
"profile storage", where the settings can be stored in flash,
and recovered later on demand. While that sounds pretty cool,
that feature doesn't work right, if you upgrade the BIOS. The
stored settings won't be compatible with the new BIOS image,
and so the "profile storage" option only works for as long
as the same BIOS version is present in its EEPROM.

Oh, and welcome to the "home builder community" :-) Now,
you're an expert.


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

Paul wrote:
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Thanks Paul,

Don't know about the expert thing ;)  But the point about boot times is
not that the BIOS is slow but that Windows is really quick, it wasn't a
complaint at all.

One question, the case has a SATA connector coming form the front panel
which I connected to one of the SATA ports on the MB. This is supposed
to be E-SATA according to the case literature. The power supply has some
elaborate E-SATA wiring but I had no idea what to do with it, there is
no place on the MB for it and *if* its supposed to be connected to the
case front its certainly not obvious or accessible?

Any pictures I might glean some ideas from.


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

John wrote:

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Typically, a modern power supply has wiring harnesses for
SATA drives, with 15 contact wafer connectors crimped to the
cable. Those would connect to the hard drive, and they're used

(The one on the right, is what it might look like. Multiple
of them, on one cable, with some spacing between them.)

Those wouldn't be used for an ESATA port. At least,
not for the majority of what you can find for sale today.
Maybe some day, that will change.

Generally speaking, you don't want power leaving the
chassis of the computer. One reason for me making that
statement, is the power wires act as antennas for conducted
emissions. If you extend a power cable, or power wires from
the chassis, they should have filters to prevent
conducted emissions. Perhaps that would take the form of
a large ferrite bead. I believe that, as well as safety issues,
is what has prevented a lot of external powering adventures
in the past. If you just extended the SATA power cable
from inside your computer, it could deliver up to the
power supply limit (like, 12V @ 20A), and in the event of
a short circuit, there could be smoke or a fire. If you
deliver power for external use, it's a good idea to put a fuse

The initial intention for ESATA, was like this. It's a data
only connection, using a total of seven pins on the connector,
where the enclosure provides its own power. That means either
a wall adapter, or an AC cord snaking inside the enclosure.

                  Data signals only     ESATA Drive
    ESATA ----------------------------- + Enclosure ----- Power
    Port          7 wires                                 Source

Now, a thing I learned just today, is they've invented an
ESATAP connector. It is ESATA, with a few extra pins added
for distributing power. It changes the ESATA world (in fact,
it means there'll be a whole slew of goofy adapters and
inventions derived from the idea). The ESATAP drive comes
in a slightly different enclosure, as the connector on the
enclosure has a total of 13 pins. The existing
ESATA connector only has seven pins (data only).
I don't know what the current flow limits for ESATAP
pins 12 and 13 are, but they'd have to be able to
handle a 2.5 to 3.0 amp surge on +12V, while the
drive is spinning up. That takes 5 to 10 seconds.
After that, the drive settles down to 0.6 amps or less.

                  Data + Power           ESATAP Drive
    ESATAP ----------------------------- + Enclosure
    Port          More than 7 wires

Your Sonata will have the older ESATA connector (7 pins).
The fact I only learned about the ESATAP thing today, and
it was invented around 2008, tells you how visible it is :-)
It's never come up in a conversation here.

Apparently, the intended practice will be, ESATAP on
laptops, will have only +5V power. ESATAP on desktops
will have +5V and +12V. A 3.5" drive needs both +5V
and +12V. A 2.5" drive runs everything from +5V.
A desktop will be able to use either 2.5" or 3.5"
external drives, using its ESATAP connector.
If you want to add ESATAP to your Sonata, you'll
be able to buy an add-in PCI Express card, with two
ESATAP on the faceplate. That add-in PCI Express
card, may have some provision for an auxiliary power

(Koutech card with dual ESATAP on faceplate $40 - has provision
for a 1x4 floppy power connector (the white connector),
to get extra 5V and 12V. You run an ESATAP cable to the
external enclosure.)

I don't see anything in this picture, to suggest current
flow on ESATAP is limited. Neither do I see any significant
conducted emissions prevention.

This is an example of an ESATAP enclosure, but I can't find
one for sale to get a price.

So some day, those will be more common. But right now, with
your Sonata, you connect a SATA cable to the ESATA on the front
of the Sonata, and then the external ESATA drive enclosure, has
its own power supply. That should work fine.

ESATA cables come in 3 foot and 6 foot lengths.
I recommend buying the short one (3 foot), in order
to guarantee a low error rate on the cable. True ESATA
electrical interfaces, will be able to reach the full
six feet. To protect you from inferior electrical
implementations, I recommend using a 1 meter (3 foot) cable.

If you decide to go ESATA, and you buy a separate enclosure and
a raw drive mechanism, you should run two tests. Install the
raw drive, inside the computer, then run HDTune (you don't need
to format the drive or anything, to do that test). Next, install
the raw drive inside the ESATA enclosure, and run HDTune again.
Compare the graphs. They should be identical. If they're not,
it could be a cabling issue (error rate).

(Examples of HDTune results for my best hard drive)

(Copy of HDTune)


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

John wrote:

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Your monitor package contents, mentions it includes a DVI cable.
It's one thing to check when buying monitors, as some don't
have any cables in the box. Your video card has DVI on it,
so you should be all set there.

Some ATX power supplies now, don't come with a power cord,
which is another one to watch for. Your Sonata includes a
power cord.

You won't need the AS-5 right away. The Intel retail heatsink
comes with paste already on it (I'm using that right now,
on a system I put together on a table top). But when you've
taken the heatsink off a few times, and the paste is
messed up, you'll want to clean it off and apply fresh paste.
You never want the paste to migrate so far, it gets into the
socket and on the pins. With your new tube of AS-5, you'll be
ready for any "re-pasting" applications, so I wouldn't change
your order. And one tube, lasts a long time.

Arctic Silver has web pages about how to apply paste, when
you need help with that. Each of the different processor
types, has slightly different recommendations. I used to
spread the paste when I applied it, but now I let the
"squashing" step, do the job for me :-) As long as you
use a calibrated rice grain sized application, it won't spread
too far. You practice the first time, with too little paste,
and see how far a half grain spreads. Then, clean it off,
and scale up the amount you apply, to what you predict will
cover the majority of the surface. A good application of
paste, will ooze a bit from the edges of the joint. If
the joint between the two surfaces is "wet", then you
know you've done it right. If the edges show no signs
of paste about to ooze out, then you don't have enough.
What you don't want, is an "Oreo cookie", where the paste
is going everywhere when squashed. As then it'll get
down into the socket, the next time you take it apart.

Keep us posted on your progress :-)

Good luck,

Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

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Hi John,

    What may be new for you with this build is installing this particular
type of heatsink to the motherboard. There will be four pins that push
through the board that have little fish hook ends. You'll get pictures along
with the CPU box to follow. If you've already worked with this type of
heatsink assembly then just ignore this information. However, from my
experience you will have much better success and ease if you install the
processor and the heatsink and the RAM onto the motherboard before you
install the mb into the case. I usually lay the motherboard on the foam pad
that comes in the box for some support, Otherwise the build should be a lot
of fun and I expect it will go relatively smoothly for you since you appear
to pay a lot of attention to detail through each aspect of the process.
Jan Alter

Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

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Looks like a decent build although the micro-ATX motherboard in a
mid-ATX case seems odd to me.

I also can't imagine putting together a new system built on reasonably
modern hardware with a nearly 10-year old OS.

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Most keyboards are dishwasher safe(ish), as long as you remove the keys
in advance and give it enough time to dry (potentially measured in days)

From the looks of it this one won't need drying time, assuming it is
properly sealed.  Definitely useful if you spill a lot of drinks or
otherwise have a sticky keyboard ;)

Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

DevilsPGD wrote:
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I did spec a Win7 machine, it was an extra $500 that I don't currently
want to spend. The XP pro that I purchased 8 years ago has another 3
years and I will use that up. This is not to mention the cost of
replacing applications incompatible with Win7. My biggest problem was
having absolutely no parts to start with, all the reusable bits and
pieces people have from previous builds tend to add up when starting
from scratch.

The purpose of this machine is for a home office. Originally I was going
to reuse a VGA monitor that still works but my wife insisted that I get
a modern LCD, she didn't like the looks of the big bulky old one - heh.

As far as the board is concerned, it does what I need now and got the
best reviews in the price range, size is unimportant. Three years from
now when I replace board, processor, memory and OS I'll have many of
those bits and pieces to start with.


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

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Yeah, this is very true.  My first reaction was that I just built a
couple new i7 based systems for very close to your price point
(per-system, obviously), but once I added up the prices of parts we were
able to re-use, mainly drives and cases, and video cards for one of two
new systems, your decisions made a lot more sense.

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Welcome to the 2000s.  :)  Having been on a couple 24" LCDs for two
years I don't think I could go back either to the tiny screens that were
common in the CRT days or the massive desk space commitment.

I should also note that I spend 8-12 hours a day on my system, so I
don't mind investing in something I'll love using rather than the bare

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Yeah absolutely, just as a rule the micro-ATX gear tends to cost a bit
more (or limit you in other ways at the same price point)

If the board does what you want then being small is absolutely no

Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

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XP is just fine. I like WIndows 7 but there is absolutely nothing wrong with

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Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

John wrote:

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One caveat >>> the above mouse is junk. Tried it in 3 different
different comps. Originally I thought the metal housing prevented it
from fully seating the contacts as the two metal barrel halves stuck out
at different lengths. So I ground the metal face flush with the top of
the pins and narrowed the barrel all around. It still won't plug into
anything, evidently the pins are misaligned with standard PS2 ports. Oh
well, you get what you pay for, chock it up to a lesson learned. Too
cheap to bother with a return, but I gave it a loud BOO on Newegg.

Posting from the new comp by the way, its a sweet XP build.


Re: New XP build finally ordered :)

On 01/08/2011 12:59 PM, jdkjdk wrote:
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And its even sweeter with Linux Mint installed (Julia 10 x686 64 bit).
Boot up is way faster than XP and shutdown in 4 seconds? --- I can't
believe it either! --- This using an old PATA ATA100 hosting the Linux
install as a trial and learning tool. Once I have a reasonable grasp on
Linux I'll move it to the SATA drive, but I don't know near enough to
attempt that yet.

On-line activities are much quicker since anti-virus isn't needed.

Having to make and compile the printer driver (Kodak esp5250) was a
little scary but Mint made it easy, just follow directions.

If I had known Mint was so easy to use I would have piled on the memory
when I built it!


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