Gonna build a new toy. . .desperately need help

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Message 811426 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 1:35:38 UTC

Here is the story:

I have a laptop which is (more or less) functional and a desktop which was built by for me by my friend/neighbour for my birthday. Both crunch for BOINC projects: the friend-build machine has been ‘up’ (except for the inevitable MS update restart requirements) with no problems since June.

But I want to show my friend that even a grrl can build a serious (though not totally mad-crazy) cruncher and do it cheaply. (Say, in the range of $500 CDN).

I want it to be a quad (why bother with less, really). Also, I have a beat up old case with a tested and good 400w power supply. I’ll buy a XP for an OS, but that is not part of the $500 requirement. Monitor, keyboard and mouse I can scrounge for free.

This thing will only be used for BOINC crunching, so no need for fancy graphic cards or sound or whatever.

Also, I have never built a computer before so, keep it very, very simple.

I know that my RAC is feeble at the moment (I have issues with the way things are being run at SETI: they recently kicked a lot of my friends out) but I promise that the new machine will dedicate at least 50% of it’s cycles to SETI.

Talk to me, my friends.

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

Albert Einstein
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Message 811430 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 2:03:04 UTC

I've just done exactly what you are planning to do :-)

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=49285

It runs sweet and I'm just tidying it up to use as my daily driver (installing some software, copying data etc). Even using it for normal work with Seti in the background you still get 95% of it's potential crunching.

As far as the power supply goes, the Box draws ~80watts from the wall, with all 4 cores working at 100%, so it doesn't need a monster power supply.

No reason not to run a quad core in a basic system board like this, especially in a task like this. Most people who buy quads also buy high end motherboards and graphics cards, etc. But for Seti work, you want CPU grunt, and the system board and ram doesn't hold you back a lot.

If you do want to convert it into a gaming rig, just drop in a middle range GPU and it will be fine.

Good Luck

Ian
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Message 811442 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 2:56:04 UTC
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 2:56:54 UTC

Hi Ian

I had been thinking about this for awhile but it was reading your thread that made me want to take the plunge. :)

I don’t even need to do any personal stuff with it: that is why I have my friend-built and laptop machines. Just a cruncher.

The power supply and case, well, got those for free, so I am just using what I got.

Re ram: dirt cheap now anyway. I recently bought a 2 gB card for my laptop for $24.

Mostly, I am wondering about which processor to get (6600 vs. 6700), motherboard, cooling, etc.

Someday, when I get brave (or stupid) I’ll likely try to over-clock the beast but, for now, keeping it stock.
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Message 811443 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 3:00:42 UTC

I have a few Intel quads, Now I can recommend some parts for You and hopefully You'll like them and maybe find some of them too.

Asus P5Q Pro(needs the 4 pin power connector plugged in) $151.42 CAD @ NCIX
Intel Q6600 2.4GHz G0 cpu $235.89 CAD @ NCIX
Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer cpu cooler $39.99 CAD @ NCIX
Delta 120x120x38mm 148-151cfm fan(to replace the anemic stock cpu fan)$19.99 CAD @ NCIX
Patriot 2GB PC2-8500 Viper 2x1GB Dimms(Black)$99.99 CAD @ NCIX
MSI NC6200TC pci-e video card with 64MB of ram(passive cooling, rock solid)$76.37 CAD @ NCIX(OUT of Stock) Try ebay instead, This ebay store ships to Canada and is the 128MB version.

You didn't say You had a hard drive, So a 32GB sata hdd drive $178.08 CAD @ NCIX, You also didn't mention a cd/dvd-rom drive(Lenovo sata) for $67.87 CAD @ NCIX, I don't know If this will do or not, But It does give You an idea of the costs before shipping to You.
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Message 811450 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 3:49:01 UTC

Hi JokerCPoC

I can get 6600 CPU for $197 picked up in Vancouver. (A 6700 for $229)
$151.42 seems a lot for a mother board that is only there for grunt work
I’ll think about the freezer cooler but, maybe too much too soon for someone figuring her way in the world?
Delta fan sounds a good idea, thanks. :)
Is memory really that expensive? Crap. Just bought a 2gb stick for my laptop for ¼ that price. . .
Don’t most motherboards come with basic graphic ability? All it has to do is throw the basic text and images on the screen. My existing ‘putter does a bang up job of letting me watch Brittney Spears’ latest antics on youtube.
I don’t have a hard drive but hope to find one cheaper than $178. Heck, before I got my new machine, I bought an external 500 gB drive for my laptop for $120, so….178 seems pretty expensive.
I was thinking that I’d pull the DVD ROM out of my existing ‘puter long enough to load up XP and the rest. After that, everything comes through the magic of the Ethernet cable. ;)
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

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Message 811451 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 3:58:16 UTC
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 4:01:19 UTC

Jokers PC specs would give you a great machine, and would let you get the max out of the CPU, able to overclock well, and be a decent game rig too.

But it's going to cost about 2 times the Cheap'N'Cheerfull.

For that budget I could rebuild 2 x old P4 boxes, crunch more work units and probably draw less power.

I still suggest you follow my thread for a dedicated box, unless you want to play with overclocking and pushing things to the limit. The stock Intel cooler is fine for a small overclock, but an extra case fan may help, depending on what fans the case has already.

You may need an adaptor for the power supply, the old PSUs have 24pins on the main plug, the new system boards have 28pin sockets. You can get an adaptor for a few dollars, and as long as the systems power draw isn't too high they will work fine.

1 gb of ram is all you need for most crunching jobs, any old hard disk and CD will do. Also there is Ram and there is RAM. If you want to be able to overclock then get a matched pair of the high speed stuff. If you are just running the box standard then any decent ram will be fine.

Main thing is to have fun no matter what you are building.

Ian
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Message 811455 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:17:34 UTC - in response to Message 811450.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 4:25:52 UTC

Hi JokerCPoC

I can get 6600 CPU for $197 picked up in Vancouver. (A 6700 for $229)
$151.42 seems a lot for a mother board that is only there for grunt work
I’ll think about the freezer cooler but, maybe too much too soon for someone figuring her way in the world?
Delta fan sounds a good idea, thanks. :)
Is memory really that expensive? Crap. Just bought a 2gb stick for my laptop for ¼ that price. . .
Don’t most motherboards come with basic graphic ability? All it has to do is throw the basic text and images on the screen. My existing ‘putter does a bang up job of letting me watch Brittney Spears’ latest antics on youtube.
I don’t have a hard drive but hope to find one cheaper than $178. Heck, before I got my new machine, I bought an external 500 GB drive for my laptop for $120, so….178 seems pretty expensive.
I was thinking that I’d pull the DVD ROM out of my existing ‘puter long enough to load up XP and the rest. After that, everything comes through the magic of the Ethernet cable. ;)

Get the Q6600 from Vancouver since It costs less.
The P5Q Pro(I have 2 P5K Deluxes) overclocks really well and updating the Bios is a snap on an Asus motherboard as the flash routine is built in to the Bios.
The cooler is also really good and the Delta fan should work with It.
The ram is Patriot and is very good ram for the money and is 2 1GB sticks, It may be able to found for less, Newegg lists It for $63.99 USD.
No and any built in graphics will just slow down work on Seti WU's and anything else.
Try ebay.ca for the hdd and get one that is sata and not eide.
If the existing dvd drive is eide[20x2 pin connector on the back of the drive], forget about It as modern motherboards use sata and the eide port is useless for any sort of optical disc drive(CD or DVD), Instead of the DVD drive get a 4GB USB thumb drive to transfer files between PCs, OCZ is very good.
But as I said these are ideas, As I can't exactly search for everything for You.
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Message 811456 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:24:03 UTC - in response to Message 811451.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 4:26:32 UTC

Jokers PC specs would give you a great machine, and would let you get the max out of the CPU, able to overclock well, and be a decent game rig too.

But it's going to cost about 2 times the Cheap'N'Cheerfull.

For that budget I could rebuild 2 x old P4 boxes, crunch more work units and probably draw less power.

I still suggest you follow my thread for a dedicated box, unless you want to play with overclocking and pushing things to the limit. The stock Intel cooler is fine for a small overclock, but an extra case fan may help, depending on what fans the case has already.

You may need an adaptor for the power supply, the old PSUs have 24pins on the main plug, the new system boards have 28pin sockets. You can get an adaptor for a few dollars, and as long as the systems power draw isn't too high they will work fine.

1 gb of ram is all you need for most crunching jobs, any old hard disk and CD will do. Also there is Ram and there is RAM. If you want to be able to overclock then get a matched pair of the high speed stuff. If you are just running the box standard then any decent ram will be fine.

Main thing is to have fun no matter what you are building.

Ian


Yeah, I have been leaning towards your philosophy: cheap is good.

Been thinking about spending the extra for the better motherboard, tho. I figure it’ll allow me to go a little clock-mad at a later date when I figure out how (and if I want) to. (And will see about extra cooling at that time.)

Not sure what sort of fans are in the case I got except that when I fire them up, I have a minor hurricane coming out the back and sounds that remind me of an F-18 getting ready to take off, so I’d guess I am okay in that department. The one in the back is about 4 inches in diameter and makes a tissue stand straight out. The one in the front/bottom is not as big and not as powerful.

Does anyone have a link on how to build a computer? I mean, I’ve looked inside and know (more or less) where all the bits are supposed to be. And I know about having an anti-static wrist strap and all, but, this is all new stuff for me.

[edit] Also, if I am leaping in way over my head, now is the time to tell me :o [/edit]
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

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Message 811457 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:29:59 UTC - in response to Message 811451.  

Jokers PC specs would give you a great machine, and would let you get the max out of the CPU, able to overclock well, and be a decent game rig too.

But it's going to cost about 2 times the Cheap'N'Cheerfull.

For that budget I could rebuild 2 x old P4 boxes, crunch more work units and probably draw less power.

I still suggest you follow my thread for a dedicated box, unless you want to play with overclocking and pushing things to the limit. The stock Intel cooler is fine for a small overclock, but an extra case fan may help, depending on what fans the case has already.

You may need an adapter for the power supply, the old PSUs have 24pins on the main plug, the new system boards have 28pin sockets. You can get an adapter for a few dollars, and as long as the systems power draw isn't too high they will work fine.

1 gb of ram is all you need for most crunching jobs, any old hard disk and CD will do. Also there is Ram and there is RAM. If you want to be able to overclock then get a matched pair of the high speed stuff. If you are just running the box standard then any decent ram will be fine.

Main thing is to have fun no matter what you are building.

Ian

Since when? The old ones are 20 pin not 24 and 28? My two P5K Deluxe motherboards use a 24 pin as do all modern motherboards, No exception, So does the P5Q in any configuration as there is no such thing as a 28 pin atx power cable in the spec, msattler where are You?
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Message 811459 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:34:52 UTC - in response to Message 811455.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 4:49:01 UTC

Hi JokerCPoC

I can get 6600 CPU for $197 picked up in Vancouver. (A 6700 for $229)
$151.42 seems a lot for a mother board that is only there for grunt work
I’ll think about the freezer cooler but, maybe too much too soon for someone figuring her way in the world?
Delta fan sounds a good idea, thanks. :)
Is memory really that expensive? Crap. Just bought a 2gb stick for my laptop for ¼ that price. . .
Don’t most motherboards come with basic graphic ability? All it has to do is throw the basic text and images on the screen. My existing ‘putter does a bang up job of letting me watch Brittney Spears’ latest antics on youtube.
I don’t have a hard drive but hope to find one cheaper than $178. Heck, before I got my new machine, I bought an external 500 GB drive for my laptop for $120, so….178 seems pretty expensive.
I was thinking that I’d pull the DVD ROM out of my existing ‘puter long enough to load up XP and the rest. After that, everything comes through the magic of the Ethernet cable. ;)

Get the Q6600 from Vancouver since It costs less.
The P5Q Pro(I have 2 P5K Deluxes) overclocks really well and updating the Bios is a snap on an Asus motherboard as the flash routine is built in to the Bios.
The cooler is also really good and the Delta fan should work with It.
The ram is Patriot and is very good ram for the money and is 2 1GB sticks, It may be able to found for less, Newegg lists It for $63.99 USD.
No and any built in graphics will just slow down work on Seti WU's and anything else.
Try ebay.ca for the hdd and get one that is sata and not eide.
If the existing dvd drive is eide[20x2 pin connector on the back of the drive], forget about It as modern motherboards use sata and the eide port is useless for any sort of optical disc drive(CD or DVD), Instead of the DVD drive get a 4GB USB thumb drive to transfer files between PCs, OCZ is very good.
But as I said these are ideas, As I can't exactly search for everything for You.

No, it’s all good info, and that I have no idea what I am doing as is obvious,

I do know to go sata all the way with everything.

Didn’t know that graphics cards influenced BOINC crunching so will look into getting something a bit better than standard.

And I have pretty much already decided to go with the better MB in case I get brave some day and decide to over-clock things a bit.

And I don’t want you to search everything for me: this is part of my search, along with talking with my friends and posting in other forums and, of course, the wonders of Google.

Btw: as the build begins and progresses, you all can expect to be bored to tears with pictures and commentary. :)

[edit] Ahmmm, to prevent a war: I just counted: the power supply I got has 24 pins. I'll buy a cheapie adapter if needed. :)[/edit]
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.

Albert Einstein
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Message 811460 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:35:22 UTC - in response to Message 811456.  

Jokers PC specs would give you a great machine, and would let you get the max out of the CPU, able to overclock well, and be a decent game rig too.

But it's going to cost about 2 times the Cheap'N'Cheerfull.

For that budget I could rebuild 2 x old P4 boxes, crunch more work units and probably draw less power.

I still suggest you follow my thread for a dedicated box, unless you want to play with overclocking and pushing things to the limit. The stock Intel cooler is fine for a small overclock, but an extra case fan may help, depending on what fans the case has already.

You may need an adapter for the power supply, the old PSUs have 24pins on the main plug, the new system boards have 28pin sockets. You can get an adapter for a few dollars, and as long as the systems power draw isn't too high they will work fine.

1 gb of ram is all you need for most crunching jobs, any old hard disk and CD will do. Also there is Ram and there is RAM. If you want to be able to overclock then get a matched pair of the high speed stuff. If you are just running the box standard then any decent ram will be fine.

Main thing is to have fun no matter what you are building.

Ian


Yeah, I have been leaning towards your philosophy: cheap is good.

Been thinking about spending the extra for the better motherboard, tho. I figure it’ll allow me to go a little clock-mad at a later date when I figure out how (and if I want) to. (And will see about extra cooling at that time.)

Not sure what sort of fans are in the case I got except that when I fire them up, I have a minor hurricane coming out the back and sounds that remind me of an F-18 getting ready to take off, so I’d guess I am okay in that department. The one in the back is about 4 inches in diameter and makes a tissue stand straight out. The one in the front/bottom is not as big and not as powerful.

Does anyone have a link on how to build a computer? I mean, I’ve looked inside and know (more or less) where all the bits are supposed to be. And I know about having an anti-static wrist strap and all, but, this is all new stuff for me.

[edit] Also, if I am leaping in way over my head, now is the time to tell me :o [/edit]

Try here for building a PC: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_To_Build_A_Computer. Oh and ignore the 28 psu connector, atx psus don't use that and never will, might be a MAC thing, maybe, But not a PC psu(power supply unit).
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Message 811462 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:47:10 UTC

Lesse.......Newegg has the Q6600 for about 190.00 with free shipping......
I would highly reccomend the Asus P5K Deluxe for 155.00 after 20.00 mail in rebate, plus 10.00 shipping....
A Seagate Sata 3 160gb drive for 55.00 plus 8.00 shipping...
2 x 1gb of OCZ PC2 9600 for 53.00 after 30.00 mail in rebate, plus 7.00 shipping
I would get some mx-2 heatsink compound to mount the cooler, and I would get a decent aftermarket cooler now instead of later, so you don't have to tear the thing apart to mount a new cooler later when you want to OC it.......
And you will want to OC sooner rather than later I'll bet, because the Q6600 OCs very well on the P5K, even if you don't want to push it to it's limits....

Would have to check the specs on the power supply you want to use as far as the connectors available....400w is surely enough, it depends on the PSU configuration.

Hope that gives you some more ideas.....
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Message 811463 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 4:54:00 UTC - in response to Message 811459.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 5:01:49 UTC

Hi JokerCPoC

I can get 6600 CPU for $197 picked up in Vancouver. (A 6700 for $229)
$151.42 seems a lot for a mother board that is only there for grunt work
I’ll think about the freezer cooler but, maybe too much too soon for someone figuring her way in the world?
Delta fan sounds a good idea, thanks. :)
Is memory really that expensive? Crap. Just bought a 2gb stick for my laptop for ¼ that price. . .
Don’t most motherboards come with basic graphic ability? All it has to do is throw the basic text and images on the screen. My existing ‘putter does a bang up job of letting me watch Brittney Spears’ latest antics on youtube.
I don’t have a hard drive but hope to find one cheaper than $178. Heck, before I got my new machine, I bought an external 500 GB drive for my laptop for $120, so….178 seems pretty expensive.
I was thinking that I’d pull the DVD ROM out of my existing ‘puter long enough to load up XP and the rest. After that, everything comes through the magic of the Ethernet cable. ;)

Get the Q6600 from Vancouver since It costs less.
The P5Q Pro(I have 2 P5K Deluxes) overclocks really well and updating the Bios is a snap on an Asus motherboard as the flash routine is built in to the Bios.
The cooler is also really good and the Delta fan should work with It.
The ram is Patriot and is very good ram for the money and is 2 1GB sticks, It may be able to found for less, Newegg lists It for $63.99 USD.
No and any built in graphics will just slow down work on Seti WU's and anything else.
Try ebay.ca for the hdd and get one that is sata and not eide.
If the existing dvd drive is eide[20x2 pin connector on the back of the drive], forget about It as modern motherboards use sata and the eide port is useless for any sort of optical disc drive(CD or DVD), Instead of the DVD drive get a 4GB USB thumb drive to transfer files between PCs, OCZ is very good.
But as I said these are ideas, As I can't exactly search for everything for You.

No, it’s all good info, and that I have no idea what I am doing as is obvious,

I do know to go sata all the way with everything.

Didn’t know that graphics cards influenced BOINC crunching so will look into getting something a bit better than standard.

And I have pretty much already decided to go with the better MB in case I get brave some day and decide to over-clock things a bit.

And I don’t want you to search everything for me: this is part of my search, along with talking with my friends and posting in other forums and, of course, the wonders of Google.

Btw: as the build begins and progresses, you all can expect to be bored to tears with pictures and commentary. :)

[edit] Ahmmm, to prevent a war: I just counted: the power supply I got has 24 pins. I'll buy a cheapie adapter if needed. :)[/edit]

You'll learn.

Good.

Almost any cheap pci-e video card will work, I just suggested the 6200 as It's passively cooled and built like a tank.

Very Good, You are making a very good choice.

Just volunteering.

Not a problem, I live to read, and sometimes help where I can.

You won't need It, I googled a "28 pin psu", a "28 pin atx psu", a "28pin atx psu" and a "28pin psu", and I didn't come up with even one reference to a 28 psu, 20, 24 and even 10 & 12 once, But no 28, So no war. Besides there are plenty of review sites, Google the motherboard name You like and type in the word "review"(minus the quote marks) and do some reading, 28 and psu won't ever be together even once.
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Message 811467 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:02:06 UTC

Yes, and you will need a cheap vid card......almost anything will do. Try to avoid a mobo with onboard video.
And the P5K requires a 4 or 8 pin power connector in addition to the main power connector.......if the power supply you wish to use does not have it, you would either have to also get a 400w ATX power supply, or have to find a mobo that does not require it....without doing some more research, I am not sure if all socket 775 mobos need it, or just some.
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Message 811472 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:17:17 UTC
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 5:24:43 UTC

Hi Mark (Was really hoping you’d join in) and Joker and Ian

I can get a Q6600 local for 197 and don’t mind spending an extra $7 to support a local retailer. I can get a 6700 for another $30, is it worth it?

I’ve pretty much decided on getting a better-than-the-average bear MB but am sifting through the propaganda to sort out what is best for me. Ability to over-clock is good, cheap is better (does that make me a bad person?)

Your cheap HD sounds nice! :)

I have done a bit of research and intend to imbed all the vital bits in heatsink compound and whatnot. A decent after marker cooler being. . .? (Bearing in mind, I am not ever likely to be as crazy-mad about this as you are, Mark. Not looking to water cool things!)

Just checked: the case has a “HG2-6400 400w Power Supply AXT V2.,0 24 pin"

Whatever that means. :) (Snicker, no, I ain't that dumb!)

{edit] @ Joker: thanks for the Google link. I read it a few months ago when I first though about this but now, full circle, here I am again! :)[/edit]
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Message 811473 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:19:34 UTC

Check the case you are using will fit an ATX motherboard... since in the future you'll want to OC some and all the best OCing MBs are ATX form factor. I recommend the GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L MB paired w/ Q6600 CPU & cheap Kingston 2x1GB memory sticks @ PC6400 add any hard drive & compatible graphics card.

You do not need anything more than a minimal graphics card.

Stock CPU cooler is fine until you decide to OC, then switch to Kingwin or Xigmatek.

Important step in assembly is not to apply too much thermal grease between CPU & heatsink.

Good Luck,
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Message 811475 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:24:18 UTC - in response to Message 811473.  

Check the case you are using will fit an ATX motherboard... since in the future you'll want to OC some and all the best OCing MBs are ATX form factor. I recommend the GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L MB paired w/ Q6600 CPU & cheap Kingston 2x1GB memory sticks @ PC6400 add any hard drive & compatible graphics card.

You do not need anything more than a minimal graphics card.

Stock CPU cooler is fine until you decide to OC, then switch to Kingwin or Xigmatek.

Important step in assembly is not to apply too much thermal grease between CPU & heatsink.

Good Luck,
JDWhale

And don't forget their Bios uses the Alt F1 trick to access the more advanced menus in the bios, Which Asus doesn't do.
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Message 811476 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:25:56 UTC - in response to Message 811457.  
Last modified: 24 Sep 2008, 5:30:42 UTC


Since when? The old ones are 20 pin not 24 and 28? My two P5K Deluxe motherboards use a 24 pin as do all modern motherboards, No exception, So does the P5Q in any configuration as there is no such thing as a 28 pin atx power cable in the spec, msattler where are You?


Oops.. my typo there. Sorry

Anyway, they are different, but you can get an adaptor.

Just something to watch for when you are upgrading old PCs, but it sounds like the OP has the power supply in hand.

All the info and suggestions have been good, I'm just pointing out a budget option that will work. If you want more performance you can decide to buy the higher spec board and better peripherals.

Cheers

Ian
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Message 811480 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:39:12 UTC

Oh and the supply of P5K Deluxes seems to be getting smaller, I may have to get something else by the time I'm ready, Like the P5Q Pro I mentioned.
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Message 811481 - Posted: 24 Sep 2008, 5:40:04 UTC

Can you post a picture of the inside of your case, the MB mounting area?

It will allow us to see if it is ATX or micro-ATX form factor... Then we can advise compatible motherboard.
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