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First Build Complete! But I have Questions..

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I completed my very first PC build. I spent quite a bit of money on it, about $1200 all together (alot for me), mainly because I wanted to future-proof it as best as I could. If you take the time to read this post (as it may be long), I appreciate it and any suggestions you have for bettering my understanding or assisting in any way would also be invaluable.

The build took me about 30 minutes to assemble the actually hardware, which I thought wasn't too bad considering it was my first time. I ran into a bit of trouble finding out to put the CPU in because my Mobo doesn't have the "door" I was used to seeing in the tutorials. In any case, it started and posted on the very first attempt - I was very pleased! My cable management could probably be slightly better, but all things considered I think it's pretty solid all-around. One thing I did run into was that the Crosshair III Mobo has a terrible position for the 8-pin Mobo power. Basically it's on the left side of the CPU cooler very distant from the larger 24-26 (whatever it is) Mobo power. It basically requires me to string that cable right across the front of the Motherboard (ugly) to get to it with the provided cord. Other than that, everything fit pretty well and I have happy with the set up.

At this point, my main questions lie with only a couple pieces of the hardware but mainly software/driver related. Please bear with me as this is my first time and I know these questions/concerns may sound like old news to many of you:

1. My motherboard came with a driver/chipset disc. Now, it was my understanding that I needed to install all this stuff to make the chipsets even work at all. However, the Mobo is running fine and I can't seem to figure out HOW to actually download and implement the drivers. Does this mean the drivers already exist on the Mobo? What is the typical protocol when using a motherboard for the first time and setting up the software/drivers for it? Is any downloading or action really needed?

2. Concerning BIOS reflashing and updates, how important/easy is this process? I am currently running a slightly older version of the BIOS for my Mobo, but I can't figure out HOW to actually update it. There is a reflash area in the current BIOS, but it basically ends up searching for a BIOS somewhere on the computer and throwing it into a list of items to choose from. How can I get the NEW BIOS installed/flashed once I download it?

3. I downloaded a few diagnostic programs already: Prime95, CPU-Z, GPU-Z, PC Probe II**, etc. In some cases, the figures displayed for my graphics card (core clock and memory clock) don't match up between GPU-Z and CPU-Z. I overclocked it slightly to a core clock of 900 and a memory clock of 1270 (850 and 1200 is the oem setting, respectively), and though it displays correctly in the GPU-Z and OverDrive itself, using CPU-Z in the "graphics" tab it reports numbers WAY lower. Any ideas?

**Also, with PC Probe II, when I went to my computer this morning to check on everything, I noticed that it appeared to have opened itself somehow. It had also created a couple of text files on my desktop. When I opened that file, it start expanding and expanding, over and over, indefinitely. I closed it, and it would pop RIGHT back up. It then opened another window on it's own completely unrelated to the program, and wouldn't let me break the window. Thought it was kind of strange... Any ideas?

4. I am using Windows 7 x64 Home Premium. I like the OS, but I get a little 'blip' in the screen upon first startup. It basically happens after turning on the computer and the screen is black with the new windows logo in the center - the message reads "starting windows". It's like a small shudder and then it continues normally. Not a huge deal, but I was wondering if it's normal.

5. Finally, is there anything else I should be doing at this point? I turned off cool 'n' quiet, manually set the RAM, turned off spread spectrum, turned off C1E, and it boots fine. Are there any key steps I am missing? I feel like I haven't really downloaded or updated many items for the Mobo and OS thus far and before I start hard-tweaking it I wanna have all bases cover.

Thanks to anyone who reads and answers for your time! Appreciate it!
post #2 of 9
1 - Usually you will need to install the chipset drivers before you will be able to use your NIC and access the network. Once you have installed the disc drivers, I usually go to the manufacturers website and download the most current drivers, which may NOT be the ones on your disc. This should be considered mandatory imo.

2. Various ways, in BIOS or in windows, depends on your BIOS. You will need to download a new BIOS file from the manufacturers website, and use the in BIOS flash tool to locate the file on your PC or external drive to flash. Windows utilities can flash too, but I don't trust them. Unless you have a specific reason to flash your BIOS, you might want to stick with what you have unless something isn't working. a BIOS flash potentially is dangerous if interrupted or performed wrong.

3. Not sure, but some inconsistancy between programs is normal. If they are WAY different, make sure you have the most recent version of the monitoring program. It could be a bug with your processor. Mine wasn't read correctly for weeks until CPUZ was updated.

I don't use PCProbe but I would uninstall it if its acting like that. You might want to reinstall to another directory. It sounds like you are installing to the desktop, those may be log files, although they shouldn't open like you describe.

4 - Normal, yes.

5. Update all drivers and (if you want) BIOS to current versions. Perform windows updates. Cull down the list of startup items on the PC and uninstall any unecessary programs. You're right to disable CNQ.

Benchmark it at stock like this, then start tweaking!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
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Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _02 View Post
1 - Usually you will need to install the chipset drivers before you will be able to use your NIC and access the network. Once you have installed the disc drivers, I usually go to the manufacturers website and download the most current drivers, which may NOT be the ones on your disc. This should be considered mandatory imo.

2. Various ways, in BIOS or in windows, depends on your BIOS. You will need to download a new BIOS file from the manufacturers website, and use the in BIOS flash tool to locate the file on your PC or external drive to flash. Windows utilities can flash too, but I don't trust them. Unless you have a specific reason to flash your BIOS, you might want to stick with what you have unless something isn't working. a BIOS flash potentially is dangerous if interrupted or performed wrong.

3. Not sure, but some inconsistancy between programs is normal. If they are WAY different, make sure you have the most recent version of the monitoring program. It could be a bug with your processor. Mine wasn't read correctly for weeks until CPUZ was updated.

I don't use PCProbe but I would uninstall it if its acting like that. You might want to reinstall to another directory. It sounds like you are installing to the desktop, those may be log files, although they shouldn't open like you describe.

4 - Normal, yes.

5. Update all drivers and (if you want) BIOS to current versions. Perform windows updates. Cull down the list of startup items on the PC and uninstall any unecessary programs. You're right to disable CNQ.

Benchmark it at stock like this, then start tweaking!
Thanks for the information! Glad to hear the startup thing is normal. I'll probably remove PC probe cuz I can monitor the temps in other programs anyway. Also, I'm pretty confident the GPU speed is, in fact, at the speed I set them, so I won't worry about that for now.

For the drivers, however, I really want to get that squared away because I am running Win7 x64 and I know the Mobo didn't come from the factory with those drivers. There are a couple KEY ones I really think I need... mainly the SB driver for Win7 64, and a couple of the Audio and Video drivers. However, when I download the drivers, they just plop right into my download folder.. I don't know if that actually does anything. I was always under the impression they have to replace a current driver and I have no idea how to do that or put them in the right place.
post #4 of 9
Windows has probably already downloaded the drivers for you.

Check device manager, if there are no yellow warning icons, you should be good to go with the drivers that are installed.

As for updating drivers, they usually download as an executable, which you can run to install the new drivers.

I have not had any bad experiences just overwriting the current drivers with the new drivers. Also, you can install them all without restarting, then restart once they are all installed.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Pioneer DLDVD/CDRW Arctic Freezer Pro 64 Win 7 64bit Ultimate E2305 LG 23" LED 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch II Ninja Tenkeyless Fortron BlueStorm II 500w CM 690II Advanced Razer DeathAdder 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Pioneer DLDVD/CDRW Arctic Freezer Pro 64 Win 7 64bit Ultimate E2305 LG 23" LED 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch II Ninja Tenkeyless Fortron BlueStorm II 500w CM 690II Advanced Razer DeathAdder 
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _02 View Post
Windows has probably already downloaded the drivers for you.

Check device manager, if there are no yellow warning icons, you should be good to go with the drivers that are installed.

As for updating drivers, they usually download as an executable, which you can run to install the new drivers.

I have not had any bad experiences just overwriting the current drivers with the new drivers. Also, you can install them all without restarting, then restart once they are all installed.
Yeah I wasn't getting warning items from Windows, and it did update the system once I hooked everything up (what it updated specifically I do not know). I'm really not too concerned about the sound card drivers because those won't have any effect on the actual system beyond that specific piece of hardware, it was mainly the chipset drivers and stuff like that. Realistically, though, I would think that the computer wouldn't be able to run if it didn't have SOME kind of driver for the chipsets in there. So maybe I'm fine as it is.. I just want to know for sure. The BIOS update thing is probably not a huge thing, the only issue was that the new BIOS for my Mobo claims to give better stability for OCing.. which I guess remains to be seen.

For those really critical chipset drivers, will windows even automatically install those?
post #6 of 9
Windows (7) should automatically install them, yes.

Without the proper GPU, chipset, etc drivers, you would notice stuttery unresponsive windows dragging, non functioning of various features, etc.

You can still go out and update the drivers if they are available, or stay with what you have. Once you get down the road, different drivers may allow you more or less stability with overclocking or certain programs.

The BIOS for example, may address an issue with certain overclock features or situations.

Again, unless you are getting warnings in device manager, you are good to go. All that there is to do after that is finding the best driver by updating to a new one, or rolling back to an old one for one reason or another.

99% of the time, updating to the newest drivers has proven fine for me.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Pioneer DLDVD/CDRW Arctic Freezer Pro 64 Win 7 64bit Ultimate E2305 LG 23" LED 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch II Ninja Tenkeyless Fortron BlueStorm II 500w CM 690II Advanced Razer DeathAdder 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
generic Echo Miamidi PCI M-Audio BX5a Studio Monitors 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Pioneer DLDVD/CDRW Arctic Freezer Pro 64 Win 7 64bit Ultimate E2305 LG 23" LED 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch II Ninja Tenkeyless Fortron BlueStorm II 500w CM 690II Advanced Razer DeathAdder 
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _02 View Post
Windows (7) should automatically install them, yes.

Without the proper GPU, chipset, etc drivers, you would notice stuttery unresponsive windows dragging, non functioning of various features, etc.

You can still go out and update the drivers if they are available, or stay with what you have. Once you get down the road, different drivers may allow you more or less stability with overclocking or certain programs.

The BIOS for example, may address an issue with certain overclock features or situations.

Again, unless you are getting warnings in device manager, you are good to go. All that there is to do after that is finding the best driver by updating to a new one, or rolling back to an old one for one reason or another.

99% of the time, updating to the newest drivers has proven fine for me.
K, I'll try to get it to download. Is it typical for people building PC's to just ignore the driver CDs that come with the hardware then? Cause basically I'll be using all straight downloaded stuff.
post #8 of 9
Well, windows 7 goes out and gets a lot of drivers for you. It did this for my GPU which surprised me.

In Windows XP, for example, you would need to install the specific drivers for your hardware before you could use the hardware.

Hence the poor graphic performance without GPU drivers, and the inability to access the network before you install the NIC drivers. Because of this, XP installs I have had to do would ALWAYS require a driver CD before you could update other drivers, because you need to get the NIC working first.

With 7, it more or less gets you up and running pretty well on its own.

On a side note - most Vista drivers will work with Windows 7 if there isn't a proper driver out there for 7.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Pioneer DLDVD/CDRW Arctic Freezer Pro 64 Win 7 64bit Ultimate E2305 LG 23" LED 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch II Ninja Tenkeyless Fortron BlueStorm II 500w CM 690II Advanced Razer DeathAdder 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
generic Echo Miamidi PCI M-Audio BX5a Studio Monitors 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X3 720 @ 3.5 (1.39v) Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ASUS 5850 @ 880/1180 (1.118v) 4gb 1333mhz G.Skill DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64gb Crucial M4 SSD 3x 250gb WD2500JD - RAID0 1tb WD1001FALS 1tb WD10EARS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Pioneer DLDVD/CDRW Arctic Freezer Pro 64 Win 7 64bit Ultimate E2305 LG 23" LED 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch II Ninja Tenkeyless Fortron BlueStorm II 500w CM 690II Advanced Razer DeathAdder 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
generic Echo Miamidi PCI M-Audio BX5a Studio Monitors 
  hide details  
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _02 View Post
Well, windows 7 goes out and gets a lot of drivers for you. It did this for my GPU which surprised me.

In Windows XP, for example, you would need to install the specific drivers for your hardware before you could use the hardware.

Hence the poor graphic performance without GPU drivers, and the inability to access the network before you install the NIC drivers. Because of this, XP installs I have had to do would ALWAYS require a driver CD before you could update other drivers, because you need to get the NIC working first.

With 7, it more or less gets you up and running pretty well on its own.

On a side note - most Vista drivers will work with Windows 7 if there isn't a proper driver out there for 7.
Yeah I noticed that, too. It gave me a flag for one or two devices but then I restarted and it basically installed them all for me. I did the graphics things on my own, but I'm covered on those - I just went to the ATI game site and got the full catalyst suite which includes everything. Thanks for all the help!
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