[Techtalk] Build it! redux, and AMD woes

Akkana akkana at shallowsky.com
Sun Nov 11 14:27:17 EST 2001

Telsa Gwynne writes:
> Now the other problems are looking more fixable, I am dying to know:
> how did building it actually go? Did you find any more "I wish 
> someone had warned me" areas, after the great long list from here
> earlier?

It was very easy.  The hardest part was the research -- deciding what
chip and what motherboard to get based on what was available at local
stores (I wanted to buy locally if possible, in case I had to return)
and, of course, web reviews on using those combinations with Linux.

There were some settings on the motherboard which I wasn't sure about,
but I just chose "auto" any time it was available and that seemed to work.

And I was nervous about the heat issue since the motherboard (I think,
not the cpu) came with some heat sink goop but the instructions didn't
say anything about using it.  When I reinstalled the heat sink later
with Arctic Silver, those instructions were fairly elaborate.

The fan that came with the case was too noisy, and when I bought a
replacement, its cord wasn't long enough to reach to the pins on the
motherboard, so I had to go searching for an extension cord.  I
wasn't surprised by that because when researching the motherboard
I'd seen a web review that commented on poor layout, including
that specific issue.  (It also commented that in some cases it was
easy to have cables get in the way of the CPU fan and cause overheating
problems, so I was careful about where I put wires.)

I just noticed my disk light is always-on, so I guess I still have
some debugging to do.

> And did you get the "arrgh, find hammer" sort of clip on the fan,
> or the "shake it and it falls off" sort?

My old K6 had the "find hammer" sort (I remember struggling with that
for quite a while), but the clip on the Athlon was perfect.  It has a
bend into which you insert the end of a flat-head screwdriver, then push
down-and-out then down-and-in (to get the clip around the hook then onto
the hook), and it snaps closed and stays tight.  Very nice.

All in all, building the machine was fun, didn't take much more time
than I would have spent fiddling with a pre-built machine (unless
you count the web research on CPUs and motherboards, but that was
time well spent IMO), was marginally cheaper (not a lot) for somewhat
better hardware, and was definitely worth doing.


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