I had a pleasant surprise when I got home from work yesterday; a few of the computer parts came in ahead of schedule! As you can see from the picture above, I got an AMD FX 8-Core processor, and ASUS-branded Radeon HD 7770, a SATA cable, and a 22″ LCD Monitor.
Even though I had to get to my other job in a couple hours, I couldn’t help myself. I started installing parts right away! Keep reading below the cut to see how it went:So, I took the case back out, pulled all the panels off and started installing pieces. The first to go in is the CPU. I opted for an AMD FX-8320. It was not expensive (at about $160) for what it is, and I get 8 3.5GHz cores! If it’s keeping cool, I could even overclock to about 4Ghz. Installing it was, of course, super-easy. Just line up the 1st pin – using the triangle printed of both the chip and the board – drop it in and lock it down.
Next, I wanted to keep it cool, so it was time to install the Corsair H55 Liquid CPU cooler. I’m excited about this, since I’ve never had a water-cooled computer before! This was an interesting install, and took a little trial and error. The first thing you need to do is install the retention plate to the BACK of the motherboard! I didn’t realize this, and I felt the instructions were not very clear on it. So, I futzed around for awhile thinking it didn’t fit. Eventually I looked it up, and there were some helpful articles online. Fortunately, the mounting plate for my mobo has a hole cut into it behind the CPU, so I could access it without un-mounting the board. This liquid cooler also comes with hardware for mounting it to either Intel or AMD systems… It’s pretty self-explanatory, but… There are two sets of mounting screws included in the kit. The instructions don’t mention that they are different. Be careful! Install the screws that match your mounting plate because they’re tricky to remove! I made the mistake, and fixed it okay, but I want to save you the trouble if you’re ever installing one of these.
Of course, the radiator for the liquid cooling system has to be mounted to a case fan, to move air across it to cool the water. I found that even in a big gaming case, I had to move one of the pre-installed case fans to make room for the additional fan, the radiator AND the motherboard components and connectors. The takeaway there is to not assume that everything will fit where you want it. Measure first. I think it look pretty slick, though, and I can’t wait to see how it performs!
This however, leads me to the only casualty so far… In order to access to top-mounted case fan, I had to remove some plastic faring that covers the top of the case. To remove the top of the case, I first had to remove the front of the case. The manual that comes with it says to just grab the bottom of the front panel and PULL. That worked… But it took a bit more force than I expected, and when it popped off… it POPPED OFF! My arm hit my beautiful Samsung Galaxy Note II. It flew. My beautiful Samsung Galaxy Note II hit the ceramic tiles on the wall. My beautiful Samsung Galaxy Note II is not so beautiful anymore. 😦 It still works. The crack is just in one corner, with a little bit extended across the top. It’s perfectly usable. But I am annoyed. And sad. Clear your workspace. Don’t be sad about your cracked screen.
After recovering from the shock of my cracked screen, I installed the final internal component. The video card. I opted for the Radeon HD 7770. I know some people will say that Radeon cards these days are just not as effective in 3D applications, such as Maya or games, but I’m focused more on 2D and video applications. This card was the best deal I could find on a video card the Adobe Premiere Pro would use for acceleration, so it’s the one I chose. It also has to DVI outputs on it, so I can run a dual-monitor setup. It’s a PCI card. Installing these has not changed since I built my first computer. Pretty easy!
Then I had to go to work. But I was so excited to see this thing come together, that when I got home at 11pm, I stayed up another hour and a half to wire the power supply!
I have no pictures or stories about wiring this thing up. It is nice to have modular wiring, it cuts down on clutter a little bit. All the cabling was just about the right length to get to where I needed it to be. The PC speaker came with the mobo, and is just a little dongle that hangs off the board and goes *BEEP!* I’m just a little worried that not all the cables are seated properly into the power supply. This Corsair power supply is nice, but the cables don’t click in very securely.
With the wiring double-checked, I plugged it in, with the new monitor and pushed the power button on top of the case. Nothing happened…
I reached behind the case and flipped the power supply on. Then I pushed the button again. The fans came to life and the case lit up. *BEEP!* The BIOS POSTed. Good sign! The mobo logo flashed on the screen. Good sign! The computer complained that there were no boot devices. Well, yeah. I haven’t installed an OS yet. I restarted the machine and went into the BIOS settings. The CPU and all 8 cores were working and staying cool. The RAM was visible. The video card is sending to the display. The hard drives were detected, as well as the optical drive. It looks like I have a computer!
Next time: We install Windows 8, upgrade immediately to 8.1, install the drivers and see how she performs.
Thanks for reading! And please, if you’re planning a build of your own and have questions, leave a comment or send me a message!