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Wednesday July 23rd 2014

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The P4 Upgrade Edition

logo_p4_orangeWell, I finally upgraded my machines to P4-1.5Ghz and let me tell ya, you definitely need to know a few things before going out and buying the stuff you need. I went to Fry’s here in Dallas and picked up the Intel 850i motherboard, RDRAM and P4-1.5Gzh processor.

The first hint that I didn’t know everything I should know was when I asked the sales guy for 256Mb of RDRAM. He told me I had to buy 2-128Mb sticks because the RAM has to be doubled. Wow, I thought that idea went out in the late 80′s. Okay, so I bought two sticks, which ended up being more expensive than one stick of 256Mb RDRAM and it was even more expensive than the P4 itself!

So, I get home all excited to upgrade (because I like that sort of thing!) and after doing everything, I turn the power on and…. nothing. Then I see this piece of paper with blue ink on it that came with the motherboard and it tells me that I need a special P4 power supply (the ATX12V). Uh. This is the first time since the PC was introduced that the power supply changed. There’s 3 power plugs: one for the P4, one for the heatsinked chipset, and one for the motherboard and peripherals. Geez.

Next day, I go and get the power supply, get home, install it, and … nothing. I figure it’s the motherboard because I’m not even getting POST error codes. So I wait another day because Fry’s is closed.

I exchange the motherboard, bring it home, do the complete replacement of everything again, and turn it on. Nothing. What the hell. I’ve pretty much had it — I’m taking the machine to Fry’s and have them figure it out.

Took the machine to Fry’s and find out that I made a pretty dumb mistake first off by not paying strict close attention to the placement of the jumpers for POWER LED and POWER SW. From my case, the POWER LED jumper has three slots with a wire in slot one and one in slot three. So, common sense-wise I thought I was putting the jumper on correctly, but the 850i motherboard only takes two prongs for the POWER LED, so my jumper had to have one slot hanging off the edge of the jumper bank. The incorrect placement of the POWER LED made the POWER SW jumper be off by one slot so there was no way I could get power to the motherboard. Lame.

The other problem was some mysterious grounding problem. The tech there didn’t know where the grounding problem was located so he just took everything out of the machine and put it back in after verifying that all the components that I bought worked correctly. Then my machine would turn on, but give a boot error when Windows 2000 loaded. The tech said that because the P4 architecture is so different, I would need to do a complete rebuild of the OS — it wouldn’t just auto-install all the low-level motherboard drivers as expected. I buy another 40Gb hard drive.

I get home to install Windows 2000 and everything goes great with it, except for the fact that I had to install it in the first place. Then, I install my new Radeon 64Mb DDR video card. Doesnt’ work. The drivers are dated from September 2000, so my guess is that they were written without the new P4 architecture in mind. I download the latest drivers (10Mb ) and install them and finally the system works perfectly. Let me just say this: the Radeon is amazing. The 64Mb DDR will display 2048×1536 in 32-bit @ 75hz (and every single resolution below that, of course).

Then, I experience 1.5Ghz speed. Whoa. It’s more than twice as fast as the 800Mhz PC I was used to. I love it and can’t wait to try out all the games again with the Radeon at 1.5Ghz! Time to upgrade Stevie’s machine too!

Cool things about the P4: Hibernate works great with Windows 2000; booting up the 850i motherboard is cool because all the bootup text is hidden and a full-screen P4 graphic is shown; booting the machine is ultra-fast!

photo_pro_gamerIf you check out Intel’s site, there’s a cool quote from Makaveli about the awesome speed of the P4. That’s right — Pro Gaming is gaining momentum. What else could be driving the purchase of ever-faster processors other than the gaming industry?

rs_stevieAnother mention: the CPL is hosting another event here on June 28th and will have a QuakeWorld tournament and DOOM II competition! Whoo!!! I’m definitely going to be playing in those!
Other news: Stevie is in Amsterdam today after being in Germany for a couple days for some interviews and such. She’s the hostess for the Pentium 4 CPL Holland event and is wearing a pretty tight sponsor-emblazoned dress….. can’t wait to see pics of that!

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