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How to Build a Computer with an
AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 5 - Boot, Setup, and Monitor the Computer
Last updated: 4/20/2001

47.  Unbox your monitor in a way  similar to that used to unboxed the computer case .  Be careful not to break the styrofoam. Attach the monitor base according to the user instructions.  Make sure it is locked into place and won't come off.  Set the monitor on the workbench.  Plug the power cord into the monitor and into an active outlet (or into a surge protector).  Attach the monitor's video cable to the back of the AGP display adapter.  Turn the monitor on, verify that the power LED lights-up, and let it warm-up.

I use a known-good shop monitor.

The computer is now in the "minimum bootable configuration" (MBC):  Motherboard, CPU, heatsink-fan, memory, video card, power to the motherboard (keep the power cord disconnected), Power-on switch, Speaker connected, monitor, and nothing else--no drives.

48.  Check the power supply to be sure that the 110/220 volt switch is in the correct position.

49.  Unwrap the computer's power cord, plug it into the computer and into active outlet.

I leave it wrapped and use a shop cable.

50.  While watching the CPU fan, hold your breath and push the Power-on button.  If the CPU fan does not start spinning, immediately pull the power cord out of the computer.  Otherwise, the computer should boot, issue one short beep, and you should see something on the monitor.

At this point we gleefully say, "we have a Computer."  I have a computer. How about you? If you don't see anything on the display, immediately turn-off the computer and unplug the power cord from the back of the power supply, check-over everything and verify that your monitor works.  If you hear one long beep, followed two  short ones (it might be three short with other motherboards), the display adapter is not properly seated or is defective.  Make sure the power cord is not connected to the computer before attempting to reseat the board (or installing or removing any boards). See our FAQs on trouble-shooting a dead computer...

51. Turn-off the computer by pulling the power cord from the power supply.

52.  Unpack and plug-in the keyboard.

The receptacle is labeled on the I/O panel.  I use a known-good shop keyboard at this stage.  Many mice and keyboards are color coded to match the color code of the motherboard receptacles.

53.  Plug-in the power cord and push the Power-on switch.  The computer should boot and you should see stuff on the screen...

54.  When prompted, push the Delete key to go into the CMOS setup.

55.  Adjust the CPU settings if it can be done in the CMOS setup.

It is the Softmenu III Setup for this motherboard.  All you have to do is change CPU Operating Speed to the correct value.

56.  Save and Exit, reboot, and go back into the CMOS Setup.

57.  Go to the System Monitoring part of the setup (PC Health Status for this motherboard) and start watching the CPU temperature.  Let it sit there quite a while (half an hour) until temperatures stabilize, or it gets too high (over 50 C is too hot for my taste).

58.  While waiting, feel the outside the back of the case, behind the power supply and the chassis fan  to make sure they are pushing-out air (quietly).

This particular power supply adjusts the airflow automatically to the temperature inside the case.  It probably won't be blowing much, if any at all, with the case open and everything not in it yet.

59.  This is what we got for readings for the two computers we built:

1.1 GHz Athlon Processor. 

One side open:  Ambient 20 C/68 F, Case 26 C/78 F, CPU 44/111

Case closed: Ambient 20 C/68 F, Case 25 C/74 F, CPU 46/114

1.0 GHz Athlon Processor

Case Closed:  Ambient 22 C/72 F, Case 31 C/ 88 F, CPU 46 /114

According to the AMD Socket A Athlon specifications, the maximum die temperature is rated at 90 C for the 1 GHz CPU and 95 C for the 1.1 GHz part.  These specifications are the same for processors with 200 and 266 MHz front side buses.  Of course I would never run a processor anywhere near that hot.

60.  Exit and Save, and Pull the power cord after it starts to boot.

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