View Full Version : General PC Advice Request

18-06-2005, 18:14:40
Getting rather cheesed off with the PC occasionally dropping off the Internet (and failing to shut down properly after that's happened) so I took the opportunity to take a good look at what I was running. here.

To be honest I haven't looked into details since I got it, it worked and was a higher spec than the last one * shrug *

Well I suddenly realised that I was using the motherboard (and system memory) for graphics which can't be ideal. But worse, no AGP slot, and only a single PCI slot free (two if I remove the network card I'm not using.

Couple that with the annoying lack of bays for stuff, and well.. it's starting to look a little limited.

Now I'm not really rolling in funds but I'm sort-of half wondering if I ought to build up a decent replacement rather than try to enhance what's there already. Not that I don't have enough to do around here, which isn't getting done that fast.

By the way, according to SiSort Sandra the motherboard is running with the following voltages ...

CPU Voltage ......... 0.06v
+3.3v ................. 3.23v
+5v .................... 3.27v
+12v .................. 7.93v

Is it normal for them to be that low ? It didn't seem good to me. The temperatures are a little high too, but I put that down to having not put the sides back on last time (when I increases the RAM).

But apart from the above query, has anyone any suggestions on what I should look for should I decide to build another PC ? I have a slight preference for AMD over Intel (have done since I read that Intel can identify their processors, ages ago - privacy issues). But I don't really know when a motherboard gets a good review because it's good in it's range, or good overall. And my experience of last evening and today suggests a comprehensive Net investigation would take ages.

Don't have a budget in mind really. I'm assuming the motherboard will be just over 100. If it gets to 200 I would start to gasp a bit. What the cost of a processor these days ? Should I assume parity with the board price ? And where does the price increase simply not justify the ego boost/longevity of a higher spec ?

Any general views on the subject welcomed.

Sir Penguin
18-06-2005, 18:33:26
Those voltages are way too low.

Regarding Intel CPUs, I think you're thinking of Carnivore, which was scrapped. A good motherboard will cost at most £100, a good CPU will cost that much, or maybe a bit more. It should be pretty clear where the price point is, but I think right now on the Athlon side of things, the A64 3200+ (or maybe the 3400+) is the price point. I dunno about Intel, and Intel may actually give a better price/performance ratio.


18-06-2005, 18:39:20
It is indeed an unusually low voltage. CPU voltage is typically about 1.5 volts,so I can only assume the hardware that reads it is at fault.

Big debate really - stick with 32 bit or go 64 bit. I'm assuming you'll stick with 32 bit for the minute, because there's not a lot of difference right now in performance between 32bit and 64 bit AMDs.

In the States, motherboards go for between $60-$120, so you can see UK prices really are a ripoff.

CPU prices (in the UK start at about 80 for an 2500-XPM (all in one generic replacement for a Socket A CPU). Most people don't bother with the Semprons, they're cheaper but just rebadged old Thoroghbreds at heart.

What you could do is replace current mobo with something that has AGP and more PCI slots. That's going to be cheapest.

As for what - I love my Soltek NV400-64. You can only rarely buy them secondhand nowadays, because most people who have one don't want to sell. L64 is same board with onboard network controller.

I paid 65 for it brand new - I believe you can buy them in pairs from the US (2 boards at a time) for about $99. Even with VAT it's still cheaper than a new board. You can either sell the spare or keep it as a spare. I'll try to hunt out the eBay location.

Alternatively, Abit NS7 Version 2.0 is a very nice board - it's got dual channel memory (memory controller on each memory slot) so it's less clunky when running with 2 memory sticks.

EDIT: Ebay item number for that double Soltek deal is 6758676256 - so log in to Ebay, search for that number, add it to your watch list. They ship worldwide.

EDIT EDIT: Leaving the sides off your computer should actually make it run cooler, so don't put them back on.

Maybe a new PSU would be a good investment too - you get very much what you pay for with PSUs, and it's much better to buy overspec than skimp on that item.

18-06-2005, 20:28:25
Thanks both.

So if you can only get them 2nd hand they're not latest then ?

72 + 35.75p&p + 17.5% VAT ? And import duties ?

Not sure. Looking at 70 ish, which isn't bad, it's just that you seem to imply it's yesterday's favourite.

Still I'll watch it for a while before deciding.

18-06-2005, 21:58:53
Remember, price is in US dollars - same for postage. So you're looking at maybe 70 (assuming you get caught for VAT, otherwise known as sales tax. If not it's even less).

Manufacture of Socket A boards stopped a while ago. Latest are all 64 bit.

I was assuming you wanted to keep using your current AMD and memory or not, ie stay 32 bit or replace everything.

Thing is with the Soltek - check out this thread...


Same gfx card, same memory - different processor and motherboard. Quite a lot of em went straight into arcade machines. They're that good. And they sold out within a couple of months of release - that popular.

I was mistaken about them supplying 2 at a time - well, that used to be the deal. Work it out for yourself why they got meaner. ;)

EDIT: That Abit I mentioned earlier can still be bought new and is also a fast little mover. Make sure it's a V2.0 though - earlier versions were not so nice.

Either one is going to take a nice 6600GT or Radeon X800 graphics card, when you've got the pennies for one. They start at 120-200 and up.

Cheaper alternatives - Radeon 9800 SE. About 110. Nvidia 6200 isn't that bad - costs about 90.

These are all the AGP versions of the cards - you can't go PCI-Express without getting a new motherboard, processor, and almost certainly new RAM too.

No longer Trippin
19-06-2005, 04:05:45
Don't use Sandra, it can read it wrong - and going by those voltages, I'm surprised you'd be able to get into windows to use Sandra or even run anything that takes up any CPU utilization. Check the BIOS - if it reports the same - then it's a bit more believable (yes, I know Sandra pulls from the same data, but it can pull wrong).

You can still grab Socket A boards relatively easy along with Socket A chips if you really want to stay on that platform (it isn't a bad one at all).

21-06-2005, 14:14:25
To anyone who can help, I'm having the following problem and my limited IT trouble-shooting skills are not sufficient.

My keyboard has mixed up some of the keys
" = @
pound sign = #
@ = "
# = \

I'm assuming this is just something in the keyboard settings but I can't seem to find it in the Control Panel under "Keyboard"

Anyone know how to resolve this slightly annoying problem?

21-06-2005, 14:20:20
Go to the control panel.

On the classic view go to Regional and Language options

And make sure it's set on English (United Kingdom)

21-06-2005, 15:21:51
There's a coincidence. My work PC has both Word & Outlook opting to spell check in English (US) from time to time,. Most disconcerting being told that correctly spelt words should be misspelt !

Changed every language setting I could find, still happens :(. Need a US removal app.

21-06-2005, 15:44:06
Originally posted by Funko
Go to the control panel.

On the classic view go to Regional and Language options

And make sure it's set on English (United Kingdom)

Cheers dude, I knew it was something simple. Yet, beyond me. :beer:

21-06-2005, 15:50:18
Are many simple things beyond you? :cute:

21-06-2005, 15:52:31
I think I suffer from a lack of patience when I know I can get the solution much quicker by asking somebody else. Some people would say I was stupid or lazy. I would call it efficient.

21-06-2005, 15:54:29
I'm totally down with that philosophy. I wouldn't say that whatever it was was beyond me though. :)

21-06-2005, 15:57:54
I don't like repeated words. They confuse me too. :o

21-06-2005, 15:59:27
Huh? That sentence is right?


28-06-2005, 01:56:02
:( Wasn't anything about voltages in the CMOS menus.

28-06-2005, 02:44:54
How about Everest home edition?


28-06-2005, 12:40:26
Hey that looks interesting - wonder if it's any better than Sandra ? Think I'll give it a try when I get back home, thanks.

28-06-2005, 17:50:40

CPU Core ............ 0.01v
+2.5v ................. 0.01v
+3.3v ................. 3.14v
+5v .................... 3.15v
+12v .................. 7.62v


Core .................. 0.01v
+3.3v ................. 3.21v
+5v .................... 3.21v
+12v .................. 7.77v

Motherboard Monitor 5

Case ................. 127C (It doesn't seem to like this - it alarms)
CPU ................... 0C
Sensor 3 ............ 0C
Core 0 ............... 0.06v
Core 1 ............... 0.06v
+3.3v ................ 3.21v
+5v ................... 3.27v
+12v ................. 7.93v
-12v .................. 0.0v
-5v .................... 0.0v
Fan 1 ................. 2657 rpm
Fan 2 ................. 2560 rpm
Fan 3 ................. 1048 rpm

All this is getting a bit beyond me. All these cores and sensors. But either the sensors are screwed, or this PC is running in an unusual state.

29-06-2005, 01:01:22
Most weird readings seem to be +5V and +12V - any chance you could read these manually with a hand multimeter? That would tell you for sure if they're really that different or if your motherboard is just reading them wrong. There's a +5V (red wire) and +12V (yellow wire) going to each molex connector (the connectors for optical drives, IDE hard disks etc).

Reason I suspect they're reading wrong - a core voltage of 0V and your computer shouldn't even turn on.

No longer Trippin
29-06-2005, 04:17:47
The board's chip is probably fried. IfWhat are the amperages on your rails (should be listed on the PSU), and what are you running. I'm guessing ATM it is the motherboard as most components wouldn't work or act all apeshit at those voltages.

If you get a new motherboard and CPU and your running under 400 watts with a quality PSU, you probably should upgrade that to at least 400 - nothing worse than a spiking PSU. A64s and Prescotts chew up a lot of power - as do the boards they sit in. Your going to need something with at least, if not more than 18 amps on the 12v line IMO.

29-06-2005, 18:33:14
I don't think I want to start jabbing probes onto a live board, bound to short out something vital. But I looked at the unused/unloaded power leads, and they read 5.08v and 12.1v. think I'll just put it down to broken sensors.

Meanwhile I'm still looking at the suggested board, but still wondering if it isn't better to go with the latest stuff and then salvage anything that can be salvaged. Decisions decisions :)

29-06-2005, 18:45:57
Originally posted by Gary
I don't think I want to start jabbing probes onto a live board, bound to short out something vital. But I looked at the unused/unloaded power leads, and they read 5.08v and 12.1v. think I'll just put it down to broken sensors.

That was exactly what I had in mind, and you reading them does mean the sensors are out to lunch.

21-06-2006, 17:22:03