I got the word from Helaine this afternoon. FedEx was here and they dropped off the package with my motherboard and memory.
Before I get into the build, let me say this about FedEx. Their tracking is both soothing and frustrating at the same time. After all, you know everything – which is often too much.
Why did my package from the Atlanta area detour through Indianapolis? If they picked it up on Friday and delivered it on Tuesday, how is that 2-day service? How did they get from East Granby, CT to North Haven, over 40 miles, in 23 minutes (or so claims their tracking data)?
Anyway, it’s here.
The box was nicely packed and well padded. That’s a positive for Monarch Computer.
The outside of the box had two interesting labels. The first instructed the driver to get a signature. Packages are normally left on our front step – even when we’re home! Not for this. Helaine’s signature was absolutely demanded.
More interesting was a label warning the recipient not to forward this package to a foreign country. I suspect Monarch and others have been burned by naive people who get scammed into transshipment schemes.
Since I bought a combo package, the memory and CPU were already mounted on the motherboard. So was a giant Zallman cooler.
I spent extra to get a gigantic cooler which is supposed to run very quietly. We’ll see. Meanwhile, sitting on the board, it looks like a small town’s water tower.
Installing memory and the CPU is simple. Installing the cooler often requires force, and in the past I’ve been scared of breaking something. I’m glad they handled it.
I was going to wait… oh hell, I can’t wait.
I unscrewed the old motherboard, disconnected its wires and re-installed the new board. The old one is larger. It really went in with little trouble.
If you’ve never done this, the following sentence will sound impressive. I did it all without looking at any instructions. It’s really not that big a deal.
Motherboard installs are pretty simple. There are power cables and small jumpers for the reset and power switches and the LEDs. The disk drives plug into two IDE ports. Power plugs are keyed, so they can’t go in backwards (as I’d surely do if left to my own devices). There is a specific place for everything.
It booted on the first try. My friend Peter wanted me to see if it would go all the way into the previously installed Windows. Not exactly. But I had been having trouble before.
I ran the Windows restore off the CD and it popped up pretty quickly. However, there are all sorts of drivers and utilities from hardware that’s no longer there. I decided to do a fresh install.
As we speak, the hard drive is formatting. Soon XP will be installing. I expect it to go smoothly.
After this initial install, I will add an extra few cards I bought – one for ingesting video and the other to allow more than the 4-IDE drives most PCs allow. I also went on EBay to buy a front panel hub for USB, Firewire and audio with a memory card reader.
At the moment, things are going really well. I’ll write some more after I start crying.