3D Gaming..... 3D
Graphics.... 3D!! PERIOD! Just a few years ago... I thought my
system was hot petuties.
I had the Matrox 16mb Millennium II pci and a 3dfx Voodoo 2 PCI
running to give me 3d rendering in both my work and play. Quake,
then Quake II and now.... Quake III ARENA will take a 3D card and
absolutely put it through its paces in so many different ways.
Today's hardware is a far
cry from a year or two ago. So.... here we are at the very
beginning of the Dream Machine Series...
It never ceases to amaze me
about how certain companies are stuck in the old mold of Tech
Specs, Hard Copy Circulation and.... ah... who cares! Those
antique heads will soon fall by the wayside. I can
understand about how they wish to avoid being scammed by
enterprising individuals claiming to be reviewers but when a
fourteen year old company with ten years on the Net gets the
run-around it becomes more tragic than the loss of a mass produced
card or software package to a scam artist.
I begin with this statement
to ensure each of you are aware there are companies out there who
seem to have the idea the WEB is composed of a bunch of
"Johnnie come lately" scam artists and therefore show
little or no respect for anyone who has dropped hard copy circ in
favor of a highly visible website whose hit counts are so far
through the roof that we removed the counter because the numbers
began looking un-believable. Rather than explain they were
real and that they reflected a six month roll-over... we dumped
Please, if there is a
product you would like to see reviewed and tested in our Dream
Machine Series... let us know. We will do our very best to obtain
the product and do the review.
The concept of the Dream
Machine Series is to show and tell the real facts. The main fact
being that IF..... a user is willing to LEARN.... they will be
able to build a far better machine from high quality, fully
enabled components than any one may purchase pre-built at the
Computer "Super Stores and Discount houses". We
really do not care to mention any "brand names" but I'm
certain any of you can get the message. Additionally, our purpose
is to show our reader the hardware we had the most success
with. The hardware and ultimately the software we recommend.
You won't try to sell
yourself any gimmicks or make any outlandish offers of kickbacks
(rebates) or any other such nonsense. Why take the marketing
beating from the pre-packagers? DIY!! (Do It Yourself!)
The main Benefit....You will
learn how to assemble the computer you've always dreamed of and do
it at a lot less than the pre-built mediocre "stuff"
that's out there.
Okay... now that being said
...here we go.
Cabinets & Power
hmmm fond of that full
tower? Don't care to buy another? That's fine, its
relatively easy to convert to ATX.
The 300w atx power supply is
a bolt in. It is usually four screws and its done. Then
comes the power switch on the front panel. This real a
simple operation but "sounds" complicated.
For a push button switch to
do the off and on thing with the old power supply it had to turn
on the flow of electricity to the power supply. With the new atx
power supply it merely has to "trigger" the power supply
Remove the switch from
the front panel. on the inside usually two screws and a
few wires using slide on connectors.
once removed view the
shaft of the push button and note the tiny "S" hook
coming out of the switch body to a tab on the outside.
Remove the "S"
hook. You now have a momentary switch.
Now examine the rear
apron of the cabinet - where the connectors are. NOT the Card
you will see that, in
most cases, the entire strip is removable. If not a pair
of sharp tin snips are in order.
If you must use tin
snips... measure the opening needed on the motherboard by
doing the width and height of the atx motherboard's connector
Or, you may buy a cabinet
with a 250-300w power supply installed, set to go for an ATX for
well under $100.00
You are now ready to mount
the motherboard into the cabinet. Use at least two of the
brass stand-offs and stand-off the remainder of the MB with the
plastic or nylon stand-offs. I've known a few assemblers who
have used the brass stand-offs all the way 'round but that's
overkill and can get expensive.
With the power supply in and
the motherboard in we are ready to check our work ... so far
the clearance under the
motherboard making certain that all areas of the motherboard
are supported by stand-offs.
the modified push button
switch is mounted and ok
the power supply is in
place properly and the leads from the power supply are
Now, connect the atx
power connector to the motherboard.
Now the fun part,
installing the CPU and Dimm(s) it is a snap!
check the manual for
the motherboard's CPU jumper setup if your mb has a
softmenu if it does then ok then this is done for
Now check the book
for the location of Dimm slot 1
Install both the CPU
and its fan connector PII & PIII and the Memory DIMM
in today's machines 128mb is not uncommon
Next, let's mount any new
hardware we have Drives, etc....
In the case of new IDE High
Performance Drives... Our test motherboards, TYAN Trinity 400's
and a Tiger 100 were ready for the new UDMA33/66 high speed hard
drives... Be sure to use the special noise canceling ribbon cables
that come with the drives. They're color coded as to master/slave
and board connection.
Most new MB's will show PIDE
(Primary IDE) SIDE (Secondary IDE) on the motherboard PIDE is #1
Side is #2
Finally, let's install any
cards we are going to use.
2 - Inspection and First Power-Up