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TechZone Heading
Setting Up Your New AMD Thunderbird
Added on: Thu Apr 05 2001
Page: 2 3 4 

You’ve read the forums, you’ve visited the hardware sites, you are an informed individual, you go online, purchase components, and before you know it your new 1.333 Gigahertz Thunderbird arrives in a shiny plastic case.
After a few minutes of trying to put the machine together, the frustration over takes you and you scream, waking up your neighbors and landlord, and before you know it, an eviction notice is on your door. How can you avoid this twist of fate? By carefully following the directions explained here.

Stage 1: Preparing Your Spouse/Loved Ones

A computer is a rather expensive piece of machinery. With the current price of computer hardware being so low, one might not think to inform one’s significant other of a major hardware purchase. This of course is quite a mistake, and can and will cause destruction or instability in a major hardware system. One must carefully formulate reasons for the purchase ahead of time. “I want to get 112 frames per second in Unreal at 1600x1200 so I can snipe Jason around the corner.” Is NOT a good reason. Formulate the purchase as follows. “These animations are taking quite a long time to finish. If I spend X amount of money on this upgrade, it would give me much more time to spend with you.” With the reasons (excuse) out of the way, we can go into the actual system building itself.

Stage 2: We need more Power!

This is one of the most important parts of the whole process. Verifying that you have the correct case and power supply for your new system. “But Greg”, you might say, “I have a pimping supercharged 250 Watt Power supply with dual 120 mm fans of airflow power”. Yes but is that power supply AMD certified? Is it going to produce a stable enough current for the motherboard.
250 Watts is NOT ENOUGH for an AMD system. There are some 250 watts which are AMD certified that barely meet the requirements, but I recommend going with a minimum of a 300 watt power supply, with more wattage preferred. 350 Watts is a pretty safe and
relatively happy number. Companies I recommend, Sparkle, Enlight, Supermicro, Enermax.

As for the case, look for one that will fit your form factor, (ATX), and look for a nice sized easily accessible one with decent airflow. Normally you look for fans in front and back. Blow holes and side fans are optional, and usually increase noise a pretty good amount.

Stage 3: Keeping it Cool

Ever accidently microwave a piece of metal and then try to pick it up? Similar effect to what your processor goes through in 8 seconds. 8 seconds and a nice puff of blue smoke, (Inhalants Kill) and goodbye expensive CPU.
“Why did this happen? Why?” Its all in the cooling my friend. AMD CPU’s generate an enormous amount of heat in a very short amount of time. This means they require excellent cooling, and possible safeguards to prevent said cooling from failing.
This means a good heatsink/fan combo, with an application of thermal grease. In some situations even the retail coolers found on the Thunderbird/Retail Boxed chips aren’t enough. My number one recommendation for a current heatsink/fan combo is the Vantec FCE-6254OD. This cooler is extremely easy to install, is quite efficient at cooling and is also inexpensive.

As for thermal grease I’ve found Vaseline to not work very well, even though many of you seem to use it quite often. Silver Nitrate Paste from www.thecoolingstore.com doesn’t conduct electricity and is quite the little cooling freak. Heat is definitely something that should not be overlooked (especially when making margarita’s).
A cool system is a happy system. (Unless its submerged in water).



 
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