building my first desktop

By dariquew ·
My sister gave me her old dell desktop minus the hard drive, and i figured id just get a new hard drive and put it back together. i had an old 10gb hd and popped it in to see how far i could get for kicks (i knew 10 gigs was not enough for what i want to do which is to run a virtual pc with vista and various other oses) as i powered the puppy up i heard the infamous motherboard beeps. after listening carefully and googling the beeps, i found that the built in video card was the issue. my question is, should i buy a new motherboard or just get a new video card. im hesitant to get a new video card because i may discover other issues that may cause me to dump the motherboard. however it may be the best solution. keep in mind i work an entry-level ech job and i am very poor.

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You are placing the cart before the horse ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to building my first desktop

You are also inventing problems before you have sorted out the first, most obvious, initial problem.

Where did this old HD come from?
What OS is installed on it?

Unless it came from an identical DELL machine, it is unlikely to boot successfully because the machine won't match the one it was installed in originally.

Until you run a fresh install in this machine, any error beeps will be totally erroneous.

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POST Issues

by TheChas In reply to building my first desktop

I assume that because of the beeps, that the system will not POST.

The first thing I would do, would be to evaluate what hardware the system has and how well it meets your requirements.

Just how old is this system?

What CPU does it have?

How much RAM can it take?

For Vista, you do want 2GB of RAM. If this board supports 1 GB or less, you will not be happy with the performance.

If the motherboard will support your needs, start with a used PCI video card and see what happens. If everything works well, you can consider a better video card. If it still has problems, you have not invested much to find that out.

A lot of OEM cases are not set up to mount standard ATX style motherboards. You may only be able to salvage the optical drives if you end up needing a new motherboard.


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Another possibility if you see the Dell Logo

by OH Smeg In reply to building my first desktop

Open the BIOS and set the computer to detect the HDD then save the changes when you exit BIOS.

It's possible that a different size HDD in some older systems can cause problems like this.

Of course if you are not even seeing a POST Screen or Dell Logo you can try removing the drive that you fitted and see what happens this time when you apply power.

Also if this is a IDE Type HDD the Data lead the wide flat one with the 40 Connector Plug on it has a Red Stripe down one side this has to go closest to the Power Plug on the HDD. If it's not plugged in the correct way unplug it and refit the proper way and see what happens now but just to be on the safe side you should enter the BIOS and make sure that the HDD is being seen.

Post back with the actual things that you see and not just the Beeps as they may not be telling you the truth. It is possible that you are misreading the Beep Code for something that it isn't. What should happen is you see the POST Screen Power On Self Test and hear 1 Beep now. If you hear a series of beeps before the POST Screen/Dell Logo disappears that is the Beep Code for a problem but if you are hearing the Beeps latter after the POST Screen/Dell Logo disappears they are telling you something else.


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