Author Topic: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way  (Read 1354 times)

*Brum6y*

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Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« on: November 30, 2015, 02:58:06 PM »
I have an older computer running a 32 bit version of XP, sporting a dual core AMD CPU and 2GB of RAM.  It has served well, but my computing desires will demand a complete new system sometime in the not too distant future (No - it's NOT gaming) - but until that time comes, I looked at a couple of simple things I could do to ease the wait.

First was an O/S upgrade to Windows 7 Pro - 64 bit.  It seemed a bit wasteful to run a 64 bit processor at 32 bit - and the 64 bit driver desperation of the early years is all but a distant memory.  The upgrade process itself was somewhat tedious - but I did my homework and there were no surprises.  I did have one program I needed that refused to run properly under Win 7 - but I was able to set up XP mode and it worked fine in there.


Next was the RAM.  8GB of Kingston to max out the motherboard capability.  Found some on eBay and sniped it up for $86 plus postage.  I was pleased to see it arrive in a reasonable cardboard box, but felt uneasy when I saw each stick sitting naked inside its own zip lock bag.

People may claim that all the hype about static is rubbish while others are convinced any contact with a regular plastic bag by anything electronic spells instant death.  The truth lies somewhere in between, leaning away from the panic merchants - but - the danger is real.  What all the precautions aim to do is reduce the RISK.

As such, I was hopeful that the RAM had survived unscathed - but when unpacking and handling the RAM sticks, I made sure I did all I could to reduce the risk of static damage.  After giving the contacts on the sticks a good clean, I cleaned out the dust from the sockets on the motherboard and gave them a nice cleansing spray of isopropyl alcohol.  Once dry, the RAM was installed and, with fingers crossed, I booted up to find 8GB detected.  Bewdy!  I then ran a memory test program and let it go for a bit over 2 hours before I was ready to relax.


Now we get to the CPU - and again looking on eBay.  First off, however, I did my homework to find out what CPU's were compatible with my motherboard and to focus on the top end.  Then, looking for these CPUs on eBay, I found many available in China - but I managed to find the one second on my list in Queensland.  It was a BIN with Best Offer - so I offered $10 less than was asked and about an hour later, it was accepted.

With the recent experience with the RAM, I added the following comment:
Note to seller
I trust you will ship with appropriate anti-static precautions. Thank you.

Well, I know it's only common sense ... but it was worth mentioning - wasn't it?

So, waiting for it to arrive, I was surprised to get a knock on the door and was greeted by the postie with a registered letter.  After signing my life away I retreated to my desk and ........

*Brum6y*

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Re: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2015, 03:09:14 PM »
Here is my envelope...



A true exercise of 'Re-use' .... but it's a bit thin:



... and the staples are far enough apart for you to look inside and see .... is that bubble wrap?!!!



Sure is....




*Brum6y*

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Re: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2015, 03:15:55 PM »
And here it is what was inside....



I'm not sliding anything around.  I don't want anything rubbing on anything or risk pins getting caught, so I'm just going to cut away the top layer and fold it back...



and then the second layer, to reveal ....



My ... new ... CPU.   Gulp.

At least it says it's the CPU I was after.



(You might notice it has now become intimately acquainted with an anti-static bag.)

*Brum6y*

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Re: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2015, 03:31:04 PM »
Amazingly, all the pins look perfect - but it wouldn't have taken a lot to have had a different outcome.  There was one small flake of plastic stuck on a couple of pins - but I carefully removed that.

The risk of static damage is far greater than it should have been - and I even raised that concern in a message to the seller, but I suppose I should have known better.  This is eBay, after all.

Now it comes to the installation ... with some trepidation.  I have no problems handling and installing CPUs with proper heatsinking - but this is the first one I will have dealt with that has a question mark over it.



See you on the other side.......

*Brum6y*

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Re: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 12:10:14 AM »
Well, I'm back and everything seems to be running OK.

Temperatures are a bit high, so it looks like a review of the cooling - but I was pretty much expecting it as the new CPU  does operate at higher power level.


Oh ... and for those that might have been champing at the bit to tell me to check for an updated BIOS - that was the first thing I did before any of the other steps ... and, yes, there was an update which was applied.

*CountessA*

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Re: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2015, 02:06:15 PM »
Yes, Brumby, I was indeed champing at the bit to tell you precisely that.

I am now out-champed and I think it's probably time for champagne and champignons to celebrate the victory of chance over static damage.

And... welcome to Win7 (which I like very much).

"No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is ...a part of the maine; ...any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde"

*Brum6y*

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Re: Budget computer upgrade - the eBay way
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2015, 03:41:33 PM »
Cooling review completed.

Actions taken:
- Changed case fan configuration from slightly convoluted to direct: In-Through-Out
- Added a 120mm case fan and replaced another (noisy) case fan - from spares I had laying around.
- Removed optical drive blanking panels from front of case for better air flow.  (Will dress that up with some open mesh later)
- Re-dressed internal cabling for better air flow.
- Replaced solid aluminium CPU heatsink and fan with heat pipe style ($29 at local computer shop).

I also made a more critical effort at dressing the cabling outside the case, especially around the air exhaust areas.  This wasn't too bad to begin with - but I thought that while I was making the effort, I'd go the extra mile (or 10 yards in this case).

It's a rather warm day here, but even so, temperatures are down by 18°C or so compared to before.  Much better.