First-time PC builder using Chaintech 7NJL6. Please save me from myself...

Discussion in 'Chaintech' started by Bart, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. Bart

    Bart Guest

    I'll try not to bore you with the whole sordid story, but I'm an
    all-Mac, all-the-time ex-graphic repairman who now owns a retail biz
    (hobby shop), and am forced, for technical reasons, to go to the Dark
    Side (sorry -- Windows gives me the creeps, but ya gotta do what ya
    gotta do). Having for many years worked as an electronics assembler
    (and NASA-certified solderer) in the aircraft industry, I thought
    putting a mere computer together would be the proverbial piece o' cake.
    Well, I was wrong -- I made the mistake of buying one of TigerDirect's
    offcast Soyo K7VME barebones kits, the one with the case air
    circulation problem. After several attempts, one dead motherboard, one
    trashed power supply, and one dead Athlon XP2800+, I decided to go with
    a better box and board to go with the Athlon XP3000+ I got after I
    RMA'd the 2800.

    So, I got a nice big aluminum Skyhawk server case, a ThermalTake
    PurePower 420W PS,the Chaintech 7NJL6 and the following stuff:

    Athlon XP3000+ Barton (NOT mobile)
    ThermalTake TR2-M2 CPU cooler
    Ultra PC3200 DDR 400MHz 1GB x 2
    Chaintech GeForce FX 5700 / 256MB DDR / AGP 8X
    Western Digital Caviar 200GB HD
    Megastor (NEC) Dual Layer DVD Burner combo drive
    Mitsumi FDD/multi-media reader
    Oh yeah, and Windows (shudder) XP Home...

    The use this box will be put to is POS, accessing a couple of my nitwit
    distributors who use Windows-only online ordering systems, and -- the
    one area I will readily admit PCs have it all over Macs -- games;
    especially Grand Prix Legends.

    I've been using mechBgon's guide to building your first PC from parts:

    http://www.omnicast.net/~tmcfadden/guides/build/

    which is a great help, but I REALLY don't want to go through the hell I
    experienced with the Sorry Soyo, so any upfront advice you could give
    me to make this box actually work would be greatly appreciated. I don't
    want to overclock the thing, I just want it to work and be stable.

    You can reply here or by email:


    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    Bart
    Bart, Aug 4, 2005
    #1
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  2. Re: First-time PC builder using Chaintech 7NJL6. Please save me frommyself...

    Bart wrote:
    > I'll try not to bore you with the whole sordid story, but I'm an
    > all-Mac, all-the-time ex-graphic repairman who now owns a retail biz
    > (hobby shop), and am forced, for technical reasons, to go to the Dark
    > Side (sorry -- Windows gives me the creeps, but ya gotta do what ya
    > gotta do). Having for many years worked as an electronics assembler
    > (and NASA-certified solderer) in the aircraft industry, I thought
    > putting a mere computer together would be the proverbial piece o' cake.
    > Well, I was wrong -- I made the mistake of buying one of TigerDirect's
    > offcast Soyo K7VME barebones kits, the one with the case air
    > circulation problem. After several attempts, one dead motherboard, one
    > trashed power supply, and one dead Athlon XP2800+, I decided to go with
    > a better box and board to go with the Athlon XP3000+ I got after I
    > RMA'd the 2800.
    >
    > So, I got a nice big aluminum Skyhawk server case, a ThermalTake
    > PurePower 420W PS,the Chaintech 7NJL6 and the following stuff:


    I teach an A+ certification class at a local college and we tried to use
    the Chaintech 7NJL6 motherboards with the AMD Sempron 2800+ CPU's.

    We had no success at all. Several systems were no POST, one blew up a
    power supply, the CPU and the RAM.

    We wound up RMA'ing all of them, replacing the motherboards with MSI
    boards that work fine.

    It seems that there are some 7NJL6's that are OK, but if you get a bad
    one - you are screwed.

    It's funny, I have the Soyo K7VME system you describe with an Athlon
    XP3000+ and it works just fine. This was the one that was $20 after
    rebates for the barebone system. I had to add CPU & heatsink, RAM, HD.
    Been using it for about a year, added an additional case fan to improve
    airflow and I've been very happy.

    Good luck!

    John
    --
    John P. Dearing
    A+, Network+, Server+
    To reply: Just drop "YOURPANTS" in my address! :cool:
    John P. Dearing, Aug 5, 2005
    #2
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  3. Bart

    Bart Guest

    Well, THAT's heartening news! My experience with the K7VME was the
    opposite: I could get all the fans whirling and the pretty lights
    blinking, but no POST whatsoever, and this was with the mainboard lying
    prostrate off the side of the case (on a non-conductive surface, of
    course), far away from the impinging PSU, and with a clean, even, and
    light application of Arctic Silver 5 to the beautifully-lapped copper
    core of the Thermaltake TR2-M2 cooler.

    I'm spoiled, I guess -- all these years (16 now) of using Macs, where
    you open up the box, plug it in, and off you go -- I even have an old
    SuperMac S900 that I upgraded (against Apple's advice, of course) with
    a ZIF G3 daughtercard, a full Gig of RAM, and an Initio Miles RAID
    controller running two Seagate Barracudas in RAID 0. Plugged everything
    in, fired it up, and it ran immediately with no hiccups whatsoever.
    Seven years and many OS versions later, it's STILL running hiccup-free.

    Has ANYONE gotten a Chaintech 7NJL6 to actually work as advertised?
    Frankly, I bought it because A) NewEgg had a good deal, and B) I
    already had a Chaintech GeForce video card and thought -- probably
    naively -- that having the video card and mainboard from the same
    manufacturer might smooth things out a little.

    Is my best bet to RMA the 7NJL6 and look for a board that might
    possibly work? I was looking forward to 400MhZ FSB, Hyper-Threaded
    Hooey, and twice-pipes DDR PC3200 RAM, now that I ended up with a
    Socket A XP3000+ chip (the K7VME didn't support any of that stuff,
    AFAICT) -- should I just send the whole mess back and buy a nice old
    286?

    I have to say that with all the hanky-jiggled over-clocked
    nitrogen-cooled systems I read about ripping through Quake and Doom in
    quadruple-time, I thought it wouldn't be beyond the capabilities of a
    moderately skilled person (I'm also a journeyman experimental
    machinist) to put a simple WinBlows PC together. I go to all the
    hardware sites -- Anand, Tom's, Sharky Extreme -- and all I see are
    Athlon 64 rigs (I don't like Intel). Yes, Socket A/462 is NOT the
    current state-of-the-art, but it's at an excellent price point and all
    I need for my meager tasks -- MORE than I need, really, but I DO like
    racing sims, and I'd like a decent framerate.

    I'm open to any advice. I probably should've bought one of those
    $129.00 ISellSurplus Dell PIII pancakes and just said to hell with it.

    Discouraged

    Bart
    Bart, Aug 5, 2005
    #3
  4. Bart

    Tony Clark Guest

    "Bart" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    SNIP

    >
    > I'm spoiled, I guess -- all these years (16 now) of using Macs, where
    > you open up the box, plug it in, and off you go -- I even have an old
    > SuperMac S900 that I upgraded (against Apple's advice, of course) with
    > a ZIF G3 daughtercard, a full Gig of RAM, and an Initio Miles RAID
    > controller running two Seagate Barracudas in RAID 0. Plugged everything
    > in, fired it up, and it ran immediately with no hiccups whatsoever.
    > Seven years and many OS versions later, it's STILL running hiccup-free.
    >


    If you want that kind of experience get a Dell. You can open the box plug it
    in and go. I have an old Gateway with a Pentium II that is still
    operational, although it really can't run new versions of Windows (it does
    run Linux reasonably well).

    Last time I checked no one was building barebones Mac systems. Is it even
    possible to build your own Mac PC? One of the reasons you had a good
    experience with Macs is because you paid a premium price for a ready made
    system controlled by a single company (Apple). Unfortunately (or fortunately
    depending on how you look at it) in the Windows world Microsoft decided that
    common, cheap hardware was better than overall system reliability and
    functionality.

    > Has ANYONE gotten a Chaintech 7NJL6 to actually work as advertised?
    > Frankly, I bought it because A) NewEgg had a good deal, and B) I
    > already had a Chaintech GeForce video card and thought -- probably
    > naively -- that having the video card and mainboard from the same
    > manufacturer might smooth things out a little.
    >


    In theory having parts from the same manufacturer is a good thing as far as
    compabability, but not always.

    > Is my best bet to RMA the 7NJL6 and look for a board that might
    > possibly work? I was looking forward to 400MhZ FSB, Hyper-Threaded
    > Hooey, and twice-pipes DDR PC3200 RAM, now that I ended up with a
    > Socket A XP3000+ chip (the K7VME didn't support any of that stuff,
    > AFAICT) -- should I just send the whole mess back and buy a nice old
    > 286?
    >


    So did you read the specs on the K7VME board or did you just ignore them?

    > I have to say that with all the hanky-jiggled over-clocked
    > nitrogen-cooled systems I read about ripping through Quake and Doom in
    > quadruple-time, I thought it wouldn't be beyond the capabilities of a
    > moderately skilled person (I'm also a journeyman experimental
    > machinist) to put a simple WinBlows PC together. I go to all the
    > hardware sites -- Anand, Tom's, Sharky Extreme -- and all I see are
    > Athlon 64 rigs (I don't like Intel). Yes, Socket A/462 is NOT the
    > current state-of-the-art, but it's at an excellent price point and all
    > I need for my meager tasks -- MORE than I need, really, but I DO like
    > racing sims, and I'd like a decent framerate.
    >
    > I'm open to any advice. I probably should've bought one of those
    > $129.00 ISellSurplus Dell PIII pancakes and just said to hell with it.
    >


    Overclockers tend towards AMD processors since they tend to overclock better
    than some Intel chips .The idea of overclocking is to get more performance
    out of the CPU without having to pay high prices for faster parts.
    Overclocking is NOT for the amateur which, with all due respect, you sound
    like. There are lots of guides and sites that offer great information on
    OC'ing but in the end your success is a matter of luck, magic and and
    hundreds of BSODs and reboots.

    As for getting better graphics performance you would do well to go back to
    Tom's Hardware and AnandTech and read up on the video card reviews.
    Optimizing video performance is a combination of having a fast CPU combined
    with a fast GPU. If they're not paired properly you'll either get poor video
    performance or you'll have a lot of graphics horsepower going unused.

    My advice to you is to go out and spend about that same amount as a Mac and
    get a ready made system that will run Windows and give you the gaming
    experience you are looking for. You could probably get a decent system put
    together for under $2,000 (USD).

    Cheers
    TC
    Tony Clark, Aug 5, 2005
    #4
  5. Bart

    Bart Guest

    TC ejaculated:

    "Is it even possible to build your own Mac PC?"

    Not without using most of the same Apple-branded components you'd get
    if you bought a Mac. It IS possible to reconfigure a Mac, update an
    older Mac, and generally do many of the things PC builders -- rank
    amateur and otherwise -- do when they build a WinBloze box. The
    difference is that Apple's stricter (by several orders of magnitude)
    compliance standards generally result in something that works without
    hours or weeks of user fiddling about.

    " Overclocking is NOT for the amateur which, with all due respect, you
    sound like."

    And which I admitted upfront that I *am*. I also said I had no interest
    in overclocking.

    "So did you read the specs on the K7VME board or did you just ignore
    them?"

    As I said, I started out with an Athlon XP2800+. By the time I found
    that the CPU was DOA, I'd already found out that not only was the Soyo
    K7VME also DOA, but that the reason TigerDirect (aka "NeverAgain") was
    dumping these Soyo barebones kits for 20 bucks or whatever was because
    the idiot mid-tower design put Soyo's No-Namo PSU right on top of the
    CPU, concentrating heat in the worst possible area. Many people shared
    their Soyo barebones horror stories with me, and even Soyo tech as much
    as admitted that the case design was an embarrassment to everyone
    involved. After all THAT enlightenment, I decided to abandon the K7VME
    for something which would give me a little better performance -- a
    hopeful aspiration that has so far proven to be illusory at best. So
    can you read?

    "As for getting better graphics performance you would do well to go
    back to Tom's Hardware and AnandTech and read up on the video card
    reviews."

    Fortunately, I don't have to read things much more than once to
    understand what they say -- I actually went with the Chaintech graphics
    card as a result of reviews on several sites, including AnandTech and
    Tom's. I'm sorry to find out at this juncture that they don't know what
    they're talking about. Live and learn.

    "or you'll have a lot of graphics horsepower going unused."

    Call me crazy, but that particular possibility didn't rank high on my
    list of priorities. As I said, I'm well aware that Socket A boards
    aren't the high-end of the spectrum this week, but I was fairly
    confident -- apparently due to my own rank amateur stupidity -- that
    the Barton-core Athlon XP3000+ was a couple notches above a Sinclair
    ZX80, and that the nVidia GeForce FX 5700 was still considered a
    modestly capable graphics processor. Silly me.

    I'm delighted you felt free to impress me (or somebody) with your
    command of acronyms and such, but since you didn't seem to really get
    the gist of my original message -- my poor communication skills are the
    culprit, I'm sure -- your advice missed the mark by a couple
    parasangs, I'm afraid.

    My first mistake was in assuming that Chaintech actually made a product
    that worked as advertised and as reviewed by many folks a lot smarter
    than I am. What I failed to take into account was that neither
    Chaintech nor any of Anand's, Tom's, or Sharky's reviewers were as
    smart as you. I'm still curious though, that so many ostensibly
    knowledgable people could be wrong about the same thing. More curious
    still, I can't shake the feeling that somehow, both Chaintech's 7NJL6
    motherboard and GeForce FX 5700 graphics have actually worked, possibly
    even TOGETHER, in somebody's box.

    My second mistake was exposing my ignorance on this DL. That won't
    happen again.
    Bart, Aug 5, 2005
    #5
  6. Bart

    Zilla Guest

    "Bart" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Has ANYONE gotten a Chaintech 7NJL6 to actually work as advertised?


    Mine is running fine with AMD Athlon XP 3000+ and 512M dual-channel DDR
    at 400MHz FSB. Even the SATA drive works - as advertised!

    --
    - Zilla
    Cary, NC USA
    (Remove XSPAM)
    Zilla, Aug 10, 2005
    #6
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