Building a computer (will it work?)

Ok, so I’m building a new budget PC for my parents. Currently, they have a good IDE (ATA 66) HDD, and an analog flatscreen monitor, and an old case, keyboard, mouse etc.

This is the setup I have found so far:
Sempron 2800+ Processor
Gigabyte Motherboard
MSI GeForce 6600LE, PCI-E, 256mb
512mb Corsair PC3200 memory
CDRW drive
Processor cooler- removed, thanks digital_me ;)
Quiet(er) PSU

The total comes to £238.59

As the motherboard is out of stock, and there is no telling when it will be back in stock, I am also considering going with the Asustek motherboard (requiring a power pin adapter)

Asustek motherboard
PSU/Mbo pin adapter

So, my question is: will this all work together? I feel it is good value, but of course you can correct me if I am wrong :wink:

You really don’t need a processor cooler, since the cpu comes with a heatsink and a fan.

Ah! Well spotted. Thanks :wink:

A word of warning, DON’T BUY FROM DABS!

They are fine if everything goes smoothly, but if you have any problems or queries they are non-contactable. They only work by emails, and ignore them. There is no phone service or store to go to to complain or try to sort things out.

They are cheap, but IMHO it is not worth it. Try to find somewhere nearly as cheap that has a phone service or a shopfront near you. This will mean that if there are any issues (i.e. the components arrive damaged) then you will actually be able to exchange them. Dabs will try not to make it possible for you to do this.

Just my experience (and from google that of a lot of other people)


What OS are you going to be using? I would recommend checking for those products you want. I checked newegg’s price on that processor, and it was $13 USD fewer, I think 7 british pounds or so. Also, newegg has been rock solid in terms of reliability, I nearly built a whole computer using them, and everything went very well. Hope this helps.


buying from the UK? Only one place I trust is

Satisfied customer here, bought all my stuff from there. Plus their forums are generally good fun too.


I have also had good experiences with NewEgg. Amazing shipping deals!

I’d watch out with the 2800 sempron, is it the socket A version or socket 754 ? If it’s socket A don’t bother it’s a cut down Athlon ‘thoroughbred’ core and so old that it’s best avoided. You’d be better off with a same clock Athlon XP ‘barton’ core.

I found that when I built a Sempron 2800 socket 754 machine for my parents recently that for very little more I could have bought a 64bit Athlon instead. I was trying to stick to a budget but really was blinded by hitting the budget rather than looking at the specs closely.

However the sempron is a good chip and if your reusing an old socket A mobo and memory makes for a cheap system.

good luck and watch the power supply connections you’re going to need, the mobo I chose needed a P4 power connection from the PSU as well as the usual. Added an extra $45 to the bill for the PSU.

Just saw the ‘overclockers’ reference, a mate from the UK swore by them until they argued about excepting a card payment from him even though he’d bought numerous times previously so he went to and saved himself £35.00. :slight_smile:

I always use directron, and they’ve been very good for me.

Don’t get a sempron unless all you’re doing is wordprocessing, it’s just a cut down Athlon Throughbred cored. I got one for my server since I’m not doing anything processor intensive, and it works fine for that purpose.

Get an Athlon XP (Barton) if possible.

And check out They are quite literally loads better than any other place I’ve ever found, speedy, much cheaper than anywhere else (generally by 10-30 USD on most items over 50) and just plain hassle free.

I’ve never had to send anything back to them but from what I hear they’re pretty good about it.

Hi all, I would if I could, but I live in the UK so I cant :frowning: Yes, I did read about that no-contact policy :expressionless: . Unfortunately I have already ordered ( :expressionless: ), so I just hope that all goes well…

@Sempron: The chip is the new socket 754 version. According to the Dabs page, the chip refrence is SDA2800BXBOX. That means that it has 64bit AMD64 extensions (i assume this means it is 64bit), and 1.6ghz. I looked at some reviews, and the general concensus is that whereas the old socket A semprons (Thoroughbred core) were really pretty bad, the new 754 ones, being based on a different core (apparently Palermo), are much better. Of course I am just reading this and writing it down, I have no clue what the truth is.

Oh, and in one review they were able to overclock the sempron to 150% ( [!] )

So, I take it that everything will work together? *breaths a sigh of relief

Oh, by the way, I decided to go with the Asus mbo, and in the end I didnt need the 20/24pin adapter because a review mentioned that there are both ports on the mbo itself.

Arghh!! Disaster!

Everything arrived fine, assembled well (apart from shoddy not-to-spec dell case), but when I turned it on the fans spun and nothing else! They screen did nothing, the lights on the keyboard did nothing, etc.

According to the brief tech support on the Asus site, as I think the motherboard is the problem (due to the keyboard not lighting), the sempron 2800+ is supported “in later bios revisions”, and this could cause the computer not to boot. The solution? Flash the bios with the driver from within a dos boot.

[!] [!]

So, anyone know how to boot a non booting computer into dos?

You’re now faced with the fun task of removing unimportant pieces until it works. By that I mean, remove any pci/pci-x/agp cards from the slots. Keep only one stick of memory in. Don’t attach a keyboard. Remove any USB devices. Make SURE everything is seated (firmly in the slot). Sometimes you have to be rough with the equipment to get it in. Additionally, make sure you’ve attached your processor to the correct place. Your motherboard should have come with a blue-print like paper telling you what goes where/gets connected to what. All motherboards come with a limited OS already on them (a form of PC-DOS, in your case) and that’s what they’re talking about when they say flash it from the DOS prompt. When you get the computer to boot up, follow their directions. Also, go into the BIOS and enable legacy USB support (support for USB in DOS; it’ll recognize usb devices on startup that way).

Good luck,

Um, it doesnt make it to the bios. It just does nothing. I’ve checked and re-checked… the support @ asus say it could be the gfx, but I think its the mbo because the lights on the keyboard for caps lock etc stay dark. Also, the mbo never accesses the IDE devices (eg. to boot windows).


I had this happen with a pc that I built once. The problem was that there were washers that went between the motherboard and the screws that secure it to the case, that I had neglected to put on. I unscrewed the motherboard, put on the washers, and everything worked.

Best of luck troubleshooting your problem,


Connect up a speaker to the point on the mobo (should be in your mobo manual and refer the beeps given by the speaker to the relevent error code (you should be able to find out these from the web as there are only AMI and Award bioses used by ASUS AFAIK. This will tell you if it is the video card.

Do all the fans etc start up? If so it isn’t the PSU.

Is your precessor fitted correctly, if not you will only get a blank screen.

Is your RAM correctly fitted, ditto.

The motherboard won’t do ANYTHING without a video card. No bios, no nothing. It will stop dead with the bleep tone refering to “No graphics card”

Having build many computers I can safely say that most of the time it doesn’t work because you have done something wrong, so recheck everything.


Edit: My X2 wasn’t supported by my mobo bios revision. Doesn’t stop it booting, just means it won’t run at a decent speed.

Erm… speakers connected to the sound device, but no beeper etc connected to the motherboard-beeper-thingy as I had to mod connecters on the power switch to get even that to work (old dell case).

The fans start.

The screen is black.

The motherboard completes its memory/gfx initilisation/other hardware init ok (according to tech support/the speed of the fans).

In fact, my problem is a bit like this.

Quite a lot like this except my fans keep spinning and my memory is better.

Wait- the bios tag on the mbo says it is revision 1008, thats 2 revisions more than necessary to support the processor–

Wait again, unplugged the ram, plugged in the speakers, and I got an audio debug message (!). Did the same to the processor, another message (!). Gfx- no message :(. According to the manual, there should have been one! The list goes:

CPU uninstalled
Failed CPU test
Failed memory test
Failed VGA test
Failed due to CPU overclocking
No keyboard

Well, I’ve definately never gotten past the VGA test then, somehow the test hangs before it can announce its failure…

Well, later tonight I will pull another PCI-E card out of my hat (long story) and try that. Hopefully that will fix the problem… or something…

Oh yeah, I remember that ASUS audio debug thing, had it on my A7V.

So it seems that the problem could be with the graphics card, but if it is it isn’t straightforward, as the card seems to pass the test - but not be able to display info to the screen. If it failed the POST reporter should tell you.

The graphics card swap seems the right course of action, unfortunately this seems to imply that at least one component is faulty…

Good luck, :-?


Yes, but not only is the graphics card failing, but it is crashing the BIOS POST as well. Otherwise, we would assume that it would flag that the keyboard/IDE was unplugged. Is this correct?


I thought dabs was great i got a graphics card from them and it kind of didnt work .

(Not saying who broke it :wink: ).

Anyway all you do is go onto there website say you are returning an item. And either wish your money back or get a replacement.

Postman comes to pick it up and with in afew days postman was back with new graphics card.

Good thing was they never asked how it got broken. :slight_smile: Although if you hardware does brake you must have it ready and ordered to return with in 30 days of getting it.