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Author Topic: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865  (Read 9248 times)

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rkoppenTopic starter

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As I am seeing a lot of the same questions regarding the Mega 865 I created this document,


29-Oct-2004 Added Northwood benefits
29-Oct-2004 Emphasized NOT to use live update for bios update


Processors in general

Start with the processor, I would say get something around 3 gighz (give or take) which is quite affordeble. If you are going for a prescott, make sure you upgrade your bios to 1.3 (see below).It will run a bit hot (understatement) otherwise.
If going for northwood any version is ok I believe. When I chose mine I let $$$ descide, and the prescott was on sale. (If I would buy a CPU for the Mega again, I would most likely go for a Northwood this time). Before buying your processor make sure your processor is supported, you can find the supported processors here;

http://cweb.msi.com.tw/program/products/slim_pc/slm/pro_slm_cpu_support_detail.php?UID=547&kind=4

Harddisk

As for Harddisk, I would suggest anything goes but take a serial ata since that is becoming the new standard nowadays.

When buying a HD larger than 130 Gig, make sure you install from a Windows XP SP1 CD (or higher) or divide your HD in smaller pieces. Otherwise you will not get a bigger partition than 130 Gigs.

DVD/CDROM

As for DVD/CD player, there is a special thread (see below) where everyone states if their DVD/CD player is working with the mega (there are some issues with some drives in HiFi mode, EVEN if they are MSI)

Mega PC barebones optical drive compatibility list

Memory

As for memory, get at least 512 Mb or 1024 Mb if you want to sit cosy. two sticks of DDR400 (a.k.a 3200) will do. Get a a-brand like Kingston, Samsung or look around on the forums what will work.

Installing Windows XP

Before installing Windows disable your USB devices, if you fail to do this you run the chance of not installing Windows XP on your C: drive (harddisk) and this will cause you trouble later on. After installation is complete you may enable them again.

Prescott processors & full size AGP cards

As for the GPU (Graphics card), this depends on what you are going to do with it. If you wanna try out at showshifting, and viewing get one with integrated TV tuner. Or use the on-board (some people are quite happy with it) and add a separate PCI tv tuner. If you wanna do hefty gaming (Doom3, Far Cry ... etc) you may want to get an better one. I'm quite happy with my Radeon 9800.

Please note; According to MSI, Prescott processors in combination with full-size AGP (add-in) cards are not supported. This is most likely a power issue since the full-size cards use a lot of power to run. Some forum members, stuborn as they are, are running with a full-size card.

:rtfm:Also note that you are installing a full-size card on your own risk in combination with a Prescott processor.

To calculate your estimated power supply take a look here;

http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/

The following graphics cards seem to be working (please add to this thread if you have tested a full-size card with a Prescott processor so I can add it to this document)

Club3D Radeon AIW 9800 PRO
ATI Radeon ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 XT
ATI Radeon 9800 SE
AOPEN Aeolus 5900XT 128 Mb

:biggthumbsup: Wise words from Stu:
If you do not want to take chances, go with a Northwood processor. Apperantly there is little perfomance difference between a Northwood and a Prescott processor, and the Northwood runs slightly cooler too.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 & Bios Update

When installing Windows XP with SP2 make sure you have the latest Bios version loaded (1.3) or install a Microsoft work-around fix. SP2 will not install without it, and you will have a hard time getting your system to work.

The Microsoft work-around fix can be found here;

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;885626


The latest bios version can be downloaded here;

http://www.msi.com.tw/program/support/bios/bos/spt_bos_detail.php?UID=547&kind=4

To install the latest bios, I would advise against using live-update. Use one of the following options instead;

1) Burn a bootable CD-Rom also containing the bios and flash software, (note some of the original Win98 CD's are bootable to MS-DOS prompt)
2) Create a bootable USB-memory key

--- Download the HP util to create one

--- http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/files/hpcpqdt/us/download/20306.html

--- Then create a bootable floppy on an other system or download from

--- http://www.allbootdisks.com/

--- (I used the Win98SE No ramdrive )

--- Then use the HP tool (on an system with an floppy drive) and enter a: as the source for booting,
--- and use the above created floppy.

--- Then copy the rest of the files from the a:\ drive (like autoexec.bat, config.sys etc) to the memory key.

--- ... and ... voila one bootable USB

--- make sure in the bios that the boot order of the USB key is before the Harddisk and your set to go.

3) Attach a floppy drive to the Mega 865

Bios update failure

Some people still manage to goof-up their bios, by doing the bios update from windows (winflash, live-update). I think there is only one road to travel when this happens, you have to attach a floppy drive to your mega. Then follow the following instructions (Award bios)

http://www.msi.com.tw/html/support/bios/note/boot.htm

:undecided: Good luck !

PC-Alert

Do not use the PC-Alert version from the MSI website as this does not work together with your Mega 865, instead only use the one on the CD-Rom that was supplied. In general even the supplied PC-Alert has caused a lot of grief (Taking up resources, reboot problems ... etc). If you choose to install PC-Alert, at least remove it from your start-up folder where it is installed. You can always start it manually from the MSI menu in your Start menu.

A good alternative to Pc-Alert is Speedfan, this program should be able to spot your 2 temeperature sensored CPU fans. You can then connect these fans to the CPU temperature sensor and be able to tweak the RPM's according to your need. Speedfan 4.17 can be found here;

http://www.almico.com/speedfan417.exe

Temperatures

As these tiny PC's have very little space, it is quite normal for them to run a bit hot. Do not be alarmed to see CPU temperatures around 60-65 degrees when running on load (depending on your processor of course).

Wireless Network adapter

As for wireless internet, the mega865 has a built-in mini-pci nic (network card). which supports only the 11 Mbps data rate. I think you have to try it out and see how it goes, you can always upgrade to 54 Mbps. I would suggest to get a 54Mbps access point, so you can always upgrade if needed (54Mbps will also work with 11 Mbps) Some forum members have succesfully replaced their Wireless Network adapters with a 54Mbps one. The following network adapters seem to be working;(please add to this thread if you have tested a wireless 54Mbps network adapter so I will add it to this document)

Intel PRO/Wireless BG Network Adapter

6 Channel sound

I recently bought a 5.1 set from Soundblaster. You can connect the 3 connectors to the back of your Mega, then in the Sound util set it up for 5.1 surround sound and you are ready to go. Definately worth it !

Reboot problems

When you run into problems when the Mega reboots suddenly, watch out for a couple of things.

Always check your event/log viewer. It is in your configuration management, but the easiest way to start it is to enter the following in your Run or Command line entry

eventvwr /s

Check if you see red-dots in your application section or system section. Google the problems before dropping them on the forum ! (As most problems are not Mega related IMHO)

One problem I had was caused by BITS 1.5, I had to upgrade to BITS 2.0. (I think it was recently released by Microsoft-Update but I mention it anyway). Bits 1.5 caused my Mega to reboot.

LCD Display / Sound problems

If you have any problems where your front LCD display is not working or your on-board sound is 'missing' first try unplugging your mega from the power outlet (so completely powering down) for 2 minutes. If you still have problems, drop them on this forum.

LCD API ?

Alas, no external programs are available to 'drive' your LCD display. Nor will MSI release an API/Blue print on how to control it.


If you find anything missing here or have additional tips, please add them to this thread and I will update this document.

Good luck with your Mega !

Raymond
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MSI Mega 865 Deluxe
Prescott 3Ghz P4 Mobo-bios 1.3
Kingston 1024Mb (2x 512 DDR400)
WD Sata 200GB HD - Windows XP Home SP2
LG GSA 4040B DVD+-R Writer
Club3D Radeon AIW 9800 PRO
 :angryfire:CPU temp :62oC under load / 54oC idle :angryfire:

Normunds

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« Reply #1 on: 27-October-04, 10:05:41 »

You are very politically-correct to avoid discussion about Media Center and the "native" MSI TV tuner card.... :biggthumbsup:
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otrofox

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« Reply #2 on: 27-October-04, 10:22:24 »

and... this fabulous remote  :-P)

Very very functional but very very very very piece of shi t (slow and short range)

and... what about the LCD? What can we do with it? See temps? See the time?  :biggthumbsdown:

Sorry, I needed it!!!  :angryfire: :angryfire:
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Stu

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« Reply #3 on: 27-October-04, 12:40:14 »

rkoppen i salute you  :biggthumbsup:

a truly glorious summing up of the main points asked about the Mega 865 in particular, although many points will invariably refer also to the other Mega series

if i can add my tuppence worth, anyone considering going for a powerful graphics card can always shy away from the prescott

i was reading an article just when the prescott core cpus came out and the review basically said that there wasn't really much performance wise between the new prescott and the older Northwood cores.

obviously newer prescotts have higher clock speeds now (3.2? 3.4??), but surely a 2.8ghz CPU is still going to be powerful enough to play the latest games!! (in conjunction with a top graphics card obviously)

is the extra temp increase surely worth the extra couple of hundred mhz?
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rkoppenTopic starter

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Re: feedback
« Reply #4 on: 27-October-04, 14:16:36 »

@Normunds:

I'm not using the MC so I dare not write anything about it... nor have I got a MSI tuner card, so I'm a bit reluctant to judge that part also. I still do not have my AIW part working yet.  :undecided:

@Stu:

Good point I will update a bit in the processor section

Ray
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MSI Mega 865 Deluxe
Prescott 3Ghz P4 Mobo-bios 1.3
Kingston 1024Mb (2x 512 DDR400)
WD Sata 200GB HD - Windows XP Home SP2
LG GSA 4040B DVD+-R Writer
Club3D Radeon AIW 9800 PRO
 :angryfire:CPU temp :62oC under load / 54oC idle :angryfire:

ZicWiz

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RKoppen ROCKS!
« Reply #5 on: 27-October-04, 14:29:05 »

Always loud and clear!
Grande RK  :biggthumbsup:
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MCFille

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« Reply #6 on: 11-January-05, 19:57:03 »

Hey there! I'm new to the forum, but I've been browsing around for some time and just wanted to say thanks for a great forum, and this great thread!

I'd also like to inform you all that the MEGA 865 works nicely with GeForce 6600 GT cards, since I installed one today!
Go get yours!  :biggthumbsup:
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hal9001

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #7 on: 28-April-05, 17:19:43 »

After plugging in the processor, RAM and HD and using the MEGA 865 in PC mode,  the LCD panel stopped working.  :biggthumbsdown:   It mysteriously worked one time  after unplugging the power as others have tried in this forum.  Anyone know anything else I can try to get the LCD to work again?  :think:
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Stu

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #8 on: 28-April-05, 17:56:06 »

start a new thread, you will get better help that way, rather than posting in this tips thread

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willa

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #9 on: 27-May-05, 15:18:53 »

rkoppen rules enzo jaja,

I'm trying to install InstantOn on a new 865. Yes, read the fantastic manual (S-ATA on legacy an all, 300MB unpartitioned space), but I end up in a bash-shell. If I run the setupscript in the installation folder it creates the same result as a "clear" command would do. I've fiddled a bit with the slave and master settings on the dvd-player but to no avail. I had a "failure to untar the image" once, but in about 40 reboots the bash shell is the most constant thing I get.  ;-((

Come to the point, you might say, well here it is: Anybody out there who succeeded in running instanton on a 80GB sata disk?

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Stu

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #10 on: 27-May-05, 15:21:26 »

willa, please start your own thread, as you need help with the new 865PRO, not the 865
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Unknow

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #11 on: 07-June-05, 22:04:19 »

Thank U
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IceBerG71

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #12 on: 06-September-05, 11:44:19 »

Just wish to ask if those who purchase a MSI 865 or a 865 Pro

When you all added in the additional AGP graphics card, be it a Geforce or a ATI, does it work in hifi mode with watching DVD through those DVI output to connect to a LCD TV for viewing DVD?

My local shops dare not guarantee it works. it just say shall work. i need to know before purchasing for my Home Theatre System..

Thanx for the time
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Stu

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Re: Things to know before (and after) building a Mega 865
« Reply #13 on: 06-September-05, 13:43:08 »

this thread is for the Mega 865. i will at a later date attempt to consolidate what we know already into a new 865PRO sticky!

in the meantime, your answer is no: Mega 865PRO and Instanton - useful info, look in the link in my second post in that topic

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