After trawling the web for a number of weeks, I finally took the plunge and went ahead. The very first strategy was to locate and find my motherboard serial number and computer version. Secondly, with a general PC by major computer companies HP, Dell, Packard Bell, you could find accessing all options in the BIOS on startup severely limited, as they are re-written to accommodate the various motherboard chip configurations influenced by the various models issued. So an upgrade may be necessary to enable dual core use. This was determined to function as case here. More with this later.
Undoubtedly the easiest way to get the serial number, would be to delve in the PC, always taking the precaution of removing all the power cables and ancillary add-ons. Additionally, wearing an anti-static wristband to’earth’yourself is very important to protect your brand-new CPU and internal semi-conductors investment. The motherboard serial number are available, usually between the PCI slots or around the edge of the board. These records may be obtained by utilizing various software packages and the windows system info option, but you want to keep this’bombproof’and cheap don’t we? Visually checking the hardware will do this and provide practice in overcoming worries of’operating’in your PC. At this stage we’re only looking aren’t we? The manufacturers website is generally forthcoming with hardware information once you’ve pinpointed your model, and this is often crosschecked with your physical findings. Pentium pro CPU scrap The old addage’measure twice – cut once’is quite apt in doing anything to your PC. Now finding your BIOS chip is also useful, taking note of the manufacturer and serial numbers. You might have a paper label which must be gently peeled back once again to reveal the information.
Ok, so the next stage was to get the fastest CPU recommended by HP in this instance, for the motherboard. The single core AMD 3700+ had never given me problems in the past but I came across it increasingly difficult to make use of Photoshop CS5 (32bit) with any speed. The setup was OK in preferences, CS5 Bridge however, was taking forever in opening images from my external hard drive. Continue to keep your irreplaceable files off the main PC! The fastest CPU readily available for the motherboard was an AMD x2 4800+ (socket 939, always check your socket is compatible!) Having read very favourable reviews on the CPU (top of the range on release, but price prohibitive originally $1001) I endeavoured to find one on Ebay. Low and behold, several used and new items were available at a tenth of the first price and one was secured. I understand many of you may think why these are old chips now and do not hold their very own compared to the state of the art CPU’s currently on the market. This really is an upgrade for an ageing PC (5years old!) remember, and for those on a restricted budget, the good qualities of upgrading outweigh the cons of purchasing a fresh PC.
Armed with the new chip I eagerly put on my wristband, removed the power supply plug, removed the side panal, located the fan and heatsink spring and removed them. Good opportunity to provide them an excellent clean using a quality decorators brush. I removed the CPU after releasing the retaining arm fully and dropped in the new CPU. Job done I thought, now we see if the BIOS really does need an upgrade. Power cable inserted, monitor attached, and fired up. Oh dear! Fan on overdrive, blank screen, wouldn’t even POST. Pulled the power and replaced the CPU with the’old’one and reassembled. Just an email here, there was lots of heatsinking paste left from the past installation. This was re-applied in every cases with an old bank card to assure a slim film and correct heat dissipation. The heatsink clip was fiddly- the rule- don’t force anything! You may damage the motherboard. Deep breaths and patience required.
BIOS update. What themselves bore deep into the soul and promote fear at the thought. If anyone has done this before and killed their PC then I will understand the trepidation. If it’s not broken, don’t correct it’is a great rule but in this instance, there’s no option. I had been there 4 years back and luckily the PC was still under warranty. New motherboard and CPU. Now, I was on my own. However, I’d just bought a CPU, so I was out of pocket there. I’d downloaded what I deemed to be the right BIOS update from HP. I’d also thought better of it and downloaded two bios updates from BIOSAgent.com for a demand of $37. Surely they had sent me the right choice ?.I’d given them the serial numbers and my upgrade intent. Was it actually the BIOS or had I bought a duff CPU? Only one way to find out. There clearly was no way out, short of going back, and I’d committed myself. An update wouldn’t give my old CPU a problem, installing the incorrect BIOS though, would completely screw the whole PC. I sat on the theory for at the very least 3 days. Everything boiled down seriously to this. Can I deal with the fact I could have a computer doorstep, or perhaps a great PC upgrade for the employment I wanted. For a few inexplicable reason one friday night, your decision was made. I could deal with the decision.
I’d the option of 3 updates. I dismissed my own personal free download since it couldn’t be verified. From the 2 purchased, I clicked on the HP BIOS. Before I’d possiblity to doubt the danger of updating through windows XP, the job was done! A restart proved an upgrade from phoenix award (vers 6.00PG) 3.4 to 3.47, no problems whatsoever. I couldn’t believe it!
So now, after replacing the old CPU with the new dual core, everything worked beautifully. BIOS recognised the CPU, and CS5 was better.’Let’s push things a little further’I thought. I’ve recently purchased a laptop for work and have been very impressed with the 64bit Win 7 OS. Imagine if I upgraded the old desktop OS? Afterall, it had been gathering god knows what rubbish on the’C’drive and most of the programs were not used. A spring-clean was needed, and a clean drive will be a great start.
I’d always been diligent to keep my PC regularly defragged, registry cleaned and generally around par, but I hankered after 64bit CS5 and the power of an elevated workflow. I debated using windows transfer, but I’d only be transferring garbage, wouldn’t I? I used it to backup to an ext. drive, it took forever (4days!) but didn’t transfer the files back. A clear install of windows 7 64bit from an obtained disc, was so clean I hardly remember it. I will have only the programs I need. Gather your discs and any download.exe files and reg. keys beforehand! They all run beautifully. I make use of a 16GB’ readyboost’flash stick, have 4GB ram installed and the entire system runs almost as fast as my new laptop AMD Turion II N530. Photoshop CS5 runs so quickly, the opening images in bridge are almost instant and I will utilise the ram to render in record (for me!) time. I use the empty internal partition’D’drive for the CS5 scratch disc use.