After trawling the internet for several weeks, I finally took the plunge and decided to go ahead. The first strategy was to locate and find my motherboard serial number and computer version. Secondly, with a simple PC by major computer companies HP, Dell, Packard Bell, you could find accessing all options in the BIOS on startup severely limited, since they are re-written to suit the various motherboard chip configurations dependent on the various models issued. So an update might be necessary to enable dual core use. This was determined to be the case here. More with this later.
Definitely the easiest way to obtain the serial number, is always to delve inside the PC, always taking the precaution of removing all the energy cables and ancillary add-ons. Additionally, wearing an anti-static wristband to’earth’yourself is very important to guard your CPU and internal semi-conductors investment intel Pentium pro CPU gold. The motherboard serial number can be found, usually involving the PCI slots or around the edge of the board. These details might be obtained by using various software packages and the windows system info option, but we should keep this’bombproof’and cheap don’t we? Visually checking the hardware will do this and provide practice in overcoming the fear of’operating’in your PC. At this stage we are only looking aren’t we? The manufacturers website is normally forthcoming with hardware information after you have pinpointed your model, and this can be crosschecked together with your physical findings. The old addage’measure twice – cut once’is very apt in doing anything to your PC. At this point finding your BIOS chip can be useful, taking note of the maker and serial numbers. You may have a document label which needs to be gently peeled back to reveal the information.
Ok, so another stage was to obtain the fastest CPU recommended by HP in this instance, for the motherboard. The single core AMD 3700+ had never given me problems before but I found it increasingly difficult to use 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. Keep your irreplaceable files off the main PC! The fastest CPU available for the motherboard was an AMD x2 4800+ (socket 939, check your socket is compatible!) Having read very favourable reviews on the CPU (top of the product range on release, but price prohibitive originally $1001) I endeavoured to find one on Ebay. Low and behold, several used and new items were bought 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 particular compared to the state of the art CPU’s currently on the market. This really is an update for an ageing PC (5years old!) remember, and for those on a limited budget, the pros of upgrading outweigh the cons of purchasing a fresh PC.
Armed with the brand new chip I eagerly placed on my wristband, removed the energy supply plug, removed the side panal, located the fan and heatsink spring and removed them. Good opportunity to offer them a great clean using a quality decorators brush. I removed the CPU after releasing the retaining arm fully and dropped in the brand new CPU. Job done I believed, 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 energy and replaced the CPU with the’old’one and reassembled. Just an email here, there is a lot of heatsinking paste left from the last installation. This was re-applied in most cases having an old charge card to make sure a slim film and correct heat dissipation. The heatsink clip was fiddly- the rule- don’t force anything! You might damage the motherboard. Deep breaths and patience required.
BIOS update. What themselves bore deep to the soul and promote fear at the very thought. If anyone has done this before and killed their PC then I can understand the trepidation. If it’s not broken, don’t correct it’is a superb rule but in this instance, there’s no option. I have 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 best 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 one ?.I’d given them the serial numbers and my upgrade intent. Was it really the BIOS or had I bought a duff CPU? Only one method to find out. There was no way out, short of returning, and I’d committed myself. An update wouldn’t give my old CPU a problem, installing the wrong BIOS though, would completely screw the entire PC. I sat on the theory for at the least 3 days. It all boiled down to this. Can I deal with the truth that I could have a desktop doorstep, or perhaps a great PC upgrade for the employment I wanted. For some inexplicable reason one friday night, the decision was made. I could deal with the decision.
I’d the decision of 3 updates. I dismissed my own download free because it couldn’t be verified. From the 2 purchased, I clicked on the HP BIOS. Before I’d chance to doubt the danger of updating through windows XP, the work was done! A restart proved an update 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 brand 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 now been very impressed with the 64bit Win 7 OS. Imagine if I upgraded the old desktop OS? Afterall, it have been gathering god knows what rubbish on the’C’drive and all the programs weren’t used. A spring-clean was needed, and a clear drive will be a great start.
I’d been diligent to keep my PC regularly defragged, registry cleaned and generally as much as 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 tried it to backup to an ext. hard drive, it took forever (4days!) but did not transfer the files back. A clean install of windows 7 64bit from a bought disc, was so clean I hardly remember it. I now have only the programs I need. Gather your discs and any download.exe files and reg. keys beforehand! They all run beautifully. I use a 16GB’ readyboost’flash stick, have 4GB ram installed and the whole 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 can utilise the ram to render in record (for me!) time. I use the empty internal partition’D’drive for the CS5 scratch disc use.