<whew> I finally built my signature system AMD 3700 retail, K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI with Windows x64. It's working & stable now, and here's my summary of pitfalls and lessons learned along the way and open issues remaining to sort out at my leisure. I converted from an AMD 1600 with Win XP.
1. Sign up for 10 or 15 forums & bookmark them. They're lifesavers. A list of the ones I used is at the end. Also bookmark AMD & MSI support pages. I also used alltheweb.com and Google a lot; these dig out an amazing amount of help at both forums and non-forum sources if you use the right keywords. Thanks to all who answered my many posts. I couldn't have done it without you.
2. When working on case, ALWAYS unplug first. Then discharge static electricity by touching a ground or wearing a wrist strap.
3. I discovered the importance of a good Power Supply in conjunction with research on a -5V requirement for Soundblaster to work. It appears MSI has now removed this requirement, but it led me to a 520W OCZ 33A 1 rail with -5V and I found a convincing thread for 1 rail instead of 2 which included a great power calculator.http://forum.msi.com.tw/index....c=80...66952#msg566952
4. Mount the processor/heat sink with the mobo out of the case ( I didn't do). Make sure the processor lever locks down UNDER the tab. Practice this before inserting the processor. The processor drops in easily and only goes in one way. If you want to practice positioning the heat sink, don't remove the plastic wrap over the thermal pad until the final try, as once you do, it will grab. The locking lever will not break off, it just takes a lot of force starting around 12 oclock up to 1 oclock to swing it over to horizontal (a cam is kicking in)
5. Start with only the minimum stuff...graphics card, CD/DVD drive, 1 memory chip, 1 hard drive (SATA if you want Win x64 on it, otherwise IDE drive will get a lower drive letter & you can't change it after install unlike the other later devices. I have SATA as C, D, IDE as E, and DVD as F.
6. If you can make it to Windows x64 setup screen, you're 80% there. If you don't get 4 green LED lights, it's another world of searching out forums
7. I discovered Settings/File transfer Wizard in Accessories/System Tools. It's invaluable in transfering Win XP settings for IE 6.0, cookies, trusted sites, Windows Explorer & desktop preferences, etc. which in my case represented lots of labor in getting right for my Win XP system. I've learned now to keep the settings file in backup. You can save both the settings and data files info on the hard drive of the old system, and use file sharing drive mapping to point the X64 wizard to the old folder. Note that you have to make a floppy on the X64 which has a new required version of the Wizard which you then run on the XP system to create the transfer file.
8. I also used System Restore in Accessories/System Tools to create checkpoints before each major change to the system. I had to use it several times as I screwed up setting up User Accounts/Passwords & got locked out & had to Safe Mode start to get back to my Administrator account to make account/password changes.
9. It's not clear about where to go for driver updates & in what order after Win x64 install. I installed K8N Neo4 Platinum platform drivers (except for audio) from NVIDIA home page, VGA drivers from MSI home page, and Soundblaster 24 drivers from PlanetAMD64 (because I was getting an install error using SB 24 from MSI site). MSI Live Update doesn't work for 64 bit and even if it did, posts seem to suggest not to use it. Posts also recommend not updating BIOS unless there's something in the BIOS version listings at MSI of fixes that applies to you, so I'm still at BIOS 3.0
10. I had trouble installing my modem, but finally find a 64 bit driver at Intel for modems using their chipset
11. I had real problems getting AOL 9.0 and 8.0 to install. Auto play from the CD or download won't recognize the AMD64. I had to use setup.exe from within the folder on the CD and in one case had to right click & set compatabilty mode to Win XP. I then couldn't connect to the internet, but using ACS 4.0 from the AOL Beta site installs a 64 bit Win miniport which does work
12. I couldn't find any printer drivers, but discovered Control Panel/Printers/Add printer will get you a list of almost all the printers used in Win XP setup. I think Microsoft is using a 64bit printer emulator to use the old supported printer drivers. Good for them
13. Not true, however for scanners. Can't find 64 bit drivers for my Canon
14. No drivers appear to be available for digital cameras. Can't find one for my Kodak DC210.
15. My old TV Wonder VE tuner/video capture card has no 64 bit drivers, & I doubt it ever will as it's legacy & not supported any more by ATI. I'll buy a new tuner when/if one comes out with 64 bit support. Update: I've found a French program K!TV which provides Beta drivers for any tuner with gt848 or 878 chipsets. It's partially working and I've posted a thread at http://usuarios.lycos.es/forum...topi...a249452f959c29e
16. The free McAfee virus check that comes with AOL won't install with 64 bit & this appears true for most virus checkers. However, I found a free Avast 64 bit anti-virus program at http://www.avast.com/eng/down_home.html
' ">http://www.avast.com/eng/down_home.html which is working just fine.
17. I still have to research out AMD home page for drivers/apps for the 3700. A couple I tried didn't install or else failed to execute. I wanted to monitor temperature, and found Everest at http://www.lavalys.com/products.php?lang=en
' ">http://www.lavalys.com/products.php?lang=en. Computer/sensor & wait 5 secs brings up various temp & fan speeds.
It's been a long road, but worth it. The system is much faster than my old AMD 1600. Most of the crucial stuff is working, and at my leisure I'll work on or wait for solutions to the rest. I've got a leading edge platform for relatively little money (thanks ZipZoomFly) that should be good for several years, and I can add a 2d 6600GT for SLI when I'm ready to get some benefit out of it. Right now games are low priority due to time pressures.
I did research out a dual core versus the 3700 early on, but concluded my usage environment wasn't right. Not much in the way of content creation applications in multi-processing mode, and what other MP I do have can be done over lunch or overnight, eg backup, virus check, adaware. Also since very few programs are set up for multi-threading it just didn't make sense for me to go dual core. I'll look at it again when prices come down & if more applications are multi-thread.
I choose the 3700 for the 1M L2 & good price, figuring I could always overclock to a 3800, but couldn't overclock a 3800 to get 1M L2.
I've documented a 50 item step by step check list in MS Word as I went along so if I ever build another system or have to re-format & reinstall Win x64, I'll know all the tricks.
op system....Windows x64
cpu..............AMD 3700 San Diego
mobo.......... MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI
graphics.......1 MSI 6600GT (2nd eventually)
hdd..............2x72GB WD 10000rpm Raptors
ps................OCZ PowerStream 520W 1 rail 33A w/-5V
usage...........Heavy Access, some multi-tasking, eg DVD
....................backup, Adaware, media player, virus check