Computer Follies

So, I bought a new motherboard, CPU, and memory. I’ve installed it in the old case, but I discovered that the only video output on the board was HDMI, and my monitor had no HDMI input, only VGA and DVI.

Fortunately, Patricia’s monitor has VGA and HDMI, so I took my monitor and replaced it (she was using VGA), which is what I’m using to post this. Next step is to take her monitor and finally see if the new computer works. But I wanted to catch up on email and Twitter before I embark on that adventure (and post a few things).

[Update a while later]

Oh, this is fun. The motherboard wants an 8-pin connector for the CPU, and the PS only has sixes. Guess I need to upgrade that, too.

[Frustration update]

OK, so I got the new power supply. It has four 6+2 connectors, and one 4+4 (which I originally thought was eight). So I plugged in what I thought was the 8-pin, and the computer fires up, but no post beep or monitor signal. I figure that it has to be because there is nothing in the 4-pin slot, but I don’t have an 4-pin connector. Then I figure out that the 8-pin is two fours that can be separated. But when I replace the 4+4 with a 6+2, the machine won’t start. It will only run with the 4+4 in the 8-pin socket, but then I don’t have a 4-pin connector for the empty 4. Anyone have any ideas?

[Update a while later]

OK, so I needed a graphics card. I hadn’t realized that the CPU didn’t have integrated graphics. I went out an bought a fifty-buck Radeon, with 2G DDR3. It’s a huge mismatch with the processor, but I have no immediate plans for gaming, and it gets me on the air for now; I can always upgrade later.

25 thoughts on “Computer Follies”

    1. Keep it and buy one or two more. Multiple monitors are very nice. Also, there are a lot of affordable GPUs out there.

      1. I second this wholeheartedly. I’ve been running dual 1080p monitors for about 4 years now, and this spring I replaced one of my 24″ ones with a 27″ 2560×1440 and the extra resolution is incredible.

        1. I bought a 3840×2160 28″ monitor a few years ago. The difference in text crispness and reduction in eyestrain was remarkable.

  1. 6+2 is for a GPU, 4+4 is for a CPU. I’m don’t believe they’re electrically compatible. Hopefully you didn’t fry your motherboard. (see for pictures)

    What’s your CPU and mobo? If you are using a non-HEDT CPU then just using the 8-pin header will probably provide plenty of power and you can leave the 4-pin socket empty: I found a Tom’s Hardware forum post from 2013 that says the two EPS connectors provide 144 and 288W. The flip side is if your CPU is 95W or less you can probably get buy with just filling in the 4-pin (but I would still recommend using the 8-pin).

    It’s probably unnecessary to point this out but if you don’t have a motherboard speaker you probably won’t get a POST beep even if the machine boots.
    6+2 is for video cards–4 connectors can power up to two cards. If you have a discrete GPU that has 6- and/or 8-pin power connectors you will need to plug them all in (if you don’t, the video card will detect that and refuse to boot–nVidia cards literally just put up a message that says “shut the computer off and plug in the connectors.”)

    1. Forgot to mention–if you got an Intel this generally doesn’t apply, but if you bought a Ryzen processor, they don’t come with integrated video (except the ones with the G suffix), meaning you’ll need a discrete GPU.

      1. So when MSI says the Mobo supports desktop graphics; it means if the processor does too. I use Intel and prefer discrete GPUs, so I never run into this, but good information!

        1. Yes. That’s the case for Intel, too: Intel still produces a few CPUs without integrated graphics (e.g., the 9000 series with an F suffix.)

  2. I found that info at Tom’s Hardware. So the machine is running, but with no POST beep (yes, I have a speaker) and no monitor signal from the HDMI port. It’s an MSI X570-A PRO, with a Ryzen 5 3600. Are you saying that with that combination, I still need a graphics card? If there’s no on-board graphics, why does it have an HDMI port? Or did I have to get a different AM4 processor?

    1. You do have an onboard graphics processor good enough for running 2D desktop applications in 1080 or even 4k. Try any 3D, and it will test your processor. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as the onboard graphics can handle 3D fairly well too; it just can’t handle any physics, texturing, and detailed shading related to the 3D model. In short, it sucks for games and simulations.

      But that’s ok; if you got the 512KB memory like I told ya…

        1. Leland was wrong; the3600 does not have in iGPU.

          The reason for the motherboard video connectors is for the chips that DO have one, like the 3200G and 3400G. Those only have 4 cores, though, and the 3200G has no SMT. (The G suffix chips are one generation behind; these two are Zen+, not Zen 2. Yes, the numbering is unfortunate.)

  3. OK, so I have to buy a graphics card. The gamers recommend ones on the order of $400, but I just need something to get the computer to work. Surely I don’t have to spend that much?

      1. Back in 2000; I watched a friend replace his wife’s laptop’s 6GB internal IDE drive with a 20GB IDE drive. He then built an IDE converter with a breadboard and some chips off an old motherboard and hooked it up to an Apple IIe. Once the physical interface was working, he wrote drivers and it all worked.

    1. Newegg had a RX 570 under $160 which is good enough for VR. You only need to spend over $400 if your a semi-pro sniper in a FPS. I’m sure the $50 will give you the specs you might have had with an Intel chip and Mobo.

      1. “You only need to spend over $400 if your a semi-pro sniper in a FPS.”

        Well, there are other reasons, like gaming with ultrahigh graphics on a 1440p or larger monitor and wanting more than 60 frames per second.

        ” I’m sure the $50 will give you the specs you might have had with an Intel chip and Mobo.”

        I was curious. The Vega 8 iGPU in the Ryzen 3200G is about 500% faster than the Radeon 6450, which was a lowish-end card in 2010 or so.

        Rand, just out of curiosity, what GPU did you get?

  4. Last time I looked into this, these resource popped up:,4388.html

    Tech Deals.

    Make sure to check the power requirements of a GPU with what you have excess in your system. There is a site that will tell you power requirements if you plug in all your components. A 300w psu really limits your options but so can a 400w or 500w depending on your set up.

      1. 750W was overkill for any Ryzen 3000 and non-gaming GPU, but it probably didn’t cost much more.

        Since you said you spent $50, I am guessing you got something like a Radeon 6450 or Geforce 710 (based on what Micro Center or Fry’s usually stocks at that price point), which are all quite old, but should be good enough for non-gaming tasks.

        If you find your desktop is laggy, consider moving into a bottom-tier gaming card, say an AMD RX 550 or nVidia GT 1030; you can probably find one for $90 or so, and UserBenchmark rates either as 800% faster than the 6450.

      2. The Ryzen 3600 is a 65W CPU, and the 3600X is 95W. A video card that doesn’t require power connectors will not draw more than 75W, because that’s the limit that the PCIe specification allows.

        More than you probably cared to know, I admit.

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