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Assembly and Setup

When I took Terminator 2 apart to make some snapshots, I was shocked at the number of cables, loops and thick and thin wires that tie all the system components into a single entity. Fortunately, the user’s manual describes all important connectors on the mainboard and the cables themselves lie down optimally in the system case and have exactly the length you may require. So it was rather easy to return the system into the shape in which it comes to the market.

Troubles came later. For example, you have to remove the front panel to install a CD-ROM. The floppy drive bars access to the 5.25” bays from one side, but you don’t have to remove it to fasten your CD-ROM – the bays just don’t have fastening holes at this side.

The HDD fit into its place perfectly, with its most sensitive part, the electronics board, facing the current of air from the vent holes. The ATA cable from the CD-drive and the FDD cable go along the walls of the 5.25” bays without preventing proper airflows.

  

My attempt to install a RADEON 9800 PRO graphics card faced an insurmountable obstacle: the mainboard has just one PCI slot, next to the AGP, and this PCI was already occupied with the exclusive card from ASUS (the one that supports Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE1394). As a result, there is practically no space for that big graphics chip cooler every high-end graphics card comes with. You can of course extract the expansion PCI card depriving yourself of those interfaces and install a powerful graphics card, but I preferred to use a less warm device, a card on the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700.

There is also another unpleasant thing. Notwithstanding its big size, the system is not supposed to take in two hard disk drives at a time (thus, the support of two SerialATA and two UltraATA channels looks like a bad joke). You can try to install a HDD into the 5.25” bay on the rails, but you can fasten the rails at one side only and the thermal conditions there may not be good for a HDD.

  

Although not without problems, I managed to put the system together and make it ready to work. We need to set up the BIOS before proceeding to our tests, though.

ASUS T2-P uses a modification of AMIBIOS, without any overclocking-related options at all, but with settings for controlling fans and the Instant Music mode.

The BIOS allows enabling or disabling control over the speeds of the cooler fan and the system fan. With this feature (called Smart Q-FAN) enabled, you can set up a threshold CPU temperature when the fans start working and gain speed in proportion to the temperature growth. You can also indicate the voltages of the fan at this threshold. At last, you can set up the ceiling of the CPU temperature when Smart Q-FAN starts sending full voltage to the fans.

By default, the bottom limit of the CPU temperature (when the fans start spinning) is 30°C and the voltage of the fans is 5V. The top limit of the flexible speed control corresponds to a CPU temperature of 70°C.

You can leave the Smart Q-FAN settings at their default values, just like I did in this test session, while Instant Music needs some setup. You need to tell the system which IDE channel the CD-ROM is attached to, and inform the FM-tuner about your location – it uses different frequency ranges for different geographical regions.

The system beeps to life and shows you a cute boot-up screen. It’s time to install software.

 
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