Upgrading MSI Wind PC (Desktop)

INTRO

After playing around for quite sometime, I manage to find some hardware for upgrading this machine.
I have read the manual that there are some devices that can be installed on the motherboard.

The instruction to open the box in the manual book is quite clear (“Removing the cover”, p3-3 p3-4). However, it doesn’t mention that there are 2 screws that must be unscrew (red circles) and some parts that should be aligned (blue circles) when you remove the drive (HD and CDROM) bracket.

fr-open

After you, succesfully, unscrew and pull forward. You can lift up the bracket but be carefull because there’s a cable from the bracket that attached to the mainboard. You have to pull up this cable (actually, it’s a front panel cable connector -> JFP1 on manual book)  and now you can freely take out the bracket

After removing the bracket, you will see the board layout like below pics.

board-tag

A. Blue circles
are board screws, there are 5 screws but on this pics I can’t see the 5th one. It should be on the back part near the VGA display connector.
B. Orange square
is another FAN connector, so there are 2 fan connectors on mainboard
C. Yellow square
is where the drive bracket cable attach to the mainboard
D. Green square (interesting one)
is a switch, not a power switch. This one located on the side part of the chassis. There’s no way I can reach it after I close the box unless I make a small hole at the side part of the casing. Maybe someone have tried to press it during the system running and would like to share with me, what’s the function of this button ? I guess it’s a reset button or overclocking button :):):).
Speaking of interesting parts, there are also 2 more connectors near JFP1 and the orange square (Fan connector). I still don’t know what they use for …

UPGRADING

As the title say, now we’re jump to the topic … UPGRADING.
There are several parts that I would like to upgrade and enhanced. Those are :

1. DVD ROM
As you see in the 1st picture, I already replace the original DVD-ROM with this Phillips SPD2514T DVD-RW drive.. The original one is just a combo drive that cannot write / read DVD-RW (only CD-RW).

2. Memory card (SO-DIMM)
The system came up with 1 GB so-dimm made by A-Data. I replace it to the max. limit of 2 GB with 2GB Corsair Value Select SO-DIMM.

sodimm-ori sodimm-new

3. Mini PCI-e card for wireless networking.
You might think, why I used mini PCI-e, why not W-LAN USB adapter since this box has 6 USB slots. It’s because I have bad experience with those kind adapter. It will getting hot after 2-3 hours running and performance suffer. I need a wireless network that’s capable of (at least) 30 days uptime (no reboot, no shutdown) though my target is 365 days.

I think this is the most difficult upgrade I know (at least in Indonesia, where I lived now). There are so many mini PCI network card but not mini PCI-e ones, I think because :

  • it’s new (just started in 2005 for notebooks).
  • usually is not sell separately (outside notebook) or like other network card which is commonly found for dekstop / standar motherboard (PCI).

Lucky, I still have some sources that I can rely on… some of my hacking community which I used to hang around with. Several brands came (I mean the chipset) i.e. Broadcomm, Atheros, Realtek and Intel. They are rainging up to N-draft wireless LAN PCI-e. But since compatibility for Linux is my main priority so I use the most adaptable one i.e Intel 3945ABG PCI-e according to this site. I wish to get the 4965AGN but it’s still a hotstuff. So I better skip it, maybe next time … but for now 3945ABG is enough for my needs.

net-3945abg

Along with the card, I also got the cable antenna (U.fl pigtail + antenna..)… It is Hitachi’s cable UL2080 which has 3 wires suitable for N-class wireless PCI-e (like Intel 4965AGN). But since I have 3945ABG, only 2 of 3 cables will be in use.

wlan-cable

Installing the card takes just less than 1 minutes. It’s very easy …. There’s only 1 screw hole instead of 2 on Wind moterboard to hold the mini PCI-e card. But I think it’s not a problem.

board-wlan
The yellow circles are my antennas attached to the casing with double-tape. It should be set near the back of the casing (near the fan), otherwise it will be a problem when you insert the DVD / HD bracket later.

4. Compact Flash card

I’m still not sure if I want to use this feature for my booting system. But it’s better to try. So pick V-Gen 4GB (I know there are 16Gbs hanging around somewhere) capacity which is more than enough for booting purpose (I still not try yet to set my booting system using this CF card as of this writing). Something annoying to install this card is that : you must take the board out of the casing. It will be done by unscrewing the board (see the blue circles on the 2nd pic above) and also the back side of the casing where the display connector screws exist.

back-case

Take out from the box to install it. There is no way you can install the CF card without taking out the board from the casing.

cf-card cf-install1

This is what I got when I open the BIOS ….

cf-bios
FINISH

Now all parts have been installed and it’s time to put it to the test.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy.

Ciao…

3 Responses to “Upgrading MSI Wind PC (Desktop)”

  1. hi there — i’m thinking of buying an MSI Wind PC myself. if i had two drives on the internal sata cables, does the motherboard support RAID1?

    thanks!

    • This is just a ltweight box …. I used mainly to filtered some traffic to my main box.. packet sniff, re-direct, spoofing, stumbling, etc.
      …. If you insist on putting another HD, you can remove the DVD drive and use it there.
      As for the m-board, it doesn’t have RAID support. But we, in GNU/Linux, never depend on motherboard since we can use a software RAID …. take a look at here : http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Software-RAID-HOWTO.html

      Cheers,

  2. Generally raid offers little to the average user. But if you use it, software raid in Linux is the way to go. You won’t have the trouble of a raid controller dying and leaving you with data only that chip can rescue. But as we know, the way of the force is to never use raid as a backup substitute. rm -rf / will wipe everything on mirrored drives, but can’t touch the backup stored elsewhere.

    CAVEAT RAIDOR!

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