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Upgrading motherboard, cpu, and dvd drive... but not hard drive?


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#1
burnt_matches

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I have a quite old computer that has been working slower and slower over the last 12 months. I have the technical ability to work on it, just not much cash.

I have considered buying a new motherboard and processor along with a DVD-RW drive and loading them all into my old tower and attaching my hard drive to it. The hard drive is fine and most importantly, it contains my XP OP. I like it, and I don't have much desire to move to W7.

I have priced this, and I believe I can do it for around $250. Do you think it is worth the work? Will it actually function?

Here is my current system:
HP a220n
AMD Athlon XP 2.08 GHz
NVidia nForce2 IGP
512 MB (DDR SDRAM)
Bus Speed 333 MHz
120 GB DMA/ATA-133 (Ultra) 5,400 RPM DMA/ATA-100 (Ultra)

Yeah, I know it's stone-age, but I have kept it running at near-new speed for many years. I also can't find a desktop (or build one) with the performance I'd like for less than $450.

I appreciate any help.
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#2
Troy

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I would also budget a new hard drive as a definite, and clone the XP over onto it. Your original hard drive is running at 5,400rpm and would definitely be a performance-limiting factor.

What are the new parts you are considering?
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#3
Grongle

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My first reaction was that I couldn't agree with Troy about the hard drive. But Troy is right. A 7200 would be better. So then in that respect I do agree with Troy. I'm just thinking that, if your system has been running gradually slower, that ain't the HD. A few million people using notebooks have no complaints, although sure, technically it's not a fast drive.

Slower over a period of time is almost always your XP install getting increasingly bloated, as it does with Windows Updates + your own additional apps over a period of a long time. And there are the usual speed-decreasers that are taken care of in any list like this:
  • CCleaner, almost every time you finish a surfing session
  • your built-in Disk Cleanup app, almost as often as you use CCleaner
  • TuneUp Utilities 1-Click, set to automatically function at least once a day
  • RegSeeker if you like registry cleaners; some folks hate them; some swear by them
  • If you run AVG in Guard mode, or Spybot's Tea-Timer, these definitely slow down your system noticeably—but you may prefer slower and safer; your call. If you run any of the internet browser safeguards, those will have a big impact on slowing down your surfing. Personally, I think they exist mainly to record your surfing habits, but again, that's your call.
Anyway, you know all that.

(Er—when was the last time you sped up your mouse speed? One reason systems get slower is because their users get faster.)

What you suggest is worth the work if you think the work is fun.
It is worth the money if that is what the money is worth to you. Some people here would have to wait 2 years to get $250. Others could shell out $250 on their way home and never even blink.

The system will work, sooner or later. Moving a system disk (system does not mean OS; it means the partition/disk where XP keeps its boot files) onto a new box can go smoothly—or not. You might want to back up your boot.ini and all those, and maybe do some reading. If it tells you it can't find HAL, you should know what to do, because some of those are generic warnings and you have to know enough not to take them literally. Is your i386 file somewhere handy? What if things don't work the way you want them to? Are you prepared to do a clean install? (I would never recommend an over-the-top repair.)

—If you found yourself doing a clean install, is your data backed up?

"But why wouldn't it work?" people say. Well, read what you can BEFORE you do it, so if it works beautifully, that's nice; and if it doesn't, you're ready for it. Computers have no compassion when their distraught owners are saying, "But it SHOULD work—in theory."

When you know more than you need to, you're in a very good position. You've learned easily, because you were under no stress. That's my point. But the idea of simply moving your XP hard drive to a very different box—sure, it should work, just fine, first time.

(The DVD-RW is of almost no concern at all. It is a peripheral; easy as pie.)

Edited by Grongle, 20 October 2009 - 07:48 AM.

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#4
Troy

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Any kind of "tune-up utilities" or registry cleaners are strongly discouraged by the staff here at Geeks to Go. We have seen more than enough times the problems these programs can cause, and as a technician I uninstall them all by default at my work as part of maintenance, as I also uninstall all toolbars and P2P programs.

Also, actually now that I think about it, this system is a HP and would most likely be running an OEM version of XP. To upgrade the motherboard on this machine would invalidate the license for XP. You'd need to get another OS license.
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#5
burnt_matches

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I was afraid of the license problem. Really I was just trying to get a few new parts without going through a ground-up build. I have a tower and power source along with all the working peripherals.

It may just be easier to go from scratch. As far as equipment, I was thinking of these two for motherboard and processor:
http://www.tigerdire...e...46&CatId=14
http://www.tigerdire...e...44&CatId=14
As far as RAM, I would just find a good 4GB package.

If not all of that, I was thinking of going with this: http://www.tigerdire...e...&CatId=2630
It would actually be cheaper. What do you guys think? I really appreciate your advice.

PS- I have kept my system very clean of most of the programs you have mentioned. I've used the GTG malware suggestions and used many of the stickies across the site.
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#6
rshaffer61

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The system you reference does not have a OS system.
If you want to utilize all 4 gigs of memory you will have to get a 64 bit OS.
This would be Vista 64 bit or wait two days and you can buy Windows 7 64 bit.
The other issue is if you buy a OEM that will be married to the system so you will not be able to transfer it to a new system in the future.
A retail version will be more expensive but you will be able to load it on a different system as long as it is only loaded on one system at any given time.
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#7
burnt_matches

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Thanks for the help. I have read that XP can handle up to 4 gigs. Is that not true?

And yes, I know it does not have an OS. That is fine with me. I can get a student copy of Windows XP or 7 from a friend in college for $5.
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#8
Troy

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It is likely that the version from your friend is not legit, something's not right for that price. If you are a student then you are able to purchase your own version for $29 or something like that, you'd need to chase it up. Apparently you just put your uni email address in here to see if you are eligible for the special pricing.
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#9
burnt_matches

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Yes, you are right. I was in college a few years ago, and that was the price of XP. I entered the email, and it is $30. Still not a big deal.

After looking at it, this kit http://www.tigerdire...e...9&CatId=333 actually has many of the parts that I would use anyway.

I would likely add another 2gb RAM module, a 750 gb SATA HD, and a DVDRW along with perhaps a fan and 3.5 floppy from my old system.

All added up, it would be about $350. Sound workable?

Again... thank you for all your help.
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#10
Troy

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Yeah it's workable, but be sure to upgrade the PSU, I wouldn't use the 300W that comes with that case.
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#11
burnt_matches

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300w is not enough? What would you recommend?

...I'm using 225w now. OEM. Oh well.
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#12
Troy

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Depends on pricing, but here in Australia the minimum I ever recommend is the Antec Earthwatts 380W. 380W is fine for a budget system, and it's a high-quality unit that is built to last. I've installed plenty, mostly replacing a cheap unit that has died.
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