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Motherboard question


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#1
Irishredlr

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I am slowly updating my computer. I would like to get a new motherboard but am unsure of what I should be looking for. Does anyone have any suggestions on figuring out what would be best, or most compatiable? :tazz:
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#2
Tim Wellman

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There are some basic questions you need to have answers for before looking....
What motherboards will work with my existing case
will my existing memory work
do I need built in audio and video

it's usually not an easy decision, unless you have a relatively new computer already... though the basic motherboard (ATX) will fit in most newer cases, you have to make sure your power supply will handle the newer cpu. I've found it's usually easiest, and actually cheaper, to buy what is known as a 'bare bones' system... it usually includes a case, a motherboard, and a cpu and fan. Tigerdirect and several other companies have these bare bones systems.

You also have to ask yourself how much you expect to gain from the upgrade... remember, noticable speed doesn't double when you double the mhz... it actually takes several times the mhz to notice a realworld doubling (all other things like memory and bus speed being equal). So, if you have anything close to a 1gig cpu now, you'd really need to go up to at least a 2gig or more to notice much of difference (although with bus and cache improvements, etc, there would actually be a pretty noticable difference if what you have now is a few years old). So, if you want to move up into cutting edge games and high end video editing, you want to start around 2gig, and up. You also need to decide if you want AMD or Intel

Just keep in mind, you aren't going to just be able to drop a faster cpu/motherboard in an older case... todays 2gig and up cpus need 400 watts or so of power to breathe normally... older cases rarely have more than 200 watt power supplies... so, look at some of the bare bones systems, chances are you can get something with 6 month old technology for about the same price (or even cheaper) as newly released motherboard/cpu only combinations, and a lot of the hard decisions get made for you that way.

You still have to decide whether you're going to use new memory, or find a board that will accept your old memory (memory isn't that expensive, and there are noticable gains in speed with the newer memory technology). Your hard drive might work for now, and of course your monitor, keyboard and mouse will plug into the new barebones system, as will the cdrom/burner/dvd drive you have now, and the 3.5 inch floppy (though this is usually included in a bare bones system).

Anyway, hope this at least gets you thinking... give some more info about what you have now and we can answer the question better, I'm sure
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#3
Irishredlr

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Thank you so much, Tim, for you detailed response. That really helps me out. I am very behind the times. The computer I have now is a Gateway Essential 500 with a mid tower case. About the only pieces of original equipment are the motherboard and the soundcard. I still only have Windows 98 (sad but true :tazz:) which I will be updating in the next few days. Thanks again, that will at least help me know where I need start looking. ;)
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#4
admin

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About the only pieces of original equipment are the motherboard and the soundcard

Can you detail the rest of the components for us?
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#5
Irishredlr

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Well lets see I have...
GFMX 4000 64MB DDR TV PCI
SAMSUNG COMBO DRIVE(master)
Plus second cd rom
SEAGATE ULTRA ATA/100 7200 RPM HARD DRIVE
and I have added two memory cards.
Monitor, keyboard, printer, mouse have all been changed too, but I am assuming you don't need to know them?
It came with Creative Sound Blaster Audio PCI 128D
and Sound Blaster Audio PCI 128D Legacy Device

Is that what you need to know? Sorry I am not very computer literate!
I am amazed I was able to change out that stuff and get it to work.
If my computer was a dog, it would have been taken away for abuse!
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#6
Tim Wellman

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everything you have should move over nicely to a newer bare bones system... actually, some of your hard drive speed is being wasted in the Gatewate since it only supports ATA 66

Sadly, the Gateway has standard pc100 DIMM memory and all newer motherboards will need DDR, but again, memory is cheap. Then again, with many barebones systems, memory is also included, so, look around... I don't want to post direct links to anything on tigerdirect or ebay, because it could be misunderstood as me promoting them, or that I'm an afilliate (I'm not), so, you'll need to look around yourself... but, look for something with a Celeron 2gig or so, or an AMD 2200+ or so, with case, and cpu fan, these will be the best bargins (200 dollar range, usually with some memory, barebones systems with Celerons around 3gig are closer to 300 dollars) and you'll see an incredible difference from the cpu you have now (both the increase in cpu mhz, and the faster bus speeds and faster memory).
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#7
Irishredlr

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:tazz: Thanks again, Tim, for all your help. I will start looking over some of those barebones systems.
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