Need a new MB, or build a new PC. Need suggestions

By justinkeith
Mar 16, 2009
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. The system is a Dell XPS710 purchased 4/30/2007
    Vista 32bit
    Not sure on what type of motherboard
    Seagate 250GB Barracuda 7200rpm SATA HDD
    Creative Labs Sound Card Model No. SB0460
    Hitachi-LG Data Storage DVD/CD RW Model: GSA-H31N
    Currently a Nvidia EVGA 9800GTX+ 512mb Vid Card (came with a 8600gts)
    Currently 2x2GB Kingston DDR2 PC5300, came with 2x1GB Hynix DDR2 PC5300
    Intel Core Duo 2x 2.40 pcu
    20" Dell Widescreen Monitor

    Today my computer completely froze and i was getting a solid ping noise from the speakers. When i went to reboot the system turned on and the drives checked. The Vid card fan came on but the CPU fan turn on super high speed and stayed high, the system would not start up. I unplugged the power cord again and the same thing happened. Except this time the CPU fan was normal. Again the system did not start up, it will sit like this until i shut it off. I did some research and here is what i checked.

    Took out the RAM and started the computer, i got no change at all, no beeping either. i was told this leads to a mb or cpu problem

    I cleaned the RAM with an eraser and nothing changed, small trick someone suggested

    I took the fan off the cpu and started the computer for 5 seconds, the cpu began to heat up as normal. i was told this means my cpu is fine.

    So i'm lead to believe my motherboard is just broken.

    Because its a dell system i doubt i can just buy a new retail motherboard and make it work. I'm not even sure if Dell themselves will sell me a new motherboard and frankly i'm completely tired of problems with this thing, i'll never buy another dell.

    So with that in mind i was thinking about building a new computer. I know a guy who has built several and will help me. My main concern is that i want to keep Office. If i keep my current hard drive can i keep my current windows/office?

    The computer will be used for school and games. I play CS and WoW. I want to be able to able to play wow on mostly max settings flawlessly, which this current system does until it died today.

    For budget i'd like to stay at or below a grand after i completely upgrade this summer. I will keep my monitor and everything so the grand is just the computer itself. I'm expecting to pay ~200-300 for a new motherboard and processor if i can get away with just buying those at the moment. Not sure about AMD vs Intel?

    What do you think i should do with this situation? Feel free to give me some build suggestion as well.
  2. dmill89

    dmill89 TechSpot Guru Posts: 737

    your best bet if the motherboard is bad (it likely is anytime I had a computer with those symptoms it ended up being a bad motherboard) is likely to salvage most of the parts from the dell (everything except the motherboard,case, and psu) Get a new motherboard (socket 775 supporting core2duo, intel P43 or P45 chipset recomended), a new case (dell cases have a propriatary front pannel connector that will not work with most retail boards and many of their cases use mATX formfactor which limits board options aswell, New power supply (dell tends to use cheap psus [the last dell I opened was an insperon 530 and it had the same piece of crap 300w bestec psu e-machines used to use] and it is not worth risking your new board to a shoddy psu), Also a new cpu cooler if you reuse your current CPU (again the dell ones tend to use proprietary mounts and/or ducting.)

    Here are some quick recomendations:
    Motherboard:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128372
    $99(good board, good manufacture, decent expansion capibility)
    (or if you want a few more features as well as future DDR3 support)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128364
    $120 (I currently have this board in my primary desktop)
    Case:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068
    $50 (these are cheap, solid, and highly configurable)
    PSU:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703005
    $100, $85 after rebate (this should handle any single video card rig fine)
    CPU cooler:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835101026
    $30 (this should keep the cpu nice and cool)

    If dell actually sent you an OS disc with your system (It will say Dell on the disc and then something like "operateing system; already installed on your computer) you can use it to preform a repair install after the new motherboard is installed allowing you to keep your programs and files intact [you will need to reactivate windows due to the hardware change so make sure to peel the licence off the old dell tower and keep it handy when windows prompts.]) If you did not recieve a seperate os disc you will likely need to purchase a new copy of windows.

    The whole build should run less than $300 (if you don't need a new copy of windows and recycle all other parts)

    Your cpu is likely ok but if you want/need to replace it that will add another $160 or so for a core2duo (e8400) that is a little better than your current set up (the cheapest core2duo is $120) AMD cpu's are cheaper but are generally lower preformance than intel chips. And of course AMD cpu's use a different socket which requires a different motherboard than the ones I listed.


    Almost forgot; did you try removing the expansion cards one by one (video and any PCI cards) sometimes a bad or poorly seated (loose connection) card can cause a computer to fail to boot.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,527   +857

    Did you eliminate the power supply as a possible source of your problem.

    And don't ever start a computer with the CPU heatsink removed, period.Why would take too long to type, so let's see if we can agree on, "because I said so".

    And no, generally it wouldn't be possible to install software from your recovery discs, but were you to transfer the HDD to a new machine with all of the same components save for only the new mobo you might get lucky an M$ will allow you to reactivate Windows, and all your software will still be running off your original HDD. That worked for me with an "aftermarket" OEM copy of XP MCE, this as opposed to the OEM, OEM copy that is on your Dell recovery discs. I think that Dell will sell you an original Windows disc but I'm not sure. I'm guessing that Dell is using recovery discs, never owned one. This has been industry practice for quite some. In some cases software packaged with a particular brand of motherboard will install on any board by that maker, but not on another manufacturers board. If you have actual software discs such as the M$ office, a phone call would probably convince M$ to allow you to reactivate that. Failing that download "Open Office". It's free and will do pretty much all that M$ Office will save Powerpoint I think.
  4. justinkeith

    justinkeith Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Hey thanks for the reply. I went to Fry's yesterday and this is what i ended up with. lemee know how i did : /

    MB:
    ASUS P5Q3 DELUXE/WIFI-AP CH1-11 LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
    **See below, this board isn't going to work out. Too bad too.. it's an absolutely beautiful board when paired with my cpu cooler

    RAM:
    CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

    PSU:
    Antec EA650 650W ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

    CPU Cooler:
    ASUS Silent Knight II 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
    Prolly one of the sickest looking coolers i've ever seen. The fan LED is blue and so is my antec case so its looks great


    **..... After i got the MB installed i realized the board was ATI crossfire only and i planned on putting a second card in later. The sales guy at Fry's told me it was an SLI board, never trust a sales dude! Also when i got home i did some reaseach and noticed the board hasnt been fully tested and isnt up to usual ASUS quality. Many reviews said hardly any DDR3 RAM will work properly, even tho the corsair i got seems to be working fine. So i'm going to go back sometime this week and pick up this board i think:
    EVGA 132-YW-E180-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
    It will support my 6600 Core2 Duo for now and let me upgrade in the summer. Also supports SLI in case i wana put another 9800GTX+ sometime soon. And its also DDR3 since it seems thats where we are going in the RAM department. The reviews looked decent so i figured it would be a decent board.

    I tossed the HDD from the dell in here and a few updates later everything worked fine. Except i do get one fast beep when i turn on the system. In the manual it says it isnt recognizing a keyboard altho the keyboard works fine so who knows. I'm most likely getting the EVGA board here in the next day or so.

    Yes i did, and with the RAM too. The board didnt recognize any change in hardware.

    I tested the PSU with a multimeter and all the amps matched the values on the bottom of the PSU.

    This is the post i followed along with a few others when the comp wouldnt boot and this is where the idea to see if the psu heated up came from:
    http://en.kioskea.net/forum/affich-27227-computer-powers-on-but-does-not-boot

    The guy said he works for ASUS and seemed to help most everyone on that thread so i figured he knew what he was doing.
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,281   +24

    Why bother buying such an expensive motherboard now if you want to upgrade to an X58 system later? You are just throwing cash away. An X58 motherboard costs around the same as that 790i board, and will enable you to have SLI and Crossfire support on the same board, assuming you can also buy an i7 CPU now.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,527   +857

    I think you probably mean you measured the "volts" and not the amps. For this to be representative or accurate you would need to check theses voltages in an operating machine, as the voltages will change dependent on the load applied.

    I doubt that the mere fact that a CPU heats up when current is applied is the only arbiter of whether it's operating correctly. The average C2D pulls 65 Watts with heat being dissapated from a very small area being fed by a conglomeration of millions of transistor junctions, only perhaps 45 billionths of a meter in size So, I hold to the quaint notion that without a proper heatsink it would be all too easy to turn the silicon back into a lump of glass. If heard it said that a CPU heats up thousands of times faster than a frying pan, but really, who knows if that's true.If you don't believe me about how much heat is produced, just grab a lit 65 watt light bulb and try and hold on for a while. Yeah, it makes a least that much heat. Many times a mobo failure will take out the CPU anyway, so if you've eliminated the PSU a the suspect, it wouldn't hurt to replace the processor along with the board. True, it would be very wasteful if the CPU were still good, but perhaps fatal to the new board if it's bad. See, you had to go and make me type that.
  7. justinkeith

    justinkeith Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 29

    i guess i didnt even think about changing the cpu socket. i was guna stay with the 775 socket when i upgraded but if thats not a great idea i'll just buy a cheaper motherboard and upgrade the entire system later.

    I saw a few DDR3 i7 socket mobos i liked but they were just like 260ish. I paid 219 for the ASUS board so 40 isnt much more, just the processor i couldnt buy at the moment.

    I'm really new at building computers but i'm trying to learn. The first one i built was years ago and a friend did most of it. So thanks for the input, thats a great point about the processor u made. Doesn't really make sense to go with new memory and SLI but not a new cpu socket.

    So what you think is a good DDR2, 775 socket, single VGA mobo?

    *oh and the ASUS board is in the computer right now with the core2duo 6600 and everything seems to be working perfectly.. So i don't believe the processor was bad in any way. Unless there is again something else i dont know about.

    What about this one for now.. i'll get some DDR2 1066 ram for it.
    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

    CORSAIR Dominator 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

    What you think would be some good RAM? Would need 2GB total as 32bit vista will only read ~ 3GB.. right now i have 2x2GB DDR3 in there and its only reading 3327mb
  8. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,349   +122

  9. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TechSpot Maniac Posts: 387

    You've currently got some DDR3 ram with you? then i suggest that you try and salvage those by reusing the rams if they're not bad.

    If you're not overclocking, i recommend the AMD Phenom II 920 or 940 coupled with a 790GX board. Great performance at a nice price. :)
  10. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,349   +122

    You might want to salvage anything you can to save money.

    You could easily just buy a P45 or P43 and reuse your CPU and graphics card, but since you have already installed it, you may need new thermal compound, or you could just get a new heatsink,
  11. justinkeith

    justinkeith Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Well i can exchange the Memory and Motherboard.. i just bought them yesterday. I'll just buy some more thermal compound when i install it into the new mobo. I'll look into the memory u posted up, thank you!

    Well I went to Fry's and they didn't have the EP45-UD3P board. They had the EP43-UD3L and a EP45T-UD3L and EP45-UD3LR and I believe a EP45-UD3R? Or another board that was similar but ended in something else but I forgot. So who knows what I should do now. I'm not sure if the EP43 will be ok or if I should get the 45. Or else order from newegg but I have store credit there for the return. Nice
     
  12. dmill89

    dmill89 TechSpot Guru Posts: 737

    The P43 should be ok (slightly lower preformance than a P45 but still better than your old last generation board [likely a P33 or P35] and should be cheaper than a P45 board) as for the EP45-UD3LR and EP45-UD3R they are verry similar but the UD3R has a few more features (mainly firewire ports, better chipset cooling, 2 extra sata ports and an included esata bracket).If these features are importent to you it may be worth the extra cost for the UD3R if not the UD3LR should be cheaper. Was the other option a EP45T-UD3L or a UD3LR? (I couldn't find an EP45T-UD3L on gigabyte's website but they list an EP45T-UD3LR). The EP45T-UD3LR is the same as the EP45-UD3LR Except the EP45T uses DDR3 instead of DDR2 which means you would have to buy DDR3 RAM (currently it is much more expensive than DDR2).
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,281   +24

    I recommend the EP45T-UD3LR so you can use the DDR3 RAM you bought now, and then use it in your i7 system when you upgrade.
  14. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 4,265   +41

    The only issue that might occur is ram voltages, i7 recommends no more than 1.65vs through the dram. If the ram can operate at that voltage then I'd say go for it, would require little research to figure that out.
  15. justinkeith

    justinkeith Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 29

    The boards i listed where off the top of my head so i'm sure they are not fully correct haha. I just know that they didn't have the exact board i wanted and i hadn't researched any of the others.

    I already returned the ASUS board and the DDR3 memory today. So i have store credit there to get something new. I think i'll stay DDR2, single PCI-E 2.0, 775 socket for this board because that should run most everything i want to now and when i upgrade next i'll go with a full SLI, DDR3, i7 setup. I'm in college right now and not working so i don't have a lotta free money at the moment.
  16. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 4,265   +41

    Good to hear of your return. I'm sure when you upgrade to an i7 in the future you'll be happy.
  17. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,349   +122

    Alright, you can just go with the P45 or P43 board and keep all the other parts you have, looks like a good upgrade.
  18. justinkeith

    justinkeith Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 29

    Yep i did some research on the EP43-UD3L and it seems to be a good board. I see compaints of bad IDE placement and no firewire but meh.. i use SATA and i don't need firewire. Looks like a win board for me.

    Thanks for the help!

    I got the EP43-UD3L w/ some 2x2GB 1066 DDR2 and she worked first time outa the box. Had to change the RAM voltage slightly to 2.1 from the 1.80 it defaulted but everything else seems to be perfect. The BIOS is super easy to work with and somehow my computer seems faster than when i had the ASUS DDR3 board in here. Works for me!
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