Need help buying new motherboard

By olefarte · 11 replies
Mar 8, 2005
  1. I'm contemplating doing what I think of as a major upgrade to my computer. I want to replace my motherboard, cpu, (and cooling fan), and ram. The reason I got on this track is that I wanted to upgrade my ram from 512 mb, to 1024. I"ve got PC 1066 RDram, and 512 mb will cost around $250 or so. To me it doesn't make much sense to go with old technology, when I can get the latest for not to much more than that. But, as this will be the most major upgrade I've attempted, I've got a lot of questions. I've looked at a lot of threads in the forums, and still don't have all the answers that I need to get started on this. If any of you guys can help me out on this I sure would appreciate it.

    1. As I already have a computer that runs well, no problems, is all I have to do is take out the old motherboard/cpu/ram and install the new one using all the other original components, and then boot up? I doubt it. If I need to replace somthing else, what, and what else do I need to do? I'm going from and Intel motherboard, P4, 3.06 to AMD 64 3200+ or 3400+, and different ram. I've got a Gateway 700XL, full tower, 200 gig Maxtor hard drive, CD burner, DVD burner, floppy, Intel NIC, Intel IDE Contoller, Audigy sound card, with plenty of room inside. The IDE Contoller has kind of got me worried. I've done a search to find info on this, but I haven't found everything I need.

    2. As I have only this one computer, I won't be able to access any help from here at TS, so are there any probems that I might have when I get this done, if by some chance I do all this correctly. So, any advice in advance will be greatly appreciated.

    3. Are all ATX motherboards the same size. My present Intel board, D850EMV2, is supposed to be 12.xx by 9.xx. The one I'm looking at is something like 12.xx by 7.xx. I thought all ATX were the same size. I'm not 100% sure of these sizes, but could not find out much info on this. So my real question is, is the new board going to fit exactly in place of the old one? And also, does the new board come with the standoffs included or do I have to buy this seperately. Do I really need non magnetic tools?

    4. I have the full install Windows XP Home Edition cd, that came with my Gateway computer. Am I going to be able to use this without buying a new version, as it's stll in the same computer? I don't know if it will work, but I want to be legal. I have had conflicting word on this, some say it will work, others say it won't. If I can use it, would it be better to use the existing install, or better to completely reformat, I'm not against that at all, probably will anyway.

    This is what I'm looking to get. For some reason I can't link directly to it at TigerDirect, (it's about the fifth one down the page), so here's what it is. MSI’s K8TNE02-F Neo2 Socket 939 motherboard and AMD Athlon 64, 3200+ processor. If anybody has got any better suggestions, I am open as long as it's in the same price range. Has to be AGP compatable, as I just bought a new AGP card.

    That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go along. I know it's a lot questions, but if you guys could help me out, I sure would appreciate it. Thanks.

    Present specs are:

    Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    OS Service Pack Service Pack 2
    Internet Explorer 6.0.2900.2180 (IE 6.0 SP2)
    DirectX (DirectX 9.0c)
    Computer Name *******
    User Name *******

    CPU Type Intel Pentium 4HT, 3048 MHz (23 x 133)
    Motherboard Name Intel Maryville 2 D850EMV2 (5 PCI, 1 AGP, 4 RIMM, Audio)
    Motherboard Chipset Intel Tehama i850E
    System Memory 512 MB (RDRAM)
    BIOS Type AMI (09/19/02)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
    Communication Port ECP Printer Port (LPT1)

    Video Adapter NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT (256 MB)
    3D Accelerator nVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
    Monitor Gateway FPD1930 [19" LCD] (124116843009)

    Audio Adapter Creative SB0090 Audigy Player Sound Card

    IDE Controller Intel(r) 82801BA Bus Master IDE Controller
    Floppy Drive Floppy disk drive
    Disk Drive Maxtor 6Y200P0 (200 GB, 7200 RPM, Ultra-ATA/133)
    Optical Drive HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GMA-4020B (DVD-RW:2x/1x, DVD-RAM:2x, DVD-ROM:10x,

    CD:12x/8x/32x DVD-RW/DVD-RAM)
    Optical Drive LITE-ON LTR-48246S (48x/24x/48x CD-RW)
    SMART Hard Disks Status OK

    C: (NTFS) 194466 MB (164498 MB free)

    Keyboard HID Keyboard Device
    Keyboard Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard
    Mouse HID-compliant mouse
    Mouse Logitech HID Cordless Mouse+
    Mouse Microsoft PS/2 Mouse

    Network Adapter Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter (
    Modem BCM V.90 56K Modem

    USB1 Controller Intel 82801BA(M) ICH2 - USB Controller 1 [B-4]
    USB1 Controller NEC PCI-USB Open Host Controller
    USB1 Controller NEC PCI-USB Open Host Controller
    USB2 Controller NEC USB Enhanced Host Controller [B-1]
    USB Device Logitech USB Cordless Keyboard
    USB Device Logitech USB Cordless Mouse & iTouch Keys
    USB Device USB Composite Device
    USB Device USB Human Interface Device
  2. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388


    1. I don't think you will be able to keep xp installed and just switch motherboards, you probably will have to plan on just formatting(back up first) and doing a clean install. What do you mean by the ide controller has you confused? What are you wondering?
    3. No, all atx aren't the same size, but the maximum size is about 12x9.6". My chaintech vnf4ultra nforce4ultra 939(I'd recommend it, but you already have an awesome agp card :) ) mobo is "atx", but actually like 12x8" or close to that. In smaller atx, like mine, they are just missing the outer edge of screw mounting holes. Your case should have the right standoffs already. I didn't use magnetic screw drivers, but it sure would have been handy at times. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.
    4. Using your existing install, will probably be problematic, if it works at all. I would think that you could use you existing xp cd. I mean it isn't like you'll be using it on 2 computers, you just want to transfer it to your new system. You might have to call microsoft to see for sure though.
  3. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 1,345   +13

    I don't really have much that I don't backup on a regular basis, so that's not problem. So you are saying if I install everything right, I should be able to just put the XP cd in and boot up, and do a reformat and clean install. That would be great. I have read that you cannot use a OEM version with a completely new motherboard.

    As far as the IDE controller, I was thinking since it was an Intel, it might be tied to my present Inel motherboard and might have to be replaced.

    Oh, another thing, I'll have this thing laying on it's side, so I don't want the cd in before hand. Will I be able to startup with just the bios and then put in the cd. I know, dumb question, but I'm not sure quite how to go about this.
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Rather than buying an AMD64 + mobo + memory, you should stick with most of what you have.

    Sell the old mobo with its Rambus memory. Even used, the memory alone should be worth about $150.-

    Get another S478 mobo, that uses SDRAM, such as Abit IC7-G and get 2 sticks of 512MB PC3200/DDR400 memory.

    The speed difference between your current P4 (3GHz) and the AMD64 (3.2 or 3.4GHz) won't be all that big.

    You can keep all your other current bits and bobs.
    Mobo's come with the necessary hardware, such as standoffs. The base on which you mount the mobo should have all the corresponding holes for most mobo-models.

    You will have to reinstall from scratch, but that should be well worth it. And one phonecall to MS should sort out the re-activation of your XP.
  5. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 1,345   +13

    That's come to mind and would be a lot cheaper also. And I do understand that the speed difference of the two processors won't be that much. I am just think about more upgrading in the future, at least as far as the cpu is concerned, and I figured the socket 939 would be the way to go. Really, more ram is what started out this project, not the cpu. lol. Untill I saw what RDram cost. But, if it would be easier, at least as far as the OS is concerned, I might have to give that more thought. I just don't want to have to buy a new copy of XP. I'll look into this more, thanks.

    Also, I think I found a pretty good guide that a first timer can understand here.
  6. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Isn't the ide controller part of the motherboard? Hard drives are basically standard. You just plug the old drive into the new mobo and it recognizes it(hopefully anyway).

    When you said you had a full xp cd, I thought you meant your computer actually came with xp, and not some type of recovery disc. If it's a recovery disc, then you will probably have to buy xp($90), unless you can get microsoft to exchange your old cd for a new copy(like that'll happen, but there's always hope right?).

    I think the cd drive should be able to open and close if it has power, even without an os. What's the problem with having it in while it's on it's side? Many micro computers have vertical mounted optical drives(or do they take a special drive? I think they're regular drives.)

    I don't think it will be "easier" if you use an intel board vs. an amd board. It basically is going to be like a new build either way. It would be cheaper to reuse your cpu, it isn't really underpowered or anything. Although it is nice to try to factor in upgradeability when upgrading lol(seems redundant). The 939 should still have a decent amount of life left(+dual core when available), whereas 478 is discontinued, but it still works well.
  7. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 1,345   +13

    I'm feeling dumber with every post on this subject and about ready to forget it. lol Yes, my computer did come with XP installed and I thought the disc was a full install, guess I'm wrong, so, buy XP is the answer to that question I guess.

    I thought the cd would fall out of the drive, or off the spindle if it was on it's side.

    I'm getting more uneasy about this the more I look and think about it. It doesn't seem to be as easy as I imagined it to be.
  8. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

  9. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Topic Starter Posts: 1,345   +13

    Well after all my apprehension I finally took the plunge. I got a AMD 64 3500+, Abit AV8 motherboard, and 2x512 Geil ram.

    It went far easier than I ever thought and it is running great, far better than I expected. I really think building a new comuter from scratch would have been easier though. The only real problem I had was that on my full tower Gateway, they didn't see fit to cut out the slot for the I/O's in back and I had to do a little trimming of the case.

    After this, I don't think I will ever be buying a prebuilt computer again.

    And to the guys here at TS that gave me a lot personal attention through instruction and advice, thanks a million, I couldn't have done it without you.
  10. alialamin

    alialamin TS Rookie

    hey what did you do about the xp thing? cause i have the same issue... i have hp recovery disks that came with my laptop and emachines recovery disks which came with my emachines t2825 (which i will be upgrading as soon as the stuff arrives in the mail by next friday) ... so can i use the old emachines recovery disks on the new motherboard? i will be changing motherboard, processor, powersupply thx... (oh and big chance i will be changing case also soon as my question here: is answered)
  11. Merc14

    Merc14 TS Rookie Posts: 171

    I used my Dell OS disk on a new build. Had to call MS and tell them that the old PC was rendered uselss as I moved the CPU and they gave me a new activauion #. Just slide the OS disk into another PC and see if you get the normal XP install startup sequence. It is really the inly way to tell what kind of OS disk they sold you.
  12. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15
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