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New upgrade to gaming rig - old HDD?

By Xecutor ยท 13 replies
Dec 29, 2010
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  1. Hey guys!

    Long time no post :D Been really busy for the last few months, and I apologize for that.

    I got the following components as my xmas gift. I have a question with regards to upgrading hardware on an existing OS, though.

    Is there a way to use my current 500GB HDD with my new hardware (mobo/CPU/RAM) without having to do a clean install of Windows 7 and ALL my other applications, esp games (like SC2 for example, I don't want to have to re-install it - takes a looong time to update to the latest patch)?

    Newegg was having that 35% off Boxing day/week sale, and this was a great deal on the wallet, but I'd like to get some of your opinions as to what you think about it as well and could I have done better with the money?

    Also, newegg had this 890GX mobo for $109 CAD from JetWay which sounded excellent since it had everything the MSI mobo had, and sported solid-state capacitors. But, the name was unknown and seemed relatively new - I didn't want to risk it, but I was wondering if it would have been ok to go with that mobo (since I would've been able to go for a 965BE or even a 970BE).

    The initial budgeted amount was $520 - $550 CAD.

    These are being shipped as we speak!

    MSI 890GXM-G65 AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    Thermaltake Black Widow W0319RU 850W ATX 12V v2.3, EPS 12V v2.91 CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX (C3 Stepping)

    CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C9

    For a total of $545.39 CAD :D

    My Current Specs

    • ASUS M2A-VM mATX motherboard AMD 690G chipset
    • AMD Athlon 64 x2 4400+ 2.3GHz (dual core)
    • 6GB DDR2 667Mhz (Generic RAM)
    • 500GB Hitachi HDD with 16MB cache / 7200RPM
    • Antec EA500 Earthwatts 500W PSU
    • LG DVD RAM 22x
    • NZXT Zero 2 Full Tower Case with 7 x 120mm fans (4 of them are Thermaltake Blue LED 93.5CFM fans)
    • EVGA GTX260 core 216 nvidia GPU
    • MS Comfort curve 2000 Keyboard
    • Logitech G500 Laser Gaming Mouse
    • Samsung 40" LCD HDTV
    • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (Build 7600)

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    PS: I forgot to add that I have a fresh new 1TB HDD sleeping in the corner waiting to be connected to this system :D !
  2. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Its usually not advisable to reuse an old install with new hardware, but you can always give it a shot.

    What you can try doing is clone your old drive to your new drive and then when your computer arrives, plug in the new drive and see if it will work. Windows *should* be able to scan the new hardware and then you can download drivers for them.

    If Windows fails to run for some reason, then you still have the data saved on the old drive, and then can reformat the TB drive and install fresh windows on it or whatever.

    If by chance any of your games are from Steam, they do have a backup feature. I used it to backup, but then I just downloaded the games again, instead of restoring, but in theory it should have all the settings and saved games you had when you backed up.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Not really.
  4. Xecutor

    Xecutor TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 118

    Actually, I only have Crysis and the Fear Pack (from the recent Steam deal) on Steam. Starcraft II, Mass Effect 2, Crysis: Warhead and Starcraft: Broodwar are all from CD/DVD installs. Other files I'd need to back up would be videos, pics and movies, as well as Anticrapware.

    Is there a specific cloning software I can use to clone my old HDD on the 1TB one?

    @ HelloKitty & gwailo247
    Also, if I delete all drivers, would Windows be able to re-download them from Windows Update without needing a fresh install?

    Thanks for replying HelloKitty, but could you elaborate a little bit more as to why not, as well?
  5. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Windows installs specifically for each hardware configuration. You'll probably just boot up and BSOD.
    Not only that, but microsoft will probably get mad at you and invalidate your copy, unless you specifically bought a retail version of the os, you are not allowed to move the OS to a different computers. If you bought the retail version, you'll just have to give microsoft a call.

    BTW, you can always try, just don't count on it to work. You can google some procedures which will try to remove as many hardware dependant things as possible, and that might help. I have not tried them, and don't know if they work. IMO better just to go with a fresh install.
  6. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I downloaded one from the WD web site, Acronis True image. Most HD manufacturers offer them for free, not sure if they check which HD you have installed. I used it clone a drive but it was getting put into the same hardware setup.

    You can download Driver Sweeper, that should allow you to get rid some of the video and audio drivers.

    Like HK said, the system is installed for specific hardware, and there is the activation issue. But it may work, or it won't. That's why I'm suggesting cloning the drive, cause once the Windows starts to try to make the install work on the new hardware, you may end up getting that drive corrupted.

    I really would reinstall though. Its annoying to have to do all the updates, etc, but I think you'll get much better performance out of your system with a clean install, than with all the old crap loaded on your OS.
  7. Xecutor

    Xecutor TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 118

    That makes sense.

    Windows can be a PITA sometimes, but I guess I should just do a fresh install on the 1TB drive and use the 500GB one as a secondary. Then, wipe the OS after having the 1TB fully installed with OS and anticrapware. I should still be able to use my programs, I just won't have them on start menu, but that can be easily fixed by pinning shortcuts to the taskbar - no biggie.

    I really don't want to have any BSODs lol...

    Also, what is your opinion on that Jetway mobo, and the PSU?
  8. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    You won't be able to use the programs installed on the 500 GB drive on your fresh windows install. Windows 7 installs a lot of files in places other than the Program Files folder, so that would not work, unless you're dealing with very very simple software (consisting of 1 exe file).

    Its either all or nothing. =)

    As far as the mobo and PSU I don't have any personal experience with them, but I am running a 890GX Asus mobo. It does have onboard video, do you need that? Cause then you may look at a 890FX board if you don't.
  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    IMO an 870 would have been fine, and cheaper, but it seems you already ordered.
  10. Xecutor

    Xecutor TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 118

    I agree that the 870 would have been cheaper (and I did look into it as an option), but isn't the 890GX a good balance between upgrade-ability and cost? Also, the 890GX has X-fire support and 2 PCIe x16 lanes while the 870 only has 1.

    I had future upgrades in mind with this purchase. Later on (in a few years) I want to be able to add 2 GPUs in X-fire and have room for more RAM as well as be able to add an x6 CPU. While I wouldve been able to get the latter 2 upgrades with the 870, the 890GX's 2 PCIe x16 lanes swayed me towards it, and since it is cheaper than the FX, I went for it.

    Other than cost, what other advantages did you have in mind for the 870?
  11. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Nothing why would it be better?
    Just doesn't cost as much.
  12. Xecutor

    Xecutor TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 118

    Sorry to necro this thread, but I had an update on the topic.

    I was able to put the parts together without a hitch. Posted no problem. Also, I used the OC Lite function on MSI's BIOS and slightly OC'd the CPU to 3.63GHz on the AMD stock cooler, and I still get temps around 52-55degC on load (during Crysis on Max).

    • How do I get the TRUE timings for my RAM without messing it up in the BIOS? I am supposed to be able to use the RAM at 1600MHz, but when I check its speed it shows 1333MHz in MSI's motherboard software, and in some diagnostic programs it displays as 1211MHz.

    Also, I booted from the old HDD without a problem at all. Windows 7 automatically recognized a different mobo, and asked me to reboot. When it did, I was in a normal windows environment without a single issue. Even my old files were accessible no problems.

    I, eventually, took out the old drive after copying everything onto my fresh 1TB drive and installed the old 500GB one in the other case I had transferred the old Mobo to. And even there, Windows 7 quickly adapted and rebooted to a normal and stable desktop. I was pleasantly delighted by the result.

    So, apparently, Windows 7 is very forgiving to swapping hardware inside your case, even for something as big as a CPU/Mobo and RAM. Something new for me since I was afraid it would fail based on numerous cautions on the internet, not just here at TS. I am VERY happy to say that with Windows 7, you can EASILY swap hardware without risking loss of data since Win 7 is very adaptable.

    Also, the other thing was that when my old 500GB drive was hooked to my upgrade, I had a dual-boot option so to speak. I could boot though either the 1TB drive or the 500 GB drive into windows 7. Pretty neat :D !

    Even my Video-card is chugging along at full speed now; without the cpu bottleneck, my GTX260 is screaming in games like SC2 and Crysis. SC2 runs on Extreme (now with the 1.2.0 patch) at a very steady average of 25-30 fps with a rare hiccup in PvZ matchups (when there are a billion zerglings barelling down on my Protoss force, and I get a nice comfy 35-40 fps in Crysis at 1360x768 with the highest settings.

    I am a happy man ^_^
  13. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Are you setting the RAM on AUTO, MANUAL, or XMP in BIOS?
  14. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I didn't say that it won't work, I just said that you shouldn't count on it to work o.o.

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