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Upgrading My Own Computer All By Myself

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#1 zombiewhacker


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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:18 PM

As I posted a few days ago, I'm looking to replace my dead hard drive and likely my power supply as well. Since money is an issue, I decided to wander into unknown territory and do the upgrade myself instead of bringing it into the shop. Being that I am a complete newbie, I've got lots of questions.

First of all, here are the specs of my existing system, a Gateway 420GR, which has never been upgraded before:


This is the power supply I've decided on:


This is the hard drive I'm looking at:


My plan is to upgrade my power supply first, then boot the system and make sure everything's in order. If by some chance my existing hard drive isn't dead and suddenly comes back to life when I add the new power supply, then I won't need to install the new hard drive. I'll just ship it back to Newegg. If the drive doesn't respond, then I'll have to power down and proceed with the new drive installation.

Which leads me to the inevitable question, how do I do that? Can anyone point me toward the best tutorials, online or printed, that will walk me through the power supply installation and the hard drive installation procedures step by step?


Edited by zombiewhacker, 21 January 2009 - 06:20 PM.

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:42 PM

I keep these links on file (not saying they are the best, but...better than nothing). You can Google for better links, if you think you need such. I find that most sites which tell you how to do one thing...also have tutorials/instructions on how to install other components.

Installing A Hard Drive - Step by Step PCMech - http://www.pcmech.com/article/installing-a...e-step-by-step/

Connecting IDE Hard Drives - http://www.mikeshardware.com/howtos/howto_...ect_ide_hd.html

Hard Drive Installation and Diagnostic Tools - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/28744/hard-drive-installation-and-diagnostic-tools/


After you get the hard drive installed, you will need to reinstall XP.

Clean Install Procedure with Illustrative Screen Captures - http://www.theeldergeek.com/xp_home_install_-_graphic.htm

XP Clean Install, Stevens - http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

How to perform a repair installation of Windows XP if Internet Explorer 7 is installed - http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=917964

How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install (Stevens) - http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm


Edit: That hard drive is SATA...do you have SATA motherboard connectors? If not, then you need to get an IDE/PATA/ATA drive.

Edited by hamluis, 21 January 2009 - 06:43 PM.

#3 zombiewhacker

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:46 PM

Thanks. Any good links to replacing a power supply? I'm open to book recommendation, too. :thumbsup:

Also, have I chosen the right parts for my existing system? Gateway's specs for the 420GR list the hard drive as a "160 GB (7200 RPM, Serial ATA, 8 MB Cache)" so I'm assuming the hard drive I've picked is the right replacement: "Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive."

#4 DJBPace07


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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:01 PM

Before you try and upgrade your power supply, check to see if Gateway uses standard power supplies or proprietary ones. If you plan on using SLI or Crossfire with your video card you may not have enough power, that power supply you have chosen might not be the best choice. Since your motherboard in the Gateway PC only has one PCIexpress x16 slot, you should not have to worry about this. However, if you plan on gaming with a good GPU, you might want at least 550W just to be safe. Try to get a modular power supply if you can, they make cable management so much easier. Replacing a power supply is very easy. Disconnect the cables, remove the screws holding the unit in the case, pull it out of the case, and remove the backplate (if there is one). To install, attach the backplate to the unit, slide into the tower (Note: If you have a modular power supply, connect the cables to the unit before sliding into the machine. This makes it so much easier to install.), connect the cables to the components, and off you go. Suggested choices:

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W - Corsair makes excellent power supplies.
SILVERSTONE ST56F 560W - ...So does Silverstone.
Rosewill RP550V2-D-SL 550W - I've never owned a Rosewill PSU, but the reviews of this unit are very good.

Edited by DJBPace07, 22 January 2009 - 04:06 PM.



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