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I'm wanting to upgrade my motherboard and processor


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#1 Michael86

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 07:19 PM

Okay, I bought my computer in 2003 and have upgraded it all over through the years.

Here are the specs of the factory version:

http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Hewlett-Packard-20944234

I've added RAM, but the main upgrades are:

Antec Truepower Trio 550W
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS

I'll end up getting a new case and whatever else I need obviously. It's just a basic computer to get things done with right now, but I'm wanting to go ahead and get a new motherboard and processor, but still be able to use these three. I'm not really sure what I can go with. I know the graphics card is an AGP, but I've heard of the adapters that allow you to use AGP on a PCI Express slot, but do they work well?

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 09:35 PM

I wouldn't get the AGP to PCI-E converters, it might be less expensive, and more worthwhile, to simply get a PCI-E card. If you change the motherboard and CPU, you will also need to change the RAM as the stuff you have now isn't compatible with most current motherboards. Also, you will have to reinstall Windows, most likely with a new copy of the OS. For OEM editions of the operating system, which is what you've got unless you've replaced it with a retail version, can only be installed on a single PC and may not be moved to another PC. Microsoft defines a new PC by the motherboard, if you change the motherboard, you have, in their view, a new PC. What exactly are you going to be doing with PC and what is your budget for the upgrades? Obviously, a PC designed for rendering or gaming will require more expensive, higher-quality components whereas one designed for basic tasks will not need the high-priced equipment.

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#3 Michael86

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 10:10 PM

Yeah, I kinda figured on the RAM thing. That's no problem.

I'll be playing a game or two on it, so I want it to be pretty fast. I'm getting kind of tired of it kind of lagging when I'm multi-tasking with different programs all the time now.

As for the budget, I'm not really sure. I'll be buying one or two things at a time and gradually getting it together, so usually money won't matter for getting good components, not the really high-end stuff obviously.

If you could give me a few combos on what would be ideal, that could really get me started.

Thanks so far for helping.

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 04:02 PM

Well, if you replace the motherboard, you will have to replace it, the RAM, and the CPU all at the same time since they work together. Here are some ideas...

Motherboard: ASRock M3A780GXH/128M AM3 AMD 780G - This has all the features one could want, and is easily upgradeable. This will run all of the new AM3 CPU's, will Crossfire with ATI GPU's, and uses DDR3. It also has on-board video which will work until you get a graphics card. $94

RAM: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - This is a basic DDR3 kit that will work with this motherboard. You need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $72

CPU: Here is where you have a number of options to fit your budget. Starting at the high-end, the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz ($189) is one of the best processors you can get for that motherboard. It has a high clock speed, is quad core, and has an unlocked multiplier. All of the Black Edition CPU's have the unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking. Going down the list, the AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Black Edition ($119) would be next. This is a triple core processor that is essentially like the 955 only with one core turned off. The 720 is a middle ground between the mainstream 550 and the high performance 955. Next, is the AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz ($102). The 550, like the 720 is basically a quad core CPU with two cores turned off. The 550 is the CPU for mainstream users who don't game or render much.

Edited by DJBPace07, 10 September 2009 - 04:04 PM.

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#5 Michael86

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:11 PM

Man, you're really helpful.

I was going to ask, how do some of the Gigabyte motherboards compare to the ASRock you told me about? I'm just trying to check out a couple of different ones is all. And what CPUs would work with the Gigabytes?

And yeah, I'd like to move up to at least 4GB of RAM. I've been working with 1GB for a while.

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:15 PM

Well, motherboards work with a given CPU type, Intel or AMD. After that they break down by socket. You need to get a motherboard that supports the socket of the processor you want to use. In this case, you would be getting an AMD processor for an AM3 socket. Gigabyte is a good company, though in terms of price, you may get more out of an ASRock motherboard. Looking at Newegg, the GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard would be a little cheaper than the ASRock, but does not have the same features and uses an older chipset.

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#7 Michael86

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:59 PM

Oh, okay. Well I can always spend more, that's fine. Which Gigabyte motherboard would you recommend that would be better than the ASRock? You can hit me with anything up to $200. I just like Gigabyte, haha. And then processors that would work well with that?

I've upgraded and learned a lot about computers, I know really nothing on motherboards and processors or I'd do this myself. It's all foreign because I've never messed with them.

#8 DJBPace07

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:35 PM

There are a few Gigabyte motherboards that will work with AM3 processors. All motherboards are mass produced, over time, failure rates fluctuate within a manufacturer. Gigabyte is a solid brand, ASRock is newer but well thought after since they were started from personnel at Asus. ASRock is usually cheaper than Gigabyte, but has more features at a given price point.

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX - This is similar to the Gigabyte board I listed earlier, but has two PCI-Express x16 slots and has a newer chipset. $114 (Before $15 mail-in rebate)

GIGABYTE GA-MA790FXT-UD5P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX - This is the highest end Gigabyte board for AM3 processors. This is considered an enthusiast-level motherboard. Aside from a higher-end chipset and no on-board video, this is almost identical to the previous board. $174

All of these motherboards that have been listed so far can use AMD's AM3 socket for CPU's. You can use any of the processors I listed in an earlier post with these motherboards.

Edited by DJBPace07, 12 September 2009 - 06:37 PM.

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#9 Michael86

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:58 PM

Okay, cool. I know there are a few other motherboards a step up from this, but they're for the Intel Core processors, and that's the the high dollar stuff, haha. I'm glad you narrowed it down for me.

I'm in no hurry to have this thing built, so I think I'm going to go with the GA-MA790FXT-UD5P and I'd hate to just toss my GeForce to the side, but get a new video card. I know all about AGP video cards, but haven't checked into the PCI Express; I guess I can have fun checking those out. What's the best AM3 processor you'd pair up with this motherboard, the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz you mentioned before?

BTW, thanks again for all your time helping me out.

#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 03:58 PM

I continue to suggest the Phenom II X4 955. However, if you want the highest-end processor available, the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz is also an option. Personally, I don't think a $50 increase in price for an additional 200 MHz. and a 140W processor that is an exact copy of the 955 is worth it. When going for a graphics card, check to see if you are going to use more than one. If you are, then your motherboard has to support either SLI or Crossfire. In this case, Crossfire is supported. This technology is exclusive to ATI graphics cards. Also, don't forget your power supply. 550W is usually plenty, but know that when card manufacturers suggest a given wattage, that it is always good to have 100W extra or a very high-end PSU.

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#11 Michael86

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:41 PM

Yeah, there's not much difference between those two processors. I'll probably just go with the 955.

Hit me up with a couple of different ATI graphics cards, haha. You're going to build my computer. I could always get one graphics card for now and put in another one later, but do you think it's worth putting two in? Which RAM do you recommend for this motherboard, the same as you mentioned before since it'll still be DDR3?

#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:30 PM

You can still use the RAM I suggested earlier. Using Crossfire is great with high-end cards. Usually, it is a good idea to get a really powerful single graphics card as opposed to two mid-level cards since some games don't scale well with additional cards. The best ATI card is the 4870 X2, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find. ATI is planning on releasing their new cards, the 5800 series, sometime around the end of this month. Here's an article about it. When it is released, the 5870 will be one of the best single GPU solutions, with the 5870 X2 being the most powerful package. If you want something now, the SAPPHIRE 100269HDMI Radeon HD 4890 1GB is one of the best. If you want something a little less powerful, the SAPPHIRE 100279-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB would work too.

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#13 Michael86

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 08:40 PM

I'd rather have one really good graphics card anyway. I'm glad you cleared that up. I'll check into those cards.

So with all the things you recommended... is there anything else that you think I'm missing?

I'm going to get a new hard drive pretty soon because mine's old and wore out. Oh, that reminds me, is there a way to move my files to a new hard drive and keep the original date created for each file? The original dates created are pretty important to keep. Pretty random question, I know, but it's always bugged me, haha.

#14 DJBPace07

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 10:18 PM

I'm not entirely sure about the date created part, but, after looking around in some of my directories, I see that some of my files from 2001 still give modified dates from 2001. I've moved these files between three different hard drives on two different PC's. I'm not sure, but creation dates and modified dates are stored in a file's metadata. The creation date will be date the file was initially written to the hard drive, but the modified date will be the date any changes to the file have been saved. There are some things you still need for the PC.

You've got the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and GPU figured out. Since you are changing the motherboard, you will need a new copy of Windows. The OEM edition that was installed on your PC is paired to the motherboard. If you change motherboards, the license becomes invalid. Microsoft believes the motherboard to be the core of the PC, so if you change it, you are in essence getting a new PC. Retail copies of Windows may be moved from one PC to another without this restriction. Anyway, you will need the 64-bit edition of Windows, in this case you can purchase Windows Vista Home Premium now and get a free upgrade coupon to Windows 7 when it is released. If you want to do this, you can purchase it here. Alternatively, you can download a free trial copy of Windows 7 Enterprise here. If you do this, that copy of Windows 7 will be valid for 90 days, after that you have to buy an operating system. Regardless, Windows 7 Enterprise must be deleted after 90 days. You will also need an optical drive, but you can salvage that from your old PC. Also, the computer case may be too shallow for a multi-graphics card setup. Depending on the case, some graphics cards are too long for mid-ATX towers which you have. I have two PC's, one is a mid tower. I cannot install anything longer than a GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB in it because the hard drive cage would block the drives. That card is 8 inches long, whereas an HD 4870 X2 is 11 inches long. I could remove the cage entirely and move the drives to the other drive bays but I already have a large full ATX case for my gaming so it would be largely pointless to move the thing. Finally, if you want a new hard drive, you should get a SATA drive with a 32MB cache for added performance. The Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive would work.

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#15 Michael86

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 09:06 AM

I'm going to have to get a new case, haha. 11 inches is pretty big for a graphics card, hell that's almost as long as the motherboard itself. There won't be any issues with anything on the gigabyte motherboard getting in the way will there?

I'll figure out what I'll do about the OS... I'm going to just gradually get all the components then worry with that last. BTW, Newegg is about the cheapest site, even than ebay, with prices on most of the stuff I've got to get; I've never bought anything from this site, but I'm about to now, haha.

I'm going to hit up a couple of the components within the next day or so.




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