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New computer build.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

New computer build.

I Have been looking at some of these ready built packages which include new motherboard, processor, memory etc for around a few hundred pounds.
My current computer is around 5 years old. Is it false economy to go down this line of a rebuild ?
My concern is that the motherboards are DDR3 will all the existing internal leads connect to a new motherboard?
Could there be any compatibility problems with external hard drives, card readers etc. ?
What about the software on my existing hard drive, could I just boot up and go or would everything have to be reinstalled?
Does anyone know of a good website that provides this info and any tips from anyone who has rebuilt a computer using new & old bits.
Thanks
 
16 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
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Re: New computer build.

Quote
My concern is that the motherboards are DDR3 will all the existing internal leads connect to a new motherboard?

DDR3 relates to the memory which you are replacing anyway.
Modern motherboards will only provide one IDE ( if any! ) connection and instead provide usually 4 or 6 SATA. So if your existing discs or DVD drives are IDE they will also need replacing with SATA ones. You may also need SATA cables depending on how many are supplied with the motherboard.
Power supply may also be a problem as modern motherboards require an ATX 12v supply rather than the old ATX ( see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATX )
If your kb and mouse are PS2 style connectors then the new motherboard may not have those and you will need USB kb & mouse.
Quote
Could there be any compatibility problems with external hard drives, card readers etc. ?
Shouldn't be, if they are USB connected
Quote
What about the software on my existing hard drive, could I just boot up and go or would everything have to be reinstalled?

Almost certainly a reinstall. You may also need to change to a 64bit OS to take advantage of additional memory above 4Gb.
Community Veteran
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Re: New computer build.

Most ATX (normal) M/b's use the same connector for power (sometimes multiple ones) you would need M/b/proc/memory everything else should transfer over. Otherthings to watch for are m/b sizes only really important if you have small box.
I used to do this but recently lack of funds means no pc expansion for me.
As to OS depends on what you have installed. M$ will probably need re-validated and if it was tied to the original box a NEW copy  Crazy, Linux will just reconfigure and usually boot as normal.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: New computer build.

I agree with MisterW.  However if your old computer was not built by yourself then it probably has an OEM copy of Windows and you probably didn't get a Windows disc.  The lack of a disc will make it hard to re-install Windows and Microsoft say that an OEM copy of Windows is not transferable to a new computer.  You will have to reactivate Windows and that could present problems, although probably not insurmountable ones.   
Community Veteran
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Re: New computer build.

As a short term measure SATA to IDE adapters are available for a couple of quid.
I've used them a few times to get data off old IDE drives.
Geoff,
York.
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Re: New computer build.

For a "few hundred pounds" you could easily buy a new cheap laptop, or complete desktop base unit (no monitor nor copy of Windows).
Community Veteran
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Re: New computer build.

If you are wanting to swap the guts into a Dell PC chassis, then be extremely cautious !.
Dell have a habit of having chassis, power supplies, motherboards, and cabling,  which at first sight LOOKS like standard ATX format,  but frequently have subtly different fixing holes or connectors - so that you have to buy Dell replacement parts !
Some Dells are OK, but many aren't !
Angry
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Re: New computer build.

My Dell Dimension 9200 has a BTX mother board  Cry Mind you I got it free from freecyle and been using it for past 4 years with no issues. More ram, Graphics card & Hdd's were all that were needed.
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Re: New computer build.

Quote from: ejs
For a "few hundred pounds" you could easily buy a new cheap laptop, or complete desktop base unit (no monitor nor copy of Windows).
That's the bit I can't make my mind up on. I want to stick with a desk top, no requirements for a monitor or OS system, if keyboard or mouse connections are wrong, no real problems as they are cheap enough to replace.
I Would want to stick with Intel with a fairly fast processor which really gets me asking is it worthwhile to replace stuff or as you suggest buying a new desktop base unit, which will no doubt come with at least 1 years guarantee.
kmilburn
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Re: New computer build.

Quote from: Hairy
Most ATX (normal) M/b's use the same connector for power (sometimes multiple ones)

The connectors have changed slightly (20 to 24pin), if you're lucky, the PSU may have an additonal 4pin block to provide compatability.
Also,  the PSU must have the P4 connector.
Then, depending on what else you buy,  graphics cards with high power requirements require 1 or 2 PCI-E power connectors,  for SATA drives you'll need  SATA power connectors,  you can get molex adapters for these,  but given it's age,  it may be worth considering a new PSU too.
Superuser
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Re: New computer build.

Quote
That's the bit I can't make my mind up on. I want to stick with a desk top, no requirements for a monitor or OS system, if keyboard or mouse connections are wrong, no real problems as they are cheap enough to replace.

I tend to agree with ejs , it's probably simpler just to get a complete desktop. In fact I'm currently debating exactly that for the BIL. I actually built his current system myself some years ago and now he wants to upgrade but it's debatable whether it's better for him ( and less hassle for me! ) to get something like one of these https://www.aria.co.uk/Systems/Home+and+Office/Next+Day+Systems/ or for me to get the bits to do an upgrade. There's really little difference in price since there's only probably the case that's reusable from the old system. I'm currently looking at either the I3-3220 or the I5-3470 ( or possibly the FX-6300 ? )  based systems from the aria link but either way I'm going to have to replace his XP with Win 7 64 bit Pro so that should be fun!.
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Re: New computer build.

Have a look here http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/?s=1
Note that it comes without an operating system unless you add it to the order
Superuser
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Re: New computer build.

Cheers Jim, very similar prices, always good to compare though!. The advantage I have with Aria though, is that they are 10 mins down the road from the office.
Community Veteran
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Re: New computer build.

Thanks for the links, guess it makes more sense for me to purchase something like this rather than go down the road of a rebuild which in my case may end up costing me even more money for the same specifications.
Thanks for the responses.
Community Veteran
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Re: New computer build.

Took the plunge and ordered the Novatec Life NT130, not many reviews but they all seem positive.