Replacing AMD CPU, motherboard, and GPU with intel. Need some guidance

I just ordered a new intel i5 3750k, asrock z77 extreme4 motherboard, and 650 ti boost GPU (after some great advice in the graphics forum!) to replace my current all AMD components. (phenom II 965 BE, HD 5770, and Asus M4A77TD).

So while I am waiting for my components, I have been looking into descriptions and soon some videos on transplanting these components into my system. As the most I have done upgrading a computer is putting in new RAM so far lol. Needless to say my tech knowledge is minimal at best.

Since both the CPU and Motherboard are brand new am I still going to need to remove and re-apply the heatsink? or is it just put the cpu and mobo together?

Secondly as far as my current hard drive is concerned....... What am I going to need to do with it to prep the chipset swap? (going from AMD to Intel). Things like driver deletion, etc. Do I need to do a full wipe/re-install of windows 7? Is there a way to do it preserving my existing data?

I completely overlooked the windows/hard drive issue when planning this upgrade.

All advice/guidance is greatly appreciated. Both for the hardware swap and the hard drive. Trying to develop my understanding of the processes and the help here at Tom's Hardware has been excellent.
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  1. Best answer
    To installing the CPU: If you bought the retail version of the CPU it will come with a new heatsink to install. Since you got the "k" version and a Z77 motherboard, I take it you are thinking of overclocking, the heatsink that comes with the retail CPU wont get you very far. If you want to OC you will want to look into a better aftermarket cooler.

    As for Windows, I recommend a fresh install for best stability and performance. This means you will need to save your data, do you have a flash drive, second HDD, external HDD, Blank DVDs, or maybe some cloud storage you can save it to?
  2. I will be looking into overclocking down the road and will definitely be looking at a different cooling option at that time.

    As far as windows goes I figured I was going to need a fresh install, but had hope lol. I am looking into borrowing an external drive (I haven't had need for one as my 1 TB drive is maybe half full) for a data save method. Probably only be copying over my multimedia data and some documents as I can easily just re-download/re-install the games/programs I have.

    My concern on a fresh install comes with windows itself. I bought my computer semi-custom from ibuypower (via Newegg) and I believe windows was already installed with the product key on a sticker on the side of my tower. If I am lucky and have the boot disk, will I be able to use it and just input my current windows 7 key? or am I going to have to buy a retail copy?
  3. 1. Yes you absolutely need to install the heatsink.
    2. really no need to overclock with that gpu, as you will be more gpu limited, but yes its a good idea for the future.
    3. For your own sanity, yes, do a clean install of windows, always recommended with motherboard swap. It might work if you dont reinstall, but clean install eliminates any software problems and driver clashes that you will most likely encounter at some stage. you can use the same key, however, you will probably need to call up microsoft to activate it as your SSID will now be different, i have done this a few times its never a problem, they just give you a long string of numbers to enter. if you dont have an actual windows 7 installation disk then this is a problem, i dont believe PC manufacturers normally supply them. Maybe you can borrow one if you know someone with a copy.
  4. Yea after reading some more I have come to terms with a fresh install. Maybe I will be lucky and have a Windows boot disk, if not I am pretty sure I can track a friend down with one. So relieved the key will still work (as long as I can get my hands on a disk lol)

    Will i need to pick up some thermal paste, or is it provided with the CPU?

    Also for Steam users, will i need to copy over my game save data or is there a function within steam or the cloud to save/push them over?
  5. You could try calling iBuypower and ask them to send you a Windows disc, I have been able to get discs from Dell and HP when clients HDDs failed and they had no other way to reinstall.

    The heatsink usually comes with some thermal paste already applied. While not the best, it should work for stock speeds. (I'm running mine on it now.) If you prefer to apply your own, Arctic Silver is a good product and is/was only like $4. Just remove the OEM paste with some rubbing alcohol.

    Arctic Silver:

    As for Steam, I am not sure how that works as I haven't used it much. Have you tried logging in from a different computer an see if your progress is still there? If not, that would indicate to me that the saved data is stored locally and not on their server. Find that data and you should be able to save it along with your other data then replace it after reinstalling Steam.
  6. Well I do have a windows re-install disk so that is good. I will also be able to borrow a large external drive. Now with the data; is it just a matter of dragging and dropping the files I want over to the external, and then doing the same once I have the new install and programs all set up? (Noting where I pulled them from and dropping them back in the same place).
  7. Exactly, I recommend moving the file instead of copying. Since the files will be moved, there is less chance to miss or forget a file.
  8. So in order to wipe my hard drive do I have to run something like dban before doing the hardware upgrade? Or will running the windows 7 install disk after replacing the hardware do the trick?
  9. When running the Windows 7 install it will format the drive.
  10. Ok so just swap my hardware then toss in the windows disk and just let it do its thing? and if I remember correctly when I go to input my current product key it will give me a contact for phone support to sort out my SSID yea?
  11. Do you have a full install or upgrade DVD? If you have the upgrade DVD (as I do) you will definitely have to call them to activate it (as I did a few days ago). If you have the full version be it retail or OEM, then you might be able to just install it and go.

    You can install windows without activating it but then have 30 days to contact Microsoft to get it done.

    If you end up having to call, here is the activation phone # for Microsoft: 888-725-1047
    Its the automated activation line, but if necessary just ask for a representative and you will eventually get one.
  12. I am actually not sure which disk I have (think it may be a OEM full version). Thanks for the number though!

    I will be starting the surgery tomorrow morning when I get off work lol.

    once I have the motherboard all swapped and everything, will the windows disk auto run on its own or do i have to force it to somehow? without allowing it try and boot from the hard drive
  13. You can either change the boot order in the BIOS to the DVD drive first or you can call up the boot options. usually this is done by hitting F12 when you would otherwise be trying to get into the BIOS. (Note: not all computers use F12, have to look which yours uses, its usually listed with what key to hit for the BIOS)

    Once booted to the DVD, just choose the options and enter your info, after that, Windows will do the rest. Its actually a very simple task, the DRM is the biggest hassle (provided everything is in working order)

    Don't forget to use the disc that comes with the motherboard and install the chipset and other drivers, after Windows is in. You would be surprised at how many people forget that step.
  14. alright brilliant. Thank you yet again sir!
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