System upgrade challange

Hey all you Guru's...

Here's the deal. I currently have two functioning WinXP Pro boxes. One is P-3 1Ghz based the other is newer and AMD 2700XP based. The P-3 system is currently FULL of hard drives (4 of them... 400-500 Gigs total), Burner, a good nVidia graphics card and this is the old tried and true system I have been using for years (TONS of software on board!). The AMD system has the faster processor, better Motherboard (raid etc), only one little Hard drive, cheapo graphics display and I've only used it for some business apps.

I want to take the drives, burner, better video board out of the P-3 box and load it all into the AMD box (and vice-versa). What I want to essentially end up with is the better components (MoBd, burner, drives, vid) loaded into the better box (the box with the AMD). Of course I'll take the necessary components in the other direction to make a low-budget P-3 that crawls along for business apps.

Sounds easy right. Swap the components from box to box and then boot them both up right? Ooops... forgot that the AMD Motherboard will have to have Bios work to recognise new drives/vid/burner etc. The P-3 will need the same sort of stuff.

So how do I do it without reformatting both systems back to scratch? Can I make good XP boot disks, swap out the hardware components and then boot to the disks? Will this work?

Quite a challange huh?

Tanks for the hep!!
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  1. Your OS is located on 1 drive, if you've set it up right it's the C: drive for each machine. I'd leave the C: drives alone and put the other 3 drives on the newer machine. You can also load the CD burner in the new machine, but any burner software you want will have to be loaded to the new machine's C: drive.

    <font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
    <font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
  2. Crashman,
    Thanks for the help. Yes, C:drive is the boot drive. On the current AMD machine the C:boot drive is an old 8gig IBM. On the P3 machine the C:boot drive is a new 160gig Maxtor. So you can see that I want to get that bigger boot drive into the AMD system.

    Here is a bit better (I hope) explanation of my situation.

    I've had this Dell Pentium 3, 1ghz system for many years. It has a good case but the case is proprietary and will NOT accept other manufacturers mother boards. The Dell also has a minimal power supply that is also proprietary and won't work with other MoBos. This Dell contains 4 hard drives (2 drives on one mobo IDE connector, one as master and one as slave). The boot drive is a 160gig Maxtor. On the second IDE mobo connector I have two optical drives (a CD-ROM and a DVD-RW). As you can see, all of the native mobo IDE connectors are used up. I have added an additional PCI Bus master IDE controller card installed in an available PCI slot which allows me to connect 2 more IDE drives, and 2 more SATA drives. I currently use this PCI/IDE controller to support 2 more 180 gig drives. This Dell also has an SCSI card for SCSI devices, a PCI Audio card, a good AGP video card, a V.90 modem and a NIC installed (I connect via DSL). The Dell mobo only came with 2 USB-1 ports, accepts a max of 768 RAM (I currently have 384 installed). As you can see the Dell is LONG in the tooth, but it is my MAIN system.

    Now the second system; I was given (yes... for free) a second computer that consists of the following hardware. An Asus Mobo with an AMD 2700xp processor with 512 RAM (expandable to 3 gig). This mobo has 4 USB-2, 2 USB-1, Raid, SATA, on-board sound, and many other bells and whistles. The MoBo is installed in a "plain-Jane" case with a nice 400w truepower PSU. This system ONLY has one, 8 gig hard drive in it. It has an older generation 24x CD-ROM, and an older generation CD-RW that won't burn but reads ok. As far as expansion cards, it has an old, low budget PCI graphics card and a wireless 10/100 network card installed...

    So what would you all do? You'd want to use that nice ASUS mobo and AMD processor as your MAIN systems foundation. But you can't move the Asus and AMD into the Dell because the Dell case and PSU won't accept it. So you'd do the next best thing.... remove the hardware you want/need FROM the Dell and put it INTO the case that already has the Asus and AMD processor.

    So I'm gonna tear everything out of the DELL that I need, and install all that stuff into the case which already has the AMD in it. I'll take the parts that I have left laying around and Frangenstein the Dell back together (Dell case/mobo/processor, add that little 8 gig drive, the cheap video card etc. and have a working, low budget business clunker).

    Now.... how do I make these changes WITHOUT having to scrap all of my Apps?

    (Igor... Turn on that cool zappy lightning ball thingy and stand back!)
  3. Most of Dell's Pentium-Pentium III Dimension desktops used a standard ATX case manufactured by Palo Alto, with a proprietary front panel connector and proprietary power supply (standard size, different wire arrangment). I've put ATX internals into them and rewired the front panel.

    As for the drives, if you don't want to mess around with reinstalling windows, you can use various programs such as Maxtor's Maxblast or PowerQuest Drive Image to copy partitions or image drives. To do that, you'd need 3 drives (or 3 partitions), the C: partition from each system and a 3rd drive to copy to/from. You'd have to copy the first C: partition to the spare, then replace that C: partition from the second C: partition, then use the backup to recreate the first C: partition on the second drive.

    <font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
    <font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
  4. Crashman,

    You mean I can take my old dell case, install a new PS and it will work with a new mother board? I had heard the mobo size was different on dell and couldn't be reused.
  5. some of the connectors are proprietary.
    You can reuse the case, tho.

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    And the sign says "You got to have a membership card to get inside" Huh
    So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign</pre><p></font color=red>
  6. The Palo Alto cases for Dell PC's, Micron PC's, and HP workstations are standard ATX. Look at the thing, if it's a Dimension and looks like an ATX, it is. Standard ATX has 7 slots, Dell's proprietary cases (that look similar to ATX but aren't) have 5, while their ATX cases have the standard 7.

    These Palo Alto (that's the manufacturer of the case) cases have a front panel card for the lights and buttons with a ribbon cable clipped in place. You can remove the ribbon cable and insert leads. You can get leads off another case, I've scrapped a few cases for them.

    The EMI shield around the ports is removable. You have to unclip the fan and remove the board to get to it. Replacements are only available in the standard layout. If you choose to use the case but don't want to buy that cover, you can leave it off.

    That EMI shield is made of 2 parts, the thick outer layer and a thin grounding layer. The grounding layer has all the holes, while the outer layer has only the holed needed for the original board. If you are installing a board with the old standard port layout, you can use the inner layer without the outer cover as a shield.

    A standard ATX power supply screws right in.

    So yes, most Pentium through Pentium III Dimension PC's use a standard ATX case, manufactured by Palo Alto, and standard boards fit. You have a few options for the port cover, you can leave it off, use the inner portion only, or buy a replacement from a Palo Alto case retailer. And you'll need to replace the front panel ribbon cable with wire leads.

    <font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
    <font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
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