I'm definitely not an authority on hardware or software, so I'm not going to pretend to be! I just need to figure out how much damage I caused to my computer, and what exactly can be fixed.
I went out and bought a 1GB DDR2 stick (made by SimpleTech), and I went home and did something very stupid. I forced it into the remaining slot in my motherboard, leaving the factory 512MB DDR stick in. Then, after pressing the power button, a poof of smoke came out of the processor, and now all my BIOS can do is beep occasionally.
Obviously I did a lot of things wrong - I just need to figure out if my hard drive, video card, and other parts are okay.
Seeing as how I can't boot up my computer to check the specs, here's the ones I can remember:
You let the magic smoke out of something and that device won't work anymore. You have at least damaged the M/B to a point where it is, for all practical purposes, unusable. I would assume the new RAM is bad as well. Given your demonstrated skill level I would suggest you take it to a competent repair site and take the hit they are gonna put on you.
Each RAM module has a small notch in it. Each slot on the motherboard has a small plastic protrusion to mate with the notch. However, the location of the notch and matching protrusion is different between DDR and DDR2. How you managed to insert a DDR2 module into a DDR slot is beyond me. They are physically incompatible. They also have different pin outs (DDR = 184pin, DDR2 = 240pin).
You shorted the pins in the memory slots. At the very least, your northbridge, CPU, and RAM modules are fried. It's not likely to have damaged your disk drives.
Check the motherboard, look at the capacitors (you will normally find these around the CPU with the big fan thingy! They are tall and round and normally have a cross scored into the end). If they have bulged and exploded then that's a clear sign that the mobo is dead.
Lots of non-techies believe that the processor is the whole case, so when you say smoke came out of the processor do you mean the actual CPU or the back of the case(PSU)?
I will have a wild stab and say that your video, HD, ram are ok but mobo and CPU == dead.
It sounds like you have a socket A, barton 3200+ so your mobo and CPU are old and replacing them might be hit and miss as you are looking at second hand market.
Your vga should work on any reasonably modern machine with an AGP slot, HD will work on most systems providing they hava UATA interface. Memory will work on any system that uses DDR (not DDRII). SO P4 or later should be OK.
Christmas has just gone and lots of people upgraded so get to your nearest recycling centre, you'll probably find a good test machine for a few pennies. You might even get lucky by getting a better spec than you have currently.
Swap bits over with yours to prove that they still work then get on ebay to buy the replacements. Try to get the same chipset as your old mobo then you should not have any problems with XP!!!!!!!!
And next time, take out the old memory stick and compare it with the new one before trying to ram your stick into a slot that is simply not able to accomodate it!
Yeah, it is pretty funny now that I think about it... I really shouldn't try to work on my computer when I'm upset about something.
Well, thanks everyone for all your help! It's much appreciated. Hopefully the RAM is still ok, because from what I've heard from you - I think I just need to get a new computer in general. I'll get my friend to run a diagnostics check to find out which parts are still working, and maybe move them into the new computer (because I don't want to pay for another video card). I'll have to buy a USB extension for my old 180GB hard drive to transfer files onto the new one I'll be getting, because I don't want to lose all the stuff I had on there.
The smoke did come out of the CPU! - My desktop was actually in my lap with the case off when I turned it on, so I was able to see where it came from. The mobo's BIOS still beeps when booted up, so I don't know if it's completely dead - however, it's three years out of date and I would really like to use DDR2 instead of regular DDR.
I'm also going to hang out here in the forums for a while - I'm very much an amateur when it comes to working with both hardware and software, and I'd like to learn as much as I can.
I think chances are good that both of your memory modules are fried. I certainly wouldn't let you try them out on my system for fear that they have something shorted internally that might damage my system.