About a year and a half ago I bought a Gateway 840GM Multimedia Center PC (3GHz Pentium D & 1GB DDR2 RAM). Despite being a manufactured PC, it has been a good PC with no big problems. I have since then upgraded to 2GB DDR RAM, an Asus GeForce 6800 256MB PCI-X card and the Creative Labs X-Fi audio card. About a month ago I bought a new power supply to prep my system for another upgrade, the GeForce 8800GTX video card. I got the card but it does not fit. The CPU is too close to the PCI-X slot and the monster of a video card will not fit because the CPU heatsink and fan is blocking it. I have tried finding a smaller heatsink to fit the motherboard, but the board has somekind of weird design heatsink that only Gateway uses as all fans that I bought did not fit. I think my only choice is to replace the motherboard. Has anybody replaced a motherboard on the Gateway 840GM and if so, which one did you use? I just came to this conclusion yesterday and because I was watching the NCAA tournament, I have not had much of a chance to research this yet. I need to do something soon, seeing that new video card sitting unused on my desk is killing me.
One of my pc's is that model. I believe it is a "BTX" case and you would need to replace the motherboard with another BTX motherboard. I think your only option would be to replace the case and get an ATX (larger) motherboard. You would be able to re-use some of your present components in the re-build but the DVD drives and card reader may not be re-usable due to the Gateway case design. Since the original pc came with an non-transferrable OEM operating system, you would likely need to buy a new operating system if you use a new motherboard. All in all, you will actually be building a new pc to use that monster graphics card! Your old hard drives, new power supply, cpu, memory modules, heatsink/fan, cables, case fans, mouse & keyboard and monitor would be re-usable in a new build. One thing though, your cpu is a Pentium D 3GHz and on an ATX motherboard the cooling fan will run faster and make more noise than the fan in your present BTX case. I went thru the same decision making process you are and finally decided to just build a new pc from scratch. It was a fun challenge and I don't regret it since I ended up with a very nice pc. You will discover that if you build your own pc it will cost a lot more than a similarly equipped OEM manufacturer sells them for though. The big plus is, if you are successful building your own, you will learn enough that you won't need the support help of someone in Delhi, India when you run into a problem!
Not to throw an additional monkeywrench into your plans, but I've replaced motherboards on many E-machine and Gateway PCs, and the OS is usually tied to that specific motherboard. That means if you put a different brand and/or model motherboard in the case, the OS will not start up. It may not be the case with the machine you have, but it is something to think about.
Newnerd is correct. OEMs are built with little room for upgrades. Proprietary mobo design and PSU's are jjst some of the problems. The case itself probably will not take even a normal BTX mobo. May be time to BYO rig.
As Nwnerd said, you can reuse the ODD, HDDs, your new PSU and probably the RAM and possibly your XP CD. You'll need a new mobo and I'd plug a dual core CPU in there as well. Also a well ventilated case is a necessity.
Being former gateway tech i can tell ya merc is correct. Gateway uses proprietary case designs as well to go along with their motherboards. If you are lucky to get another motherboard that fits in there fine half of the time it will not line up externally due to the design of the case.
Best bet - get a cheapo $40 case or something and move in the componants you do want to keep.
Best bet (repeating everyone else here): New case and mobo. Retail machines ARE NOT designed for heavy duty upgrading, such as a 8800GTX. Also, the BIGGEST problem with Gateways are most of them are BTX design.
Thanks for the replies. I have already decided to build a new PC around the 8800GTX video card. Now I am starting the process of shopping for components. Thanks for the suggestions of motherboards and cases. I'll look into those on Newegg.