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Upgrade Mobo/CPU/RAM without reinstalling system from scratch??

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November 19, 2008 4:54:09 AM

OK, just a month ago I installed Vista 64-bit and got it all setup on my old socket 939 Athlon X2 system with a new GTX 260. Runs great, but I know my CPU is bottlenecking my card, and I am tempted by very low component prices.

For just over $300, I could get some high end OCZ Reaper HPC RAM (4gb kit) DDR2 800, a Q6600 2.4ghz Quad Core 65nm (or should I spend $50 more and get a 2.5ghz 45nm?), and a Gigabyte P45 motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)...

The main thing holding me back is, will I have to reinstall EVERYTHING all over again? I just don't have the time or desire.

If I can simply do a repair install, reactivate, and install proper chipset drivers, then I think I would go ahead and do this.

Right now my 550w Antec NeoPower power supply is handling everything just fine. Would this processor up my power needs too much and require a PSU upgrade as well?

Also, a $100 gigabyte motherboard, it has high reviews, but how good is it really? I spent $250 on my "Premium" Asus socket 939 motherboard back in the day, but this motherboard seems to offer everything my Asus did in terms of BIOS options and ports/connectors/chipset. I almost feel "bad" going from a Premium mobo to what seems an entry level mobo... and does gigabyte make good boards? Is the old premium todays standard?

Thanks for the advice!

More about : upgrade mobo cpu ram reinstalling system scratch

a b B Homebuilt system
November 19, 2008 5:21:24 AM

What are your current issues? Maybe you have something wrong and it's not related to your hardware, maybe you have a virus or something else. Here are a few things to consider:

* Well first off the AMD build isn't bad, just a bit dated. Depending on your gaming requirements and resolutions used, it may be alright.
* The q6600 is a fine buy for the $. You'll probably want to OC it to 2.8-3.2 gHz to get better results or you could go with the e7200/e8400/e8500 CPU's and OC them to 3.4-4 gHz depending on other options you get.
* Your Antec Neo 550w PSU is just fine, but I'm not sure how old it is. It might be time to upgrade, but that is hard to say. Your PSU is of good quality, so that is a good thing. You should be able to keep the PSU for the upgrade.
* A $100 Gigabyte mobo these days is a pretty decent one. If you want to goto a "Premium" mobo than you'll need an x38/x48 mobo. I'd only recommend these if your going to do Crossfired GPU's and/or some extreme OC'ing, otherwise the p45 based mobo's are just fine! And yes Gigabyte and Asus mobo's are pretty popular Intel mobo's.
* Finally, you are WAAAAY better off doing a fresh install with all of the NEW parts. The effort you put in the beginning will pay off.
November 19, 2008 8:25:16 PM

Well, I don't really overclock. And I don't really have any current issues. It would be nice to turn up the details on some games even higher, and in some games get even smoother framerates - like Crysis, and Call of Duty World at War could use a a little bump. I know the newer intel architecture is much better, and the two extra cores will soon be important, and will speed up video/media tasks I do as I edit a lot of video.

Of course, I don't really need all of this. I can play Fallout 3 on HIGH (but not ultra) at 45-60fps constant, usually closer to 60.

I know it's always better to install fresh, but I was wondering HOW much better. My VISTA install is brand new and I just spent a long time setting it up. If I could change the hardware and update VISTA 64-bit without any problems, I would probably get the hardware upgrade. If not, I will probably wait until Windows 7 and Core i7 prices come down.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 19, 2008 8:43:24 PM

Well you can chance it, but with that many hardware changes I wouldn't bet on getting out of it scott free! You'd probably spend even more time doing it the way you want to, don't know for sure, but there is probably a high probability that it will take more time than just doing a fresh install. I don't think your CPU is limiting your play that much, it's more than likely the GPU. What resolutions are you gaming at?
November 19, 2008 8:53:21 PM

eVGA GTX 260 Core 216 896mb
1680x1050 22" Monitor

4gb of RAM, but I'm having problems with H/W remapping & Vista 64-bit on my mobo (Asus A8N-SLI Premium), so I only have access to 3gb of memory :(  Vista won't start, just keeps rebooting system at load attempt whenever H/W remapping is enabled in the BIOS. So Vista sees 4.00gb in "My Computer" but shows 3gb enabled in Task Manager. That is with S/W memory remapping enabled. With no remapping, Task Manager sees 2.75gb.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 19, 2008 9:07:36 PM

Appears there has been some issues with some of the older BIOS's that Asus put out for that board. Not sure why your getting such a difference in memory amounts, but I'd consider upgrading the BIOS to the latest, if you haven't already. I know VISTA is a memory hog, so 2.75-3 gb's of RAM available might be normal (I don't know). I don't have VISTA, so can't say for sure how much memory it takes, but maybe someone else can chime in and inform both of us on that.
November 19, 2008 10:01:37 PM

no, no, I mean Task manager sees 3gb of addressable memory. Vista is using about 1.22gb of that 3gb right now.

My BIOS on the Asus is latest "real" one. They have a newer one from over a year ago, but it is a beta. Updating to a beta BIOS kinda makes me nervous.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 20, 2008 4:25:48 AM

I have 2 gb's in XP pro and have 1.65 available, so I'm thinking your numbers might be close, other than only showing 3 gb's out of your 4 gb's. Are you sure you have 64 bit OS installed? You know there is a 32 bit Vista too?
November 20, 2008 6:15:35 AM

Yes.... I have 64-bit installed. 100% sure.

The other reason I am thinking about quad core intel is for games that DO show slow down and bottleneck me. Crysis Warhead, Far Cry 2 are the two most note-able, and I know more to come.

I am having issues using my 4gb of RAM.

And my dad works at Intel, so I might be able to get a 45nm Quad Core Extreme on a lender program for one year, so if so, I could upgrade for very cheap and then buy a Core i7 in a year....

The only KILLER is...


Ugh, must I reinstall Vista and everything ALL OVER again? It's not just the Vista install and drivers, it is the hours upon hours of:

- Adobe CS4 Master Collection
- Office 2007
- 15-ish some games

Takes FOREVER.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 20, 2008 7:25:41 AM

Well it sounds like maybe 1 stick is bad (I'm assuming you have a 4x1 gb setup). I'd try each individual stick at a time and see if you can find the bad stick or 2 that way.
November 20, 2008 2:49:18 PM

All sticks are good, they all past memtest after running overnight. It's an issue with the remapping. I can leave H/W remapping enabled when I put Linux. It doesn't play well with Vista for some reason.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 21, 2008 6:10:41 AM

Hmm, never done the HW remapping thing, never even knew there was such a thing. Wonder if your mobo isn't liking your memory sticks??
!