I have a Compaq Presario SR5013WM with a crap motherboard. I'm going to upgrade the mobo with one that has an Nvidia Chipset, however this site indicates that I'll need to reinstall the OS (Vista Home Basic). The trouble however is that I've only got the recovery discs that came with the PC. Will those be adequate or am i going to have to purchase a boxed version of Vista to make this work?
If you replace the motherboard, you'll probably need to reinstall the OS and the recovery disks should work only with an HP motherboard (which has an HP BIOS). I have a few sets of XP recovery discs and they don't work on anything but HP PCs.
If you replace the motherboard with another M-ATX, why nVidia over Intel? If you went with an Intel based motherboard, you probably wouldn't have to reinstall the OS.
Intel chipsets in my experience just aren't up to par, not to mention that i have budget constraints and after research and posts on other forums, the board
GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9400 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard can accommodate my existing processor and will fit in my Compaq chassis.
Intel chipsets just are not up to par? Where, and when, and why did you come to this conclusion? I think you will find that just the opposite is the general concenous of those in the know. Nvidia chipsets are the ones reasoned not up to par, and Intel chipsets are definetly the way to go. Nividia may argueably have the best gaming GPU's on the planet, but their mainboards and chipsets are flakey.
Also, I know you are on a budget. but before you make your decison, why not look some of the new Phenom setups? They are fast, inexpensive, and may allow you to bite the bullet, dump the case you are going to try and use, and just start from scratch. Carry over your drives etc from it.
Your OEM restore software will not be of any use to you I am afraid once you change the board.
Whatever you do, good luck, hope it all works out to your expectations.
I replaced the hp board in my presario with an ecs board. Use a dell oem vista or xp dvd to reinstall windows, and reactivate using the microsoft coa sticker number on the side of the case. Dell windows cd or dvd's are available at a few software venders listed in pricewatch under "operating systems" for about $16 shipped.
Each time I've relied on an Intel Chipset, I have poor performance and invariably need to install a dedicated vid card. Even my antiquated GeForce 7300 GS w/ 256mb gave a large performance increase over the chipset in MB of the Presario SR5013WM i have now. But the card is too old to keep up with today's games even on low settings, so I need to upgrade, just didnt' think I'd be upgrading the MB before the vid card.
Your initial post certainly didn't make it clear that you wanted to use the on-board 9400 GPU for gaming. You probably prefer that solution because a better video card might require a more powerful PSU. If so, then your choice of a motherboard with an NVIDIA GeForce 9400 makes sense, but the performance still won't be that good for gaming.
Then your best option is to keep your motherboard and upgrade the video card. If I were you I would get an ATI Radeon HD 4670 512M. Its power requirements (~59W) are relatively low and it's much faster than the 7300 GS (relatively speaking). Before you get a 4670, make sure that your PSU is powerful enough. I don't know how much additional power is required by the 4670 over the 7300 GS. You'll have to do some research.
The next step should probably be building a new gaming PC.
Finding a motherboard isn't difficult. Initially you chose a $130 motherboard. Would a less expensive motherboard like the GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L be good enough? It has less features and only 2 memory slots, but it still is a decent motherboard. It will support your CPU, but I can't guarantee that the RAM will also work.