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Upgrade: P4 to Athlon 64

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April 4, 2009 9:34:29 PM

Hi All,

I am looking to upgrade my computer but I am looking for something to do with the old parts when I do. My parents have an old Dell computer that they use for work that has (from memory) a Pentium 4 at 1.7GHz and 758MB RAM but I have never opened it up to see what the motherboard is. I would like to give them my Athlon 64 3200+, 2GB RAM and NForce4 motherboard but I don't know whether there will be compatibility issues trying to go from an Intel-based system to an AMD-based one. The most important thing is that they don't lose any data from their hard drive. I'm pretty sure they won't let me reformat it, and I don't want the responsibility of trying to back it up. They are running XP Pro.

Any advice would be appreciated.

PS. I saw in a post somewhere that OEM operating systems are linked to the motherboard and changing this will require a new copy. However, I have done exactly that when I went from a Socket A to 939 a year ago and I did not need a new copy.

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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a c 94 V Motherboard
April 4, 2009 9:51:58 PM

I believe some of the dell motherboards are proprietry and not ATX or even BTX Your replacement might fit the cave and it might not . You'd just have to open up and try .

Very unlikely the dell version of windows will install on other hardware as it will be linked to that mb .


When I dealt with a similar issue with my wifes cheapy dell [ she got it b4 we met , so its not my fault!] I looked at doing the exact same type of swap you are suggesting and decided it was a mine field so I just transplanted all the RAM I could in to her machine and left it at that .
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April 4, 2009 9:53:05 PM

Changing the motherboard would be very dependant on the Dell case. They are often very non-standard, though whether this includes changing the motherboard mounts I am unsure.
You will need to have a look. Equally try the Dell forums, they are usually good on this sort of stuff.

An alternative would just be to buy a new case and power-supply. It wouldn't need to be a large expense.
(Or even see if you can re-use the Dell one)

I am unsure if the OS is tied to the motherboard, again, try Dell's forums.

For data security backup to an external hard drive, it should really be a matter of course as internal drives do fail eventually.

Hope that gives you a start
Jeremy
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April 4, 2009 10:14:27 PM

Thanks very much guys. I have a Celeron 2.66GHz lying around aswell, anyone know if that would be better than the Pentium 4 1.7GHz? Its a pickle because if I can't give them the MB and CPU I might aswell sell them on Trademe and include the RAM. I could grab a new case for 30NZD (I have a spare PSU) but I would want to risk them losing their data if Windows doesn't work afterwards. Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and backup all their data. They have the XP Pro disks - could it be installed onto the new system? Could I put all of the data onto a fresh install as though it never happened?
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
April 4, 2009 11:22:28 PM

Not worth the trouble, and yes, you will have to do a complete reinstall of Windows.
Second problem, even if the motherbaord switch fits, and works, if their OS is the OEM Dell verison, it won't load on anything that does not have a Dell BIOS.
Forget about trying to do anything with the old Dell, just not worth. A whole new PC is in order.
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April 4, 2009 11:31:14 PM

Ok, thanks guys! Any ideas about the Celeron 2.66GHz?
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April 5, 2009 12:20:44 AM

I'll answer my own question:
I've checked CPU charts, it seems the Celeron D 2.66GHz is a bit better. It has a higher clock speed and twice the L2 cache of the Celeron 2.6GHz (which is about even with the Pentium 4. I think I'll put that in their system (hopefully it actually works) and give them some RAM.

Thanks to those that posted.
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