I've inherited a nicely working Dell Optiplex GX400, and wish to rid it of the current motherboard. I want one that offers at least a PCI-E slot plus a better processor which can be installed; 5 PCI slots and one AGP are not feasible for what I'd like to do. Ideally, I'd gut the entire thing and just install everything new (or lightly used) from scratch, taking advantage of the huge amount of space the case has. Any recommendations for a new motherboard which can sit well inside of the GX400?
Unless a standard atx backplate fits, you may have some installation issues. That's a pretty old setup with a proprietary style motherboard. I would remove it and check the standoffs; you can also post this in the dell forums and see if others have done this recently.
1) Spending: a reasonable amount. Meaning, if the cost to upgrade and add newer components (even if lightly used) is equal to the cost of purchasing an already-assembled newer machine, then it's not worth the cost.
2) What I plan to do: after I install a wireless-N router (probably a good Linksys gigabit dual-band N), I plan to use my current system as a "server" to broadcast content to the upgraded one and play that on a television. This'll have the purpose of being a second machine to work on if my wife's on the main one, something on which to play and possibly store media content, and generally act as a good back-up. The tv has the 3 component receptacles and 3 HDMI ports available; right away, the GX400's video card cannot link to the tv, so I'd need an upgraded video card. The GX400's motherboard has 1 AGP and 5 PCI slots, and the video card I want is PCI-E (not that I'm terribly fussy, but PCI cards appear to cost more, even if low-end). Plus, the onboard USB ports are all 1.0, making a new wireless-N adapter a semi-moot item; I'd likely need to install an internal N adapter into a PCI slot (ugh)... then add another card with newer USB ports and hope that it'll allow the few USB devices I have to be a little faster. Finally, the NIC isn't working very well in the GX400, so that'll have to be replaced via yet another card in case the wireless stuff goes down. Sound is poor, so there's a need for a new sound card.
3) I was afraid of the other comment about the GX400's motherboard being proprietary. Researching around last night after I posed my question to this forum led me to believe that it may not be possible to do much more than upgrade the processor, add more RDRAM (again, ugh), install a new OS, add another IDE HDD (which I happen to have... but of course I'd prefer SATA), and mess with the motherboard settings a little more to get more out of it.
Does that make more sense? Reading over what I wrote, it may be more prudent to just find a new bare-bones PC and add things from scratch as I see fit.
Really, all you're trying to save is the case. With a motherboard change, you may need to format and reinstall the operating system, unless you use windows 2k pro, which often reboots with a new board. Newer versions of windows will often crash or simply start a rebooting cycle. If your board is socket 423, then finding these cpus is tricky; starmicro may have some. Newegg often has their rosewill cases cheap. I would register with them and get on their mailing list. I got a dvd player and case for $38.98 shipped just last week. Total cost, out the door. With a power supply, you can sometimes get cases for around $30-35, so it's not a major cost issue. Frys had a nice coolermaster case with 400w ps for only $29.99 a few days ago.
it is more practical to turn your old PC in to NAS storage unit.
you would need a fast Ethernet PCI card $13.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And a new SATA PCI card 4 ports. $18.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And some hard drives.
And last but not least download this free NAS from here www.freenas.org/ .
The down load is only 70 MG it will take you 20 min. from the time you open your box to you close and install the software.
So you do not know how to do this, here are web link's to show you how it is done, http://revision3.com/systm/freenas or use VUSE to download, or use youtube here the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nypnusWsF7A this unraid this is another option.
It is better if you build a new system, you can build one for $500.00 monitor not included.
The NAS will cost for starters only $50.00 just to start of you pic the HD so you spend $100.00 in all.
And you can store any thing like movies, music, files, that you access from any place in the planet.
Is that so bad, plus you get a new PC to boot for $600.00.
if you go and buy a NAS unit, that in it self will cost you $199.00 plus you may need HD $70.00 cost in all just for NAS $290.00 to $340.00 and you do not get to pic the protocols of security.
Is this not a better option, that of having throw way the PC away or donating it.
This is just a suggestion, ho! the hardware was pick for comparability with any OS.