Replacing motherboard - attempt boot off original HDD? Upgrade CPU?

Hey All,

I have edited this information since I first posted it.

My Goal:

Replace the PSU (305w with 600w)
Replace the CPU (2.1Ghz with 2.9Ghz AMD X2 Athlon Dual Core)
Replace the GPU (nVidia 7300LE with nVidia 9800gt dual DVI port, no SLI)

All above confirmed as compatible. Important point - I am not a gamer, nor am I upgrading this system to be used for gaming.

Current system config (Dell Dim E521) includes 4GB memory, 250GB SATA, DVD RW+, XP Pro 64-bit edition (non-OEM), etc.

My Status:

Updated BIOS to rev 1.1.11 issued by Dell.

Crash. Dead. No BIOS screen, just audible and light indicators that the BIOS is toast. No big deal, ordered up a NEW replacement motherboard (compatible DELL part number, original DELL part).

But now, I have a couple of concerns and decsions to make and am seeking some advice.

Concern - the Dell P/N for my current motherboard is 0UW457. The motherboard I have ordered looks like it will be tagged with P/N HK980. All research inidicates this P/N is compatible (HK980 / CT103 / UW457 / 0UW457). My assumption is that its simply a newer part number, but I'm still a little concerned about the chipset and BIOS rev that will come with this motherboard.

My Dillemas:

1. Do I load the new motherboard with the new CPU I bought? And then attempt to boot off the HDD?
2. Should I slave my XP drive into another system instead, get the data, wipe the drive, mount onto the new motherboard and reload Windows (maybe Win 7) --- and skip trying to boot the previous XP OS with the new motherboard?
3. Should I use the original CPU from the old motherboard and attempt to boot off the hard drive (most identical option)?
4. Any harm in loading the NEW PSU (can't imagne there would be) and even maybe the NEW CPU into the NEW motherboard and then attempting to boot off the HDD (without first wiping the drive (dilemma 2 above)) since that was my intention anyway? Note I am saving the video card upgrade for the end - after I get the system on-line again.
5. Should I even consider attempting this BIOS update again (assuming the new motherboard is behind). All roads point to HELL NO.
6. Other options?

My Fantasy:

In my thought bubble I see myself ripping out the old motherboard, putting in the new one, the new CPU, the new PSU, and the original HDD (without any modifications - understand Windows will "detect changes" once it does start, err if it does start :whistle: ), logging onto Windows, shutting down and then replacing the video card. I don't expect to have to reactivate Windows since this is a non-OEM copy.


Any advice / recommendations would be appreciated. And yes I have fired off an e-mail to Dell requesting that they pull that BIOS update and reimburse me for the cost of the replacement motherboard (not some refurb crap they would have provided). What BS.

Thanks folks!!!

4 answers Last reply
More about replacing motherboard attempt boot original upgrade
  1. 1. Yes, just do that. Windows won't care.
    2. No, just do #1.
    3. If you want, would be a little more fail safe, but should not really matter.
    4. No harm at all, that is what I would do.
    5. Are you kidding? Leave your BIOS alone, especially on a prebuild.
    6. Build your own if you want to tinker and upgrade!

    Why should Dell reimburse you because you screwed up your computer? I am quite sure, without even going to check it out, that there was a stern warning when you downloaded and updated that BIOS that went something like this. "WARNING, if you don't know what the hell you are doing, you can render your computer completely and utterly dead if you do this" and probably something like this as well "Unless you are trying to correct a problem with your computer, and the BIOS update was specifically written to correct the exact problem you have, and a Dell technician has advised you do this, upgrading your BIOS is a complete waste of time"
    I think I hit the nail on the head, yes?
    I do hope once you get the board back, everything goes together and works out fine.
  2. Thanks, jitpublisher for the reply. I know the "best practice" is to make as few changes as possible in a situation like this, so I wanted to make sure slapping in the new CPU in first wouldn't be a big deal. I couldn't see why it would, so I think I will take this approach.

    On # 5, yes I was kidding - no way will I attempt this specific BIOS update again.

    However, in regards to the BIOS on both the old and new motherboard, allow me to expand on my original post outlining some information I should have included initially.

    Two folks I work with bought this computer around the same time I did and have loaded that BIOS rev without fail. In all my system builds, I have never had a BIOS update lock the computer on me and kill the chip like this one did.

    The BIOS update I installed comes from Dell and is only available after you logon to their site. Therefore, this is a Dell provided and supported release for the BIOS. I followed the same steps I always do with a BIOS update; unplug all USB stuff, shutdown unnecessary apps, etc. When I ran this one it took over an hour to complete (about 30 min into it I realized something wasn't right) and ended with "Failure! Failure! Failure!", "BIOS not updated" or something like that. Without having many other choices, I had to restart the system and it came up dead. This was expected at this point.

    As I stated, "no big deal". These things happen. Data is backed up, I have 4 other systems, and a [new] replacement MB is only $70. Not panicking. Not "dead in the water". It is our most commonly used system, so sure it has apps and some files on it that I would like and yes I would like to see it back online fairly quickly, but again not panicking.

    My BIOS was over 3 revs behind and I disagree with you that upgrading it is a waste of time and only necessary when you have a problem. We don't load service packs or patches ONLY because we have problems. We load them to prevent problems, add features, introduce compatibility, and close security holes. Since I was getting ready to upgrade some hardware and rebuild the system, this is the perfect time to update something like this. Granted I wasn't having a "specific issue", but reviewing the release notes for each made the update seem logical since they are cumulative. A release like this - and this old (almost 2 years) - should have been tested thoroughly enough to identify something like this. At a minimum it shouldn't be available to download, especially knowing it had been reported to them on several occassions over the past 24 months.

    But, like I said, its $70 - not $700...

    And understanding that they can't test every scenario, if there is a problem or the update is hanging within Windows there should be a reliable fall back mechanism (used to be able to do it with a floppy or remove the chip and replace it). Regardless of what it is, there should be one outside of replacing the motherboard.

    Further, my system is under warranty, but there is only a few weeks left on it. So, what I have requested from Dell is that they review my case, consider removing the update, and possiby reimbursing me (on some level). Since it is under warranty, I know they could give me a refurb board and maybe even send someoneout, but I simply don't have the pateince to go through the hoops with them and for $70 (no shipping), I'll have a new one here tomorrow. And I certainly don't need someone to put it in for me. Plus, I would rather have a new one and I don't plan on extending my warranty anyway. If they do something, great. If not, oh well. A quick Google search revealed that this had happened to many others w/ the same system and Dell promptly replaced the part or offered some form of compensation - even if they weren't under warranty. I expect to hear back from them this week and I also realized I kill my warranty when I replace the board. So what.

    In regards to # 5, what if this replacement board comes with one of the first BIOS releases offered for it and I have things that don't work (e.g. wireless mouse, USB hub, new video card, etc.)? I really won't have much of a choice but to turn to a BIOS update then. If that turns out to be true, I guess I'll have to attempt an update and hope it wasn't Windows that caused the first one to fail.

    Thanks again for the reply and info!

  3. I am going to say it again, updating your BIOS is pointless, completely pointless, unless it specifically addresses and issue you have. Your BIOS is nothing like software updates you are talking about, nothing at all and updating it simply because there is another one will gain you nothing, and many times, especially if your board is a little older, will actually cause you new problems.
    But to each their own, if you believe you need to keep the latest BIOS update installed, then you should by all means do that. At least you are prepared with a good backup.
  4. I see what you're saying and I don't plan on installing one just because its available, although that does accurately reflect my personality sometimes.

    I certainly won't be going to the "latest" as that's what got me into this predicament. I plan on starting up the system with the new motherboard, proceeding with my checks, upgrades, etc. making note of the included BIOS rev (unless it happens to come with some documentation that states what it has - and even then I will check anyway). And, as you have suggested, when/if I run into issues I'll refer to the different BIOS revs available, installing them incrementally (beginning with the one that matches a specific need) until I have one that is working and then leave well enough alone.

    Hopefully I won't need to go through all this, but I've been focused on this piece because I recall when I first moved this system onto XP Pro 64-bit, I had to install a couple of different BIOS updates to get certain USB devices to work properly so I'm almost expecting this will be unavoidable. Like you said - I'll only be tackling this if there's a need and if the rev on the new MB is quite outdated.

    I don't know that I agree these are "pointless unless there's an "issue". For example, some are needed to enable virtualization support. Not an issue, but a feature add. You say tomato, I say cheeseburger. ;-)

    Thanks again for your insight!
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