Upgrading / Swapping Out a Motherboard

I'm getting ready to do a new system build with a Gigabyte X58 motherboard. I was tempted to wait for PCIe 3 to be out, but that's just going to be too long a wait (2011 Q1 according to what I've read). When the PCIe 3 boards do come out, I'd like to upgrade to one.

What I'm curious about is: how much of a problem is caused by upgrading a motherboard? I expect that some hardware will have to be reinstalled into Windows 7. For example, the upgrade board may use a different sound chip or network chip, and anything in a PCI / PCI Express slot may also have to be reinstalled.

But what about Windows itself? My guess is that Windows and my program files and data files should be expected to work, and that the hardware reinstalls should be the only real headache. I welcome opinions from those who have already upgraded motherboards, particularly Gigabyte motherboards.

5 answers Last reply
More about upgrading swapping motherboard
  1. Whether a reinstall/repair will work depends upon the 'depth' of the hardware changes... RAIDs will often 'break', and have to be reinitialized/reformatted; if the chipset is different, your odds are likely 50-50; install to one partition - keep your data on another - for best performace/operation, you want to 're-up' windoze every six months to a year or so anyway, just to clean up 'bloat' and random 'malinstalls'...
  2. bilbat said:
    ...nstall to one partition - keep your data on another

    I agree completely, I do that now on my somewhat ancient PC running XP. It's saved me numerous times.

    bilbat said:
    [F]or best performace/operation, you want to 're-up' windoze every six months to a year or so anyway, just to clean up 'bloat' and random 'malinstalls'...

    I was hoping that wasn't still an issue in Windows 7, but apparently it is. When you say "re-up", what are the options for the every-year-or-so re-up in Windows 7? Is there a repair install option, and is it sufficient for cleaning up the malinstalls, or is a format and new install the only realistic option?

  3. I really know little about the 'repair' install facility - I just automatically 'do' a re-install, to a freshly formatted partition periodically. For example, TechNet just released the RTM of Office10; I'll do an 'upgrade' install over the beta, but I really don't expect all that much of it - for something that major, I figure it will likely be worth a ground-up reinstall of the whole OS - even though it's a roughly two-day job, as I have a couple hundred programs installed on my main dev partition...
  4. It's never a good idea to swap out a motherboard and simply plug in the old hard drive and expect Windows to work without a lot of hassles. It *can* be done but in general is just not a good idea. Indeed, the chipsets on the motherboards can be so different and require significantly different drivers that you might not even be able to boot into Windows at all. Then you are stuck with a drive you can't access easily and simply have to re-install Windows on anyway.

    I tried this once about 15 years ago and it was not a good night. Next morning I just re-installed Windows and went on my merry way. Never did anything but that from that point on and I recommend just doing it and not trying to get the old installation to work with the new motherboard. Not unless you are in to a lot of learning over the next week which is actually a good thing to give you knowledge but a hassle if you want to get this done now.

    If you do try and get the old installation of Windows to work with the new motherboard, let us know how it works out.
  5. Having just taken the same windows 7 install through 2 motherboards, I can verify that it can be done and that its a real hassle! The first upgrade went to a new motherboard and a new X2 processor. I tried to get the x2 to become an x4 but was unsuccessful. I then for other reasons changed to another motherboard and an X4 processor which only showed 2 processors! Weeks of searching located how to fix this without rebuilding and now that I also have built up the x2 processor and and its motherboard I can attempt the making the x2 and x4 again. I would never do it this way again. Its easier to rebuild and reinstalled than go thru all the messing around I did to get RAID working and all the processors working.
Ask a new question

Read More

Gigabyte Motherboards