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Refurbishing an older Home built system

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December 6, 2009 7:25:52 PM

About 6 years ago I built my first PC to use as a Digital Audio Workstation. With upgrades along the way it was a P-IV 2.4 GHz, MSI 865P Neo 800 FSB, Nividia 7800, 1GB 3700 Ram, M-Audio 24-96 recording card and 3 seperate hard drives... 120GB running XP PRo for OS and programs, and two 250GB SATA drives from read and write recording. One year ago I moved into a new house and during the course of that move my PC died. At first I thought it was the pwr supply. I replaced it with a brand new 585 watt supply. No boot. So I'm convinced I have a dead motherboard.

I'd like to rebuild this system using the same hard drives. I have many software samples, and applications for recording that are irreplaceable. I'd like to get maybe a pre assembled- barebones kit for $300-400 and part out my old PC of hard drives, video card, and recording card. Is this a good idea. Is there anything I need to worry about or look out for?
December 6, 2009 7:31:30 PM

Sounds like a good plan to me. I often find myself upgrading everything but the hard drives. The next system I build will probably be an exception, just because I plan on trying out the new solid state drives for myself.
December 6, 2009 11:21:16 PM

Just remember that...

1. If the XP Pro you were running in your old system was an OEM copy rather than a Retail copy, you can't use it. (Microsoft considers a PC to be a "motherboard." Thus, if you change motherboards, you have to buy a new OEM copy of Windows.)

2. Further, even if the copy of Windows is retail, you may have to reinstall windows anyway. This is because of potential conflicts regarding motherboard drivers.
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December 7, 2009 4:02:55 AM

Would it be better to just upgrade to Windows 7? Buy a box with a RAID and set in the existing hardrives? I'm guessing it's impossible to access the programs though which again are irreplaceable.

I have over $1800 of software on my old system... I can't lose them to a new drive format and fresh install.
December 7, 2009 12:24:39 PM

Are you running your two drives in a RAID configuration? Which one?

Upgrading to W7 still means messing with your drives and having to reinstall your software. When you say "lose them", you make it sound like you can't reinstall some of it. If that's your situation, ie, you don't have the CDs or DVDs for some of your software, then there's no other option than finding the same mobo to rebuild your current system. Whether you buy a new cheapo box or a new, different mobo for your current system, and whether you install XP or W7, you'll have to re-install your software in all cases.

The only exception to that I can think of is using one of these software solutions designed to let you transition your stuff from one PC to another, but I have no experience in that field.
December 7, 2009 3:09:12 PM

Yes, that is correct. I've lost the original install disks to a few pieces of software that would cost me $hundreds to replace. Is it possible to install the drives on the new motherboards and just purchase a 'key' from Microsoft.
December 7, 2009 3:36:40 PM

If you are using onboard RAID1, you may be able to rescue your complete setup. Buy a new MB with an Intel chipset, everything else, CPU, Video, and memory can be anything you can afford. Boot up one of the drives, keeping the other in reserve, just in case! Update all the drivers for the new hardware, then make an image of that drive with Acronis, using an external drive. Make a boot CD/DVD with Acronis, then initialize the drive pair for RAID. Boot the Acronis CD/DVD and push the image to the RAID pair of hard drives, you may need to inject the RAID driver using Acronis Universal Restore. Of course, if you have the current RAID set as 0, zero, you're screwed...
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