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Motherboard selection & transplant advice

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July 13, 2011 4:44:23 PM

Hey all,

I recently bought an Acer Aspire X3960 (Intel Core i3 2300) and a new case & power supply. I am going to take the innards out of the Acer and transplant them into the new case, and I also am going to need a new motherboard.

tl;dr I have to questions:

Which of these motherboards is better, and (if you have the time) why:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Second, I have never switched motherboards before, so can I just take all the parts off the old motherboard and stick them on the new motherboard and have it working properly, or do I need to do something extra?

Thanks very much for the time and effort it takes to read and answer this question, you guys at Tom's are infinitely helpful.
a c 715 V Motherboard
a b ) Power supply
July 13, 2011 5:25:37 PM

Hmm...why didn't you just build a PC from the get go?! IMO don't waste the money, if you want a better system then start from scratch and keep the Acer in tact.

Q - What's prompting this 'transplant'?

Of what you linked above, the GA-Z68X-UD3-B3, but my preference in your price range is the MSI P67A-GD55 (B3). If you want Virtu and SSD Caching then you'll need a Z68 with some form of iGPU {the GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 won't Virtu - no iGPU} MOBO e.g. MSI Z68A-GD65 (B3).

Yes, what you have now should 'transplant' fine.

GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3...
Z68A-GD65 (B3) http://www.msi.com/product/mb/Z68A-GD65--B3-.html
July 13, 2011 6:09:40 PM

jaquith said:
Hmm...why didn't you just build a PC from the get go?! IMO don't waste the money, if you want a better system then start from scratch and keep the Acer in tact.

Q - What's prompting this 'transplant'?

Of what you linked above, the GA-Z68X-UD3-B3, but my preference in your price range is the MSI P67A-GD55 (B3). If you want Virtu and SSD Caching then you'll need a Z68 with some form of iGPU {the GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 won't Virtu - no iGPU} MOBO e.g. MSI Z68A-GD65 (B3).

Yes, what you have now should 'transplant' fine.

GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3...
Z68A-GD65 (B3) http://www.msi.com/product/mb/Z68A-GD65--B3-.html


I am needing a new mobo because I want to add a graphics card for gaming, and the tiny case won't accept any but very small cards. I already have a graphics card but it's full size so it won't fit into that case. And just generally, the mobo sucks on the acer (few ports, etc).

I am pretty new to all this stuff, so what is "Virtu"?
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a c 715 V Motherboard
a b ) Power supply
July 13, 2011 6:32:43 PM

Virtu is good if you produce a lot of MPEG-2/4 videos and offers some power savings the most gamers don't care about. Article -> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-z68-express-s...

You'll have no arguments from me about OEM ;)  I just see you spending a lot of money and at some point the OEM part replacements vs starting from scratch lines get blurred quickly. The savings are the {i5-2300}$185 CPU {i3-2100 $125}, $60 1TB HDD, $40 in RAM -- so is $225~$285 savings worth a new PC or having a second?

July 13, 2011 7:04:25 PM

jaquith said:
You'll have no arguments from me about OEM ;)  I just see you spending a lot of money and at some point the OEM part replacements vs starting from scratch lines get blurred quickly. The savings are the {i5-2300}$185 CPU {i3-2100 $125}, $60 1TB HDD, $40 in RAM -- so is $225~$285 savings worth a new PC or having a second?


Yeah, I know exactly what you mean, the money spent replacing crappy OEM parts will quickly add up. I count this as a lesson to always build from scratch computers that you plan to upgrade.

If I did decide to put together a new computer from scratch and keep the acer intact, I would need what you said + a Wifi card, CD/DVD drive, and motherboard, which probably adds ~$200 to the ~$250 that was already there. I've already spent ~$100 on a new case and PSU, so $130 more for a motherboard will be better I think than buying all new CPU, CD/DVD, HDD, RAM, mobo, etc., even if it does mean having two computers instead of one.

That, plus the Acer is already in pieces like Humpty Dumpty (everything unplugged from the mobo but ram + cpu because I didn't know I wanted a new mobo yet) and I have no idea how to get it back together again because I can't find a manual for the mobo anywhere and I don't know where all the plugs go :pfff:  . I knew I should have taken a picture before I took it all apart.

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a c 715 V Motherboard
a b ) Power supply
July 13, 2011 8:37:34 PM
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jimazir said:
That, plus the Acer is already in pieces like Humpty Dumpty (everything unplugged from the mobo but ram + cpu because I didn't know I wanted a new mobo yet) and I have no idea how to get it back together again because I can't find a manual for the mobo anywhere and I don't know where all the plugs go :pfff:  . I knew I should have taken a picture before I took it all apart.

On the bright side -- practice :D 

The Front Panel is the only squirly part but it's pretty universal. So look at ANY manual the Acer manual wouldn't be much help. The headers and connectors are labeled fairly well, the USB and SATA are also pretty straight forward.

Examples:
Gigabyte

ASRock
July 13, 2011 9:53:01 PM

Thanks jaquith, you've been more help than you know, I really appreciate it. Maybe I will shell out the extra money for all new parts and sell the acer. Anyway, long live Tom's Hardware.
July 13, 2011 9:53:08 PM

Best answer selected by jimazir.
a c 715 V Motherboard
a b ) Power supply
July 13, 2011 10:33:01 PM

Good Luck! :) 
!