I have (or had; depends on your point of view) a pavilion A1650Y with an Intel D915 processor. Either it OR the motherboard has died. (I paid real money to 'experts' for that news.) I want to replace the processor first because apparently if I do the motherboard, my recovery disks won't work and I do not want (and could buy an new computer for) Vista or 7. The problem is that 915's aren't available anymore. Can I use an E6500 or something similar. I'm not a gamer; just need something for the web and photography
No. No core2 duos work with your hp board. Usually the motherboard or power supply dies before the cpu, unless you had a lightning strike or sudden power failure. Hp boards are available on ebay; unless you get the same model, it won't load your windows software if it's original. If you've already upgraded windows, I suggest a cheap g31 chipset board which might work with your ram. G31 will run core2 duo; ebay, craigslist, newegg, frys, computer geeks all have these boards. Brand doesn't matter much; biostar, ecs, msi, etc have all worked for me.
The problem with installing a Wolfdale CPU is that will require you to update the motherboard's BIOS. Your PC was released prior to Conroe's and Wolfdale's introduction and therefore will not be recognized by the motherboard even though the CPU will physically fit in the socket.
I don't understand why the "experts" could not figure out if the CPU or motherboard died. If you brought it to a shop, the should have spare LGA775 socket motherboards laying around to test the CPU.
I suppose if the CPU has died and not the motherboard, then you can simply install another D915 CPU. You can purchase one at the following site for $159 assuming their stock tracking database is not out of date.
My best recommendation is not to fix it. You will waste a lot of money tracking down that outdated CPU and motherboard. And still, usually the PSU dies first. I don't know how much money you are willing to spend on fixing a PC, but you can buy a new or refurbished computer for $200-350. They will be loads better than what you are trying to fix. Just get something with Windows 7 Home or Professional. Take the old hard drive out of your current HP and put it into your new computer. You already got the keyboard, mouse, screen and everything... so why waste $200-300 fixing that old one. Get a new one with a new warranty again.
And at your local stores there may be even better options. If you really do want to fix the tower you have now, a board and CPU will cost the same as a new PC. And if you replace your board and CPU with something different than original, your recovery disks are useless and you will need to spend another $100-200 on buying windows discs. So my the best idea would be something from the links above.
And by taking the hard drive out of your current PC, and installing it as a second hard drive in a new PC, you can save all your documents, pictures, and other files. You can access them from the new OS, just make sure you have the install discs for any software you had installed on the old machine.
If the board is not exactly the same, his recovery discs won't work. If he has to pay $100-200 for Windows, then what's the point? And Pentium 4 is a downgrade from the Pentium D 915 he's got. Not that the Pentium D is much better.
Read his first post. He said Intel D915 processor. His old might still be good. But if he wastes money on a board or another CPU and it don't fix the problem, then he could have already got a new or refurb machine. He said he paid some people a lot of good money to tell them something is wrong, which indicates it is better for him to get a new system with a warranty and not pay the tech people to fix it. I am not sure his tech level, so suggesting a cheap replacement with a warranty seems like a better idea. If he buys a new CPU and it works, more power to him. But if it don't, and he needs a board, might as well get the new $300 computer and use the screen and keyboard he has now. It's a better deal. How many people here want to spend more than $100 on a system more than 2 or 3 years old when they can buy a used core 2 duo tower on ebay for less than $150?