I made the inexperienced move of buying a built computer back in the day. Now I'm wanting to add the right components to help it be all it can be. But with the chip being a few years old, the motherboard selection has really thinned out.
Have a Cooler Master HAF 912, Asus IPIBL-LB motherboard, Q6600, 650W PSU (Single rail), GTS 450, DVD, 5GB DDR2 PC6400 RAM, 750GB HDD
The way HP has everything set up, it seems that I can't touch the BIOS to do an overclock... (I bought a Cooler Master N520 for the overclock). Is there a way for me to get a new set of BIOS for my existing board? Or do I need to just buy a new board? (looking at GA-P45-ES3G (v1.3) or G41M-P26 ... plus DDR3 RAM)
Also, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that my System Restore discs from HP give me, not only Windows, but reinstall the default BIOS? Will I also need to get Windows 7?
Your original hp windows installation only works on a geniune hp board. The bios on your board has a small file identifying the board as geniune hp, even though asus or msi probably made it for them. Your bios also has few adjustments for a reason; hp doesn't want you to change a bios setting that may cause the system to fail to post, leaving just a blank screen. You can use the gigabyte board if it's micro atx like most oem system boards. Atx boards may not fit, so check and be sure before you order. You'll also need a new windows installation disk and coa number. Check for an unopened copy on craigslist. The pro or ultimate versions start at around $75; those versions will work with windows xp, so you can use your old games or other xp software. I use microsoft word 2000 on my windows 7 system, and it works fine. I recommend if you want to order today, and can use newegg, that you sell your hp system in tact and start over. Once you can change a motherboard, the rest is easy. Newegg has a huge cyber monday list today on their website, but stuff is selling out fast, so hurry if you can.
I think that's good advice. Though I may just ride this system out for another year. Wait for the i5 2500K systems to come down in price a little. In the mean time, I think I'll just shoot HP some dirty looks for limiting the capabilities of my board. Specs on Asus say that this board can handle 1333 MHz, but I think they have me capped at 800 MHz. So booooo.
Interesting that unopened copies of windows sell on craigslist. I'll have to give that a try.