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Upgrading mother board in a HP a710e

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February 6, 2012 3:21:16 AM

Hello, I've been told that for less money than buying a new computer, I could replace the motherboard I have in my current computer and save money. Is this possible? I understood the form factor of motherboards is somewhat common making this possible given some of other parts will support the new MB - PSU, for example.

If it is how do I get started?

Thanks.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a b α HP
a c 328 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 6:15:54 AM

Hi dbsoccer and welcome to Tom's Hardware forum.

Lets start with your PC. What is the name and model?
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February 6, 2012 1:51:15 PM

it is an HP a710e. Sorry for the double entry. I didn't realize my first one actually worked.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 2:16:13 PM

That Motherboard, http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=us&lc=en..., uses a non-standard layout for it's I/O section. I don't think you'll be able to just drop in another micro-ATX board and have it fit properly. The better way for you to go is to buy a new case, MB, and RAM, and then scavenge whatever parts you can from the old system into the new.
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February 6, 2012 2:51:02 PM

Ok thanks. Have another dumb question. I see there is a need to upgrade some of the HW (i.e. MB and RAM) every few years yet much of HW is fully functional. I have a home office - not a gamer - but I do need to run the more recent office apps and OS plus I do, occasionally, render video for DVDs. My current single core/XP/ Old Windows needs a refresh.

So if I were to start into the white box approach and build up my own system, where do I start? I want something that is reliable in that I have family members who want to turn-on and go. Are there starter kits? As you suggested maybe my current PSU will work and my HDD should work. I'm not big ino graphics cards, etc.

Any help you could provide woudl be appreciated.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 3:04:02 PM

The more I think about it, the less I think it's worth scavenging anything from your old system. It's from what 2004 or 2005? All that stuff is going to be out of spec for use with a modern MB. My advice is to build youself a system, and donate the old one to a school or charity and take a deduction.

Do you have the wherewithal to build a system for yourself?
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February 6, 2012 3:08:11 PM

I think you're correct. Where do I start so I know I'm getting solid quality components? case, PSU, etc. I'm sure all third party cases are not all created equally.

Also, any recommended MBs for my needs?

Thank you.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 3:14:15 PM

Choosing the parts is the easy part. I can help you with that. First question is, what's your budget? As a general rule, a multi-purpose desktop that'll perform well for 4 or 5 years will cost your about 900, 1100 if you get a new monitor also. Are you prepared for that?
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February 6, 2012 4:04:11 PM

This seems ok. I would suspect of $900 it would have a pretty decent processor and a fair amount of RAM, etc. I've been looking at some HP products in their high performance home product line with the i7 chip and 8M of RAM and their price is in this ball park or maybe a bit lower. But then I don't know the details of what you are suggesting either.

So yeah, $900 is fine. I wouldn't see a need to upgrade my monitor. It got a refresh a year ago so it fits the purpose pretty well.

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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 4:29:06 PM

DVD Burner $20
Pioneer CD/DVD Burner 24X DVD+R 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R Black SATA Model DVR-219BK - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: $70
COOLER MASTER Silencio 450 RC-450-KKN1 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: $210
Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I52500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: $120
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD7500AALX 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: $47
Mushkin Enhanced Radioactive 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 997005
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: $130
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply: $90
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: $150
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Windows License: $100
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $937

Add 30 if you need a fresh mouse and keyboard.

Now we can discuss and dissect till you're comfortable.
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February 6, 2012 5:04:12 PM

Wow! That was fast and so much detail. Thanks. How about if I retain my DVD (actually have two already) my HDD and my video card for now. That would leave the case, MB, RAM, CPU and PSU. My HDD is more than likely not 6Gb so certainly be short changing myself there. But the old one should still work? This total is $562.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 5:11:09 PM

Ahh the wonders of copy and paste. makes it look like I did alot of typing when I didn't, really.

OK. The problem with salvaging your dvd and hard drive is that they are most likely on an IDE connection. Modern motherboards (MB) do not have this connection anymore, so there's no way to hook up your old drives, unless they turn out to be sata. Can you check?

As to retaining your video card, that will likely be OK as long as it's a PCIE 2.0 compliant card. That's another thing to check.

You can use a tool like Speccy to inventory your system
http://majorgeeks.com/Speccy_d6358.html

Also, I forgot to add the cost of a new Operating System (Windows) license. That's about 100.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 5:35:59 PM

Here are a few changes we can make and shave some money off the price:

1. Change the video card from a 6870 to a 6850 ($150) Saves $15.
2. Change the hard drive to a 750 GB Blue Drive ($120) Saves $80.
3. Change the MB to a slightly lower model ($130) Saves $15
4. Add in a Windows License: $100

Overall savings $10 New total: $937
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February 6, 2012 6:56:51 PM

Hi Abeki, You have given me a ton to consider at this point. I really appreciate your time. This is exactly what I was looking for.

So if the older PC are IDE what is the newer stuff - SATA?

I am expecting if I make this change the speed difference will be incredible over what I currently have. What would be the difference in the system you defined and say a i5 Pavillioin from HP or somethign similar from Dell. I don't know if they are 6Gb or not but aside from that..... any gut level feelings?
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 125 V Motherboard
February 6, 2012 7:06:34 PM

Yes the newer stuff is SATA III.

In terms of performance over what you'd get at Dell or HP, you need to understand two things. First, is that the quality of components you get by building the system yourself over what HP//DELL slap together is night and day. You're getting a much higher quality system using a build like we've outlined. Second, HP and DELL use the low end CPUs from each class of processors in their systems, as opposed to a higher end chip like the i5 2500 that I spec'd for you. So performance-wise, you can expect an equivalently priced system from them to perform about 20% slower than what you're building here. That's just an average, however.

If you are up to putting the PC together yourself, it's a very rewarding feeling once you have it done. It's literally a paint by numbers kind of activity. On the other hand, if messing with hardware and wires sends you running in the other direction, it's best to hand a spec like weve put together to someone like cyberpowerpc, and let them build it for you.
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