Re-build advice

I'm looking for any re-build advice you may have to offer. I'm planning on replacing my motherboard and CPU chip, due to the problems as detailed here:
I was planning on sticking with a socket 775 build (rather than going for a core i7-type) chip to keep costs constrained as well as my semi-recently purchased DDR2 RAM. My computer is running WindowsXP (dual boot with Debian), which I intend to "repair" to accommodate the new board/chip (and I think there will be fewer conflicts and less chance of having to reformat and do a complete re-install of both OSes).

I'm planning on replacing my current motherboard (P5NSLI) with a P5N-D, both from Asus. I'll be keeping my GSkill 800MHz DDR2 RAM, tower case, and my NXZT 500W PS (unless you know that model of PS to be completely hemorrhaging watts).

I'm currently conflicted on chips to use...

So, a few potentially unrelated questions
1) if doing a "repair install" of WindowsXP will it a) try to repartition my drive, thus wiping out my Grub bootloader and/or Debian install b) Demolish any program installs I've performed, necessitating re-install of Microsoft, Adobe and other products? I hate reinstalling stuff. On this note: would I be able to use a safe-mode boot to go into windowsXP to check on what I have installed and/or do a backup via USB before doing the repair install (given a different processor/motherboard).

2) As I had problems with overheating in the past and intend to keep the same case, preventing heat generation is important to me. To that end, I'm considering the following chips: E8500 (dual core), Q8400S or Q8200S, Q8300. I think the 8300 is out due to power drain, and thus heat generation, but I cannot confirm this as the the E6600 (my current chip) is not listed on the 2010 benchmarks where I can find the 8500 and 8x00 so I don't know if the systems used for Prime95 comparisons are similar. The Q8x00S chips seem to be about $70 more than the E8500 by current pricing. However, if my load is only 4W higher at full load for the 8400S than the E8500 and 2W lower at idle, the increase in performance may be worth it, especially if the 65nm E6600 drained more power than either of these two options (and the Q8300 would be back in play if it drains less energy than the E6600). But I'd appreciate any further input on this matter.

3) Can I install an air filter on just about any case? Will this inhibit airflow and thus increase heating, or do you feel that keeping the dust out will actually keep my temps lower? Could I do this by just cutting a piece of foam and attaching it to the outside of the case where the fan intakes are? Or would I need a structure (provided by a screen, etc) to prevent the foam from degrading or getting caught in the blade and making my overheating problem worse.
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  1. forgot to mention the prices that I've found so far (in $USD), presumably for CPU+HS+Fan:
    E6600 93
    Q8300 133
    E8500 183
    Q8400S 253

    ASUS P5N-D 77
  2. Best answer
    Since you are replacing motherboard with a board based on the same chipset, you may get lucky and not need to do any OS reinstall or repair work. However, I won't recommend you on spending more on that platform. Those prices for the CPU look high. Especially the Q8400. I mean for that asking price combined with the new motherboard, you can build yourself a i3 2100 based Sandy Bridge rig.
  3. I guess I didn't realize that RAM prices were approximately $10/GB currently. I was figuring on about $30-$40. That shows you about how often I upgrade my systems. The low RAM price might bring a full i5/i7 system into play. Thanks for making my life a hell of a lot more complicated:P

    I still don't want to spend more than about $300 (pre-tax) on a system, as I don't have the resources right now for a full re-build (nor do I want to get a cheap quality system from Gateway or Dell). And it'd be ideal if I don't have to fdisk and start anew, but I guess that's secondary to just getting a system up-and-running with XP (I don't feel like shelling out $ for Win7).

    Thanks Emperus for the reply.
  4. Makes no sense to pay those prices on obsolete hardware.
  5. geekapproved said:
    Makes no sense to pay those prices on obsolete hardware.

    one thing I seem to be encountering on forums is that sandybridge isn't supported on linux very well yet.

    If anyone has any experience with ubuntu and SB, please chime in with what board you got (and whether it will work with a i3-2100T or i3-2105). will this even be an issue if I don't play games on linux and don't watch many videos? linux is a work-only environment for me.
  6. Why don't you try running Ubuntu using VmWare? That way you don't need to dual boot also.
  7. Emperus said:
    Why don't you try running Ubuntu using VmWare? That way you don't need to dual boot also.

    If I'm trying to keep costs down, I don't see how a $180 software package will help :)

    The Q series processors of the core2 series are off the table for the simple reason that XP only supports up to 2 cores, so I wouldn't get nearly the performance promised..

    wait...that's not only supports 2 physical processors, but as many cores as you can shove on that chip, right?
  8. Best answer selected by mpagel.
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