My elderly mom's computer has a K8N Neo2 (socket 939) board with AMD 64 3500+ processor, 3GB OCZ PC3200 400 memory, two SATA drives and an IDE DVD-RW drive. The Antec PSU that came with the Antec Sonata case failed and fried the motherboard.
I'm about to replace the K8N Neo2 motherboard with a refurbished one that I found online..
But before I do that.. I'm thinking that if I do all of the work to replace the motherboard I might as well update it to a newer faster one. Then I'd probably have to replace the CPU, RAM, and video card, and the costs for those pieces could add up if I use the latest components.
Most important - whatever I do needs to preserve the existing Windows 7 install on the SATA drive. It would be a nightmare to have to reinstall Windows plus all of the applications on the drive. If I change the motherboard model, I would hope that Windows still boots and reinstalls new chipset drivers without crashing..
Should I just use the K8N Neo2 to avoid messing up Windows? So far I have a new Seasonic S12 PSU to stick in there. Or are there "slightly" older motherboard options that can re-use most of the components such as the same memory and AGP video card etc.?
Well if the budget is tight and you want to upgrade you can get a cheap H61 chipset motherboard and a cheap Pentium Sandy Bridge with integrated graphics card like a G620. A single 2GB DDR3 RAM stick is very cheap nowadays and for such a low power system a generic PSU is enough so you can probably use the old one.
The H61 motherboard will not have IDE connectors but you can probably find an adapter.
You should back up your data on another HDD or other storage device since swapping motherboards involves formatting and reinstalling your OS
"swapping motherboards involves formatting and reinstalling your OS"
That was my biggest concern, she has many years worth of applications installed that would be a nightmare to have to re-install, and one of the reasons I hunted down a replacement K8N Neo2 board. Although I wasn't sure if maybe Windows 7 is better at "adjusting" to a completely different motherboard without having to reinstall.
Your success may vary.
I replaced my son's failed X58 based motherboard with a H61. I was prepared to do a clean install, but decided to try booting from his windows 7 hard drive.
It worked well enough, and all I really needed to do was to install the chipset drivers which came with the motherboard cd.
Plan B was to boot from the windows 7 dvd and try to do a repair install.
If you were to attempt this, clone the original drive, or protect it so you can recover if the repair install fails.
Plan C was a clean install, which would require apps to be reinstalled.
In your case, I would not be certain that other parts besides the motherboard were not damaged also.
I know that reinstalling apps is a pain, but considering the age of the pc, perhaps it might be time to update the components.
If you get a small ssd for the os, it will make it a very snappy machine.