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Some questions on replacing an old motherboard

Sorry if this is a little long, I like to be thorough. Any help would be appreciated.

Alright, so it’s starting to look like my motherboard needs replacing. Recently I’ve been getting BSODs at random points, and the last time I had this issue it was being caused by two bad memory slots.

Here is a little background; I’ve had this computer for close to four years and its run fine for most of it. The only problems it’s had are a few hard-drive issues, and those have been fixed. A couple of weeks ago, I started having BSODs at seemingly random points. Sometimes while watching a video, during start-up, while shutting down, during startup repair, and while installing Windows 7 to another drive.

I tried numerous things, but removing two sticks of RAM and swapping them around showed that two of the slots were bad. Computer ran fine after that, until a couple days ago when the similar issues started popping up. So, I’m thinking that the cause is the same, except I have no slots left in the board to move the RAM into.

I’m pretty certain this means I need a new motherboard. Here are my current specs:

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (was Vista, upgraded around a year ago. Still have the CD)
CPU: Intel Core 2 duo E8400
Motherboard: MSI P7N SLI-FI
Video Card: Gigabyte GTX-560ti twin frozr
Ram: 4GB DDR2 PC6400 (was 6GB before)
HDD: 1TB 7200rpm (x2), 320GB 7200rpm
Liquid Cooling: Asetek 120mm Watercooler
Case: Coolermaster Cosmo
Power Supply: NZXT 600 WATT

Getting a replacement board of the same model seems pointless to me. So along with a new Motherboard, I think all I’ll need is a new CPU and RAM. Current thoughts on replacements parts from Newegg are:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k ($220)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 GEN3 ($122)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 ($92)

Total Cost: $434.97

My main questions are:

1) Will these parts work, or are there better options for a similar price? If I can get better quality for a similar or lower price, I’ll take it. As far as I can tell, these parts should work fine with the rest of my setup, but I’ve never replaced a motherboard or built a computer so I figure I might as well ask.

2) Can you recommend any good guides or tips for replacing motherboards? The most I’ve done with computer hardware is upgrading RAM, Video Cards, and installing new Hard-drives. I don’t know if doing something wrong could badly damage the new board or my existing hardware, so any help there is welcome. Or would just getting a new computer and adding my old HDDs and Video Card be the better option?

3) Will my water cooling system even work with the new board? And will it be a pain to work with? Again, I’ve never messed with it so I don’t know. If it needs to be replaced with normal fans, what parts would I need?

4) Will I have to reinstall Windows 7 even though I’m using the old drives? While I backed up after the first issues were fixed (including a system image of the C drive), I’d rather not have to reinstall. I wasn’t able to deactivate any of my software (Adobe CS4, 3ds MAX, a few others) and previous experience shows that having to reinstall those can be a real pain. I’ve heard everything from “It won’t work, you need to reinstall” to “It’ll start up just fine!” or “Just run startup repair and you’ll be fine!” Others have mentioned using something called a Hirens boot CD to fix it. What experience have you all had with this?
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More about some questions replacing motherboard
  1. Best answer
    1) yes all those components will work. the i5-2500K is still the best bang for your buck cpu. the asrock motherboard has been around for a bit and has been pretty reliable and stable. many folks may feel to go with the newer Z77 motherboards but the ones i see at that price point has had some "new" issues. i would buy or recommend one unless it was insisted on; there isn't any performance difference. the 16 gigs is a little exsesive unless your media creating like some serious photoshop or encoding video; 8 gigs is plenty.

    2) just look around the forum or browse around some videos on utube. once you take out the old motherboard you'll get confident on how to install the new one. remember to ground yourself by touching the metal frame of the computer case and stay off carpet! anti-static wristbands are optional.

    3) probably not. your old motherboard is a socket 775 and new one is a 1155. you may find an adapter on the manufacturers site. but an inexpensive coolermaster 212+ or evo is a fine air cooling solution.

    4) yes, no, maybe. i invoke my 5th amendment privileges.

    good luck, it looks like you're going to enjoy building and using you next/new rig :)
  2. I probably should have mentioned what I use the computer for :??: . I'm a pretty big gamer, I do graphic design and digital illustrations (a.k.a. lots of Creative Suite), I'm going into game design and do a fair amount of work in 3DS max and Zbrush. Does 16 gigs of RAM still sound excessive? I don't thinks so, but might as well ask.

    As for the the water-cooler, would I also need to get another case fan? I noticed the radiator (I think that's what it is) seems to be screwed onto a fan on the back panel. If I remove the water cooling unit, could I keep using that fan? Would it still work alright?

    Thanks for the advice so far!
  3. well the 16 gigs will come in handy if your working with a large PSD file with a butt load of layers. i am a little tempted to suggest looking at an i7 so your 3Dmax work will take advantage of the hypethreading
    but i don't know if you do enough work in that to justify a $100+ increase in your budget. though i would suggest a SSD in your rig. Crucial M4 for 128G for 128.99 or 256gig for 239.99 for an OS/Programs drive would add a lot of zip to your rig; assuming your using those 2 1Tbs in a raid0 for data/media and that 320 Gb as a scratch disc.

    i know it is a pain to re-install everything from scratch but after dealing with the time and coffee consumed during the process, you'll be happy with how cleanly everything seems to go.

    i would believe if that power connection for the radiator fan is connected to a Y-cable with the water pump, you could just plug it into a fan header on the motherboard after removing the radiator. a CoolerMaster hyper EVO for $34.99 will help keep things cool for your cpu.

    glad if i have been any help.
  4. Unfortunately, this was kind of unexpected and I'm just trying to get the system up and running again. Since the system is so old I'm using the chance to upgrade, and while I want quality parts that will last I can't afford to get too much. So while the SSD is very tempting, that will have to wait for another time.

    I am cutting back to 8GBs of RAM though. I don't do too much work on a large scale, so I doubt I'll need that much and RAM is the easiest and cheapest thing to upgrade anyway. So my current list stands as:

    CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k ($220)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 GEN3 ($122)
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 ($47)
    Fan: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($35)

    Total Cost: $424

    And I'll use the keep using the radiator fan.

    Thanks for all the help!
  5. very good then.

    you MAY just MAY be able to just plug in the OS hard drive, install the mother board drivers and be good to go. if you BSOD right off the bat, try logging in safe mode, install the drivers and try again.

    hope for the best but prepare for the worse.
    good luck!
  6. Best answer selected by Ghost Sniper.
  7. This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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