I have an old desktop that hasn't worked in a while (OS got messed up and I lost the disk so I can't boot from it to fix it). It's components are pretty outdated and instead of just throwing Windows 7 on there and loading it up, I'd like to add a few shiny new parts. Trouble is, I have no idea how to figure out what is compatible with my system. It was cutsom built but I didn't build it and I'm not overly savvy beneath the hood of those things.
I don't know what kind of motherboard I've got or processor or chipset or any of that stuff that seems important in knowing whether or not windows 7 (x64) will even run and what kind of upgrades I can make. How can I figure out these things just from looking at the hardware itself?
I have the original drivers disk (old OS was XP). Maybe these driver names can give you some clues.
I may just have to go ground-up at this point. I didn't realize just how old that thing was. Unfortunately I've never really attempted anything like that before and am not sure where to start, though this would be the time if ever there was one. I'm thumbing around on newegg now, looking at motherboards (trying to figure out what this northbridge thing is because it seems to hold to key to whether or not Win7 will run) and processors and trying to determine which values to write down and crossreference to determine compatibility. Is there a good tutorial thread in here, perhaps, you might be able to recommend for newcombers to this idea? Eeekkkk ... over my head.
As long as all the hardware is working (can you load the BIOS?), windows 7 will install. However, you will have some difficulties finding drivers that work under windows 7, since Intel discontinued the board and has not made any windows 7 drivers for it.
That said, there is a good chance windows update will find some generic drivers on line that will work, or if you install 32 bit windows 7, you could probably use XP drivers.
As far as upgrades go, you can get any old video card, since you have a PCI Express X16 slot. However, you have to make sure your PSU has the appropriate connectors (6 pin most likely) but your computer is old enough in general it will bottleneck any +$100 video card.
FYI, the northbridge is a part of the chipset on your computer that controls the connection between the CPU and the rest of the computer (the RAM, GPU, southbridge). On newer CPU's, the northbridge is built into the CPU.
Great! Thanks. I can load the BIOS, so I guess that's a good sign. I will probably purchase a retail version of Windows 7 and give it a shot on this old system how you say. Then, if I ever get a working selection of compabible components for a new build, I'll just move it over to that unit, or maybe just buy another lisence and keep them both if I can make the dinosaur work well enough.