Want to Upgrade My Motherboard

The title says it all

4 months ago I bought a pre-built Cyberpower PC with a MINI ATX BOARD that I totally regret. (GA M68MT S2) It has a AMD FX-4100, 8gb of 1333 ram, a GT520, and OEM Windows.

When I bought this PC, i wasn't very smart at all in computers, and I thought that I would upgrade along the way. Now that I look inside my case, I see that if I got my GPU of choice, well, it would cover ALL of my MINI ATX sata ports.

So I plan to upgrade my Motherboard, such as a GA-Z77-D3H, , with a 3570/k

And then I did more research and found out that I [can't?] upgrade my mobo without another copy of Windows 7. (Should I wait to upgrade when win8 comes out? will the prices lower?) Should I try my luck with the activation codes with the same OS?

PS I dont know alot about ram, will my old ram work with intel?

I am open to suggestions on all subjects, thank you Tomshardware community!
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. The 4 SATA ports are well away from the PCI-E slot. A double wide card "might" cover one port, but no way will a single card cover all 4.

    As to Windows, you are correct with regard to the license. An OEM license is tied to the first motherboard it is installed on and may not be transferred to another except in the case of replacement for failure, and then it must be an identical board.
  2. While an OEM is bound to the mobo it hasn't been unknown that after your motherboard failed and you couldnt get an identical one the person on the microsoft phoneline will give you the code to activate it with your new board.

    Also if you do need to buy it just get home premium theres no reason at all to buy pro

    If your in education or someone you know is see if you can get a dreamspark account then you can get win 7 pro free
  3. OR, you could just upgrade your motherboard to something like a GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ for about $100. Then just overclock your 4100 CPU to 4.2-4.5GHZ. You should just be able to plug the hard drive into the new motherboard and windows will try to fix the drivers, since your still using most of the same platform your OS will still be functioning.

    I would also recomend some faster ram some good LOW Latency 1600 DDR3 8-8-8-24 or 7-7-7 if you can find it like the G.SKILL Ripjaws X Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM about $50.

    The hypertransport bus on your current board is really slowing you down, a new MB and your current CPU is still a champ.

  4. I did the same kind of thing on my first build.

    1 if you contact Microsoft they WILL let you re register your windows on your new motherboard.

    2 I went to a very high end board and was ecstatic at the difference. I have an ASUS crossfire IV and the set up quality and thoughtfulness won me over for spending what seemed like way to much on a MB.

    A high end motherboard will be the basis for YEARS of updatability. it may seem dumb to spend 200+$ on something that will not make your computer faster but it makes modding, upgrading and OC easier.

    I was very skeptical and now I am sold. My experience with the ASUS crossfire board really makes me want to recommend it.
  5. Thank you all for the quick responses

    So the main gist is here is that i should get another copy of windows and an end mobo?

    Just because I didn't earlier, this will be used for gaming

    Other people say that the 4100 is only good for threading, not gaming, ( sorry if that didn't sound to tech savy lol)and that i should upgrade to an intel alternative

    Also will my ram still work? My budget isn't the biggest in the world.

    One more question I wanted to add on, how do you feel about getting parts on used sites such as ebay? I could save some $, or is it too risky?

    Thank you
  6. Dont get a second hand motherboard a 970 or 990 chipset am3+ board can be had for pocket change (well nearly) from new. Your CPU while not great isn't useless unless your planning on getting a very high end graphics card you may as well run it a while longer stave off the platform change for at least another generation.
  7. Best answer
    "Experience is what you get when things do not work out like you planned"

    First of all, try contacting cyberpower to see if they will work something out with you. Who knows??

    Why do you feel a need to upgrade?

    If it is for gaming, then the usual recommendation is to do a graphics card upgrade first.

    In your case, you probably have a well balanced system.

    To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

    a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
    If your FPS stays the same, you are likely cpu limited.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.
    This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.

    Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
    set to 50% and see how you do.

    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

    If you need a cpu upgrade, then a 3570K is as good as it gets.
    But the motherboard you linked is a full ATX motherboard and will not fit in your M-ATX case.

    Microsoft cares mostly about piracy, and restricting multiple copies of windows licenses. In your case, they will probably allow you to activate on a new motherboard. The key question to answer is to asure them that you are using this key on only one pc. Did you get a windows oem DVD with your package? A restore dvd will probably not work.

    If your ram is ddr3 1.5v ram, it will likely work fine.

    On e-bay, you can get good deals on used parts from users with good feedback. That is where I sell the parts I am replacing, and my buyers always get a fair deal. But.. be careful. Pay with paypal, check the feedback, and buy only if they offer a 14 day money back guarantee. Avoid the retail/new resellers. They need to make a profit, and can't buy legitimate goods any cheaper than etailers like newegg.
  8. Good ideas wr6113, I think I'll just wait until it gets outdated, thank you

    geofelt The Thermaltake Commando isn't full atx? It has the right standoffs. Thank you for clarifying the ram

    When I lower the res, it gets playable at (im guessing) 30ish fps online. The Gpu is the limiting factor

    So ill upgrade my cpu/mobo later, because ex-bubblehead notioned that even my card of preference (6870) would only cover one or two sata ports on my mini atx, which is why i was upgrading in the first place

    Thank you!
  9. I just went through a very similar thing, down to the motherboard that replaced the old one although i went with the UD3H for a nicer bios and a few other small features for overclocking.
    So with your problem, when i replaced my mobo i rang Microsoft and they fixed up my product code so i could activate by phone and that worked fine. on your existing mobo is it possible that you could just use a fairly slim 90degree angle sata cable like this?

    or you could get a pci sata card

    Good luck

    P.S. if you do get the new mobo the gigabyte one you want is amazing with so many features
  10. Thank you all, just one more question , on amazon, the 6950 is just $20 more than the 6870, do you suggest it? Is the BIOS mod safe as of now with sapphire?

    P.S. *Thermaltake CommandER*, not the commando
  11. You are OK with a ATX motherboard. Not knowing the case, I assumed it was smaller because you were replacing a M-atx motherboard. M-ATX has the same arrangement of mounting holes, just fewer of them.
  12. Best answer selected by openfire070.
  13. thanks geofelt

    Now, how do I close a forum? =) lol
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