Several years ago my brother gave me an emachines model T6420.It was a time for me when money was tight (since then I have 4 new custom desktops that I built) and my best custom system from Jan 2004 had less performance than this budget system (2006).The machine failed to work last year so all I could do is salvage data off of the hard drive.However I became fond of it (used it for several years) and especially some of the software (games) that I ran on that machine with a discrete graphics card add on card was better than my custom 2004 Pentium 4 system.Unfortunately I had purchased a few DRM titles which were useless if the machine died.
Here is what I did.Instead of buying a replacement motherboard which is close to an MSI MS-7207 model (slightly different chipset not much and slightly different IGP no much) I saw a motherboard that had a similar chipset with similar integrated graphics and the same exact built in network (NIC) card on the motherboard.However it was a newer Socket AM2+/AM2 motherboard rather than the Socket 939 one used on that emachines T6420.
emachines states that the chipset on the T6420 is slightly different (not much though) by their specs from the MS-7207.
The emachines T6420 has the same socket motherboard as other emachines models like the C6423,C6535,D6419,H6423,T6216,T6528,T6532 and T6538.Also since Gateway at that time acquired emachines they probably used the same motherboard in a couple of their models as well.
I already had a spare AM2 Athlon Le-1600 CPU which is only about a few percent more powerful than the Athlon 64 3400+ CPU used on that T6420.Also I had some spare 1 GB DDR2-800 RAM sticks (2 of them).
So here is the motherboard that I got (from newegg it was only $40).I dared to take the chance and resusitated that T6420 from the dead.Only thing I threw away was the dead emachines motherboard and the power supply.I saved all the other parts although I am not using the spare Athlon 64 3400+ CPU,CPU Heatsink and Fan and DDR-400 RAM from that machine.
Essentially I reused the case,optical drive,media reader,phone modem and 200 GB IDE Hard Drive (with Windows XP and software on it).In addition I reused my spare discrete graphics card and TV Tuner card but not initially (after it worked and was activated).
I was somewhat worried about Windows Product Activation and if I had enough votes to pass it (yes I had to reactivate it after putting it together and had to do it with the phone modem card from that emachines T6420 I saved (glad that I put it in even though phone modems are pretty obsolete) also (the network card even though connected up to a DSL modem wouldn't do it (activate)).
Windows Product Activation details (This helped me although I was concerned that it wouldn't pass).
I tried to keep the rebuild as original as the emachines was given to me using only the integrated graphics chip and 1 stick of 1 GB RAM.
Not sure if it would pass (WPA) originally if a higher end AMD CPU was used like the Athlon II X2's,X3's,X4's or Phenom II X2's,X3's or X4's.
Well It worked and Windows passed activation.Afterwards I added a discrete graphics card and the other 1 GB stick of RAM.
Later on I may dare try upgrading the CPU as well (I have a newer desktop that has a Athlon II X2 240 CPU in it so I may decide to upgrade that machine with either a AM3 Phenom II X3 740 or a AM2 Phenom II X4 940 BE and used the spare Athlon II X2 240 to replace the old Athlon Le-1600 in the rebuilt emachines T6420 with the alternative AM2+/AM2 motherboard.
Just wanted to let emachines owners know that if their old model failed that it is possible to use an alternative motherboard with a different newer socket and that it might be possible (haven't tried it yet) to upgrade the CPU to a newer more powerful type.
Also I replaced the power supply as well because I didn't trust that old one (nearly 5 years old) and the alternative motherboard required a newer type power supply.
Very interesting. I have saved a copy as text for my own reference.
I apologize for some bad spelling in my post.I didn't spell check it or review my post closely before posting.
I have done this once before with a custom Vista desktop that had motherboard failure.Again I chose a motherboard from a different manufacturer but it had the same chip set and built in network chip (but different MAC address).On that first one, it didn't even require reactivation (don't know why though).That first replaced mobo without any reactivation required gave me the idea to try the second one with that emachines T6420.It actually took me 4 attempt dial ups on the phone modem to activate Windows on that emachines T6420 so it was very iffy (wasn't sure if it would work).Perhaps that dial up modem was old or perhaps Microsoft's servers were busy too.I am sure that it's a interesting methodology to try it on other PC's as well if one has motherboard failure.It sucks to lose software that one pays for.Kinda miss the older days before XP when there wasn't activation or other dreaded DRM schemes.DRM schemes hurts those legit owners who may have hardware failure.
I also question the 7 votes for successful activation.
like the NIC and same MAC address (3 votes). Does that mean that the exact make NIC must also have the same MAC address to get 3 votes all at once ( a big 3 vote count) or perhaps does the same MAC address get 1 vote and same make (model) NIC get 2?
It's an unknown to me.Perhaps I lost a vote on the MAC address but got votes on the same make NIC.
Again I just don't know.
Also the CPU make question; does it specify that it has to be the same exact CPU or could the model be different?
The Le-1600 is an Athlon 64 in classification.Then again perhaps even an Athlon II could perhaps pass (maybe?).
Yes right now I am posting from my revamped emachines T6420.Since it was off of the Internet for perhaps over a year (likely 1 1/2 years) I had a lot of updates for it.Anyway thanks for reading.
Final edit ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I replaced the AM2 Athlon Le-1600 CPU ( December 2,2010) with a spare AM3 Athlon II X2 240 CPU (upgraded another PC's CPU with a Phenom II X3 740 CPU).On startup (which was a lot quicker) Windows again required activation (it said too many hardware changes).This time however it activated through the ethernet port and worked.Reactivation was completely successful.I noticed a substantial improvement in perfomance with this faster more powerful dual core budget CPU.Not absolutely sure if it would work with a Phenom II family one but it's possible (likely).
So my advice to emachines owners with these models would be for them to instead opt for that Biostar motherboard (if available),choose any Athlon II CPU (for a substantial improvement in performance) and get some compatible DDR 2 RAM instead of opting to get that replacement MSI motherboard (which could cost more or less than the alt Mobo,Athlon II and 1 stick of DDR2 depending of course on the choice of Athlon II whether X2,X3 or X4 and the number of DDR2 sticks and capacity).
LoL another edit
Here is the latest compatible motherboard that will work as a alternative replacement motherboard with the emachines T6420.
Perhaps the last alternative motherboard available.
It has the same chipset,IGP and especially the exact same network chip that the MSI MS-7207 motherboard (Socket 939) uses.
You must use a AM3 CPU for this like an Athlon II X2/3 or 4 or a Phenom II X2/3 or 4 or a Sempron Sargas single core CPU.
The CPU's chosen should be no more than 95 watts TDP for this board.
You must use DDR3 memory for an AM3 motherboard.
You can reuse your old Hard Drive with Windows on it from your dead emachines and make sure you use the same Optical Drive (DVD Burner) and put in the old dial up modem in it in case you have to reactivate Windows (reactivation with the ethernet will not be possible until the current drivers on the replacement motherboard are installed by CD in Windows (I tried it)).
Since the MS-7207 motherboard had 2 IDE controlllers one for the Hard Drive and One for the DVD Drive this replacement board only has one controller so you must slave the DVD Burner to the Hard Drive with this motherboard.
Note you must use the same memory amount as the emachines when first activated.Since changing the CPU represent a change in hardware only one more change in hardware will be possible without reactivation (which can be a big pain in the ass).
So your choice is really between adding a discrete graphics card OR upgrading the memory amount but not both.
At first just use the same amount of memory that the emachines had and use the on board IGP before attempting to restart the machine.
Plug in a telephone wire into the dial up modem just in case Windows needs to reactivate (it may or may not need to on restarting windows from your old hard drive).Once in Windows install the motherboard driver software from the CD.By doing this it will be possible to reactivate by your ethernet port next time should you need to do so.Shut down the PC
Afterwards make the additional change that you desire whether to add extra memory or whether to add a discrete graphics card.
Then restart and if using a discrete graphics card install the drivers for it.
I did some extra changes and had to reactivate which gave me several problems (a hung up activation script).I had to look this up at Microsoft's website and follow a complex manual procedure.You might not have this problem at all though as it doesn't happen too often.However I eventually was successful in changing to a dual core Athlon II X2 240,using 2 gigabytes of memory and using a discrete HD Radeon 3650 graphics card on my alternative replacement AM2+ motherboard which is now not available anymore.
Again the newest alternative replacement motherboard which is still available is the
BIOSTAR MCP6P3 AM3 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 / nForce 430 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Basically this trick could be used for other PC's or other eMachines,Gateway's,Acer models etc.The key (hint) to replacement IS that the alternative motherboard again has to be the same or of a very similar (I think) chipset,the same or of a very similar (I think) variation of the IGP (or discrete card if no IGP) and the network chip has to be the same exact model type.It's far more likely with AMD CPU type PC's using nVidia chipsets (though some AMD chipsets don't change as much often either but might vary and be improved upon (similar)) and far less likely with Intel CPU type PC's since their chipsets change often.The socket type itself does not matter as I went from Socket 939 (which is very old) to Socket AM2+ (around 2008) and Socket AM3 is likely too.
late reply ... but valuable info here. i am wondering if this will apply to my emachines 1331g (am2+ mobo, though i have already upgraded the cpu, psu, and graphics), minus the dial up modem (mine didn't come with one). when the time comes i would like to upgrade to an am3+. i know this is a "budget" machine and all but this pc will have a long life as it is soon to be my son's gaming pc. with that being said i want to make the most of it.