First time motherboard/CPU upgrade help

Hi everyone,

I am planning on updating my computer, replacing my motherboard and CPU. I've never updated anything besides cards, memory, drives etc. before, and I'm pretty confused. If anyone can help me I'd appreciate it.

Here's my current system:

PIII 733
256 MB PC133 SDRAM
GeForce 256
Some old ATI chipset
Don't know the motherboard
DVD-ROM, CD-RW, 30G HD, floppy, internal zip drive

This is a Micron computer system. I'm wondering a few things:

1) Can I keep the Micron case? (It's a mid-tower, has tons of room inside). I'm assuming that the form factor for motherboards is consistent enough that I could, but I don't know if there is something weird with these proprietary, mass market cases.
2) I'm assuming I'll need a power supply upgrade, right? (I'll be replacing the GeForce with a GeForce 4 sometime soon too). What should I upgrade the power supply to?
3) What would you recommend for a motherboard/chipset and CPU replacement? I don't need bleeding edge, but want something that will last a couple of years. I know I'm going to have to replace my obsolete memory too. I'd like to keep my total upgrade cost in the $750 range if possible.

Thanks for any recommendations. I've been reading a lot here on Tom's, but there is SO much information, so I'd love to hear actual recommendations from you all.
6 answers Last reply
More about first time motherboard upgrade help
  1. Hello. You should have a standard case and power supply. But your power supply probably has too little power. I like Micron cases. As to what motherboard and processor to get, ask Fatburger, I don't want to start a debate, but right now the favorite processor of the forum is second rate at best.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  2. Hey Triggerfish,

    It sounds like you already have a decent system. Why do you want to upgrade it right now? What do you want this new system for? If you can tell me why you want a new system, and what you need it to do, I will give you my idea of your upgrade replacement components. See my take on your question is that you should wait for the new Serial ATA(HDD's), 8X AGP(video cards), AMD Thoughbreds(new 0.13 micron cpu's) & Claw Hammer's(new 64 bit cpu's), Rambus 1066mhz ram, & DDR PC3200(supported mobo/chipsets). I realize you do not need all of that, but if this system is going to last you two years, don't you think you should wait to see what the HYPE is about? If it is a big deal, you can make that choice with the new info...........if it is a bust, you can get your system(with the current 5/2002 components) even cheaper than right now.

    For right now I would just get another 256mb stick of ram, and a GeForce4 MX($100),or ATi Radeon 8500LE OEM($110) or GeForce4 4200($200ish when they come out). The reason I don't tell you to get a full blown GF4 4600 is: at $350+ why waste your money on a 4X card..........unless you plan to do heavy gaming right now. Better cards will come out for cheaper prices. Just my opinion, Good Luck with your choices.

    Peace Out...........tile

    Just waiting for the next "Big" thing like everyone else?
  3. hehe, I'll have to agree with Crashman, get a P4. However, I don't agree with FatBurger and Crashman over the DDR vs. RDRAM debate. See my posts in the "DDR VS RAMBUS for Pentium IV Chipsets" thread.

    :wink: <b><i>"A penny saved is a penny earned!"</i></b> :wink:
  4. Thanks all for your input!

    In terms of my reason for upgrading, well, two things. One is for gaming and wanting to be able to pick up some of the newer 3D games and be able to play at full resolution. Also, I've never really been happy with the Micron motherboard and chipset that was used. I've had some odd compatibility and crash problems in the past. So I don't need to be the super duper power user, but I would like to start replacing some of the mass market components in my system with better alternatives.

    I realize that there is a lot of new technology coming out these days, and if I could get away with a new video card and moving up to 512MB memory until the end of the year, then that could definitely be an option. But if that's going to create a situation where my CPU speed and not so flexible or great motherboard are going to become a drag, I'd rather take care of things all at once.

    Also, I wouldn't want to get the new technologies right when they come out. I'd want to wait until they are a little farther down the price curve.

    If I did decide to go the route of just getting more memory and an up to date video card, am I going to need to replace my power supply too? I've seen some posts where people have dropped a GeForce4 into a system with a cheapo power supply, and everything went bang.

  5. Hey Trigger,

    OK, get a Enermax 350 watt PS, if you want the last PS that you will ever buy, get a Enermax 430 watt PS. As far as most games go, you have a bigger bottlenect with your slower Video card than your PIII & SD-Ram. A faster Video card will make a bigger impact on your 3D Marks 2001 scores/benchmarks and frame rates.

    In my opinion, yes you should wait. Will it be worth it for you? I think it will, you have nothing to lose, worst comes to worst, all the 4X AGP/ATA 133 mobo's & CPU's will be cheaper(not much for the mobo's, most mobo's are only $130 or less, but the CPU's will be much cheaper) & you will be able to read all the old reviews & get real opinions of all the old stuff.

    Again, my take: Get a Sub-$200 video card(Gainward Golden Samples, if you are going to tweak it), 512 mb of Quality Ram(I like Crucial & OCZ brands) and a new Enermax 350 watt PS.............try to be HAPPY!(even though I am not happy with my system or waiting for the new stuff). Good Luck

    Peace Out..................tile

    Just waiting for the next "Big" thing like everyone else?
  6. OK, perhaps I'll just hang in there for a few months, and just replace my Power Supply, RAM and video card for now.

    Thanks everyone for all your help! Sometimes it's good to get pulled back from the edge when I'm rarin' to start buyin'.

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