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Mobo dying .... suggestions please on upgrading my system ...

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Carol Haynes:
When I switch my computer on it takes a while to get to the BIOS screen - there are LEDs to diagnose probs and it looks like my IDE controller is on the way out.

I haven't built a new system for some time and it would be useful to get some advice.

I haven't got much money to go out and buy loads of gear so ideally I would like to recycle as much as possible whist retaining the possibility of upgrading to faster and better components as and when I can afford to.

Anyone any suggestions on mobos that are available now that will take all of (or most of) my components (listed below). So far I have used MSI boards but I am happy to consider using an alternative manufacturers - ideally I need to have an AGP slot and preferably 5 or 6 PCI slots and preferably lots of USB2 ports.

CPU - an original Athlon XP 1600+
DDR memory - 2 sticks of 1Gb 164 pin unbuffered PC2700

AGP ATI Radeon All-in-Wonder (ancient but still works and I like the TV facility built into it)
Creative Audigy 2ZS Pro sound card and breakout box

2 x WD Caviar IDE ATA-133 drives in a RAID 0 array (using an onboard Promise interface)
2 x WD Caviar IDE ATA-133 drives as standard IDE ATA drives
2 x  DVD-RW/CD-RW type drives

I don't have any SATA drives - can you plug ATA type devices into SATA interfaces, ie. are SATA interfaces backwards compatible?

Alternatively am I wasting time and money so that it would be more cost effective in the long run to buy a package of mobo, faster CPU and faster memory? Ideally I don't want to have to replace all my disc drives.

Edit ...

Another thought - if I upgrade to a 64bit CPU can I still install a 32 bit version of Windows or do I have to use a 64 bit version of Windows?

Can't help you with the rest, but i can tell you the answer for the last question:
Yes, you can use windows for 32bit systems on a 64bit system. It runs just as well. (not sure if it takes as much advantage of the processor, though... probably not)

Carol Haynes:

Actually I am looking at websites now and getting really confused over all the new things that have appeared since my last build ...

Dual Core CPUs

it all makes me wonder if I can use any of my existing kit!

I have been looking at and I can't find any mobos that explicitly have AGP interfaces ? Am I missing something as new AGP cards seem to be appearing ?

If I have to do a major upgrade is it worth going for a mobo that combines graphic adapter and onboard sound (there seem to be some MSI and ASUS models that have Audigy 7.1 surround onboard - not sure about built in graphics). I haven't considered these boards in the past as they look like they are aimed at OEM builders but some look as though they have come on a long way and would be a cheap way to get reasonable graphics and sound ?

I belive AGP is near its end, it's becoming harder and harder to find hardware that uses it.
Maybe this recent thread can help you, since it's about buying a new computer.

if you have an expensive AGP card, then that will narrow down your search to agp motherboards which are few are far between now.

the ide drives are something you need to think about.
sata interface is NOT compatible with ide drives.  if you have 4 ide drives that you want to mount inside your pc you need to look for a motherboard with 4 ide interfaces, which is not common these days, but you may be able to find one with sata and 4 ides, which would be ideal.  alternatively you could get new sata drives and use your ides in an external drive racks for backup purposes.

onboard sound is reasonable these days.

onboard video is less so; if you want to run graphics heavy stuff like games, youll want a graphics card.

im guessing you will need to buy new memory.

question: do you already have a secondary pc? if not, my advice might be to build a new machine, and just do the minor stuff to make this current one a frankenstein secondary machine.


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