|I've got a PC (running on Windows XP SP3) built by a friend in late 2003 that I recently upgraded. I had 1 256MB SDRAM stick and I swapped that out for 2 512MB SDRAM sticks. So, I have the maximum RAM allowed for the motherboard, which is an ECS P4VXASD2+ Version 5 (a Socket 478 board), which is run by a 1.70 gigahertz Intel Celeron. It was running hot, which I figured out was due to the power supply overheating because the fans in it weren't working; neither were the case fans. The walls of the case felt hot. Both of the hard drives, a SEAGATE ST3320620A 320GB BARRACUDA ATA100 (set as the main C:) and a Western Digital WD600BB-75CAA0 60.0GB (set as a backup D:), felt hot to the touch, too. I took it to a local PC guru, who directed me to a place to get a new heat sink retention bracket(which was broken), a new fan, and a new power supply. I opted to buy a an A Power 600W SATA ATX Power Supply through an online supplier but go the other parts locally. The PC was working fine, though running hot still. I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new power supply. But then something happened that changed everything.|
One day, I was working at my desk. I accidentally brushed my toe against the power button on my surge protector, which shut the PC off. The PC wouldn't come back on, though. When the new power supply arrived, I put it in and connected everything as it was supposed to go per the manufacturer's manual. However, nothing happened. So, I scrambled around and found a PC through my church to use at home. I took the mothballed PC out to the same guru this week, and he tested the power supply with a power supply tester. It was low on one reading (can't remember which one). He was able to "jump start" the PC but it wouldn't come on on its own afterward. He suggested I scuttle the thing but said he thought the CPU might be fried. I was able to find a Pentium 4 2.4GHz with 533 bus speed at a local dealer, but when I installed it (again per the manual) still nothing happened. So, that brings me to my dilemma and question.
I could either (a) buy a refurbed ECS Socket 478 motherboard off Ebay and possibly add some RAM, or (b) I could buy a whole new PC, which the guru recommended. I spent a great deal of time this weekend going to Best Buy, reading reviews of PCs on consumer reports, and Googling for ECS mobos. I found a refurbed P4S5A/DX+ V5.1A (http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Products/ProductsDetail.aspx?detailid=39&CategoryID=1&DetailName=Specification&MenuID=1&LanID=0) on eBay for about $30. I'm tempted to buy it because I can use the same memory sticks I already have (or buy some DDR333 cards to go up to 2GB RAM). All I really want to make sure of is that I have a PC that runs fast enough to do my work, which is all online (rating tests and teaching). I like to have several things open at once, but that stops up the little 512MB Intel Pentium III machine I'm using. I know getting a new PC is something I will eventually have to due, but I would prefer to save some bucks and limp along with an old, refurbed system than lay out $600+ for a new PC. I just don't know what I'm getting into if I opt for the "limp along" route. I guess I have this Pollyana-ish idea that I would simply have to put it the new motherboard, make a few adjustments, reconnect everything and 'voila' I'd be back in business. But what all would be involved in replacing the motherboard? I was reading an article about it (http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2007/09/how-to-install-a-new-motherboard-without-reinstalling-windows.ars) and my head starting hurting, because I'm not sure I know what I'd be doing or if I could do the replacement. So, how involved is installing a 'new' motherboard? Are there a lot of technical steps that a lay person can do? What changes would I have to make to get my old "Hop Along Cassidy" PC running again? I would appreciate any input offered. If you know of some good articles, please pass them along to me. Thanks!