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MisterSpock
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02 Jul 2013, 4:20 pm

Out of all the people I know, I'm by far the most techie, which says a lot about the people I know really. It's time to upgrade my computer after 5 years of service, and I'm considering a custom built one (I'd probably be thinking an AMD processor with ASUS motherboard). Why? I'd like to pay for what I want, and not what I don't need. The question is, how much can I use from my old computer?

Some technology gets old, so we move on, but other tech doesn't. My current PC is only has DDR2 compatible RAM slots and a mini-ITX mobo, which is apparently a b*** to replace/upgrade (M2N61-AR with Phenom X4 9150e processor, if you're interested). It's a super slim PC. But I'm wondering if the below items could be stuffed in a new (standard size tower) build with no hiccups. Advice please.

Optical drive (I'm guessing no problems)
NVIDIA GForce 9500 GS graphics card (PCI-E - old, but it's good enough for dual screen HD and 3D)
ASUS TV tuner (PCI - I'm guessing no problems)
802.11g 54Mbps wireless antenna (quotes as USB , but connects internally, so I don't know what's going on there)
HDD - 2.5" I think (are most 3.5"?)

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.



pezar
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02 Jul 2013, 6:06 pm

A desktop computer will use a 3.5" HDD. I have built my own PC, and it gets pricey quickly, especially buying all the parts retail. Not everything is compatible, especially with a 5 year old box. I think I spent something like $2000 on my PC back in 2007. When it came time to replace it, I bought a HP laptop for $350. There aren't many reasons to build your own when new ones from China are only a few hundred bucks. If you enjoy the challenge, fine, but you will pay a LOT of money.



redrobin62
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02 Jul 2013, 6:11 pm

It's interesting. My MSI all in one computer is about 4 years old. I've upgraded it with a 120GB Sandisk Extreme SSD. I can't upgrade the GPU though. What's interesting is the new crop of games. I'm able to run 2012 and 2013 games like Metro 2033 and BioShock Infinite because they've found a way to multi-stream and optimize their graphics that even older cards like mine can play them. In other words, my system is not so obsolete after all. I can upgrade to 8GB ram, maybe even 16GB if the BIOS would allow it, but it's probably not necessary.



aleclair
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05 Jul 2013, 10:04 pm

You should be able to buy an adapter that will allow you to use your 2.5" HDD in a desktop. Usually there is the choice of metal or plastic, and they cost 5 to 10 dollars. When I initially built my current computer I used two spare HDDs that were lying around, and one of them was a 2.5" drive salvaged from a laptop.

Is the optical drive IDE or SATA? You should have no problem with a SATA optical drive. There may or may not be compatibility issues with the old IDE drives.

Are you going to be gaming, watching HD video, or both? If you game I'd consider upgrading the GPU. I understand that the 9500 is an older card and should be fine for games that are several years old, but if you plan to play newer games (especially multi monitor) your GPU will be a huge system bottleneck.

Have you decided which parts you plan to buy?



MisterSpock
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06 Jul 2013, 4:26 am

Cheers for the tip on the HDD adapter.

My computer usage is primarily for video and audio production, with some 3d rendering and some compiling code - no gaming. Just having another look, I can get the AMD Radeon HD 86-- integrated in to an AMD A-Series CPU (A10-6700 for low poer, high performance), so I could scrap the nVidia card even though it's served me fine. I'd be putting that on an Asus motherboard.

I might be trying to achieve the impossible here: I'm going for good performance, low power, and low noise/heat transmission. I've worked with a few computers and most often I've just cooked them 'til they're on death's door, at which point they'll start super-driving the fans so you can't hear a damn thing. I'll be getting an Arctic Cooling Freezer fan/heatsink for the CPU and an additional 'silent' fan to fit inside the case. I will be getting 16GB RAM, most likely Kingston, as they seem to be most common.



zer0netgain
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06 Jul 2013, 5:55 am

I'm not saying you don't have options, but none of my builds left much room for cannibalizing old parts.

Of course, I build a new system at far enough spans that reusing old parts is not practical or effective.

Your MB/CPU combo is critical. You can always mount old HDDs if you have an interface port for them, but the new E-IDE ports are much faster than the old-style connectors. Video cards are always reusable IF your MB has the correct slot for them and your OS will accept that card (does the maker have compatible drivers).

I actually had to buy a new video card that should have been reusable because the new MB inverted the AGP port and newer cards had notches on BOTH SIDES of the interface to fit the old style AGP port and the new style. My existing card only had a notch for the old style AGP port, so I had no choice but to buy a new one.

I've had to replace a sheet-feed scanner because a new OS wouldn't recognize my hardware and the maker didn't make new drivers for "outdated" hardware (but they gave me $20 off on a trade-in for a newer scanner :roll: ),



aleclair
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06 Jul 2013, 8:01 am

I see now. I think your NVidia card should work, though I'm not so sure regarding the power consumption. You'd have to do some research or make a guess based on your current PSU wattage. Often times, GPUs tend to use a lot of power, as do higher-performance CPUs. For example, the AMD FX-8xxx are known to be some of the most power-hungry CPUs out there.

Those A-series APUs are supposed to have a very good tradeoff between power and performance. The integrated graphics are very good for general use tasks. However, they do run on a different socket than other AMD CPUs and you'll need to make sure your motherboard is compatible.

I always recommend http://pcpartpicker.com/ to all PC builders. You can enter your parts list and see which vendor has the lowest price. You can also browse parts to see if there's a similar part that is on sale. This is useful for markets with many brands, like RAM and SSDs. Also, the site will check your CPU and motherboard for socket compatibility, and show you socket compatible motherboards after you select your CPU.



beers
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06 Jul 2013, 3:21 pm

You should be able to re-use everything but the 'core platform' devices, which encompass the motherboard, CPU and RAM in some cases (including this one).
Anything else should be fair game given the availability of expansion slots.

I'd get something other than that 9500GT, though. That was considered slow even when it was released in 2008.

If you live near a microcenter they have a lot of good deals on CPU+Motherboard combos (generally $30-40 discount).

It's also worth investing in a quality power supply.


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MisterSpock
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11 Jul 2013, 4:28 am

Thanks for the tips on where to get cheap gear, but I live in the UK, so the shipping may counteract any savings I might make. It seems that I should be able to save in the region of £100 or more ($150, but components seem cheaper over your way, so probably not that much to you) if I'm able to re-use all the parts I listed except the graphics card (provided I can get dual-screen and full HD video, I'm fine with any graphics card).



techtalknow
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12 Jul 2013, 10:17 am

Theoretically, it's possible. But the connectors will probably be the real snag. If you're using a 2.5" HDD, then you need a 2.5" HDD Connector that will work on a board that is running a 3.5" HDD Power flow...if something goes wrong, you could lose your whole HDD to either electrical shock or hardware fragmentation.


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beers
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14 Jul 2013, 4:33 pm

techtalknow wrote:
Theoretically, it's possible. But the connectors will probably be the real snag. If you're using a 2.5" HDD, then you need a 2.5" HDD Connector that will work on a board that is running a 3.5" HDD Power flow...if something goes wrong, you could lose your whole HDD to either electrical shock or hardware fragmentation.


This used to be an issue for IDE and older interfaces, but using SATA you will have direct compatibility between 2.5" and 3.5" without having to use any sort of converter.


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greengeek
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11 Aug 2013, 9:58 am

beers wrote:
techtalknow wrote:
Theoretically, it's possible. But the connectors will probably be the real snag. If you're using a 2.5" HDD, then you need a 2.5" HDD Connector that will work on a board that is running a 3.5" HDD Power flow...if something goes wrong, you could lose your whole HDD to either electrical shock or hardware fragmentation.


This used to be an issue for IDE and older interfaces, but using SATA you will have direct compatibility between 2.5" and 3.5" without having to use any sort of converter.


I have a SATA Hard Drive dock that takes both the 2.5" and 3.5" drives without any adapters, as both connectors are the same, on both sizes of drives.


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