troubleshooting Question

Specific Upgrade and Vendor Questions, Please! :)

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marylyn27 asked on
Desktops
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hi--and thank you for your help :))

i presently own a slow pc: Pentium 166MHZ, with 256 MB SDRAM. i'd like to upgrade. i'm not into games, or "sound" (playing MP3's, etc.). i would simply like a faster pc that will allow me to add Windows XP, and that doesn't "hang" when i try to do more than one thing at one time. anyway, i don't need an absolutely "top-end" system.

i have a number of questions that, perhaps, some of you pros will chime in on :))

i'm going to get a "barebones" system: just a new case, a motherboard, new cpu (and fan), and RAM. depending upon the motherboard, of course, i may need other things. I already have a perfectly good hard drive, CD-RW drive, Zip drive, etc. So getting a complete new system is not necessary.

one problem is, my local vendor sells barebones systems using AMPTRON motherboards. more than a few people have warned me to stay away from AMPTRON (poor support). Here are the links to the two AMPTRON motherboards (one for P4, the other for Athlon XP) I could get from the local vendor:

http://www.amptron.com/html/MotherboardP4_935LU_frame.html

http://www.amptron.com/html/MotherboardK7_m825lu_frame.html

do others out there agree that AMPTRON, in general, is not the way to go? If AMPTRON is OK, would you kindly comment on the above boards?

another problem: i did put my present system together a few years ago, but that was a few years ago and with the help of a (since moved) neighbor. so, i'm a bit nervous about tackling this.

my questions:

1. are there specific vendors you folks use that have provided fast, reliable service and good support? If so, would you recommend them to me?

2. do you know any (many) who offer what i'm looking for: case, motherboard, fan, cpu, ram? will the vendor assemble and maybe even test the setup before shipping? i am not really afraid of buying. let's say, the motherboard from one vendor and the other parts from another--as long as attaching the motherboard won't be too much of a problem. can attaching the motherboard be a problem? do i need those plastic "spacers" i recall using?

3. an ASUS (i believe) motherboard has now been recommended to me twice: Model A7N266VM--for Athlon XP. Wondering if, by chance, anyone might happen to know of it?  

4. can attaching a fan be a problem? If so, should I have the vendor attach the fan, too?

5. about cases: i need a mid-tower case of a certain size (i just need one no taller than 16 1/2 inches and not wider than 7 or 7 1/2 inches--most i've seen are around that size it seems) i presume i can get case dimensions from the vendor? also, i was told that i should try to get a case that can handle various sized motherboards in case of an upgrade down the line. is this correct, and are such cases available?

Apologies for all the questions. there is another local vendor a bit further away than the one with the AMPTRON boards. i may visit them. if so, i may have additional questions. thank you all :))

marylyn
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