Simple Questions on Replacing a Motherboard

tmercer used Ask the Experts™
I'm looking into upgrading (replacing) my old motherboard so I can get a better CPU.  


1. In replacing the Motherboard & CPU, will I have to re-install my OS on my Hard drive ?
2. I currently have a 300W Power supply. If I upgrade the Motherboard and CPU should  I upgrade that as well ?
3. Will an AGP 4x Video Card work in an AGP8X slot ?
4. Are there any advantages over using a PCI network Card vs. Using the Onboard RJ-45 connection on the motherboard ?

Not sure if this is posted in the right area, if not let me know and I'll post it in the right spot.

Thanks for you help!
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If you are running XP it is easier to reinstall the OS. You may have to reactivate XP as well.
Power supply replacement depends on how many hardware items you have installed. DVD, CD-R, etc.
300W should suffice. Personally I like 350W.
AGP card: This depends on the motherboard as stated here.
Check the motherboard docmentation for supported cards.
NIC: No real advantage here unless one supports higher ethernet speeds than the other. Normally a standard 10/100 will suffice for home networks/internet connections.
The only advantage that I like is that with a PCI NIC I can pull and replace it quickly if it fails (which is rare).
On board NIC's you can't replace. When they go so does your motherboard. That holds true for on board video and audio. If it's on board and it fails, you either replace the board or compensate for the lost item with another card.
1.  Yes, XP is very sensitive to it, plus you'll need to re-register as it is a "major" hardware change I believe
2.  Yes, the newer mobo's have different connections from the power supply.  Even though you can get adapters, get a new one as it will undoubtedly need more juice.  I don't build with less than a 420 anymore....
3.  Yes, the mobo will downgrade to 4X
4.  Over all, not many advantages, however, I have seen PCI NICs take a surge though the line and blow the card and not the Mobo, where as a hit on the mobo will probably fry it.  You can usually disable in the bios, I tend to use quality cards, like an Intel, rather than the onboard Realtek....

Wesley LennonVP of Domestic & Int'l Operations - Retired

1. Very likely, but a clean install will rid your system of old clutter, including the Registry.
2. Depending on what you will be installing, this will tell you what wattage is going to be used: Always allow for extra components and give yourself a buffer.

3. Yes, a 4x will work fine in an 8x slot.
4. That is debatable, it depends on your on-board NIC, if it is name brand and Gigabyte (10/100/100) I have had very good performance, I did install a PCI 3Com Gigabyte card and could not tell the difference.

Top Expert 2007
I will try and answer your questions point by point as you have posted them
1- When replacing the motherboard with a different chipset you will be able to do a repair install which will reinitialize the hardware install for XP but leave yur programs that you have installed in place.
a couple of considerations when you do this, backup your important files and use the same level of XP service pack that is installed on your computer at present. If you don't have the proper Service pack XP install cd then you will have to slipstream the service pack into it.

2-Newer CPU's need alot more power these days and depending on the type(Intel or AMD) they have some large draws on the +12volt rail. When purchasing this is one of the specs you should make sure there is at least 24 amps on this +12volt rail. It will be on the info label on the PSU(power supply). You can check your own out and see what is written on the info label. There are other considerations with the plugs on the PSU. SATA drive plugs and 4pin 12volt power plugs should be available on it. For consideration here is a PSU calculator that can estimate your power needs based on the components in the system.

3-Some will and some won't. You are going to find it hard to find a recent motherboard with AGP. Most nowadays will have PCI express slots that manage the video. There are some hybrid boards out there that will accept the newer CPU's and AGP like this one
but you may want to go straight to a PCIexpress video slot board instead.

4-The onboard network card would use a few more system attributes but with the speed of computers today it would be negligible. The only real advantage is the price where the onboard is generally cheaper. Plus if the onboard goes bad you can always replace it with a pci card anyway.

Hope this helps
Wesley LennonVP of Domestic & Int'l Operations - Retired


There was not a post when I posted my above comment...


Hey Guys that's for that extremely fast response. I upped the points on the question and split them between everyone. Hope this is ok with everyone

Thanks for you help!

Now off to decide on what to buy!
Top Expert 2007

@wlennon--> you may have the same affliction as me..... Sloooow tyyyppinnng

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