install motherboard

How hard is it to put in a new motherboard?  I have added CD and DVD writers, memory, modem, new harddrive, and had no problems. Should I consider doing this on my own?  Also I bought my computer through Dell the only operating system disc I have is a reinstallation CD. I also have drivers and utilities resource cd,monitor cd,printer cd, modem cd, all of which include drivers and utilities.  Is this basically all I will need to reinstall my operating system?  I've called around and been told I should change to a different case and go with a cheaper motherboard, but might have problems with power supply wiring in because it is a Dell.  I also have a Scott Mueller's upgrading and repairing PCs book it is the 12th edition , came  out in 2001.  I've called 2 different computer shops and been told that i'm looking at about 300.00 dollars for motherboard, installation, reinstall OS. Doesn't that seem a bit high? Also one shop told me that my reinstallation cd wouln't work that i would have to buy another OS, but they could put a ghost os on my computer and if i had problems with the os I would have to bring in my computer because i wouldn't have a os cd. This ghost os would only cost me $40, but every problem with it i would have to take it to their shop and be charged $40 to fix, at the least.  Sounded like a scam to me but i don't know everything.  Please advise. I do have another computer at my house that is connected to the internet so i would be able to get online help. I am running windows XP home.
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If you use Dell computer, then the new motherboard should be identical with current in system, and I think only Dell can provide that. If you buy a motherboard from retail shop or online, you should have other computer case with power supply.

The Reinstall CD from Dell will work only for Dell system, you can not use it for any motherboard. You can do sysprep or other ways to use it, but that will require some computer skills and knowledge.

Ghost OS? that is illegal I think.
1) Motherboard is not difficult to install. but since this is your first time, I would do a little bit of research before you begin. It is basically just a matter of knowing how to mount the mobo, connected the power cables, reset switch, status lights, etc. And then there is installing the CPU, which on new motherboards is fairly simple.

2) Reinstallation CD will only work on the dell, in most cases. In all other cases, OS will have to be activated which would require a valid key. In other words, with the reinstallation cd, you would be able to reinstall the OS, but would only have 30 days to register with a key that worked (and if you have the key from the Dell, it should work fine, but you would have to call MSFT to activate over the phone because the install ID would probably come up as invalid. Resource cd would be useless unless you are installing the same exact hardware.

3) Change of case, cheaper mobo? Depends on your needs. Case would be fine to use.

How old is current PC? Why are you looking to upgrade?

$300 for installing mobo and OS is fairly steep. I do it for much less (unless you have to buy the os (but you should have a valid key from the dell), in which case that would be a fair price. Depends on the hardware as well...

The ghost OS is simply a "picture" of your current OS at its current state, which can be restored and mounted at any time. Essentially, you would be backing up your system as a "image" which, upon having a problem, would be "reprinted" back onto your hd over your current install (pending that all hardware stays the same). Sorta a scam, but useful if you run into many problems. BTW this is something you can do on your own with Norton Ghost and an external HD with more gb than your current usage..

Let me know if anything I've just said needs to be clarified...
And BTW, you can use Dell PS, but would need a Dell PSU to ATX PSU adapter which can be found at the below link:
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Many Dells have a standard ATX pinout on power supply (those not in BTX cases), so that may not be an issue.  Before I can give you any real advice on what to do, I need to know what model Dell we're dealing with.  Then can be specific instead of general.

As for OS, what you'll need is a copy of an XP SP2 OEM CD.  A repair install or clean install using key on case will be required.  A repair install maintains hard disk as is except for hardware/driver changes. May have to call MS to activate, but that should be no problem.

I don't know where you are, but I may need to move so I can triple my rates.

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If you have a dell computer and you want to keep the case the only way to do replace the board is by replacing it with an original dell board.  If you need help locating one I can do that for you,  Once you get a dell board that is compatible with your case and other parts then replacement is easy also if you use dell board you can use the dell windows disk as well.

If you do not want the dell case.  then you will have to get a new case power supply and motherboard.  Then you will need a new Windows Disk as well.  

The dell disk will only work in a dell system during install it checks to make sure the motherboard is a dell board.

That's not the case for many Dells.  I've replaced mobos in a number of them with non-Dell mobos.  Some are proprietary and we won't know until he provides model.
understand but unless he wants to shell out another $50-$100 for a windows cd he has to go with a dell board .
Only worth a B?
towmomAuthor Commented:
appreciate all the input.  i have a dell dimension 2400 series. i know the motherboard part # for dell is G1548 and it is $94.95.  pentium 4 processor 2.80GHz level 2 cache 512 kb integrated bios version A05 the only thing i have added to computer is dvd burner.  I bought the computer in Feb 2004. i wasn't really planning on upgrading except memory before my motherboard went out. Although now might be the time to think about possibillities. I would like to change the ide cable for the dvd burner to a 80-wire so i can write at 16xwriting speed. i bought a pioneer internal dvd/cd writer dual / doublelayer i take lots of digital pictures and thought i would like the ease of using this burner. have a friend that has one and can do all sorts of things.
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