hardware can I upgrade my processor and motherboard and keep everything else?

Posted on 2013-06-27
Last Modified: 2013-06-27
A friend helped me build a server to use  with hyper-v at home.  I am a dev and don't know anything about hardware (a little, but not much at all).  I built it from NewEgg and will post the items below.  Since then I added some memory and a few hard disks.  I tried to upgrade to windows 8 and got an error saying my hardware didn't support it.  My main goal is to have system that I can boot directly to vhd's containing server running hyper-v, an instance of windows 7, and an instance of windows 8.  

1. Can I easily swap out the motherboard and processor?  What benefits will I see, is it worth it, and give a specific example.

2. I'd like to keep my memory if possible, but would it be better to upgrade to something with a different footprint?  I didn't like how I only had a few slots before (4×240pin) and don't know if things changed drastically since.  Is 240pin old?  Should I have something better?

3. Is this even worth it?  Would it be better to start from scratch and just keep the drives?


2 x HD 500G|WD 7K 16M SATA2 WD5000AAKS - OEM
1 x CPU AMD|A64 X2 4850E 2.5G AM2 R - Retail
1 x MEM 2Gx2|GSK F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK R - Retail
1 x CASE ANTEC|NSK4480B BK RT - Retail
Question by:jackjohnson44
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LVL 40

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footech earned 500 total points
ID: 39281951
It's typically quite easy to swap out all hardware, but that's my opinion having done it quite  a bit.  There's not a lot of difficultly involved - you just have to remove all the pieces, then put it all back substituting in your new components.  Personally I would get an Intel CPU and supporting motherboard.  What benefit do you see with any new computer? - speed and capacity are the simplest answers.  But if all you do is edit text documents with Notepad, you're unlikely to see the difference.  If you're running multiple VMs, more RAM and a faster disk subsystem will make everything more responsive.  If you compiliing code or editing video, the CPU is involved and so are the disks.  It all depends on usage.

It's likely that any system you build today will use DDR3 RAM.  What you listed above is DDR2.  Although they are both 240-pin, the modules and slots are keyed differently to avoid using an incorrect combination.  Most desktop systems will only have 4 DIMM slots.  That's kind of been the standard for about 15 years.  It's not until you get into server boards that you start to see more (there are exceptions).

There can be advantages to having more than one physical box.  Depends on what you're doing.

Author Comment

ID: 39281961
Thanks for the response,
My main question was more, will my drives and memory work with a new mother board and upgraded processor.  It appears that the answer is no.  

I would also assume that I should either stick with what I have or just start over and keep the drives.  Would you say that this is accurate?

Also, with a new motherboard\processor, do I need to worry about the hard drive?  I am wondering if drives\motherboards have the same relationship  you mentioned with memory\motherboards.
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Accepted Solution

footech earned 500 total points
ID: 39282019
Your hard drives will work just fine with a new motherboard - they have SATA connections.  Without searching, I don't know how difficult it would be to find a new motherboard that supports DDR2 RAM (especially if you want to use a new CPU).

If the intention is to work with multiple VMs, I would lean towards keeping the current system and building a completely new one so you can split up some tasks.

Pretty much any motherboard you find will support SATA connections.  It would be extremely rare (if not impossible) to find one that doesn't.  Some (less now-a-days) still support IDE connections for older hard/CD/DVD drives.  To avoid any confustion, I won't go into any detail of SAS connections, which generally is what servers use (though they can also use SATA).

Author Comment

ID: 39282205
I'll probably stick with what I have for the time being.

One more quick question, if I am going to get a totally new system, what kind of drive connections do I want?  What is standard?  You mentioned SATA and IDE, which is better, can you have both?
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

footech earned 500 total points
ID: 39282303
SATA is the current standard.  IDE is only for older hardware.  There was a transition period where it was common for both of these to be present but now you usually only see SATA.  SATA connections allow for higher speeds and the cables are much easier to work with than the ribbon cables associated with IDE connections.

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