From swapping parts to building
a complete system is just a matter of degree, and even then there
are gradations. Once you're familiar with the various cables
and components, it's really no big deal to connect and disconnect,
remove and insert, install and configure all the parts involved.
sometimes possible to use your existing case, you'll probably want
a more spacious one that's easier to work with. Aside from
raw space issues, mass market cases sometimes have
proprietary mounts and connectors which make replacement of the
motherboard problematic. As if that weren't enough, a
stronger power supply is usually required, and a case with power
supply is about the same price as a power supply alone.
A typical 'brand name'
mass market case: cramped and limited.
Spacious replacement cases are inexpensive and readily available.
So-called "bare bones"
kits make it easy to move your drives and RAM into a new case
preconfigured with a motherboard and processor at a fraction of
the cost of a complete system. Some of these kits even
include the RAM, so all you really have to do is swap the hard
drive and CD.
If you can't find the
right kit, you may want to get the case, motherboard, and
As with attempting to
upgrade the CPU in an existing system, it's essential to get a
proper match between the CPU and motherboard. You cannot
assume that a given processor will function with a given
motherboard just because the sockets match.
certify motherboards for each model of their processors. Go
to the technical support section of the CPU manufacturer's web
site and verify that you're making the right choice.
With the modern zero
insertion force (ZIF) CPU sockets, mounting the chip is very easy.
This is offset though by the spring clip arrangement that secures
the cooling fan. A slip here can ruin the processor and/or
It's much easier, and
even sometimes cheaper, to take advantage of the "bundled" CPU and
motherboard combinations offered by major parts houses.
These are matched, with the CPU and cooling fan typically
premounted so you won't have to handle these most delicate
Moving on up
Once your new system
is assembled, you can take the hard drive from your old one,
install it, and fire it up. If all has gone well, Windows
will start up, detect the new hardware, and finish booting to
the desktop with generic drivers.
Note: when moving a
hard drive to a new system, it's recommended to remove the old
system board drivers. Before shutting down the old system
for the last time, open the device manager and remove all com
and parallel ports, USB hub components, and every device under
the "System" header.
Insert the CD that
came with your new motherboard, then follow the instructions to
install the specific drivers it requires for optimal performance.
accomplished, you can install any add-on cards like a modem,
sound, or network device and you'll be good to go with a brand new
system that you built yourself.
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