3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 8, 2011 12:15 PM by mechbob

    Can I replace just the motherboard instead of my entire PC?


      I have a custom-built PC with a lot of money put into it. Noisy computers drive me nuts, so I bought an Antec Sonata and had an Intel D865GBF motherboard installed. I added sound-absorbing foam to flat metal areas inside the box (like the door), and installed a special quiet cooling fan for the processor (w/ x86 Family 15 Model 3 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~2992 Mhz). I have two hard drives in the cabinet, one rather large for storage.


      It's still a pretty good PC, but I'm starting to fall behind some of the technology. For example, had to locate a special add-in USB 3.0 card that would work with plain PCI, since the mobo doesn't have PCIe.


      Instead of giving up the entire box, can't I just replace the motherboard? Where should I shop for one? Is there a good online tutorial for installing the new one? I'm pretty good with electronics but want to make absolutely sure to do this right. Any tips appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Can I replace just the motherboard instead of my entire PC?

          You can always replace your motherboard and keep the case.


          However, you must decide what your new system will be. If you choose to go with a Sandy Bridge CPU ("second-generation Core"), the motherboard must support LGA 1155 and one of the compatible chipsets, the choice of which depends on what you plan to do with your system. Your case also puts a restriction on the form factor of the motherboard: ATX, micro ATX, or mini ITX.I suppose the Antec Sonata can accomodate any of the form factors, but it's always safe to know for sure.


          Next consideration is RAM. Your present RAM sticks are likely incompatible with the new motherboard. 240-pin SDRAM DDR3-1333 is typically what you need these days.


          Next are considerations for SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0. Likely your present Sonata case does not support front-panel USB 3.0 ports, but that may not be a problem for you because most LGA 1155 motherboards do include USB 3.0 ports in the back. However, you should take advantage of SATA 6Gb/s, at least for your boot/system/apps drive. In general, you should re-consider your present drives.


          Finally, do you plan to take advantage of DVI or HDMI for your display? Most current Intel motherboards do not support VGA (D-SUB) port, serial port, parallel port and floppy drive. I personally like this direction, but it may be a problem for certain PC builders. If you want to go with DVI, say, you may need to upgrade your display.


          Oh and don't forget the PSU (power supply). Do you remember the wattage of your present PSU? If it is around 300W, you may be able to re-use it with a new CPU but likely without a discrete graphics card. All Intel Sandy Bridge motherboards have specifications in PDF that you can download to read to find out about power requirements.


          Where should you shop for a new motherboard? If you live in the US, I recommend newegg.com. Their website is very well organized. Beside product selections, descriptions and user-reviews, there are some pretty good tutorial videos.


          Now, to be more concrete, I suggest you start by looking at the new Intel Core i3-2100 (with integrated HD 2000 graphics). Then select one of the Intel LGA 1155 motherboards that suits the form factor for your Sonata case. (If you still want to use VGA, take a look at the other brands, such as Asus, Gigabyte and MSI.) Then select a pair of RAM sticks, and I suggest 2 x 2GB for a total of 4GB. Then select a new SATA 6Gb/s drive for your new boot drive.


          That's about it. Good luck and have fun!

          • 2. Re: Can I replace just the motherboard instead of my entire PC?

            You have provided me a wealth of information. The only part I'm not concerned about is special graphics. Most of what I do is Web development. My occasional Photosho work has not required any high-end graphics capability.


            I'm going to start researching the info you provided now. Thanks!

            • 3. Re: Can I replace just the motherboard instead of my entire PC?

              Look at NewEgg , They sell barebones kits good prices , save your old case and just get want you need in the kit that suites your needs ??