Upgrading motherboard / CPU

Hello all.

I’m trolling for tech advice. I’ve upgraded every component in my computer except for the motherboard / cpu because frankly, I’m afraid.

My motherboard is a GeForce6100 – I’m 99% sure it’s too old to be compatible with nice new CPUs. I’d like to switch to an Intel capable system, anyway. However, this is a situation where there are many unknown unknowns.

First of all, I’ve heard that changing the motherboard invalidates your windows 7 license. Is this true? Is there a way to use the same license or does a new motherboard mean I have to buy a new copy of windows 7?

Is there any risk of a modern motherboard being incompatible with modern GPUs, RAM, hard drives, etc.? I have an Nividia GeForce 560.

Is there a way to buy CPUs and motherboards together? Amazon doesn’t seem to have much in the way of this.

What other issues should I be aware of? I just don’t know.

Links to helpful resources are welcome–I did some Googling but couldn’t find anything too helpful.

Thank you!

Hard drives and GPUs should be fine. Unless you’re still using old IDE hard drives or DVD-ROMs, in which case many modern mobos will not have any ports.

RAM is pretty tied to your motherboard and CPU. If you’re using DDR2 now you can’t put that in a modern mobo which mostly require DDR3.

I think if you have a retail version of Windows 7 it may require reactivation, but at a last resort you can call customer support and tell them your mobo died and had to be replaced. I believe OEM copies are supposed to be tied to a specific motherboard. I’m not sure how flexible they would be in that case. Might be worth waiting until Win8 launches. It’s only $40 as an upgrade from XP, Vista or 7.

Other people will tell you to do a complete Windows reinstall whenever you swap motherboards, but that’s dated advise. Since at least Vista Windows has been able to gracefully handle such an upgrade. It will just detect all your new hardware the first time you boot on the new setup pretty seamlessly in my experience. Make sure to uninstall any previous motherboard chipset related drivers before you start taking stuff apart to avoid issues, though.

You’ll definitely want to get new RAM sticks - heck, some of the GF6100 boards were Socket 939, which actually used DDR1.

No, it’s absolutely not. If you want to avoid a miriad of issues, make a fresh install.

fwiw, I was able to swap my motherboard, RAM, and CPU out without a reinstall. It did, however, require for my OS and my M$ Office to be reactivated. My OS was retail so no issues, but I have limited installs on my Office pack.

If you’re going from one type from the same manufacturer to another, you MIGHT get away with it. But you cannot guarantee that, and it can cause all kinds of issues. It’s simply safer to reinstall.

Not to entirely disagree as a reinstall isn’t a bad idea no matter what, but I went from EVGA to MSI.

Oh, unclear on my part. Chipset manufacturer.

I’ve done it multiple times without issue. It’s dated advice from the XP era and earlier.

I found out to my dismay that DDR2 RAM are expensive. I’m thinking of hanging mobo ad RAM. Do you think a DDR3 board will work with my Core 2 Quad? I don’t want to buy new CPU.

Yeah, newegg has several motherboards with both socket 775 and DDR3.

That’s an “is it worth it” situation though, since DDR3 RAM isn’t expensive…

Look at it this way - what’s your upgrade budget?

DDR3 is not expensive but DDR2 is and my current DDR2 is just 2GB. If I go 8GB, I might as well go with a new mobo and 8GB DDR3.

I’ve always suspect my mobo is cranky as I occasionally get BSOD when watching high def video.

Newegg has a decent video series on building a pc:

For your situation:
== definitely need new mobo, cpu, and ram.
== hard disk drives maybe/maybe not depending on what you already have.
== same for vidcard.
== same for optical drive but who cares, they’re like <20 bucks these days.
== case: depends on what you have.
== powersupply: if you’ve never bought a new one since your old pc was first built then I’d get a new one. You do not want to skimp and get a bad PSU. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair are some good brands. Ask for specific advice if needed.

Picking parts:
== check out Falcon06’s logical increments buying guide, last updated a month ago.
== read the Tech Report’s system guide, was updated four days ago so the info is current.

If going the Intel route:
== go for a z77 chipset mobo (lots to choose from).
== an i5-3570K cpu if you’re at all interested in overclocking.
== 8 gigs of DDR3 memory (brand isn’t quite as important as long as you don’t go for bottom of the barrel).

Check out the linked guides and let us know if you have specific questions.

If it was me I’d go for a DDR3 mobo since DDR2 is at end of life while DDR3 is very, very cheap these days. But, if all you need is more memory, adding a stick or two of DDR2 might hold you over for quite a while.

Thanks for all the tips and resources, guys!

I wanted to thank everyone in this thread again. Thanks to you guys I just installed a new motherboard, CPU, RAM, and DVD drive (which I wouldn’t have even known to get without the SATA/IDE tip), and everything seems to be running fine.

I’m looking at the downloads page for a motherboard.


How do I tell what the installed versions of the drivers and firmware are and which ones are the latest? For instance the chipset drivers. Thanks.

Windows 10 Edu x64

You’ll have to trawl device manager and/or sysinfo to get all the current installed driver info, then compare with what’s on the page and update accordingly.

Alternatively, you could install the Asus update manager toolset and cross your fingers that the automatic stuff doesn’t fuck something up :-)


OK also going to trawl for technical opinions here. I posted I just upgraded in the AMD Ryzen thread. I have the odd situation where the manufacturer is offering RMA, but I’m not sure I need to.

New Mobo: Crosshair VIII Hero (wifi), 4 dimm slots
New CPU: Ryzen 3700x
New Memory: Corsair CMK16GX4M2K4400C19 ver 4.31 16GB dual-channel 2x8

Memory is on Asus list for that mobo. Build is one my son and I put together, we’ve both done this before so assume non-idiot protocols followed, BIOS updated etc.

Put it together and it BSODed during driver installs. I went to bed. When I got up, son said it was running, but only on a single stick. Didn’t matter which stick. I did a couple more boots and verified that if you put in both sticks this always happened:

Booted, passed POST, failed memtest (once hard enough that no BSOD just froze all)
using Windows 10 memtest. Subsequent reboots gave memory Qcodes: 22 mostly for me. I tried default timing and manually setting timing. Never could get them to pass a memtest as a pair. Other than that one try at setting timings everything done CMOS reset default each trial.

ASUS offers to RMA board. Sending RAM back to Newegg.

Decided to test new board with RAM from old board, as known to be good. G .Skill F4-3866C18-4GTZ, also 16GB, 4x4 factor, very similar timings, not on ASUS list for Mobo, 4 years old and was a set made for Intel compatibility.

Old Ram POSTed, passed Memtest on single stick. Feeling intrigued, I put all four in: POSTed, then passed Windows 10 memtest and reboot clean. Huh. Miles past new Corsair set.

I included memory models as that’s relevant. (unapproved) Test memory used all four slots and dual channels. So theoretically should test anything on mobo that might have caused new (approved) memory to fail. Theoretically.

So I make a passmark memtest USB and wail on it for 7 1/2 hours. Run 3Dmark. Try a couple games that should exercise it and watch voltages/temp for memory & cpu on another monitor.



Should I RMA mobo anyway?

Asked ASUS and they want it still. I am Returning the Corsair memory that never passed a memtest, definitely. Leaning to getting a G.Skill that is on the mobo list with that refund, doing more testing with that before I decide. Was it only the new memory? What testing is enough to trust, or not, the new mobo? Suggestions?

I’d do it; honestly, it shouldn’t be THAT picky about RAM. If it is, seems like a sign there’s a good chance something else is amiss (voltage regulation? just spitballing).