There are quite a few GQ-type questions in this post, but i’m also asking for opinions, so i thought IMHO was the appropriate forum.
My wife and i have two very new computers between us, a desktop (mainly mine) and a laptop (mainly hers). The laptop was the most recent purchase, impelled by the death of a desktop she had been using. The desktop stopped working, so we took it into the shop and the guy told us that the motherboard was fucked, and that the power source had exploded, killing both optical drives (1 CD, 1 DVD). He thought, however, that the hard-drive, RAM, and processor were probably OK.
So today i pulled the old computer apart (my first time inside the guts of a machine) because i’ve always wanted to know how they go together so that i can build my own next time. I now have all the components separated, and my inventory is as follows (if the guy at the store is to be believed about what works and what doesn’t):
[li]Matsonic motherboard (not really sure of the exact model, as there are so many numbers on the thing)[/li][li]L&C LC-250ATX power source[/li][li]FC HIS-305 AGP[/li][li]Raite CD-RW Drive[/li][li]Samsung DVD Drive[/li][/ul] Working Stuff
[li]Seagate ST320432A HDD, 20Gb[/li][li]Intell Pentium III 733MHz 256/133/1.65V processor with heat sink and fan[/li][li]2 x 128Mb PC133 SDRAM[/li][li]ADMtek AN983B ethernet card[/li][li]One white case[/li][li]Floppy Disc drive[/li][/ul] My first instinct was to try and put together a system using the salvaged parts from the old computer and buying cheap stuff on eBay (or somewhere) to fill in the gaps. I’m wondering if this is going to be worth doing?
A quick check on eBay suggests that a power supply can be had for about $10, and that what appears (to my inexperienced eye) to be a compatible motherboard can be had for $25. Then i’d just need a video card, which would only have to be a very basic one for this computer., and could also be had pretty cheap.
If this is all true, and if the stuff i have now actually works, it seems that i should be able to get a basic system up and running for about $50, plus my time. Given that i’m interested in learning how to do this stuff anyway, this seems like a reasonable deal. Or is it all a waste of time?
Now to my GQ-type questions:
The computer guy told me that the processor and the RAM from the old computer seem to be OK. How likely is this, really, given that the blow-out of the power supply apparently fried the circuits in the graphics card and the optical drives? What about the ethernet card?
When i removed the processor from the motherboard, the processor came away from the heatsink/fan assemby. Now there’s old, sticky heat-paste gunk on the top of the processor and the bottom of the heat sink. Can i safely scrape the stuff off each of these surfaces, buy some new thermal paste, and put them back together again?
When reading about motherboards and case confirgurations, i keep reading about AT and ATX. What’s the difference, and how do i tell if the motherboard i see on the internet is going to fit in my case.
How much power do i need in a power source for a computer like this. The specs on the back of the old one seem to say that it’s 125W. Can this be right? Nowdays, they all seem to be 350-plus.
The old 20Gb hard drive still has all its old information on it. Will this present a problem when using it in the new computer? Also, is there anything i need to know about getting a motherboard that’s compatible with the HDD?
Any answers or advice would be most appreciated.