Computer hardware (motherboard, CPU) question

Short and sweet:

In my desktop computer, my motherboard and CPU were new in 2007. The other parts are newer, the HDD was installed in 2011 and still is fine, the power supply is brand-new (less than a week old), the optical drive is about 5 years old but still works fine.

According to the repair shop I spoke to, it would be impossible to simply replace the motherboard, CPU, and RAM with new ones, and I really should just get a new computer. And then they quoted me 800 bucks for a custom build.

So… is it impossible? Why or why not? He said something about it not working with my existing case (?), but I don’t get why a new motherboard / CPU wouldn’t work with my existing hardware which is still relatively new. I don’t know enough about hardware to know if this is a scam or what.


What are the makes and model numbers of your motherboard and CPU? If we had something to go on we can offer views of whether you can merely upgrade both with the rest of your existing hardware or not (desktop case notwithstanding).

What brand/model case do you have?

Sounds very much like a lie to me… PC’s are the ultimate standardized swap out machines.

There’s a few different things involved here.

First, we need to know if your computer has a standard ATX style case or not. If not, then fitting a standard motherboard into it won’t work.

Second, the HD and optical drive are both just old enough that they might be the older ATA type (the big fat ribbon cable connector) and not SATA (much thinner connector). Most motherboards these days don’t have ATA ports on them any more, which will prevent you from using the older drives in a newer system.

Along with that, if you need a new motherboard and drives and your existing power supply has all of the old style connectors on it, then you could theoretically buy adapters for all of them, but it’s probably cheaper to just replace the supply with one that has all of the right connectors on it.

Why are you wanting to swap out the motherboard? Did you have a system failure or are you just trying to upgrade to get better performance?

ETA: This picture will help you identify the type of hard drive interface that’s in the computer (if you are ok with opening up the case). If you have the type on the left, you’ll have a hard time finding a modern motherboard that supports it.

E_c_g, I’ve always called that old style connector IDE, not ATA. Am I wrong, or just different?

Not wrong. But IDE started out life as primarily a Western Digital interface design complete with their own preferred name for it.

IDE became an ANSI industry standard in '94, in which it began to be called ATA:

If you’re a competitor to Western Digital, I imagine you’d rather use the ANSI name rather than your competitor’s name. And that’s how IDE became ATA became Parallel ATA (PATA), in contrast with Serial ATA.

I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. But it might be much more expensive and a greater hassle than just buying a new computer. And after all that, your remodeled computer will be instantly obsolete. It’s false economy.

yeah make and model numbers of the parts would be needed. it is a piece by piece evaluation.

some brands of computers used case types that aren’t the best or hard to use for upgrades of this sort.

age is not an absolute indicator of functionality. you can buy new some older style stuff to keep old hardware going, though selection is small and cost high.

the parts you want to reuse may be to current standards and it may not be. buying a motherboard that may use older style stuff may limit its functioning and upgradeable.

A Computer shop owner checking in

Worst case, throw in another $50 for a case. We do exactly what you are asking for all the time, toasted 6 year old mobo, easier/cheaper to find higher spec new parts and reload windows than it is to try and scrounge up the board on ebay and hope it works. If you have a BTX case or a smaller form factor case I could see a shop bitching about it, heck I would probably give you a used case for free if you would take it (Just sent like 20 to the recycler)

The one caveat to the whole thing if you want to use a bunch of your old parts, I only warranty it as a repair, 90 days, and if it comes in with a problem in those 90 days it will be checked in with a standard diagnosis charge (which will be waived if it is our part that failed).

Hell my cheapest new builds start around $200 less.

Real quick cuz I’m running late:

According to the Newegg invoice for the new(er) HDD, we got item #22-148-697, description: HD 1T|ST SATA6.0 32M ST31000524AS.

Case invoice:
Mio Black Typhoon Case With fan controlled 25cm side fan: item #840556029120
Purchased from, if that helps.

And I’m looking to upgrade because of ever increasing stability issues, which I can enumerate later if need be. I’d rather upgrade the old parts because from what I’ve been able to discover, pre-builts around $500ish have a maximum RAM capacity of 8GB, basically meaning it’s not upgradeable later… when motherboards with greater max capacity and CPUs seem like they could be had for in the neighborhood of $300-400. If someone can find me a better deal, please linky! I need me some processor speed, since I’ll be doing mostly graphic design, and some video/audio editing.

I hope that’s enough info on the equipment. I can look but I don’t think I have much more.

Impossible, no. Impractical and difficult or expensive? Possibly.

I am unclear about what the OP aims to do*. Upgrade the PC? 2007 is ancient for these parts in computer time. Aside from case and connectors, there is also the socket to consider. My CPU is an i5. i5s are currently being made, but if I wanted a semi-modern new CPU, I’d have to get a new motherboard as LGA 1156 is not current since ~2012. It was replaced by LGA 1155 (now that’s confusing, but it’s the pin count), then LGA 1150.

*On previewing, I see that is the case. If stability is an issue, a Windows reinstall might be in order, although an upgrade will help. $800 is a good price for some builds, but it depends on what he is quoting, of course. If you are semi-tech handy (it’s not hard), build one yourself.

The name for the ribbon cable HDD/Optical interface I see often called “PATA” (parallel ATA) these days. Colloquially, everyone I know says “IDE”.

Your equipment is not a problem, the shop is being dickish.

He is asking for new mobo, ram and CPU, so socket compatibility is a non issue.

Yeah, misread something.

Also, what wattage is the PSU? I am guessing that it is sufficient unless you plan on doing lots of gaming. The PSU may not work if it doesn’t have the right connectors, but that’ usually the case connecting old to new, and if this one is new and worked with the existing it’s probably fine. Even if you don’t have the exact same connectors, there may be a work around. They sell e.g. converters for 4 pin and 8 pin power plugs, but supposedly you can just plug in have the 8 if the mobo only has 4 (didn’t work for me though).

I always tell people to do this on Newegg: look for combo deals (buy x mobo and y CPU, save $30). I think I saved $80 last build just trying different combos, and maybe compromising a tiny bit.

Oh, and if you are getting everything new, I will say again that it would be a very, very, good idea to start with a fresh Windows install. OS may not like the drastic changes.

2007 is just about right for a BTX motherboard. These never became popular, so a new case might be in order.

I can check the original invoice for the description of the mobo when I get home. However, if someone can point me toward a pre-built that is upgradeable and has the speed I need for about $500, please share. I’ve struck out at NewEgg and Tiger Direct.

The PSU was replaced by the aforementioned repair shop a few days ago (the same one who now wants to sell me a new computer for $800). They didn’t indicate on the invoice what the wattage is, so another reason to give them a bit of side-eye. I haven’t cracked the case to look at it at this point, so I don’t know.

In any case, other than perhaps needing to also get a new case, is there any reason why I can’t just replace parts instead of building an entirely new system? The PSU is BRAND NEW, the HDD is not old enough that I want to replace it yet, and I’d rather just get this thing up and running with minimal fuss (hopefully without needing to reinstall anything, although I will if I have to).

Okay, found the case, which says it’s ATX, so presumably the mobo would be too?

ATX mobo + CPU + RAM is bog standard. Take the opportunity to replace your ODD with an external USB one.