Desktop PC Upgrade From Hell!

I’ve spent all last weekend trying to upgrade my Desktop PC, and I’m ready to pull my hair out! 😦

As I mentioned in my last posting, my Desktop PC (running Vista 32-bit) started to freeze up randomly, so I decided to upgrade my system. Now, when say upgrade I don’t mean simply buying a pre-built computer system from Best Buy or Fry’s, but rather upgrade the internal components as a normal geek would do. So, I was planning to buy a new motherboard (since I suspected that was the problem) along with a new Intel 2 Quad CPU (might as well). As always, it seems that you can’t just swap out the motherboard since over time the various components in your PC may have become obsolete. Luckily, my PCI-Express x16 Video card still seems to compatible with the newest motherboards, and my 2 GB of RAM memory (DDR2 800 MHz) seems ok also.

As of today, I’ve gone through two different Gigabyte motherboards with no success. The first board wouldn’t boot up, and the 2nd board (different model) had intermittent trouble with the USB ports as well as reboot issues. So, I decided to give it one more try with an ASUS P5QC motherboard (same brand that I was replacing originally) and this time I decided to get two new sticks of RAM (Kingston DDR2 1066 MHz, 4 GB total) just in case all my problems are RAM-related. Also, it can’t hurt to have new faster RAM. 😉

After assembling these new components, I began the process of installing Windows Vista on a new 500 GB Western Digital SATA hard drive. After spending a few hours of installing, updating, and more updating of the Vista OS, my new system appears to be running well (knock on wood). I didn’t have any hanging restart issues, or USB port glitches as I did with those damn Gigabyte motherboards. And best of all, no intermittent freeze ups.

So, who knows what the problem was with my original system. Was it a bad motherboard or bad RAM sticks? The old Intel 2 Core Duo CPU crapping out? A corrupted boot partition on the hard drive, or a stealthy virus? A loose video card? Fault case power supply? Who knows. What I do know, is that upgrading my PC this time around was a lot harder compared to my past several upgrades.

Now that the OS is installed and updated, I’ll try installing my WinTV PVR Tuner card (PCI slot) and see if I can get it working with the latest drivers. Once that is working, I’ll go through my list of tweaks to optimize Vista for my personal use. Finally, I’ll copy over all my data files from my old hard drive and go through the process of installing my various applications. It’s a huge undertaking, but in the end I should have a clean system to use until the next upgrade (to Windows 7 later this year, probably).

Hopefully, everything will work ok with this new setup and I can get back to using my Desktop PC again. I miss not being able to record TV shows with my TV Tuner card for watching on my Zune media player!

What I learned this weekend: Don’t buy or upgrade using the Gigabyte Motherboards!

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