Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

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Re: Upgrading to SSD + MoBo: Issues?

Postby ReX » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:07 am

ReX wrote:... linked to a decision I need to make regarding the expandability of RAM. I might end up having to replace the entire system board so that I can get at least 8 GB RAM. In that case, I'm thinking it might be more cost effective to get a new computer.

I thought about this, particularly in light of getting a new computer. The 2 main reasons I am reluctant to get a new computer are as follows:

1. My current mini-tower (the one I need to upgrade) has a dedicated graphics card with 1 GB of VRAM.
2. It has the hardware and the requisite port for converting analog video to digital video.

Item 1 (probably a high-end one) can be bought with a new computer for little additional money. However, Item 2 is more problematic. I doubt I'll easily find a new computer that includes this feature at a reasonable price.

So, my new question is this: How easy is it to swap out a new system board?

I realize I might have to deal with the cooling system. Any other issues I'll need to be concerned with?

Incidentally, I've reviewed PC World's article, which, admittedly, indicates MoBo replacement is a daunting task.

[EDIT: I also reviewed this article, which suggests the minimum cost of a mobo replacement, RAM upgrade, new SSD is about USD 350. This does not include a new CPU. I'll probably be better off getting a new mini-tower with an expansion slot for the analog-digital video converter. Blast! The thought of spending money squeezes my already-shriveled heart.]
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Blzut3 » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:33 am

The term for your "analog-digital video converter" is "video capture card." The one you have may be transferable to a new machine, but given the age of your system it's highly likely to be conventional PCI instead of PCI Express. Finding a machine with conventional PCI these days is going to be difficult. While they do exist, for the most part that slot type went extinct 4 years ago.

But there's a ton of options on the market for PCI Express or USB 3 capture cards at all price points.

Replacing a motherboard isn't particularly difficult, just kind of tedious. For the most part everything is keyed in a computer so you can't without significant force put things in the wrong place. However, unless you know what you're doing (which you clearly do not) I would advise against trying to upgrade the motherboard in a prebuilt machine. Odds are that the power supply is non-standard and the connector for the power button may be proprietary (for lack of a better term). The case may not even accept standard motherboards. Also it sounds like you were trying to avoid a CPU upgrade by doing that, which is generally not how that works.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby ReX » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:50 am

Blzut3 wrote:The term for your "analog-digital video converter" is "video capture card." The one you have may be transferable to a new machine, but given the age of your system it's highly likely to be conventional PCI instead of PCI Express. Finding a machine with conventional PCI these days is going to be difficult. While they do exist, for the most part that slot type went extinct 4 years ago.

Good to know, thx.

Replacing a motherboard isn't particularly difficult, just kind of tedious. For the most part everything is keyed in a computer so you can't without significant force put things in the wrong place. However, unless you know what you're doing (which you clearly do not) I would advise against trying to upgrade the motherboard in a prebuilt machine.

Yes, it is a pre-built machine (HP brand).

Odds are that the power supply is non-standard and the connector for the power button may be proprietary (for lack of a better term). The case may not even accept standard motherboards. Also it sounds like you were trying to avoid a CPU upgrade by doing that, which is generally not how that works.

Yes, I had figured that the power supply might also be an issue. Actually, I was interested in upgrading the CPU also, as the computer in question is somewhat old.

Originally, the issue of upgrading came up because the current system board has slots for a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. I figured I could work around that to some extent by switching to a SSD. Then I got more ambitious by exploring swapping out the entire system board & (possibly) the CPU. This is probably an example of my reach exceeding my grasp.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby wildweasel » Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:17 pm

Given the apparent age of your system, it's unlikely you'll find a motherboard that will raise your RAM limit without also being on a different CPU socket, so if you get a new board, getting a new CPU with it will be pretty much mandatory.

Also, I recall being told that RAM standards are not cross compatible, so if your RAM is DDR2 or DDR3, motherboards these days want DDR4, so you won't be able to reuse your old sticks. All this together means you might as well put together a whole new machine.

You MIGHT be able to reuse your capture card, though; I know few capture cards that are straight PCI. Most of the ones I know of are Mini PCIe. Even if it needs replacing, there are surprisingly good ones available in PCIe or even USB.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Graf Zahl » Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:07 am

TBH, I wouldn't let such a piece of ultimately replaceable hardware become the sole deciding factor of what to buy. It limits your options and drives prices up, and in the end you may just pay more than you would if you shopped for the best system you can afford and then got new video capture hardware if the old one won't work anymore.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby ReX » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:37 am

@wildweasel
@Graf Zahl

Yes, I had arrived at pretty much the same conclusions as you both had. Swapping out parts of the hardware will not only be a royal pain (in terms of effort), but will also cost more than a new computer.

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Enjay » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:11 pm

These days, if you don't fancy building one yourself, there are several online companies where you can specify exactly what you want in a machine and thereby tailor it to your needs and budget. In my experience, the prices are usually competitive and you get what you want.

I've used two different companies in the UK - PCSpecialist and another one that I can't remember ATM (but it was still good - it was just a while ago). Both allowed me to specify exactly what I wanted, gave me feedback on what I had chosen (I'd specified some components that weren't necessarily a good/necessary combination one time), kept me up to date with the build and delivery process and provided good after-sales service too.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:28 am

Enjay wrote:These days, if you don't fancy building one yourself, there are several online companies where you can specify exactly what you want in a machine and thereby tailor it to your needs and budget. In my experience, the prices are usually competitive and you get what you want.



That's precisely where I bought my last system 8 years ago. The fact that, aside from the graphics card and the hard drives, the system still works well and is competitive in today's computing landscape speaks volumes. I added some €200 to put a high end CPU in there and that was a great investment.
Had I bought a pre-built rig from one of the big players it might have been cheaper but I'd also had to cope with a weaker CPU and I'm dead certain I'd have had to buy a replacement in the mean time, ultimately spending more money. And the prices at these shops are absolutely reasonable to begin with.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby sinisterseed » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:47 am

Graf Zahl wrote:Had I bought a pre-built rig from one of the big players it might have been cheaper but I'd also had to cope with a weaker CPU and I'm dead certain I'd have had to buy a replacement in the mean time, ultimately spending more money. And the prices at these shops are absolutely reasonable to begin with.

Speaking from my own experience, investing into pre-builts in 2020 is not exactly a good idea, like, at all, unless you fit very well under the definition of "computer illiterate".

All my PCs have been pre-builds, and while the rotten potato somehow still technically works (it's unusable in 2020 though, it's heavily, heavily underpowered), my current PC has run into issues repeatedly, I've already had to replace some fans and a PSU. Thankfully the warranty was still in effect at the time, so I didn't have to pay a single penny for replacements, but it doesn't help that they replaced the PSU with exactly the same fucking garbage. It's gotta be some 20$ bullshit. Now my current PSU is on the verge of dying on me for a second time and I can't afford one right now either, it loves to occasionally start revving on me like a mad jet engine...

If you don't know how to build a PC, you're better off just learning to build one, ask online for tips and look up guides and tutorials, because unless you're very lucky, pre-builds, at least here, do not last, and sooner or later you're gonna have components dying on you because some jackass decided to go cheap on something, it's inevitable with these things. And I am not alone here either, the majority of people I've talked to would rather shoot themselves than invest into pre-builds, for similar reasons.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Enjay » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:36 am

I think my very first PC was an off the shelf one in something like 1989/90. Ever since then I've either built my own, or at least been very involved in specifying exactly what I want in my machine. The only other times I've bought standard pre-builds is when buying laptops as presents for people. However, right now we have a laptop on order from PC specialist for my daughter and it is very much one that we designed to a spec that would suit her needs.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:16 am

lowskill. wrote:If you don't know how to build a PC, you're better off just learning to build one, ask online for tips and look up guides and tutorials, because unless you're very lucky, pre-builds, at least here, do not last, and sooner or later you're gonna have components dying on you because some jackass decided to go cheap on something, it's inevitable with these things. And I am not alone here either, the majority of people I've talked to would rather shoot themselves than invest into pre-builds, for similar reasons.


I'd rather buy from professional assemblers where you can choose the parts but let them be put together by people who know their stuff inside out. It may cost a little more but in return I get full warranty and less issues with poorly put together parts. And that's the only shops I'd recommend. Genuine pre-builts are indeed mostly garbage.
I built one computer in my lifetime, 20 years ago and decided never to do it again.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby sinisterseed » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:19 am

Graf Zahl wrote:I'd rather buy from professional assemblers where you can choose the parts but let them be put together by people who know their stuff inside out. It may cost a little more but in return I get full warranty and less issues with poorly put together parts. And that's the only shops I'd recommend. Genuine pre-builts are indeed mostly garbage.
I built one computer in my lifetime, 20 years ago and decided never to do it again.

Yeah, also that. In fact, some specialized shops around here offer the same opportunity as well, and it doesn't cost much more either. And it's infinitely better than what you'd get from standard pre-builds - don't ask me why I make this mistake though, I uh... was kinda forced to do it, believe it or not...

I've never built a whole PC myself either, and indeed, clumsily putting it together is a thought that kinda mortifies me. If money was easier to come by it would've been better, probably, but, it's not, and the danger of having all the money going down the drain because I placed something incorrectly is very real. You break it, you're on your own.

Why did you give up on building PCs by the way?
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Graf Zahl » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:32 pm

It's tedious, it's not fun and it's prone to breaking expensive stuff. Nothing more to say.
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Enjay » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:39 pm

Graf Zahl wrote:I'd rather buy from professional assemblers where you can choose the parts but let them be put together by people who know their stuff inside out. It may cost a little more but in return I get full warranty and less issues with poorly put together parts.

I agree. Being able to specify exactly what you want, having confidence in the build and getting a warranty is a win, win, win for me. I have to say, the only reason that I have spent what seems like quite an expensive price tag on such machines is simply because I am able to specify better/faster/bigger parts that I would be able to get from a typical store-bought pre-build. It's also usually quite easy to come up with a very competitively priced machine if you're prepared to lower your ideal spec a little.

Graf Zahl wrote:It's tedious, it's not fun and it's prone to breaking expensive stuff. Nothing more to say.

That (plus lack of warranty etc) is why I no longer do it either. It's just easier, less error prone and only fractionally more expensive to get someone else to do it and it comes with a healthy side order of "peace of mind".
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Re: Upgrading to Solid-State Hard Drive: Issues?

Postby Redneckerz » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:52 pm

Graf Zahl wrote:
lowskill. wrote:If you don't know how to build a PC, you're better off just learning to build one, ask online for tips and look up guides and tutorials, because unless you're very lucky, pre-builds, at least here, do not last, and sooner or later you're gonna have components dying on you because some jackass decided to go cheap on something, it's inevitable with these things. And I am not alone here either, the majority of people I've talked to would rather shoot themselves than invest into pre-builds, for similar reasons.


I'd rather buy from professional assemblers where you can choose the parts but let them be put together by people who know their stuff inside out. It may cost a little more but in return I get full warranty and less issues with poorly put together parts. And that's the only shops I'd recommend. Genuine pre-builts are indeed mostly garbage.
I built one computer in my lifetime, 20 years ago and decided never to do it again.

I find this a really interesting sight from a software developer, which makes it clear that the best coders aren't always the best builders, and vice versa.

Pre-builds have their comfort. However, if i wanted something custom, i'd have to it myself.

You can't have pre-built thin clients that have seperate graphic cards, for instance. I mean, it is *possible* in some way through a vendor like HP (since they offer it as an upgrade on their latest stuff) but anything else - nope.

Tiny PC's from the 90s are also worth scavenging, but obviously if that's not your thing (and for most consumers, it isn't) then yes, pre-builds are a good endeavor.
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