This is a repair / upgrade of my aunt's computer which would not get to the post screen. Where shall I begin?
The initial parts included a gigabyte motherboard, 4 gigs of ram, the q8200, the hdd, and some power supply you've never heard of. I ran a little test by running these components off of the psu from my own build (Corsair CX430) and, sure enough, it got past post and to the windows login screen. Great!
Parts that were changed
The power supply was first one to go, since something could be heard clacking around inside it (I'm actually baffled that the psu didn't harm any of the other components). Nothing else was changed, though it would be nice to get another case - more on that later. Next was the motherboard, which was not bad itself, but it would hold back the system in terms of graphical capability (there was only a pcie x4 slot, two ram slots, and some PCI slots).
Parts that were included
The ram, cpu/heatsink fan, case fans, and case were all saved to be used in the refresh, as they were all in good order.
The motherboard arrived one day after I blew out the dust from the case, and it wasn't difficult at all to install it, though I must remark on how lucky I was to have a few spare standoffs laying around (I should buy some more some time)!
The oncoming Friday, the graphics card and power supply arrived and I installed it with cable management as a priority. I was working in an iBUYPOWER case, and I just have to say that just about any case you can find under $30 would have better cable management; it was much less fun than was the managing in the NZXT Source 210, but I guess the iBUY-case does the job.
The build is technically not completed, though all the parts are installed (and correctly so). The big problem is that Wub-a-Dub Windows is crying about the motherboard hardware swap, so I'm on Ubuntu's "Try it" option off the flash drive (you're awesome, Linux!).
Comments on the purchased components
You might have noticed that this is the same model I used in my own build. That is precisely because it is darn good for a 775 motherboard; it has max 8 gigs of ram, is a core 2 quad-compatible chipset, and has a pci-express x16 slot for a graphics card! Only thing is the lack of overclocking options, but I can't complain at value $30-$40 motherboard. Also, this came from ebay with an e8400 installed (just thought I'd take note). Not sure if it's this mobo in particular, but the backplate is really hard to install - even with the one from my own build. Someone please tell me if that's normal.
Awesome, 500 watts of clean power for the system. My aunt may not need that much power, but it was a better value for $23 (with the rebate) than any of the 430W psu's in the price range. Would be nice if it was modular, but I think it would do fine given a better quality case. Also, I wish the psu could have a cool (temp-wise) place as an intake for air, but this case - again - doesn't have many options.
XFX R7 250X
I initially found this on craigslist for a good deal, but I guess it was new or nothing. I didn't notice that this was the DDR3 model (instead of the GDDR5 one) and feel a bit low for that (why even make ddr-anything vram graphics cards anymore? especially at a price over $50); I probably should have payed closer attention to the listing on pcpartpicker, but I'm sure the card will serve performance that its value claims to serve. (Also, what a great-looking spectacle this card is!)
Linux is running the hardware nicely of the flash drive, but I'd prefer that my aunt have the option to use Windows with the new hardware - if at all possible. I have the COA sticker on the case, but no iso/disc, so if someone could pitch me something, I'd be really grateful.
Okay! I've gotten Windows Vista running the system nicely and all the proprietary drivers have been installed! I might make an Ubuntu or Mint partition on the hard drive for the sake of being up-to-date, but that question goes to my aunt, who I will notify of the success I've had in refreshing the system. Thanks for reading!
It looks way better than any image can give it credit for.
Look, it has 500 watts, it's 80+ Bronze certified, there are 2 pcie power connectors; all that's missing is modularity, but this power supply is more than enough for a variety of systems!