Today I tackled the 4 year old Compaq Presario SR1300NX that is my wife’s desktop computer and performed some pretty significant surgery/upgrades on it.

At the time I bought the system for her it was very fast with an AMD Athlon XP 3200+ processor (2.2GHZ) and 256MB of RAM.  Throughout the years it got a new 8X AGP video card, a bump in the memory to 1.5GB and a new 60GB hard drive.

This year when I put Windows 7 Release Candidate on it it got a new lease on life and my wife was quite enjoying using Windows 7 on both her desktop and the laptop.

Earlier this week I upgraded my desktop’s processor to the AMD Athlon X2 5400+ (dual core 2.8GHZ processor) I ended up with my old AMD Athlon X2 4400+ (dual core 2.3GHZ processor) as a spare so I went in search of a motherboard upgrade for her PC that would use it.

I visited one of my favorite retail places, the CompUSA store here in Jacksonville, and came across the MSI K9N6PGM2-V.  This board fit the bill because it would take my old processor and yet have plenty of expansion/upgrade possibilities in the future.

This Micro-ATX board fit perfectly in the Presario’s case (it was actually slightly smaller than the old board) and all I had to do was replace the back panel cut out that came with the board.

Another part of the upgrade was a new power supply – the Presario only had a 250W one so I grabbed a $20 400W PSU and it slid right into the case without any problems at all. I wanted to make sure I had enough power for the new board, CPU and a future PCI-Express video card upgrade.

Next step was reconnecting all the front panel connectors.  This board does not have 1394 so I had to leave that unplugged but otherwise the front side USB ports and card reader plugged into the USB ports on the motherboard.  The power and LED cable had its own spot as well – with that all the wires were hooked up.

I then slid in the two new Corsair Dual Channel DDR2 800MHZ memory chips, hooked up the CD-ROM and hard drive to the IDE connector and then moved on to installing the processor.

First thing I did was to clean up the thermal compound from the processor and heat sink/fan.  It was very easy and I simply used a micro fiber cloth to do it.  I then applied a small amount of thermal gel to the center of the processor which was already in its slot on the motherboard and placed the heat sink/fan on top – gave a slight twist to spread the thermal compound around and then locked it in place.

Now that everything was back together it was time to close the case up and apply power to this new machine. After getting all the wires, cables and various things hooked up at the back I tentatively hit the power button and it whirred to life – very quietly in fact.

Now the hard drive that went back in this case was the exact same one that came out and had Windows 7 Ultimate RC on it.  For whatever reason though the system would not boot up.  My guess is that it was the video card difference (ATI vs NVIDIA onboard) as well as the motherboard/chipset change.  The system would not even fire up in safe mode. So I did what I should have done in the first place – a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate. That went without a hitch and within a couple of hours I had all of her applications back online, files restored and she was back in business.

Now her system moves along with speed although the graphics are still a bottle neck – but that is something for a future upgrade!  She was not overly impressed but that is not an abnormal reaction from my wife when it relates to technology so I am OK with that – I know it is a screaming system compared to that poor old Presario SR1300NX that was in it. 

Yes the case may still say SR1300NX but it is all “PC”!


So now we have to decide what to call it – any ideas? There is a set of “I’m A PC” stickers in it for the best name suggested in the comments.