Ah, the joy of PCs. Mine had been acting up for awhile, randomly freezing at progressively shorter intervals — days at first, hours by the end.
For the last few months I’d incrementally ruled out everything but the motherboard and/or CPU. Eventually I arrived at the “acceptance” stage of PC death, and took the requisite trip to
Mount Olympus Fry’s.
I didn’t want to spend much, so I decided on a $79 Gigabyte motherboard that would work with my current DDR RAM and AGP graphics card, plus an Athlon 64 3200 to go with.
When it comes to my system I’m fairly measure-twice-cut-once, simply because screw-ups are such a pain in the ass. After I removed the organs and cleaned out the chassis with a mini-vacuum and compressed air, I used my beloved $12 combination magnetic screwdriver/flashlight to perform the operation.
Other than a moment of doubt when I wondered if that grey square on the top of the CPU was *really* thermal grease or just the place where said grease was supposed to go, the procedure went as smoothly as I could’ve hoped.
I connected power and I/O, and after a test boot to an almost immediate (and expected) crash, I routed cables and closed up the patient. I booted from my XP CD and I did a Windows Repair so that Windows would stop rejecting its new host, and once again all was right with the world…
…at least until I decided that I wanted to cross-grade to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 from XP Pro. That pain is too fresh, so I’ll save it for another day.
* [Ten Tips for Easy Motherboard Upgrades](http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1910093,00.asp) (ExtremeTech)