I had a PC die on me recently, so I decided to harvest its parts in preparation to build its successor. I currently have a hard drive with an OS, a video card, a networking card, and a monitor. I really don't want to buy a "ready-to-use" pc and replace parts that I already have. I have been looking at barebone kits but I am not sure what to look for. What I would like to find is a barebone kit with a cooling fan, power supply, case, and processor. Is there anything like that out there?


Where are you based?

I live in england and we can get things where you get a case, motherboard, cpu, ram , psu and cooling.


If you have an OS installed on a hard disk and put the hard disk in a different PC it will NOT work. Its an anti-piracy feature. The good news is that you cn buy an OEM copy of XP or Vista with a kti such as this (google for the terms and conditions) which is a LOT cheaper than buying windows retail.

I am in Washington State. Thanks for that hint on the OS. Didn't realize that. Thanks for the website. I think I can buy from the site and have it delivered here. Right?

I think that site is Britain only, but there aught to be similar american ones - i have heard american members mention a site called newegg.com before

newegg.com will sell you a "barebones" computer; but all it has is a mobo, psu, and the case. no ram and no cpu. also, these barebones systems DO NOT have the latest motherboards. so if you're looking for intel x38/x48, nvidia 680/780, or amd 790 you'll have to build your own computer from scratch. here is the link to newegg's barebones page: http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=3&name=Barebone-Computers

it's not a big deal to install your own cpu and ram if you're okay with the average workstation mobos offered, just remember that you will have to order them at the same time.

yes, remember if you want to buy an OEM operating system you MUST buy it at the same time as everything else. Also, once activated its tied to that hardware and there is no support.

Wow. I think I may be in over my head here a little. But there is no better time like the present to learn it and get it right. Thanks guys.

Don't get too tied to your legacy stuff. How old was your old PC? Was the video card something fancy or just run-of-the-mill? The only really crucial item is the hard drive, since that has your total working environment on it. What were you running for an OS? Windows 2K won't care - XP and Vista you will have to re-register with Microsoft but they should let you in this case. The other big kicker is do you have all your install CDs? If you go to a new OS you will have to reinstall all of your software, since it won't have the appropriate entries in the registry of the new system.

What I have done in the past is just gotten a new system, opened it up and installed my old hard drive as the master, and booted up. It will probably do a lot of 'looking for new drivers' the first time, but should come up, depending on how old your current OS is. If you are successful in getting your old OS up and running in the new system, then go the website for the maker of your NEW hard drive and get a copy of their disk copy program. This usually installs on a boot floppy, and with it you can copy your old hard drive to your probably newer, faster one that came with the system. Once you verify that the system works with the new drive as master, you have the choice of putting the old drive in a safe place as an archive, or wiping it and using it as a slave in the new system.

In any case, since almost all mobos now come with networking and video on board, the fact that you have cards is moot, unless your video card is something special. In either case, give serious consideration to popping that video card into the system, and running two monitors. You would not believe how nice it is to have all that extra desktop space, especially if you are like me and usually have two or three things going at once.

Now that I have muddied the waters nicely, have fun!

no no no

windows wont even boot if the hdd is attatched to a new motherboard in teh case of windows 2000 and newer. You will need to do a repair reinstall then reactivate. This will break your install anyway. The best way is to simply back everything up and do a CLEAN install

My last PC was pretty old. 5 years old. The video card is an ATI Radeon X1350 or something like that. The hard drive doesn't have the OS on it yet, so the install disks are standing by. Also the install disks for all the other components. The networking card is an 802.11n desktop adapter. So yeah. And yes, the water is nice and muddy now. But thanks, the more info the better.

x1350 sucks for games, but should be fine for aero etc...

I got an x1650 pro 512mb for £35

remember a decent card will need a decent psu

agreed. In this PC I am running a nVidia 8800GTX. Oh yeah.


i only really play battlefield 2 and my x1650 runs it on max (only cost me £35 too which is nice)