So I have a micro atx motherboard from a dell inspiron 537s. The dell tower was only capable of holding low-profile video cards. A long time ago, I was getting ready to build my first computer. I thought I could save some money by using the same motherboard and processor. I was just thinking about how great it would be to fit a full size card in that motherboard which at the time was pretty darn good.
It has only two ddr2 ram slots and only TWO sata ports and a somewhat old processor socket 775.
When I built that computer, I got a new psu, an ati radeon 5770 1gb and a 1tb hard drive and put that in a full-width case. I installed retail Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate. Even with the crummy 3gb of ram and Pentium D @ 2.6ghz, it somehow runs even today's games on high to maxed out settings depending on what game it is. I don't know what magic is causing that but at the moment, it runs as well as you'd expect a newer computer to run.
Next time I need to upgrade, the best thing I can really do (without replacing the motherboard) is swap a 1gb ram cartridge for a 2gb and achieve a total of 4gb of ram and then buy one of those horribly overpriced core 2 quad processors that run almost as good as a sandy bridge i3.
The thing that would make the most sense would be to buy a new motherboard, processor and more ram. So I've been wondering if there's a way to use the same hard drive and not have to go through the horribly excruciatingly painstaking process of installing all ~400gb of my games and programs all over again. I know that according to the windows terms of service (correct me if i'm wrong), a new computer is defined by two of any processors and one hard drive. So I'd just be using another processor and the same hard drive and wouldn't have to buy another product key.
But i'm sure it won't work that way since companies that make products with a terms of service agreement will always find some way to cheat you out of as much money as possible.
Even if I have to buy a new product key, is there any way to do this without reinstalling all that crap manually?