Thanks in advance for any help anyone is able to offer. I'm starting to have some issues with an aging gaming rig and I'd really like to do all that I can to save my PC. As many of you probably feel exactly the same way, I would probably shed more than a few tears if it didn't turn on one day.
On with the issues! I have an EVGA 680i SLI mobo (model number 122-CK-NF68) with a Core 2 Quad Q6600 (CPUID below), 8 gigs of DDR2, EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1GB (GPUID below) 1TB internal HDD (Caviar Black), 1TB External connected via e-sata running on Vista Ultimate 64 - bit SP2. I'm fairly comfortable with terminology, hardware, and software but would hardly call myself an "advanced" user. I would say I'm more of a confident user and would be okay doing minor editing of files on my own or following instructions of very detailed troubleshooting. If there's more information needed please let me know.
CPUID - http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=2577592
GPUID - http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/b3qzv/
1) I know parts of my system are nearly ancient as far as computers go, especially my cpu/mobo, which brings me directly to issue number one. I'm almost certain I should have flashed the BIOS at least a few times in the last 7-8 years. I haven't done it because I'm simply scared of it. I've never done it, I don't have a floppy drive (my board does support the embedded programmer feature) and when I bought this PC it was very expensive, top of the line, and still to this day I shutter at the thought of having to spend that kind of money again on components. LOVE my PC and it's been very good to me but still it was expensive.
2) I get a lot of BSOD's and freezes sometimes with sound and sometimes without. When there is sound, it's very loud and sounds kinda like the old batman TV show (na-na-na-na-na-na-na.... but the tones are more rapid and sadly my PC doesn't say Batman). This could be directly related to issue one, I can't figure it out. What I would like to do is find and decipher the crash logs, get to the root of the issue, resolve it there, and then build on a stable foundation. But that admittedly is over my head.
3) I stumbled across software called "DriverMax" which I found really cool. It never dawned on me that 3rd party software might do a better job of finding missing and/or outdated drivers AND for more things than Vista's built in updater. Turns out it found quite a few updates I need but of course finding out the drivers are available and getting them are two different stories. There's a fee involved unless you do it yourself. Tbh, I don't know that I trust a software that requires windows to be running to flash the BIOS and would feel far more comfortable doing it myself anyway. Anyway, it's not just the mobo that has these crazy driver updates that are like 5-6 years outdated. Things like:
"NVIDIA nForce PCI System Management by NVIDIA"
"PCI standard PCI-to-PCI bridge (Matrox Filtered) by Matrox Graphics Inc.
compatible with PCI Express standard Root Port"
"Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394a Host Controller by Point Grey Research compatible with Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller"
"LPC Interface Controller by BYD COMPANY LIMITED
compatible with PCI standard ISA bridge"
As much as I'd like to claim I know exactly what those mean and how to PROPERLY update critical files such as these, that would be a lie. There are nine more updates like the ones above and I'm scared if I do something wrong I'll do permanent damage to my PC. I get intimidated because I have never done manual, vital updates, and one mistake can lead to utter disaster. I know what some of these are on the most surfacey of levels, mobo components mostly but when i start reading tech guides and manuals it quickly gets over my head and I get lost, confused, and scared so I just give up rather than break anything further.
4) Clearly the mobo/cpu are quite old and have been ran hard. Since virtually day one the systems been at 20% + OC and I know some parts will have to be replaced soon enough. The video card has been replaced, 8800 Ultra was in here originally (nothing wrong with it, just wanted to make sure my games stayed pretty) with 4 gigs ram. It's since been updated to GTX 460 and 8 gigs ram and the new 1TB HDD. The mobo/cpu are really the only things to replace besides the CD Drives and the PSU (it's a Thermaltake 1200w which is a day one purchase as well so it's quite old). I'd really like to not go this route atm BUT it is inevitable so I need to start preparing no matter how I look at it so any suggestions on a mobo/cpu combo would also be appreciated. The costs involved with this add up quickly and I'm trying to avoid it. Means new mobo, cpu, ram, thermal pasting, rewiring my case (it's and Antec 900 btw so space shouldn't be an issue for anything) and my computer is down the whole time which leaves me only my iPhone if I have issues during the rebuild.
5) Another thing I don't fully understand is how everything gets plugged into the PSU. I have 1200w but only so many ports on the PSU itself to plug things into and all the ports on the PSU are color coded with different voltages. How does one utilize the PSU if the components all require the same ports. For example 4, 1.5v ports, how would one connect a device that required say 2v? What initially brought this on was my PC was dragging ass and that led me to buy the GPU thinking I was being bottlenecked. After doing some research, I read that not supplying enough power to the GPU will cut it's performance, well no duh! BUT when I installed the 460 all I did was take the power being supplied to the 8800 and transfer it over. The guy at the store told me that the 460 was about the best my rig could handle and that the power would transfer right over, so that's what I did. Well as I dug deeper, the 8800 and the 460 had/have all the power they need thank god I the guy at the store actually knew something about this but I found that that's not always the case and that voltages and temps and all this other stuff is very important. Anyway, I still don't understand when/if it comes time to replace all of these components what it will require me to do as to set up the PSU. I've read mentions of splitter's and all sorts of other tails but it gets complicated quickly.
All in all, I guess I just need some help breaking down some of these complicated, or seemingly complicated, issues I'm having and really appreciate anyone's advice and willingness to help with this. If there's anything else I can provide please let me know. I can attach a dxdiag too but i got flamed once for posting the diag in the forum cause it was massive and apparently filled with useless information. it was ALL gibberish to me but to a programmer or someone more knowledgeable than I, it could of made a difference, so I posted it all lol Anyway, if you want it, I can make a new one. Thanks to any and everyone, I genuinely appreciate your time and effort, even if it's just to read my post. I'm far from an English major btw so hope my formatting and novel are easy to read and understand.