From all the systems I have built, here is a fact. To get a faster processor, three things are needed. New motherboard that supports the processor and RAM supported by the motherboard. All other devices should plug into the motherboard. As far as hard drives, SATA are the latest and fastest but they need MB and Windows drivers. If you get a MB that supports the old standard IDE, nothing extra is needed, with the exception of a larger Power Supply to handle the new board and peripherals.
Do some research for MBs, processors and RAM that fits your budget. And add a more powerful PS.
For a really old system, it can be less expensive to buy a new one that has a warranty and support. There are some really good deals out there if you take the time to shop around. Building your own system can be fun. Be prepared to trouble shoot.
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So, I have an old, old, OLD HP Pavilion 9600 from 10 years ago. It has seen better days, but I refuse to give up on it. Does anyone have any idea up how many components (motherboard, power supply, RAM, HD memory, DVD writer) are replaceable/upgradeable to make it a serviceable machine? It's currently running on Win XP, but it's very slow. It has a laughable amount of RAM (768mb). So I'm thinking of purchasing a motherboard that can give me up to 2-4gb of RAM and up to 1TB of HD memory. I'm not an expert, just a novice, who's picked up information here and there. If you need any more info, please let me know. Otherwise, thanks for any and all help.