Dear Lifehacker, My trusty Dell XPS M1530 decided to kick the bucket by motherboard suicide, and it will cost $660 to replace. Is there any way to repurpose the parts as it still packs plenty of grunt, had dedicated graphics with HDMI etc. Ideally I'd like to find a cheap motherboard and mount it all in a case to use as an HTPC/file server. Otherwise what options do I have? Is there any use for the screen or other bits? Yours, TooLegit2Quit
In many respects, you're a victim of Moore's Law -- processor power has increased so much since 2008 (when that model was released) that the chances are that you won't have to spend a whole lot more than $660 to get a replacement notebook that's at least as powerful, and filled with brand-new parts and a newer OS as well. In purely economic terms, that's hard to argue with.
Motherboard failure is arguably the hardest system breakdown to recover from. If the screen stops working, you can connect to a monitor and use the device as a server; if you spill wine on the keyboard, USB can help you; if the drive dies, you can slot in a new one. But a replacement motherboard has to take on a whole heap of functionality, especially if there's lots of integrated features on the original.
As you've probably deduced from the tenor of those comments, I suspect your best option is to cut your losses and move on. I have no doubt that a dedicated PC builder would make the case for pulling the remainder of the system apart and hanging onto the components to use when you build another machine. I'm not saying that's wrong, but I suspect if you were that kind of person you'd never have asked the question in the first place.
However, as I don't profess to be an expert on building Frankenstein-style PCs on any level, I'm leaving the final word open to the readers. If anyone can suggest a low-cost motherboard that can be integrated into the shell of an XPS 1530, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.
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