For my Windows-XP machine (built in July of 2000--see §14.10 below), I replaced the motherboard with a Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI motherboard, choosing an Athlon 3200+ processor and 1GB of DDR-400 main memory. The exact board choice was driven mainly by a sale at NewEgg.com, but it is close to what I would have chosen. The SLI feature, however, forced me get a new SLI-compatible graphics card, so I picked up one with the NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT chip on it. I rarely utilize this much graphics compute-power, but it's nice to have the capability. This can be considered an ``intermediate'' single-chip graphics-processor choice, since the 6800 XT was the top-of-the-line at the time. I do not plan to use the SLI feature (two graphics cards linked together for parallel computation), but I suppose it's nice to have the upgrade option.
The main snag I hit with this upgrade was that the ``NVIDIA CK804 ADMA Controller (v2.7)'' (a motherboard driver for the Silicon Image 3114 SATA disk controller chip) was incompatible with my Plextor PX-716SA/SW RT DVD drive. Enabling the 3114 SATA chip in the BIOS caused Windows XP to hang just after loading ``Mup.sys'' (which is the last thing you see before having to hard-reboot the machine). After much fooling around, the solution was to ``Roll back to previous driver'' (or just delete it) and let Windows XP use its default driver for that device. I tried to email a bug report to firstname.lastname@example.org, but it bounced because I was not signed up in some way for tech support. Plextor tech support was great, and they had me fixed up in a couple of quick emails. I could not find a way to report the problem to NVIDIA.