Updating prescott 80547 motherboard
I will choose the better pc to be the one that I will upgrade. What are the key lingos that would apply to me and that I should look out for? Most of the newer Micro-ATX MBs/CPUs need about a 400W PS. Also newer MBs may use different connectors that your PS may not have have, such as the CPU power connector.
It is good to have PCI-E slots as well as PCI slots if you want to use TV cards.
My guide for building a computer is a bit old, but still useful for the basics: https://forum.videohelp.com/topic315746You could squeeze a little more performance out of your current motherboards with a Pentium D (dual core) CPU. You can compare performance here (note that sometimes "lower is better" and other times "higher is better" in the test results): p=50&p2=109 The price of core i5 750 is actually lower than the price of Q9550 but you need DDR3 RAM for the Core i5 which cost a little bit more than DDR2, espcially if you already have some DDR2 you want to reuse. p=109&p2=102 This one will work with DDR2 memory as well as DDR3 depending on which motherboard you choose. The price is about the same as a Q9550 or Phenom II X4 965.
Or if you want even better performance in video encoding, then get Core i7 860: I've been itching to learn how to build a pc from scratch anyway. When shopping for a case, if it says compatible with ATX motherboards, then would it be safe to assume that it works with micro ATX too?
A case built specifically for a Micro-ATX MB will be shorter. Even some Micro-ATX MBs have a great on-board sound chip, and lots of USB 2.0 ports and some have Fire Wire.
Micro-ATX cases aren't generally a good idea as they have less cooling options and are a bit more cramped to work on. But there is a lack of extra PCI slots, though some ATX MBs have maybe only three, so not a great difference. My HTPC Micro-ATX MB also has a decent video chip and outputs to my HDMI projector for Blu-ray playback at full 1920 X 1080. If you're into gaming, then definitely you want a full ATX MB and SLI and all the rest of that stuff. And I use those plastic standoffs also to support the edges of a MB.