The main server gave up the ghost this morning. Refused to boot due to the boot drive partition table being borked. Since we've known we had to replace it for ages decided to spend the day doing that.
Spent 4 or 5 hours researching motherboards, GPUs, CPUs, power supplies, cases, etceteras. Decided to go for an MSI K9N SLI Platinum board with an Athlon 64 x2 4800+ (F2 version, 65W), both recommendations from Ars Technica's "Hot Rod" guide. On paper (and the MSI web-site) these are compatible with one another.
In real life, after getting the system to the point where I could actually turn it on, the bios just flashes a message telling me that I have an "Unknown Processor Revision" and tells me to ask my BIOS vendor for an update. Which, it seems, MSI has on their web site, a BIOS update that apparently fixes something about CPU IDs... sounds very promising... except to install it (to run the DOS program) I would need a working CPU.
I'm thinking I'll call Canada Computers and ask if I can borrow an older Athlon 64 in the service area (they must have some CPUs that get returned) long enough to install and update the BIOS, otherwise I'm afraid the motherboard is going to have to go back as defective, which means redoing the whole machine setup. ARGH. Huge waste of time either way.