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Dell XPS 400 Upgrade

rtwjunkie

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#1
So, a friend at work approached me and wanted to know what to do, because he just discovered that his Windows XP expires in April. :eek: He didn't know if he should throw his computer away, or what, because he doesn't want to buy a whole new one. He wanted me to guide him in the right direction.

My first response is upgrade operating system....obviously. Upon further questioning, he said it was at least 6 years old. Today he finally brought me the model number: a Dell XPS 400. My research reveals the following: It's not limited to proprietary PSU's, and has an open back, so the at least 7 year-old Dell PSU can be tossed for a new one with on/off switch; It can take 4x1GB RAM (he's working with 1 now); It's SATA II, so even at that speed an SSD will benefit him; It has a 6800GTX video card (I didn't even know it came in PCIe version!) running on PCIe 1.0; and it has a Pentium D 820 or 840 in it.

So, after reviewing the specs of the 945P motherboard, I think I've devised a cheap upgrade that should net him a couple more years of life out of it and see it's peppiness improve quite a bit.

I have an EVGA 9800GT 512MB Akimbo lying around. That needs 26 amps on the 12v rail, thus the need to replace the aged PSU which is 375 watts and puts out 30 amps on 12v rail.

The other parts I propose are as follows:

Crucial DDR2-667 RAM (2 kits of 2x1GB), because that's the maximum speed, and it takes a max of 4x1GB
http://www.amazon.com/Upgrade-Dimension-System-PC2-5300-NON-ECC/dp/B001V6YDMS/ref=sr_1_6?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1393461595&sr=1-6&keywords=ddr2 pc2-5300 xps 400

A Crucial M500 120GB SSD for OS ( He can use his HDD for storage, and the SSD should still benefit system at SATA II
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BQ4F9ZA/?tag=tec06d-20

And a Seasonic PSU that should deliver clean power, and more of it. This however, is the part I'm most unsure about in that system.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151124&ignorebbr=1

Grand total of $210.00, which is under the $250 he doesn't want to exceed. I'm thinking, depending on the dimensions of the inside of the BTX style case, I may want to recommend him an aftermarket cpu cooler as well for that hot-running Pentium D.

I'm looking for an assessment of these ideas and the feasibility of the parts. Any thoughts or ideas are welcome!

EDIT: I'm probably going to recommend W7 for him, since he says he is scared of the new W8, and is comfortable with the W7 we use at work. Question: Because he is limited to 4 GB RAM, would he still benefit from 64 bit version, or should I just have him get 32 bit (even though he'd be limited to using 3 GB and change)?
 
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#2
The psu should work you may have to trim a bit of the case away to clear the cord socket though.
Other than that check the motherboards capacitors for leakage, put some new thermal paste on the cpu and it should last another 7 years.
 

rtwjunkie

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#3
The psu should work you may have to trim a bit of the case away to clear the cord socket though.
Other than that check the motherboards capacitors for leakage, put some new thermal paste on the cpu and it should last another 7 years.
LOL, the funny thing is, he's one of those intelligent "Joe Regular" guys who knows nothing about computers, and would probably actually use it for another 7 years! Thanks for the advice on the case-trimming for the PSU.
 
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#4
I would try and upgrade to a dual core if possible. an old e6600 would smash that Pentium d
 

rtwjunkie

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#5
Yeah, I know. I did see that with various BIOS updates, the 945P can take all the way up to a X6800. I wish I still had my e4600 I sold not long ago, because it will take that as well, and even that would be an improvement on a Pentium D.
 
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#6
The CPU will be a serious bottleneck, you should look into a C2D or a PDC at least. The PSU will eat everything for breakfast and burp rather silently, you could even go for a 360G and save some money for a used CPU. The 9800GT doesn't need 26A all by itself, 26A @ 12V is 312W, and the G92b GPU needs about a third of that at full blast, a half at worst when OC'd. The 26A requirement is for the whole system, and it's more of a recommendation. I do agree that the XPS's PSU needs updating, even though it's a solid Chicony-, LiteOn- or Delta-built unit, depending on date of production and luck.
 

rtwjunkie

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#7
The CPU will be a serious bottleneck, you should look into a C2D or a PDC at least. The PSU will eat everything for breakfast and burp rather silently, you could even go for a 360G and save some money for a used CPU. The 9800GT doesn't need 26A all by itself, 26A @ 12V is 312W, and the G92b GPU needs about a third of that at full blast, a half at worst when OC'd. The 26A requirement is for the whole system, and it's more of a recommendation. I do agree that the XPS's PSU needs updating, even though it's a solid Chicony-, LiteOn- or Delta-built unit, depending on date of production and luck.
Ah, a good eye you have! I completely overlooked that basic rule, that with that GPU it is a system-wide recommendation. I like your recommendation on the PSU. It's fewer watts than the aging Dell unit, and seems to have boatloads of power for this system of his.

You may be right. It might be worth trying to convince him to spend $20 and get a C2D! Almost any would be an improvement.