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 Post subject: upgrades to Dell 8400
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:56 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 23
please don't shoot me for getting a plain old Dell....

my previous system ...GamePC with dual processors,SCSI in RAID,etc finally died after 3 years.....am taking the good parts and patching them into my brother's PC and my backups

anyway just got a Dell 8400 refurbished with following
3.2GHz proc (Intel 540)
1 GB DDR SDRAM, 400MHz(2 sticks of 512 each)
two 160 GB SATA HDD in RAID 0
Radeon X300 ,128MB PCI-E vid card
SB Audigy 2 card
16x DVD
16x DVD +/- RW double layer
Windows XP Home SP2
price $859

upgrades possible include
.....step up a few from the 3.2GHz proc(deliberately got low end for price reasons and that it may meet my needs.....and with plenty of room for upgrading to faster proc)
.....add 1 or 2 GB of RAM
.....switch from 400MHz to 533MHz RAM
.....upgrade video card

PC used for work and play
....play....FPS games as well as RPG's....combat type
..............internet
..............vid editing
...work....CT,MRI,and Digital X-Ray

my request is which upgrades will yield greatest percentage increase in performance.


the upgrade of RAM will probably go to 3 or 4 GB with most of that assigned to RAMDisk


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 5:01 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:07 pm
Posts: 71
Location: Akron,OH
the video card would be the best thing to upgrade right now. Get the best you can afford.

ATI Radeon X800 PRO Video Card $400

nVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT Video Card $400

One of the cards listed would make your system Kick some A$$

Keep in mind that when switching from ATI to nVidia the best thing to do is reformat HDD and reinstall the OS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:45 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 23
thanx


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:10 am 
Northwood
Northwood

Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 7:38 pm
Posts: 2583
Location: Room112
a 6800GT would be awesome for your system. get the videocard with the best bundle, make your money's worth.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:53 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:07 pm
Posts: 71
Location: Akron,OH
BTW upgradeing the CPU right now would not be a good idea being that faster CPUs come all the time and the price drops on slower models which means in 6 to 8 months a $500 cpu now will only be $300 so hold out and get a faster CPU when it is cheaper> I can't say the same for the high end video cards right now being the 6800GT I got in july is still the same price.

Your sound card and ram are fine for now


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 12:51 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 23
thanx

that's the reason I got a system with the 3.2 proc......low price.....and prices for the faster proc compatable with mobo are sure to come down rapidly over next few months.........RAM increase is neccessary as I'll be using RAMdisk and assigning at least 2GB of RAM to it....

thanx for your alert as to price of vid card levelling off.....


BTW........with multiple slots on PCI express motherboards and the ability to have two vid cards working together for faster rate.......willl it be possible to have a high end gaming card in one slot and let's say a Quadro fx 3400 PCIe card in another slot and be able to switch from one card to another electronically without having to remove one card and pop in anotther?


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 Post subject: Re: upgrades to Dell 8400
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 9:39 am 
Celeron
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:13 pm
Posts: 7362
Location: New York City
olorin wrote:
my request is which upgrades will yield greatest percentage increase in performance.

the upgrade of RAM will probably go to 3 or 4 GB with most of that assigned to RAMDisk


It's either a RAM upgrade or videocard, your pick. Whichever will net you the best performance.

If you're going with a new videocard, if you can afford it, go with a X800XL which has the best performance/cost ratio right now. It'll whoop that X800Pro while keeping up with the 6800GT.

If you're going with a RAM upgrade, then make sure to check how many DIMM slots there are on the motherboard. Also, make sure the memory is going to be compatible with the new sticks you've got in mind.

Bootstritty wrote:
Keep in mind that when switching from ATI to nVidia the best thing to do is reformat HDD and reinstall the OS


That's horrible advice! All you need is driver cleaner if ever you switch videocard companies.

olorin wrote:
BTW........with multiple slots on PCI express motherboards and the ability to have two vid cards working together for faster rate.......willl it be possible to have a high end gaming card in one slot and let's say a Quadro fx 3400 PCIe card in another slot and be able to switch from one card to another electronically without having to remove one card and pop in anotther?


Bah! Can't help you there.

olorin wrote:
...RAM increase is neccessary...


Then go with it...


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 Post subject: Re: upgrades to Dell 8400
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:30 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:07 pm
Posts: 71
Location: Akron,OH
OCNoob wrote:
Bootstritty wrote:
Keep in mind that when switching from ATI to nVidia the best thing to do is reformat HDD and reinstall the OS


That's horrible advice! All you need is driver cleaner if ever you switch videocard companies.



This advice was given because I have seen to many issuse with people switching vido card brands and then haveing system crashes and instabillty. Anyone changeing brands of cards would only do this as a last resort (something I did not say before and should have)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 12:29 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Texas
Something else to think about.....
I've also got a Dell, (Dim. 8250-P4@3.06/1024MbRDRAM/200GH.Drive/ATI9700pro/SBAudigy2. I'm about to upgrade my vid. card to a 6800 ultra (the one that requires two connectors) but in order to do that I'm also going to have to upgrade my power supply. I imagine that in your 8400 you'll have the stock Dell 250 watt power supply. That PS might not be beefy enough even to run the 6800 GT. I need to find out where, but somewhere I found something that gives you a pretty good estimation of how many watts each of your components use, and for my system I was somewhere right around 250 watts total, maybe 247 or something with the current setup I'm running. So I would imagine that you're probably going to need even more than that with the setup you've got. And once you put that 6800GT on it, it'll just get worse. But before you run out and buy a new PS, double check to make sure that your ps is a standard ATX12VPCI-X ps, because in case you don't know Dell is well known for using non-standard proprietary parts including changing up voltages on the main connector's pins. Mine was fine when I checked it, and your's may well be just fine too, but it couldn't hurt to check it out. The alternative is to slap your new PS in, plug in in and fire 'er up and burn up your mobo and who knows what else. You can find the pin layout at dell's website for the dell PS.
Another thing, a friend of mine has a dell and got a 6800 a while back, can't remember if it's GT or Ultra but he said that he ended up having to nix the funky green shroud that covers the CPU heatsink and install a new heatsink/fan on his along with another fan on the side as close as you can get it to being right across from the video card so it can suck out some of that hot air. Apparently, having only one fan to vent air not including the fan on the PS isn't enough to keep your system cool with the addition of the new vid. card. Once I get my new PS and 6800 ultra I'm going to go ahead and order a new heatsink for the processor and go ahead and install that regardless, but I'll probably wait to see if it's needed before I go cutting on my case for a side venting fan. Hope this helps

The new power supply I'm getting...........yes, it'll fit in my case..........
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDe ... 152&depa=0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 2:45 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 23
Dimension 8400 has a power supply of 350.....

Internal guts of my system when I upgrade this fall will probably be the second fastest Extreme Edition P4(as of this fall.....fastest usually is quantum leap in price).....2GB of 533 RAM.....I'll be switching from the 400 speed to the 533 speed...selling the 400 speed sticks.......and will get the 533 speedit in 1GB sticks(more expensive but keeps the remaining two RAM slots open)....

Internal HDD in RAID will remain the same
sound card is decent enough for me(been told I've got ears of clay anyway) so I'll keep sound card as is

so the only other change will be vid card....and thanx for headsup regarding the better way of changing from ATI to nVidia or vice versa is to backup everything then reload everything from scratch....remninded me of when I tried to change from ATI to nVidia 3 years ago without doing that...

so three changes this fall
1...switch to faster proc of Extreme Edition type
2...switch of RAM from 400 speed to 533 and increasing to 2GB total in two 1GB sticks
3...vid card upgrade

should I get another power supply instead of sticking to 350???......believe I can stick with the stock 350......as the config I'm planning to go to is possible to buy from Dell in a new 8400 with that same 350 power supply...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:10 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Texas
http://extreme.outervision.com/index.jsp

Try this. It'll give you a better estimation of what your system is capable of consuming. Only thing is that there isn't anything for PCI-X gfx cards...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:15 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 23
http://extreme.outervision.com/index.jsp


yikes......

I'll be getting another power supply......looks like Dell cuts it close

my guess is that the website you gave me link to is for optimum performance of PC with plenty of headroom

thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:43 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:24 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Texas
Yeah, Dell definantly cuts it VERY close with their psu's. Also with heat management so you might want to think about getting rid of the stock fanless heatsink that most Dells I've seen has and get a new heatsink/fan and maybe, even though it will probably be ugly as hell cut a hole in the side near the graphics card for extra ventilation. Not sure about yours, but mine has ONE fan, and it's covered be the ugly green shroud of death so the case has a tendency to get pretty hot. I'm running a P4@3.06 and 9700pro. Your gfx and cpu are going to run a good deal hotter than mine so it would be something to think about. It might run just fine, but then again it might not. Good luck


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