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Fixing a Legacy Dell.

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April 1, 2007 12:02:25 AM

Hey guys, I've begun reaseach on resurrecting my now 12yr old Dell as an intermediate HTPC and I've got a few questions:

1. Does Windows XP Home Edition SP2 have driver support for the Intel 82820 chipset?

2. Will an FX5500 Geforce work OK in my Dell? (has a PIII with 128mb of RAMBUS RAM)

Here's the link for the tech specs on my Dell:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dmag/spec...

Here's the link for the VGA:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm getting the upgrade PSU from PCP&C so I can run the new VGA in my Dell.

Thanks for the help in advance!

More about : fixing legacy dell

April 1, 2007 1:41:50 AM

HTPCs typically need some reasonable CPU power, so a PIII may not cut it. It will also likely be ridiculously expensive to expand the memory in the machine to the 768MB-1GB needed for good XP operation (128MB certainly isn't enough). I suspect that you will need an add-on IDE controller card in order to be able to run a DVD drive.

Bottom line: 5 years old PC, maybe. 12 years old -- time to put it into storage for 13 years until it "officially" becomes an antique.
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April 1, 2007 8:38:31 AM

Dont forget RAMBUS needs to be installed in pairs, and the cost is insane compared to DDR2.
April 1, 2007 1:41:29 PM

Well, its got a single 128mb stick of PC700 RAMBUS RAM in there right now. I don't want to build another machine because I just don't have the money to do that right now (one of the misfortunes of being a college student). I'm looking at using a PCI VGA instead of a AGP VGA because its almost impossible to find a AGP 2x 1.5v VGA these days. All intend for it to do is store files so my X-Box can access them. I already know it can't handle HD and the DVD drive in my Dell is already dead. But otherwise it'll make playing TV shows and SD stuff a breeze. It's already running a copy of Windows XP on there and it works just fine.

Can anyone confirm whether or not Windows XP Home Edition SP2 supports the 82820 chipset from Intel?

Thanks for the help and keep it coming.
April 1, 2007 7:14:35 PM

Given your severe budget constraints and the age of your system, I think you're stuck with shopping on ebay. You ought to be able to find AGP 2x compatible video cards there for $10-20. If you watch the sales (frys.com especially), you should be able to get a power supply for $10-20 that will be more than enough for that system (just make sure the main power connector will fit).
April 3, 2007 6:22:03 PM

All right guys, I've got some more funds to play with but not enough to build a new system.

Here's what I'm putting in it to refurbish this "Kick-Ass" system:

Western Digital 250gb Caviar IDE HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG 16x DVD Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BFG 3D Fusion GeForce FX5500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LINKSYS USB Ethernet Adapter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power & Cooling Silencer 360
http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=S3...

I also managed to find my chipset driver on the Intel website so I'm good there.

Thanks for your help and point out anything I may have missed.
April 3, 2007 6:46:34 PM

Yes, XP SP2 supports your chipset.
April 3, 2007 7:04:21 PM

Are you talking dog years? b/c your old Dell system is not 12yrs old. At most it is probably 7, maybe 8. A 12yr old computer would be from 1995....the era where having a Pentium, windows 95, a 1GB hdd, and a CD rom drive meant you had a cutting edge system. Hell, the rig in my signature uses hardware from around 1998, which is only 9 years old.
April 3, 2007 7:16:16 PM

Do you really have Windows ME-the most piece of $%&! OS ever to come out of Microsoft?
April 3, 2007 7:18:25 PM

Yep, its about that old. Can't remember when my Mom bought it but its at least 10yrs old. It has a P3, 128mb of RAMBUS RAM, CD drive, DVD-ROM, FDD, 20gb HDD, and a kick as GeForce 256 32mb AGP VGA.
April 3, 2007 7:20:19 PM

I've got a Windows 98 disk at home for my rig. Although I lost the CD Key for it though.
April 3, 2007 7:28:21 PM

As for your HTPC, why in the world would your want to run SP2? If it's just going to be a HTPC, and especially if it's not internet connected, I can't see the reason to use SP2. It's not like the Dell has USB 2.0 that need SP2 for driver functionality. To answer your question though, SP2 will run fine on that machine. I have had a Dell Optiplex GX100 running a 433MHz Mendocino Celeron in an i810 chipset, 256MB of pc100 ram, running XP home SP2 just fine.

My advice is to buy another stick of 128MB ram, giving your a total of 256MB. Don't bother upgrading the power supply. The stock one is fine. Don't buy the FX5500, instead buy a GF4-mx440 AGP card with a TV-out, as it consumes around 10 watts of power, about half that of the FX5500. You should be able a get one off ebay for around $15-$20 at most (I got lucky and got an 8x one for $7 shipped off ebay). Don't worry that your old Dell is only AGP 2x. The GF4 MX-440 is a dual notch card, meaning is supports both 1.5v and the older 3.3 volt AGP designs, so it will work just fine. Use the early 5x.xxx series of drivers, as they new series from Nvidia does not support the Tv out function of the GF4 MX-440 anymore.

This setup should be good enough to get the job done of playing mpeg-2 video and other content on the TV. The only thing is DivX. How fast is the PIII in your Dell? As long as it's above 600MHz you should be able to play DivX.

Finally, get yourself a logitech wireless keyboard and mouse (a cheap <$50 logitech unit works great) so you can control the computer from the couch.
April 3, 2007 7:40:27 PM

My P3 is 733mhz with an integrated math co-processor. As to why I'm using XP Home SP2 I bought a copy for my Mom's Dell and just before I started to work on it I found the original XP OS disk for it. And this P3 Dell was "fixed" by a few friends with a pirated copy of XP :x , so if its connected to the net I'll need it to be "Genuine".

Thanks for the help guys.
April 3, 2007 7:41:08 PM

Quote:
Yep, its about that old. Can't remember when my Mom bought it but its at least 10yrs old. It has a P3, 128mb of RAMBUS RAM, CD drive, DVD-ROM, FDD, 20gb HDD, and a kick as GeForce 256 32mb AGP VGA.


Only if your mom had a time machine to go into the future to buy that Dell. The Pentium III didn't come out until 1998, which by default make your Dell no older than 9 years old. The 820 chipset didn't come out until November of 1999, which means that even if you could theorectically have gotten your Dell on the same day Intel introduced the 820 chipset (which would be impossible), your Dell is STILL no older than 7 years old, as of today. More likely is that it wasn't purchased until some time in 2000, makin it more likely to be around 6 yrs old, soon to be going on 7.

As far as your comment for Windows ME, yes I use it on the K6-2. It's the only system I have that still uses a 9x OS. And for the record, Windows ME is much better than any other 9x OS for today's use. Windows 98 was better back when both were fairly new where the added features of Windows ME were not yet needed, but time has marched on, and the drawbacks to Win98 are too numerous now not to give the nod to Windows ME as the better OS. Just try plugging a jump drive into a Windows 98 machine and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
April 3, 2007 7:44:02 PM

Intel 820 chipset is actually AGP 4x, so you don't have to worry much about finding a compatible card:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/intel...

I have a Dell with an i815 chipset and it works fine with a Radeon 9800. The Radeon doesn't work at all in an old 440BX chipset pc, which truly is AGP 2x.

You didn't say what speed your P3 is, but it looks to be most likely a Coppermine from the Dell page. Any of those should work fine with XP and even decode Divx. Your only real weakness is the 128mb RAM. Rambus is sooo expensive that it might actually be cheaper to replace the cpu and mobo. I've gotten some insane deals from Newegg's Open box area, and never had a problem with anything there yet. I would look for a GF 6100 based mobo for around $30, paired with a low end sempron for about $30. Add 512mb of DDR for another $30, and you've practically got a whole new computer for under a C-note.
April 3, 2007 7:44:44 PM

If you need the OS to be Geniune, install the same Dell OEM XP disk you used on your Mom's Dell as the installation disk for this Dell. It will install without a hitch, never asking you to type in a product key, and will be considered as genuine under Microsoft's WGA program, despite using the same CD on two Dells. That's one of the perks of using a Dell machine. :wink:

Then sell your unused XP CD you just purchased.
April 3, 2007 7:51:28 PM

Mom wont let me touch her OS install disk after I found it and fixed her Dell, so I might as well go ahead and use the copy I bought. But thanks for that bit of info, I'll use that later on in life.
April 3, 2007 8:14:46 PM

yes. It will be cheaper to get that used off ebay though.
April 3, 2007 8:17:55 PM

Thanks. Just making sure. Fixing this Dell is turning into a monster of a project :tongue: :!:
April 3, 2007 8:46:47 PM

Quote:
Yep, its about that old. Can't remember when my Mom bought it but its at least 10yrs old. It has a P3, 128mb of RAMBUS RAM, CD drive, DVD-ROM, FDD, 20gb HDD, and a kick as GeForce 256 32mb AGP VGA.


It's from around 1998-1999
!