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[General Motherboard] Dell Dimension 4550 Fastest cpu?

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September 27, 2007 8:24:40 PM

I want to upgrade the cpu on my Dell Dimension 4550 computer but I'm a little confused as to what kind of processor I can upgrade to. It currently has a 2.4ghz P4 cpu with the 533mhz bus(478 pin I believe). Am I stuck with using northwood processors with the 533mhz bus or can I replace it with cpus with the 800mhz bus? If I'm stuck with the 533 bus, what's the fastest processor out there I can use? The 2.8ghz cpu? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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September 27, 2007 8:57:03 PM

sillydoh said:
I want to upgrade the cpu on my Dell Dimension 4550 computer but I'm a little confused as to what kind of processor I can upgrade to. It currently has a 2.4ghz P4 cpu with the 533mhz bus(478 pin I believe). Am I stuck with using northwood processors with the 533mhz bus or can I replace it with cpus with the 800mhz bus? If I'm stuck with the 533 bus, what's the fastest processor out there I can use? The 2.8ghz cpu? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!


Depending on your BIOS version, a 2.8/3.0 would be the top 478 processor your 845PE would support. Your stuck with an ancient chipset supporting 4 x AGP and 333 mhz. RAM. up to 512 MB I believe. Really, I wouldn't spend a dime on it.

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4550/s...
September 28, 2007 12:55:59 AM

badge said:
Depending on your BIOS version, a 2.8/3.0 would be the top 478 processor your 845PE would support. Your stuck with an ancient chipset supporting 4 x AGP and 333 mhz. RAM. up to 512 MB I believe. Really, I wouldn't spend a dime on it.

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4550/s...


Well, I don't really do anything major with my computer that would warrant a brand new computer. With all the service packs and updates and bloated software that's come around over the past few years, I just need a small upgrade to make things a bit more snappier. Easiest way obviously is to add the faster processor and/or add the maximum ram. I already have 1gb of ram in my machine so the only other thing is the processor upgrade.

Anyway, would I be able to use the processors with the 800mhz bus on a motherboard that supports a 533mhz bus?
Related resources
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September 28, 2007 3:22:51 AM

sillydoh said:
Well, I don't really do anything major with my computer that would warrant a brand new computer. With all the service packs and updates and bloated software that's come around over the past few years, I just need a small upgrade to make things a bit more snappier. Easiest way obviously is to add the faster processor and/or add the maximum ram. I already have 1gb of ram in my machine so the only other thing is the processor upgrade.

Anyway, would I be able to use the processors with the 800mhz bus on a motherboard that supports a 533mhz bus?



Quote:
Anyway, would I be able to use the processors with the 800mhz bus on a motherboard that supports a 533mhz bus?


Your system specs according to the Dell link I provided for you says 2.8 and 3.06 compatible. Those are 800mhz fsb capable processors. Like I mentioned, you may have to update to the latest BIOS version to support the processors, obviously I don't know that for sure. I'm not sure if the 845 supports Prescott processors. It's getting difficult to locate a Northwood, the 478 is old news. I have a complete 3.0 ghz Northwood P4 800mhz fsb with an ABIT 478 MB and a GB of Kngston PC3200 sitting in my closet. It has a 9200 ATI radeon, 80Gb WD IDE enhanced HD, DVD burner, floppy drive, windows XP installed. The system runs perfect. I would sell it to you for $160 plus shipping. Good luck.
September 28, 2007 4:04:33 AM

As an owner of a Dimension 4500, I can understand where you're coming from. I've been down this road already.

The 2.8 and 3.06 Ghz CPUs in question are both 533 bus processors. Unfortunately, 800fsb CPUs are not compatible with your 4550. Also not compatible are Prescott-based Pentium 4s and Celeron Ds on the 533fsb, due to Dell never updating the BIOS to offer this support. Sorry to say, but you are stuck with 533bus P4s. The top end model, the 3.06GHz HT-enabled P4, is still fetching some outrageous prices on Ebay. I would recommend the 2.8GHz, 533fsb Northwood (aka the 2.8B) if you do plan to upgrade from your Pentium 4 2.4B, although it would probably be best to just save your money, as the upgrade from a 2.4B to a 2.8B is fairly insignificant.

Might I recommend a hard drive upgrade if you are still using that old hard drive from 2002? A modern hard drive with 8 or 16MB cache will give a small but noticeable improvement to access and load times of your larger programs as compared to the original 2MB cache hard drive your computer originally shipped with. Unless you are performing CPU intensive applications on your 4550, such as audio/video encoding, a hard drive upgrade may make for a more noticeable performance enhancement.
September 28, 2007 4:09:26 AM

Possibly a reload of Windows may help too.
Depending on how good you are in cleaning Windows,
Reinstalls often give a speed boost.
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September 28, 2007 4:27:34 AM

I agree with zen. A good reinstall and even a RAM upgrade will help. Far as upgrading the CPU, put that money towards a new machine.
December 7, 2007 6:07:03 AM

The only thing with reloading Windows you also have to re-install all other application programs you've installed in the past or came with the system.

If you decide to upgrade your hard drive, you will need a cloning software to copy the entire contents of your current hard drive to the new one. Microsoft won't let you copy some files directly, so you will need this software. Basically, it creates a mirror/image copy of the current hard drive to a larger one. All you need to do is copy and swap the hard drives.

Aside from the 8 or 16MB cache mentioned earlier, get a Raptor Hard drive with 10,000 rpm for your Operating System and another hard drive (external/internal) for your personal files. This way, if your main hard drive fails it won't affect your personal files.

Make sure you also have a good cooling system if you plan to upgrade your processor. I suggest a CNPS9500 CNPS9700 (Zalman) for your Processor and a heatsink fan for the Northbridge chipset. If you wanna take it up a notch and have time and guts, overclock. That's if you wanna go overboard without having to shell out $ for a new processor or RAM upgrade.

I used to have a Gateway P4 1.4 GHz, 400FSB, socket 423, and 1G RAM. I spent some $ for a 2.8 GHz processor using a Socket 478 adapter and overclock it. I did pretty much everything I mentioned above but was it worth it? Well there was a significant change with the performance and it was also fun doing all that and see how it works, but that's a lot of work and a lot of reading. It was worth it.
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December 7, 2007 7:24:06 AM

I agree that putting more money into such an old machine is a waste. Slickdeals.net lists a dell vostro 200 with Intel 2140 dual core cpu and 19 inch lcd for $379. I would get that if you feel the need to upgrade and donate your old pc to goodwill or your favorite charity.
June 4, 2008 1:14:32 PM

Anyone know the maximum ram I can put on the motherboard? The specs say I can put 1gb total (2 x 512) with this motherboard but I'm wondering if I can put a couple of 1gb sticks in the machine instead?
Anonymous
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January 25, 2009 2:23:45 PM

sillydoh said:
Anyone know the maximum ram I can put on the motherboard? The specs say I can put 1gb total (2 x 512) with this motherboard but I'm wondering if I can put a couple of 1gb sticks in the machine instead?


2GB, but read the specifics here
http://en.community.dell.com/wikis/desktop/dimension-45...
Anonymous
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November 20, 2009 2:59:59 PM

In case anyone is still reading this thread, my personal hobby is "fixing" trash-can computers and getting them back into the community where many kids, and even institutions like rural libraries, are too poor to buy a nice, new, low-end Mac or Windows box... One of the PCs I recently overhauled was a $10 Dell 4550 from a thrift store.

The order of improvement was (1) more memory - a couple of surplus 512 Mb DDR sticks seemed adequate to me, (2) a surplus 120 Gb disk drive, and (3) the very latest version of Ubuntu (Debian Linux based, I believe), 9.10. The whole thing stayed well under $100... not counting another $35 for a used 15" LCD monitor and $5 for a new keyboard and a used optical mouse - all from thrifts.

At the risk of sounding like a Linux/Ubuntu nut, the move away from Microsoft XP Home - which came with my 4550 machine - made a very noticeable, positive difference and, fully "legal", cost nothing! Old PCs like these 4550s are roughly equivalent to modern netbooks in their raw hardware performance, but like those underpowered netbooks they tend to bog down on operating systems which insist on running too many, often unnecessary background processes all at once. Linux seems to work more efficiently, period.

There is another similarity between Atom-powered, 1.6 GHz netbooks and old P4, 2-3 GHz 4550s: Running many of the essential-with-Windows anti-virus programs will really bog down such marginal machines! If you do stick with Windows, do some online research and pick one of the more efficient but less well known (and less expensive) anti-virus programs. High price and heavy advertising does not make for the best performing product!

In Linux, of course, - as with the Mac - virus threats are very few and far between. Consequently, I run nothing on my cheap Ubuntu machines except a browser and Sun's OpenOffice freeware, so my "anti-virus protection" is no more than the easy-to-restore disk image I make when a refurbished PC is first configured! On my give-aways, I hand out that restore disk - and restore instructions - with the machine...
November 24, 2009 9:30:13 PM

Quote:
In case anyone is still reading this thread, my personal hobby is "fixing" trash-can computers and getting them back into the community where many kids, and even institutions like rural libraries, are too poor to buy a nice, new, low-end Mac or Windows box... One of the PCs I recently overhauled was a $10 Dell 4550 from a thrift store.

The order of improvement was (1) more memory - a couple of surplus 512 Mb DDR sticks seemed adequate to me, (2) a surplus 120 Gb disk drive, and (3) the very latest version of Ubuntu (Debian Linux based, I believe), 9.10. The whole thing stayed well under $100... not counting another $35 for a used 15" LCD monitor and $5 for a new keyboard and a used optical mouse - all from thrifts.

At the risk of sounding like a Linux/Ubuntu nut, the move away from Microsoft XP Home - which came with my 4550 machine - made a very noticeable, positive difference and, fully "legal", cost nothing! Old PCs like these 4550s are roughly equivalent to modern netbooks in their raw hardware performance, but like those underpowered netbooks they tend to bog down on operating systems which insist on running too many, often unnecessary background processes all at once. Linux seems to work more efficiently, period.

There is another similarity between Atom-powered, 1.6 GHz netbooks and old P4, 2-3 GHz 4550s: Running many of the essential-with-Windows anti-virus programs will really bog down such marginal machines! If you do stick with Windows, do some online research and pick one of the more efficient but less well known (and less expensive) anti-virus programs. High price and heavy advertising does not make for the best performing product!

In Linux, of course, - as with the Mac - virus threats are very few and far between. Consequently, I run nothing on my cheap Ubuntu machines except a browser and Sun's OpenOffice freeware, so my "anti-virus protection" is no more than the easy-to-restore disk image I make when a refurbished PC is first configured! On my give-aways, I hand out that restore disk - and restore instructions - with the machine...


I would strongly recommend against going Ubuntu if resources are scarce. It is much more resource intensive than XP.
November 29, 2009 2:02:20 AM

I just updated a Dimension 4550 from 256 meg ram to 1 gig.
After that, performance was decent for a user that just surfs the internet.
It is not the machine for blinding speed, but it was a huge improvement over the original 256 meg ram.
Great job with recycling the old machines, but I have to agree that Ubuntu can be fussy for the non computer savvy.
Keep those old machines going!
January 19, 2010 8:27:27 PM

i didnt want to start a new thread.... but can this 4550 be upgraded to windows 7? the lady in the office just wants to run the latest win OS... and i was thinking bump ram to 1gb (or 2gb if needed) and putting in a radeon 9250 128mb pci card for aero graphics. probably need a new harddrive also
Anonymous
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January 23, 2010 4:54:01 PM

badge said:
Quote:
Anyway, would I be able to use the processors with the 800mhz bus on a motherboard that supports a 533mhz bus?


Your system specs according to the Dell link I provided for you says 2.8 and 3.06 compatible. Those are 800mhz fsb capable processors. Like I mentioned, you may have to update to the latest BIOS version to support the processors, obviously I don't know that for sure. I'm not sure if the 845 supports Prescott processors. It's getting difficult to locate a Northwood, the 478 is old news. I have a complete 3.0 ghz Northwood P4 800mhz fsb with an ABIT 478 MB and a GB of Kngston PC3200 sitting in my closet. It has a 9200 ATI radeon, 80Gb WD IDE enhanced HD, DVD burner, floppy drive, windows XP installed. The system runs perfect. I would sell it to you for $160 plus shipping. Good luck.


Hey badge, I would like to contact you about this computer, if you could e-mail me at TerryLeeCrawford@Gmail.com that would be great =)
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January 23, 2010 5:16:26 PM

Quote:
Hey badge, I would like to contact you about this computer, if you could e-mail me at TerryLeeCrawford@Gmail.com that would be great =)


Email you? The question you have to ask about a computer is...secret? I'll have a friend email you. Open the message, some instructions will pop up.
January 31, 2010 3:27:58 PM

As far as Ubuntu goes, I have 9.10 running on a 4550 now, 2.4GHz P4/1GB RAM/160GB HD and it runs great. Startup time is way faster than it was with XP, and it is smooth with the GeForce 4MX card that came with it. I am very happy with it.
February 2, 2010 9:43:12 PM

Divergex said:
As far as Ubuntu goes, I have 9.10 running on a 4550 now, 2.4GHz P4/1GB RAM/160GB HD and it runs great. Startup time is way faster than it was with XP, and it is smooth with the GeForce 4MX card that came with it. I am very happy with it.

Ya, and you have 1GB ram... I can tell you straight out, XP is more frugal than ubuntu any day of the week. You can actually have a usable XP system with as little as 256MB ram. Hell, even 128MB can start up a clean, fresh XP install and it will run like a champ, but at least 256 is needed to actually run programs.
Ubuntu, on the other hand, chokes on 256MB ram. Everything takes forever to load as the HD page files into oblivion. I found at least 512MB of ram to make Ubuntu happy on just a basic install.
Still, that does not solve the issue of Ubuntu's lack of acceptable flash video performance. In case you haven't noticed, Linux fails miserably in playing back video from such sites as Hulu, as the flash plugin seems horribly inefficient. Even Adobe's own flash plugin for Ubuntu doesn't solve the problem.
Install Ubuntu because of its pretty GUI. Install Ubuntu because you want to be different. Install Ubuntu because you want a "legal" OS on your old/free computer. Install Ubuntu because you broke your XP CD, but please, don't install Ubuntu because you think it uses less resources, because it's simply not true.
March 14, 2010 8:41:25 PM

ingodwestream said:
i didnt want to start a new thread.... but can this 4550 be upgraded to windows 7? the lady in the office just wants to run the latest win OS... and i was thinking bump ram to 1gb (or 2gb if needed) and putting in a radeon 9250 128mb pci card for aero graphics. probably need a new harddrive also



Yes you can. I just did a quick upgrade on a few things on my old 4550 and it runs like a charm.

Upgrade list:
I found the 3.06ghz CPU for $35 at Star Micro

Put in a 500gb WD WD5000JBRTL Blue Caviar at Best Buy for $65

Upgraded to 2gb of Ram from Newegg for $65 (two new sticks)

Loaded on a fresh install of W7 Home Premium upgrade ($109 at Walmart) and it it screams along pretty good.

Just need to put a decent Video Card in (shopping right now).

Running Office 2010, Adobe Master Collection CS4 (photoshop etc), and almost anything I can thow at it.

For a couple bucks, its a great home computer for my family and a few work projects from home, and seems alot faster than my neighbors new netbook!
March 15, 2010 3:21:40 AM

badge said:
Email you? The question you have to ask about a computer is...secret? I'll have a friend email you. Open the message, some instructions will pop up.


Hey Badge:

Do you still have this computer?

Kaye
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March 15, 2010 4:09:19 AM

kdavis0725 said:
Hey Badge:

Do you still have this computer?

Kaye


I have a complete 3.0 ghz Northwood P4 800mhz fsb with an ABIT 478 MB and a GB of Kngston PC3200 sitting in my closet. It has a 9200 ATI radeon, 80Gb WD IDE enhanced HD, DVD burner, floppy drive, windows XP installed. The system runs perfect. I would sell it to you for $160 plus shipping. Good luck.

I gave this system to a friend of my daughter's for free when his Athlon 462 burned out. I have quite a few old systems I still use.
March 15, 2010 7:17:03 AM

badge said:
I have a complete 3.0 ghz Northwood P4 800mhz fsb with an ABIT 478 MB and a GB of Kngston PC3200 sitting in my closet. It has a 9200 ATI radeon, 80Gb WD IDE enhanced HD, DVD burner, floppy drive, windows XP installed. The system runs perfect. I would sell it to you for $160 plus shipping. Good luck.

I gave this system to a friend of my daughter's for free when his Athlon 462 burned out. I have quite a few old systems I still use.



Thanks anyway ... can you answer a question for me ... In upgrading a graphics card, can I put in an 8x card if my pc specs say:
Video controller: AGP 4X
Bus types: PCI and AGP
Bus speed: PCI: 33 MHz; AGP: 66 MHz
AGP connector: one
AGP connector size: 172 pins
AGP connector data width (maximum): 32 bits
AGP bus protocols: 4x/2x modes at 1.5 V

All of the higher end cards seem to only say 8x ... I was looking at the NVidia 6200 or 6600 model of GeForce 256 mb, 128-bit, AGP 8x.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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March 15, 2010 7:48:01 AM

Most cards rated AGP 8x are backwards compatible and work fine in an AGP 4x slot.
March 15, 2010 7:59:08 AM

Great ... thank you for that ... I was very afraid to get the 8x not knowing that.
March 19, 2010 7:14:45 PM

badge said:
Most cards rated AGP 8x are backwards compatible and work fine in an AGP 4x slot.


Yes, most of them... but not ALL. Check it to make sure... it's a different voltage... :ouch: 

I damage the motherboard instaling 8x AGP card in 4x AGP slot and powerd up whole thing... :o 

It was GForce 5600 on older PIII ECS motherboard 4x AGP.

So MAKE SURE!!!
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March 19, 2010 8:11:39 PM

adnikauto said:
Yes, most of them... but not ALL. Check it to make sure... it's a different voltage... :ouch: 

I damage the motherboard instaling 8x AGP card in 4x AGP slot and powerd up whole thing... :o 
It was GForce 5600 on older PIII ECS motherboard 4x AGP.

So MAKE SURE!!!


User error. Installing an AGP card in an AGP slot is not going to cause an overvolt and damage the MB. Spreading FUD will get you nowhere fast on the forum.
Anonymous
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May 19, 2010 8:07:07 PM

I just slapped togather a Deminsion 4550 Dell I upgarded the Processor to 3.06 With hyper threading 2 Gigs of rams Radeon 9800 Pro graphics cards I just threw Windows 7 Ultimate On it and It runs great no slowdowns it can even run Dreamseances without any slowdown and has a higher windows index score then the Dell I rented from Rent a center to try out that they are selling for 3K. I bought it Used for 75 bucks off ebay and spend 65 on parts thats 145 bucks for a nice PC I even threw 2 dvd burners in it for double copying
September 8, 2010 5:41:52 AM

Ya? I picked up a Dell Dimension 4700 with P4 520/512mb ddr2/915 graphics, and a Dell XPS 410 with Core 2 Duo e6300/1GB DDR2/Geforce 7300 PCIe OUT OF THE TRASH during my town's local electronic waste round up day.
Both needed hard drives, but otherwise were complete and ran like champs. Some people's kids, I tell ya what...
Anonymous
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November 16, 2010 8:59:57 PM

gmess1 said:
Yes you can. I just did a quick upgrade on a few things on my old 4550 and it runs like a charm.

Upgrade list:
I found the 3.06ghz CPU for $35 at Star Micro

Put in a 500gb WD WD5000JBRTL Blue Caviar at Best Buy for $65

Upgraded to 2gb of Ram from Newegg for $65 (two new sticks)

Loaded on a fresh install of W7 Home Premium upgrade ($109 at Walmart) and it it screams along pretty good.

Just need to put a decent Video Card in (shopping right now).

Running Office 2010, Adobe Master Collection CS4 (photoshop etc), and almost anything I can thow at it.

For a couple bucks, its a great home computer for my family and a few work projects from home, and seems alot faster than my neighbors new netbook!


Good for you, that sounds like you did a great job. Do you know if the system would support wireless networking?
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November 16, 2010 9:16:14 PM

This thread is DEAD - Opened in 2007.

Open a new thread - please.
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November 17, 2010 11:44:10 AM

^Report it the next time (If you don't do it this time ;)  )
!