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In hell with dell XPS 400 CPU upgrade help a noob in need!

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January 28, 2009 12:18:29 PM

Hey all I'm a PC noob but I know a little bit. I have a dell XPS 400 I bought in June 2006

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.asp...

So I noticed the the processor was bottlenecking performance it's a pentium D 2.8/2.78 with only 2 mb of ram. I already upgraded this thing with 4 gigs of system ram, Geforce 8600 GT GC. And I went ahead and upgraded to Vista (what a crap os).

Anyway I talked to dell about which processor I should upgrade to and they recomended:
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Processors/...

Core 2 Quard Q6600.

I had actually wanted a more powerful CPU I spied on Newegg but she said no that the Q6600 was the type I needed for my MOBO which is is a Mitac-designed, BTX-compatible board based on the Intel® 945P chipset.

So I get the processsor, had a tech savy friend instal and guess what: the comp doesnt even boot. I just get a orange light. The Bios is updated and the chip fits in perfect. Dell support didn't know what to do in fact they seemed more nooby then me! Currently running on the old CPU reinstalled works fine.

PLease Gods of Toms hardware tell me what to do sell the Dell and buy a new comp? I'd really love to avoid the hassle of rebuilding a new PC when I have one that was supposed to be on the higher end. I never would have paid $1500 for this thing if I didn't think I would be able to upgrade the CPU. Any advice? Thanks!!
January 28, 2009 12:26:42 PM

Just RMA the chip back to Dell and put the money towards a custom build :D 
Everyone here will tell you pretty much the same, its not worth investing anything in a Dell rig.
a b à CPUs
January 28, 2009 12:28:39 PM

Dude... You bought a Dell... :p 



Intel® 945P Express Chipset: "Retired and Discontinued"

And, checking directly with Intel - http://ark.intel.com/chipset.aspx?familyID=8764 - shows that the Q6600 is not listed as supported on this chipset at all.


My Humble Advice is to just buy a new computer, rather than throwing money at the one you have.
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January 28, 2009 1:03:53 PM

Dell= Scum confirmed
January 28, 2009 1:08:31 PM

Get it on eBay, get a new budget sorted, then come back and tell us what you use your PC for and we can spend your money for you :D 
a b à CPUs
January 28, 2009 1:13:41 PM

945 chipset + quad core = no compatibility.
January 28, 2009 1:23:23 PM

What's the most you think I can get for this Can on Ebay? If you guys wanna help me chose my next PC that would be great. Just need somthing powerful enough for music production, perhaps some programming (trying to dabble in the future), oh and gaming, I'd like to run Crysis on high at at least 30 FPS @ 720P or even better 1080. It's this or I just buy the friggan 360.
January 28, 2009 1:41:24 PM

mmmm prolly talkin a 4870 / 260 with a decent C2Q so around $1000-1100ish

I would take a stab and say $450 for that rig on eBay.

Are we talking full on music production here? Like decent soundcards / audio setups and Cubase, Reason sorta software? I notice that Dell doesnt have a soundcard so did you install one or are you doing everything through onboard sound?
January 28, 2009 4:03:05 PM

I feel like onboard sound is enough to mix wav files in 16 bit quality. I have the software like reason/acid/FL etc. With firewire dead and with USB/Midi converters much improved, I dont think I would need any additional hardware/sound cards beyond the standard from Microsoft. Think an improved GPU can help gameplay or is this CPU gonna hold me down forevermore? Vista is a hog. I never, even in 2006, would have paid this much for a desktop with no option to upgrade, at least, to a core 2 duo. Guess I didn't read the fine print. Didn't expect to at the pricepoint. Shame on who? Dell for giving me an obsolete mobo or Intel for not supporting the damn thing beyond 2 years? I'm guessing Dell with a dash of intel. I might become an AMD man and Dell of course is dead to me.

Thanks btw.
January 28, 2009 5:08:05 PM

Vista is fine on the modern systems it is designed for. Get 64 bit though.
Dont ditch Intel on the basis of your experiences with Dell. Remember, your CPU hasnt actually misfired ;) 
January 29, 2009 1:09:46 PM

If you do upgrade, E6600 or E6700 would be the best bet.
January 29, 2009 4:24:52 PM

Hi,
That's a 945 chipset unit. The 945 FSB was just 800 mhz. Some motherboard vendors like did offer 945's that would clock to 1066 and even overclock to 1333 but they still couldn't take a quad core. Often there would have been a BIOS update needed to run a core 2 chip. It looks like you have done that already.

Why is DELL is a villan here? Because they couldn't sell you a motherboard that didn't exist yet?

I would try and figure out if your motherboard can run 1066 with a bios update.
If so I think you can grab a core 2 duo in the E6X00 series. You probably cannot run 5x000 series or 7x000 series chips. You definitely cannot run any quad cores.

If you are stuck with 800 FSB
The fastest 800 mhz fsb chip you can buy and overclock is an e2200. It's dirt cheap and will over clock very well. Bench marks show it to be a significant upgrade to a P4 in general. Google it.

I'm in the same boat. I have a P965 Gigabyte board. Fortunately, I can grab an original quad core but none of the new ones. I'm hoping to buy one before they stop selling them. 6 months from now I am not sure they will sell them.

If you can manage to find a E6700 or 6720 for sale I promise you.. You will not be disappointed at all.
a b à CPUs
January 29, 2009 5:05:07 PM

@Joe - Dell is the villain because they told him that the q6600 would work, when even quick research says it doesn't work.

My advice - harvest the parts out of the Dell. Get a new mobo that supports the rest of the parts you have, and either get a new case or put it in the dell case. I've done this to many a dell.

$0.02
January 29, 2009 7:30:40 PM

LOL yea the Dell techs are completly clueless without there instructions in front of them. they were probobly trying to make a sale from you in that they thought you would but the CPU from Dell and they get credit for it. to all wannabe and newbies out there that want a top PC Bulild your own!!!! upgrading brand name PC's is a waste of time
January 29, 2009 7:35:12 PM

Can you take the mobo's out of Dells? I remember hearing somewhere that you cannot remove them. I also have an XPS 400 and want to upgrade.
a b à CPUs
January 29, 2009 7:52:52 PM

stash- the last few I did were regular style, they were even asus boards. Might be some that don't I don't have tons of experience, but the ones I did, they were able to. The dell windows install disc doesnt work though, it knows its not a dell mobo.
a b à CPUs
January 29, 2009 8:00:42 PM

stash9876 said:
Can you take the mobo's out of Dells? I remember hearing somewhere that you cannot remove them. I also have an XPS 400 and want to upgrade.

Not with your machine, even the next gen XPS410 board that fit's wouldn't function properly due to some temp sensor.
January 29, 2009 10:32:15 PM

Agreed. Dell is Evil, and lies through their teeth. Thats what you get with outsourced tech support.

Vista is a fine OS if you got the right hardware. Don't be hating on Vista cause your PC is a terd.
January 30, 2009 12:56:26 AM

Ive got vista 64 bit on 4gb of ram and its amazing, 3.2ghz dual core too. great fps in any game.
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January 30, 2009 2:37:14 AM

Yeah, you guys really should have checked to see if there was a BIOS update first. I mean first of all that chipset isn't really compatible with quad cores and second, the BIOS for that system isn't likely to support anything beyond what was around when it was originally introduced, which was in the Pentium D days. If there was anyway at all that system could have supported a Q6600 there would have to be a BIOS update to do so, and since it would mean forcing the chipset to run out of spec I'd doubt it.

The easiest thing for you to do right now is to get a P45 board and a decent Case, then re-use the Q6600 and all your components. That would blow away your current system and with a good P45 board and a decent cooler you can overclock that Q6600 for even more performance. I'd just like to point out that if you're expecting killer gaming performance though you sure ain't gonna get it with a Geforce 8600 GT no matter what the CPU :D .
January 30, 2009 11:45:27 AM

I put my old P4 HT 3.2Ghz on a Gigabyte 865G board in my parents old Dell Dimension 3000. It was just like building a custom PC. They had "built-in" pegs on the motherboard tray, regular usb headers and front I/O headers. Lucky for me too I had an audigy lying around with the intel front audio header on it and thats what the dell case used. I used the stock dell power supply but have another one if it really needs it. Also the old system fan that doubled as the cpu fan can be taken out of the plastic holder and actually screwed to the case with the 92mm holes already drilled in the case. It was the easiest part swap ever. My parents never even knew that I changed the parts out.

In total in the Dell case:

P4 HT 3.2Ghz Prescott LGA775
Gigabyte 865G
1.5Gb Kinston ValuRam
80GB WD HDD from Dell
Dell Power Supply
Audigy ZS
Geforce 7800GS

!