First off, hello. I've always checking in here but never posted. I have a Dell XPS 720, well actually it was a 700 but I received the free mobo upgrade to the 720. Right now I'm running an E6600 with 4Gb of RAM and a 8800 GT on Vista 64. I've just ordered two ATI 4850's that should be here within the week to bump up the gaming power although the 8800 GT is hanging in there I just felt like it was time for an upgrade. I bought the 8800 the day it came out and it has been really nice since then.
Since I bought the XPS, I am limited in my upgrade possibilities going forward. It is a BTX case and there are no decent BTX motherboards on the market that I know of. The 720 mobo is supposed to be an 680i that supports both Crossfire and SLI. The 720 can support quad core and 8GB of ram. The new video cards are on the way and I got to thinking about upgrading other components. I can max out my RAM, for what it's worth, at 8GB for a little over $100. I'm not sure if that is really worth pursuing or not. It seems like more RAM couldn't hurt and $100 isn't too much to break the bank. I've also been thinking of getting a new CPU. I hear that quad core isn't really worthwhile for gaming so I've looked into the new dual cores. I was thinking of upgrading to the E4400 since the speed is .6 Ghtz faster, larger cache, and higher FSB than what I am running now. I could also go to quad core, but other than gaming I just web browse so I'm not sure a quad would really be all that beneficial. The higher clock speed is important because the XPS 720 CANNOT be overclocked through BIOS and ntune really sucks on my computer. So the only way I can really get faster is with a CPU that is already fairly quick out of the box. Any thoughts or suggestions? I was thinking of upgrading a little so that it could hold me over until I can build the desktop that I really want with DDR3, i7, etc. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Here is the 3DMark that I just ran:
3DMark Score 7277 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score 3267
SM 3.0 Score 4006
CPU Score 1366
I wouldn't upgrade that dell case. Even the power supply might be proprietary. I would sell the whole system intact on ebay before any of the components die. You can then build whatever you want. Fry's has the core i5 750 with gigabyte board for $289 today and tomorrow. You could build a nice system around this combo. Piecemeal upgrading doesn't work very well. With a little patience and some savings, I would do it all at once.
The case, mobo, and PSU are all proprietary. What you said sounds like a decent idea. I was only talking about getting the most of the Dell PC in the interim while I build my next one. There is no mobo upgrade path or option for this case. The only "upgrading" that I have done thus far is to change the ram out and take out the 7900 GS for a 8800 GT. Other than that it's pretty much as built
I do not see there being much that you will gain from upgrading your dell, Firstly two 4850 will be overkill with that CPU, and I am not sure if you will get compatibility/driver issues with crossfire on a dell Mobo, even if it is Dells take on 680sli, Secondly, upgrading the processor would be a good Idea, but is it worth the effort when a decent p31 mobo will give you the ability to overclock your current CPU far in excess of a stock upgraded CPU in your Dell mobo, I would go with the new mobo personally, Thirdly, replacing the Mobo would no doubtly require a noe case, which is extra money to be fair, and probably the PSU at hte same time.... Just doesnt seem worth it to me..
My advice, send back one of those 4850 straight away, test the second one in the machine and see if it is good enough of an improvement over the 8800
Lastly, 4gb ram is good enough for most daily use including gaming, hopefully you are using a x64 os so as to be using all of the 4gb, i would definately not spend any money now on more ddr2 ram for your dell when looking at building a new system.