Dell Optiplex 280 upgrade

Hi,

I have an old Dell Optiplex GX280 I inherited from my Dad (his company no longer needed it). It has a 3.2 Ghz P4 Processor and I upgraded the RAM to 2.75 GB. I'm trying to get more power for it on a budget (i.e. - better graphics and smoother frame rates for new games), and from what I've read that would also require a greater power supply and/or adding fans.

Obviously, I'd rather just buy a new system...financially would that make much more sense, or are there ways of getting the most out of this beast? Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

Kyle
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  1. Regarding the power supply, if your GX280 is a mini-tower chassis, you can install a standard ATX power supply. (for the smaller chassis models, you might only be able to fit a smaller form factor power supply).

    Depending on the position of the power cable connector and power switch on the rear of the new power supply, you might have to cut or bend the metal plate at the rear of the GX280 a bit. I've had to do that before with them.

    I believe the standard Dell power supply in the mini-tower chassis is 305W without PFC and with unknown efficiency. Replacing it with a good quality model such as Antec Earthwatts 380 or 430, or Corsair 400CX or 450VX should be a nice inexpensive upgrade and allow you to run most midrange video cards. Do you have a specific video card model in mind?

    That said, the 3.2GHz P4 will likely be a bottleneck for gaming. Check the Dell documentation or just phone up Dell tech support and ask if the motherboard would support a faster CPU. As you say, depending on CPU upgrade options it may make more sense to replace the system rather than upgrade it, if replacement fits in your budget.
  2. Daveman,

    I appreciate the reply; I'm sorta new to putting together computers (I've only really replaced RAM, Hard Drives, and Video Cards) so thank you for bearing with me.

    Honestly, at this point I'd like to see if I can make the most out of this machine and just sell them (I actually have two GX280s) so I can put together my own custom rig :sol: . I have no preference for a video card, though to give you an example, if I could put together a rig that could run Half-Life source fairly well (a recent but not new game), that'd be great. Again, newb here in regards to knowing a video card choice :p.

    I took a few pics of the fan because I'm not sure exactly how I'd go about removing the old one.

    http://s558.photobucket.com/albums/ss30/kaicm1984/?mediafilter=images

    Take a look and I'd appreciate any suggestions on the proper method of removal.

    Thanks again!

    Kyle
  3. It looks like that fan exhausts hot air both from the CPU and the rest of the case interior. So it's a pretty important fan! if it's working, I'd suggest leaving it as is. I'm sure it's temperature controlled, so speeds up to move more air when the CPU and case interior heats up.

    Case fans typically have a power connector with 2 or more wires in them, and screws or brackets to hold them in place.

    If you really want to replace that fan, I'd call up Dell and ask to buy a replacement directly from them. That's because it might not be a standard size and/or power connector. The fan shroud might also be inseparable from it. From the plastic pins on the fan shroud, perhaps just lifting the shroud up would release it. But be gentle to avoid breaking it.

    One more thing: I see from one of your photos that there's some dust in the CPU heatsink. Clean the heatsink by using a can of compressed air, or blowing on it. Don't use a vacuum or brush unless you really know what you're doing.
  4. kaicm1984 said:
    Daveman,

    I appreciate the reply; I'm sorta new to putting together computers (I've only really replaced RAM, Hard Drives, and Video Cards) so thank you for bearing with me.

    Honestly, at this point I'd like to see if I can make the most out of this machine and just sell them (I actually have two GX280s) so I can put together my own custom rig :sol: . I have no preference for a video card, though to give you an example, if I could put together a rig that could run Half-Life source fairly well (a recent but not new game), that'd be great. Again, newb here in regards to knowing a video card choice :p.

    I took a few pics of the fan because I'm not sure exactly how I'd go about removing the old one.

    http://s558.photobucket.com/albums/ss30/kaicm1984/?mediafilter=images

    Take a look and I'd appreciate any suggestions on the proper method of removal.

    Thanks again!

    Kyle


    That fan is VERY important..it is the CPU heatsink fan and must remain as it is or risk frying the CPU..most CPU cooler fans bolted directly to the heatsink but Dell had to be Dell and do something ridiculously different..I have replaced many of these types of fans for people as they typically clog with dirt/dust and quit..u would have to get it from Dell if its not working..it just slides up and out of the little grooves in the case..sometimes gets stuck...make sure as the daveman said..blow the dust away from the CPU heatsink and the rest of the chassis.
  5. OK, so after we get past maintenance that cleans up your rig(s), you want to make a modest gaming machine out of this. Since you have an empty PCI-E slot, and efficiency is important due to the OEM power supply, I recommend an AMD 4770 video card @ about $110. You do need to check and see that you have 2 extra molex power plugs to use as additional power to the card.
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