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Replace MB in Dell XPS 730

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January 13, 2010 4:11:44 PM

I want to replace the MB in my Dell XPS 730 (full tower). In theory, Dell used a standard MB. It has a Core2 Q9550. I want to put in a MB with an I7 860 and memory (8 GB).

It currently runs 4 threads of worldcommunitygrid.org science apps 24/7/365. It will be doing same running 8 threads (using hyperthreading) so I don't necessarily want the cheapest I can get..Nor go overboard on the "best".

I would seriously appreciate any advice I can get on what motherboard, cpu&cooler and memory I should get that I could just plug together with sameo power etc. connectors. Kind Regards to all Again Many Thanks

More about : replace dell xps 730

a b V Motherboard
January 13, 2010 4:42:44 PM

Since this is a Dell computer, if you replace the processor, motherboard, and memory, your original version of Windows will not work on the new computer. Because you have an OEM version of Windows from Dell, this version is not transferable to a completely new CPU and motherboard. So you will also have to purchase a new version of Windows.

Also, the Q9550 processor that you currently have is quite good, and the i7-860 will only give you about a 10 percent boost in output. Take a look at this comparison:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=108&p2=50
I know you mentioned you plan on using hyperthreading in the new processor, but are you sure this will lead to a significant increase in throughput?

Anyway, if your still interested in upgrading you system, you should consider the following:
Gigabyte P55A-UD3L ($100):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GSkill RAM X2:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Intel i7-860 comes with an Intel supplied heat sink fan. If you want to install something a little better consider the Hyper 212:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good luck with your build.
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January 13, 2010 5:20:43 PM

Thank You Very Much Sir. I had no idea if the motherboards on the market would hook up directly to the USB, Power etc. etc. cables in the machine and that is what I needed advice on.

As Paul Harvey would have said...now the rest of the story. The USB ports and the sound have failed on the machine (XPS730). Further there are all kinds of flaky things going on with the DVD drives. The machine went out of warranty in September and I would almost bet that the problem is MB related since so many things have failed. I talked with Dell and they want almost $300 to put it in warranty and then we would have to fight all the issues. I am not very happy with them at the moment -- that was an expensive machine to buy.

I had forgotten that I would have to replace the Opsys. I guess I will bite the bullet and take it to Windows 7. My main machine is already on 7 and I like it while the 730 is still on Vista 64.

I sincerley appreciate your advice along with the links. You have made it easy for me. :D 
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January 13, 2010 6:16:27 PM

Anand is doing a article today about attacking pc problems, he mentions one system where the usb ports stopped working and sound problems. Diagnosed the i/o hub on m/b, just mentioned because thats your problems as well. Those symptoms could mean other things i'm sure but it was fresh in my mind. When you take your m/b out of your old system you could follow the wires back front usb ports and front sound inputs. So you will know what wires do what. They probably will have standard connectors , if not......worst case scenario is NEW CASE. Antec 300 , 60 bucks.
Your going to need new memory with the build. (you knew that!)
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January 13, 2010 7:45:45 PM

notty22 said:
Anand is doing a article today about attacking pc problems, he mentions one system where the usb ports stopped working and sound problems. Diagnosed the i/o hub on m/b, just mentioned because thats your problems as well. Those symptoms could mean other things i'm sure but it was fresh in my mind. When you take your m/b out of your old system you could follow the wires back front usb ports and front sound inputs. So you will know what wires do what. They probably will have standard connectors , if not......worst case scenario is NEW CASE. Antec 300 , 60 bucks.
Your going to need new memory with the build. (you knew that!)


Thanks for the advice. I did know about the about the memory. I want 8 Gigs so I will have to either install 4 of the recommended dims or get 4Gig ones and install only 2.

You mention Anand is doing an article today.. Can you point me at it?

Thank You again. You guys are great!!

Oh and BTW, that 730 case is a full tower and one of the best looking ones I have seen. It has lots of mounting brackets, extra wiring and lots of fans. I really want to reuse it. :) 
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January 13, 2010 8:56:12 PM

dpaul8 said:

Also, the Q9550 processor that you currently have is quite good, and the i7-860 will only give you about a 10 percent boost in output. Take a look at this comparison:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=108&p2=50
I know you mentioned you plan on using hyperthreading in the new processor, but are you sure this will lead to a significant increase in throughput?



I think that since I have both a Q9550 as well as several i7 920's and I have been crunching WCG for years I can more accurately answer that.

For some people and their usage indeed a Q9550 is a very good processor just as an i7 is.

That said though for someone who engages in crunching WCG the output difference between the two different CPU's is quite substantial.

My Q9550 turns in about 18,000 to 21,000 WCG points per day whereas my i7 920's turn out 30,000 to 35,000 WCG points a day using Hyper Threading and this is with the machines overclocked to 3.5GHz and 3.6GHz respectively.

Consequently depending on what a person is using the computer for there can be a huge difference in performance.

*Note my CPU's are the i7 920 and not the 860 however I believe the biggest difference is the Hyper Threading and the fact that I can run 8 work units at once as opposed to just 4.
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January 14, 2010 1:08:59 PM

Thank You all very much. I have built a shopping cart over at NewEgg. That has all the recommended stuff in it. Plus thermal paste and windows 7 Ultimate 64.

That package is $762.94 which is rich for my budget. ($180 for Win 7).

Lone_Wolf53. I am no newbe at WCG. I produce something like 90-100k points per day over at "MyOnlineTeam". I am just not a hardware guy. I have a 920 and an 860 as well as a half-dozen other machines that do mostly WCG stuff (Primarily the two Cancer Research projects). And yes, there is a big difference in the I7s and the previous CPUs. HyperThreading is some of it and the turbo-boost I think makes up the rest of it. The overall throughput increase is indeed significant.

notty22 Thanks for the pointer. I went over and looked at the article. It kind of spooks me. I did this once before and remember those sicking moments when it does not work and you have no idea why.

Considering that I am a novice hardware person, before I pull the trigger over at newegg and place that order, is there any reservations from anyone (especially you dpaul8)?

Oh... And by the way, I really do appreciate all you guys being so helpful. It is very nice of you.
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a b V Motherboard
January 14, 2010 3:34:53 PM

Salesselas -- I would be glad to take a look at your Newegg shopping cart, but you have not provided a link (or I am missing it).

It appears like you have included Win 7 Ultimate ($180) for your operating system. Ultimate has a language pack which makes it $40 more expensive than the Professional version. I am assuming you need the multiple languages. If not drop down to the Professsional version ($140) or the Home version ($105).

Good luck once again.
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January 14, 2010 3:47:30 PM

dpaul8 said:
Salesselas -- I would be glad to take a look at your Newegg shopping cart, but you have not provided a link (or I am missing it).

It appears like you have included Win 7 Ultimate ($180) for your operating system. Ultimate has a language pack which makes it $40 more expensive than the Professional version. I am assuming you need the multiple languages. If not drop down to the Professsional version ($140) or the Home version ($105).

Good luck once again.


Wow.. If that is the only difference, then I can use the $40 elsewhere. :) 

I am worried about putting a link on this site to my "secure" shopping cart. I will copy paste below.

Quote:
Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM Item #: N82E16835100007 Return Policy: Consumable Item Standard Return Policy $6.99

select item 2 quantity of item 2
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231193
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy $195.98
($97.99 each)

select item 3 quantity of item 3
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3L LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128406
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$25.00 Instant
$124.99
$99.99

select item 4 quantity of item 4
Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
Item #: N82E16819115214
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy -$10.00 Instant
$289.99
$279.99

select item 5 quantity of item 5
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116762
Return Policy: Software Return Policy $179.99
Subtotal: $762.94
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Best solution

a b V Motherboard
January 14, 2010 4:40:19 PM

Salesselas-- You do not need the Arctic Silver 5 paste if you are using the Intel stock heat sink fan that comes with the i7-860 processor because this unit already has thermal paste applied.

The RAM is fine. The motherboard will also work well, and is a bargain at $100.

If you live near a Microcenter store, you can pick up a i7-860 processor for $230. But this deal is only available for in-store pick up.

And as I mentioned previously, you could probably get by with Win 7 Home if you do not need advanced networking capabilities (Win 7 Pro) or multiple languages (Win 7 Ultimate).
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January 14, 2010 5:52:42 PM

dpaul8 said:
Salesselas-- You do not need the Arctic Silver 5 paste if you are using the Intel stock heat sink fan that comes with the i7-860 processor because this unit already has thermal paste applied.

The RAM is fine. The motherboard will also work well, and is a bargain at $100.

If you live near a Microcenter store, you can pick up a i7-860 processor for $230. But this deal is only available for in-store pick up.

And as I mentioned previously, you could probably get by with Win 7 Home if you do not need advanced networking capabilities (Win 7 Pro) or multiple languages (Win 7 Ultimate).


OK.. that is great.. I will drop the paste and have already changed the Ultimate 64 to Professional 64 (I do need the advanced Networking but not the languages).

The nearest Micro Center is in Houston (about 200 miles); There is a Frys in Arlington (Between Dallas and Fort Worth) but that is about 90 miles. Man... that is a big price difference though.

I am placing the order shortly. Is there any chance I can overclock it just a little bit?

Update: I ordered it.

Still the hopefully last question... Is there any chance I can overclock it a tiny bit?
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a b V Motherboard
January 14, 2010 10:32:25 PM

With the Intel heat sink fan supplied with the processor, you may be able to overclock your processor a little bit. Download HWMonitor to record your CPU temperatures:
http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php
The design specification on the i7-860 process is 72.7 C, which means you should be able to overclock the processor to this temperature without having to worry about doing any damage. Of course, if you really want to overclock you should have gotten the Hyper 212 heat sink fan ($30) that I listed above because this would have allowed you to push your processor speed even higher before you hit the temperature limit. By the way, Newegg is offering free shipping on the Hyper 212 right now, so you could still order it if your interested.

Best regards.
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January 14, 2010 10:41:16 PM

dpaul8 said:
With the Intel heat sink fan supplied with the processor, you may be able to overclock your processor a little bit. Download HWMonitor to record your CPU temperatures:
http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php
The design specification on the i7-860 process is 72.7 C, which means you should be able to overclock the processor to this temperature without having to worry about doing any damage. Of course, if you really want to overclock you should have gotten the Hyper 212 heat sink fan ($30) that I listed above because this would have allowed you to push your processor speed even higher before you hit the temperature limit. By the way, Newegg is offering free shipping on the Hyper 212 right now, so you could still order it if your interested.

Best regards.


Again Great Information. Too bad you aren't around so I could buy you lunch. :)  I will download that and watch it for a while before I do anything. I am pretty conservative about these things so may not try to OC at all.

You have been a great help. I will keep the pointer to this thread and post back here when it gets here and I get it fired up. :wahoo: 
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January 21, 2010 7:41:04 PM

It is working -- Running just as it is supposed to. Long and confusing day...but I am a novice at this blacksmith stuff :sweat: 
dpaul8 you really know your stuff. Thank You Very Much :) 
Now all my problems are software. But I can stumble my way through that. :bounce: 
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