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CPU Compatability Help

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September 30, 2010 6:13:23 AM

Hey guys I own a Dell Inspiron 546 ST and I recently upped my video card to a geforce gts 450. I feel it probably will create a bottleneck from my cpu which is a tri core cpu 2.1 ghz. Here is my Belarc info.

CPU:
2.10 gigahertz AMD Phenom 8450e Triple-Core
384 kilobyte primary memory cache
1536 kilobyte secondary memory cache
2048 kilobyte tertiary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (3 total)
Not hyper-threaded

MotherBoard:
Board: Dell Inc. 0F896N A02
Serial Number: ..CN7360495G00UK.
Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
BIOS: Dell Inc. A11 01/19/2010

System Model:
Dell Inc. Inspiron 546S
System Service Tag: 89PCCK1 (support for this PC)
Chassis Serial Number: 89PCCK1
Enclosure Type: Desktop

I can't find much info on it, mostly all I know is that its a socket AM2, I can't distinguish if it's an AM2+ or just an AMD2 as I a, still learning this system. I want to replace the cpu with the best one possible, as 2.1 ghz isnt great for high end gaming at high screen resolutions.

Also note, my PSU is freed up from the video card because I use a booster power box to power the card, so the psu is free from having to power the video.

I was thinking something like this - on the AM+2 Side
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Anyone help out?

More about : cpu compatability

a c 124 à CPUs
September 30, 2010 5:07:05 PM

You have an AM2+ processor and can probably use most AM2+ processors. I would recommend you stay away from the 140W models. Also, keep in mind that this will violate your warranty (if you still have one) and will generate way more heat that the 65W processor you have now.

Go with the 940. It will save you a few bucks and still perform well. Also, since you are stuck with Dell's heatsink, you don't need an AMD provided heatsink.

Last, be sure to clean your heatsink well when you remove it and apply new thermal compound before you reseat on the new processor.

Good luck!
September 30, 2010 7:18:18 PM

Right now with no side cover and an AC unit on the computer I am getting 48c on temp when under load. (55+ with cover and AC off, never has shut off once.) The stock cooler does not look very impressive. I know the paste is a MUST 100% but are you sure this stock cooler with handle the cooling? If you do suggest a new cooler (If I need one for the 940) keep in mind I run a slim case and it's necessary at times to keep the side cover on during lan party adventures. The current cpu in this is a phenom 1, are you sure I can go to a phenom 2 am2+ cpu? I can't return this product if it don't work in the cpu socket and would be at a loss of 120 bucks or so.
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September 30, 2010 7:40:59 PM

I also had to pull the cpu cooler for the booster box upgrade for my video card and there is like no paste left on the processor. The temps now are described above but I assume with paste it would be alot lower temp.
a c 96 à CPUs
September 30, 2010 7:44:00 PM

I think that mobo can handle AM3 processors up to 95w ..... so

1) Make sure you have the most current BIOS; and
2) Snag a PhII 945 or Athlon x4.


Advice & direction from the Dell forums or tech support might ease your mind a bit on the investment :) 
September 30, 2010 7:48:59 PM

Well it makes me nervous because people say dell's builds are specific for the case and psu and all that jazz. BUT, I have freed up all power from the video as a dedicated psu is handling that business so I would think I could get away with a higher wattage cpu. For the cooling though I don't know if this stock dell cooler will do the job or not? Alot of people tell me you can't upgrade dell's cpus and such as the motherboard doesn't support the bios or something. Maybe that's just off brand cpus. I took off the cooler and seen the socket type says AM2 but not AM2+ and nowhere does it say AM3... I am confused on what cpus I can use and cannot. Dell's upgrade advisor for my system doesn't have any cpu upgrades through their site.
a c 124 à CPUs
September 30, 2010 8:23:57 PM

Dell uses proprietary HSF solutions in their systems so you are stuck with their stuff. Sometimes you can go to a site like txcesssurplus.com and get a beefier solution fro another higher powered Dell that will fit in your application, but you are stuck using Dell stuff.

The Phenom II's are generally more efficient than the first gen Phenoms. You can also use the Athlon X4s in your system. You should be able to run the 125W TDP processors, but in your SFF case, the 95W TDP CPUs would be better.
a c 96 à CPUs
September 30, 2010 8:25:12 PM

AM3 microprocessors function as both DDR3 and DDR2 memory controller

('Technically' your Phenom 8450e has the same functionality but the DDR3 capability of the Barcelona IMC was disabled)

Throw it out there on the Dell forum ...

You

Are

Not

Alone


:) 
September 30, 2010 10:13:30 PM

COLGeek said:
Dell uses proprietary HSF solutions in their systems so you are stuck with their stuff. Sometimes you can go to a site like txcesssurplus.com and get a beefier solution fro another higher powered Dell that will fit in your application, but you are stuck using Dell stuff.

The Phenom II's are generally more efficient than the first gen Phenoms. You can also use the Athlon X4s in your system. You should be able to run the 125W TDP processors, but in your SFF case, the 95W TDP CPUs would be better.



So I am stuck with Dell's stuff, but I can upgrade to a phenom or x4 cause my Dell mobo would be compatible with a phenom or x4 since dell makes comps with those cpus, just make sure to pick a AMD named brand cpu?
a c 124 à CPUs
October 1, 2010 12:32:36 AM

Only AMD makes AM2/AM2+/AM3 processors, so yes, you have to buy an AMD product.
a b à CPUs
October 1, 2010 4:11:11 AM

I may be wrong but I don't think you can upgrade AT ALL on that mobo. This is because most brand-in-a-box PCs have a BIOS that only supports the CPU it came with to stop users from doing things that these "manufacturers" find annoying like upgrading instead of buying a whole new box from them again.
October 1, 2010 5:41:48 AM

Is there anyway to be sure besides taking a risk and buying a cpu upgrade I can't use?
a c 124 à CPUs
October 1, 2010 10:50:44 AM

There is. Go to Dell's website and look for your model number of system. Look for the options that could be used to customize an order for your system. This will include processors options. I would be shocked if there wasn't a 4-core processor available for your system.

I am helping a lady in my office right now with her Dell 546. Other than using Dell BIOS, it is a standard looking mATX format motherboard with a standard AM3 socket configuration. Her system uses an Athlon x4 630 processor. I am sure it would work in yours.

Last, earlier I assumed your Dell would use one of their notorious proprietary heatsinks. This Dell that I am working on uses a generic, vanilla AMD heatsink/fan. You may be able to use a low profile HSF, like the Scythe Big Shuriken:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You would need to look at sizes and space for your system, but it is possible.

Good luck!
October 1, 2010 10:57:42 AM

I logged into the dell upgrade advisor thing and there is no cpu upgrade available to be through their site. But I have also been told they sometimes might include no upgrade but it's possible to still upgrade it. As for dell's website I got this going so far.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3...
a c 124 à CPUs
October 1, 2010 1:11:57 PM

OK. Dell isn't going to sell you an upgrade. If you upgrade, it is up to you. What you are asking to do is not something Dell will help you with.

I know for a fact that the 546 works with other AMD processors and there is no reason that the Phenom II 940 you are considering won't work. Also, I looked at the manual for your system and it does use a generic AMD AM2/AM3 heatsink and fan, so you can upgrade that as well as long as it fits into your cramped case.

Not as hard as it seems to do what you want to do. Good luck!
October 1, 2010 2:16:51 PM

Thanks CoL this problem is pretty much solved, you have sold me on it. I am picking up a new micro atx case for this transfer to deal with heat and score another 5.25 bay, is there any restrictions taking this mobo/hd ect and installing it into a new case and using a 500 watt power supply on it? Or is the board and components made specifically for the factory installed psu? Should I keep my little case? Should I stick with the 940 quad core 3 ghz, or should I look into an oem am3 processor and get a low profile heatsink? Or will my stock heatsink work?

Best solution

a c 124 à CPUs
October 1, 2010 4:41:38 PM
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You should be good to go transferring to a new case and PSU. Your system seems to be built of "standard" components so I don't see any issues with front panel connectors and such. Since you can't OC Dells, going with a retail processor (with provided heatsink/fan) is good enough and you shouldn't have to buy a low profile fan. For that matter, you can stick with what you have and be fine.
October 1, 2010 5:47:15 PM

I am going to save this thread and post back my results once I get things shipped here and installed, I am very excited now. Thanks CoL.
October 1, 2010 5:47:25 PM

Best answer selected by ArchAngelAlien.
a b à CPUs
March 17, 2011 12:05:29 PM

To everyone who owns an inspiron 546, you CAN upgrade to a better AM3 CPU! (i.e. Athlon II x2 - Phenom II x4 945) Make sure to get 95w or less.
!