Hi, I have a dell xps 700 series intel core duo extreme 2.93 ghz, 4gig 667 ram, 4 500 gig hard drives, nvidia gtx 295 video with 2gig vram.
I'm running windows 7 32 bit, it's 3 years old and still running fine but starting to show its age. Would it be worth upgrading the motherboard processor and ram and how do I do that. ie would any mb fit correctly in my case? Sorry if these questions seem naive.
In my book, that is still a pretty decent piece of machinery you've got there but if it's more power you want, here goes...
It's sometimes tough with Dell as their cases are usually proprietary and sometimes don't fit normal ATX motherboards. You would have to google that particular model and see if it'll house ATX motherboards.
Your best bet, if you're going to upgrade the Motherboard/CPU/RAM (and possibly the case) is to wait till after the new year when Sandy Bridge for Intel & Bulldozer for AMD come out. Your system is quite capable to hold you over until that time.
Also, your power supply may be limited as Dell is not known for packing quality PSU's with their systems. It may be powering your system now and for the last 3 years but if i were you and upgrading the mobo/CPU/RAM, i would invest in a quality PSU like a Corsair TX 750 or better so you have room for future upgrades (such as SLI or crossfire) and it will be more dependable with less of a chance to fry any other items within the rig...
Not really anything you can do to upgrade your performance. You already have one of the best processors for it, you're halfway there with ram and you have a nice video card. You could add more ram but your operating system will only recognize 3.25 GB's of it. You can change to a 64bit system and use the 4 GB's. You can probably get a faster video card but I'm not sure about what specs your PSU are so I don't know if it will handle it/has the connections for it. If you have the money a solid upgrade will be recommended. Depending on the amount of money you're willing to spend on it determines how far we can go. What is the budget and we won't go over it by tooo much And mostly, what are you going to use it for? Gaming would be my guess based on what you have and when you got it. So if you want to go that route I can start by telling you that it's an ATX case so any ATX motherboard should fit in it, (measure your current board and let us know. A couple of questions we ask are - what is your power supply unit capable of? do you want to keep that video card for now and upgrade later? Are you happy with your hard drive(s) or do you want bigger ones or SSD's? do you want all new parts or are some used ones OK? We can give you links and ideas and all kinds of stuff just give us what you'd like to do.
First, most prebuilts have proprietary parts, specifically the motherboards and cases. That means you won't be able to pick up a regular, off-the-shelf board and have it immediately work.
Second, unless you bought a retail version of Windows, you will need a new copy to run with the new board. Vendor ship computers with an OEM OS license which is tied to a specific motherboard. If you try to plug the HDD into a new motherboard, you won't be able to boot into the OS.
Third, the PSUs shipped with prebuilts are terrible. I wouldn't trust them to run newer, higher end parts at all.
Frankly, instead of trying to upgrade the individual parts, I'd start looking at a new build. You'd already be looking at replacing the CPU, board, RAM, case, and PSU. At that point, you'd be only a couple parts shy of a completely new build (the GPU could be carried over if you want). I'd highly recommend building one yourself instead of buying one from a vendor. It really doesn't take much cash to get going.
Thank You all. I have a 1000w psu and gaming is the primary purpose of this pc. At present I am just thinking about my options. And I do have the retail full version of windows 7 as I upgraded from xp. Your ideas are welcome and helpful.