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Upgraded a dell xps! (pics included)looking for advice....

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March 16, 2011 2:11:08 AM

Hey all! First post here, though I have been an avid reader for years!

I have a Dell XPS 8000 (i5-750, 4gb ddr 1033), and recently went on an upgrade bonanza, I caught the bug and cannot stop. In retrospect, I should have just built my own pc, but nevertheless let me tell you my story, and I hope to get some advice on what to do next.

About 2 months ago, after constantly reading up on tech/games, etc..., why not try to speed up my computer. I was quite content at that point, but I have this problem, where I just can't stand not having the most use out of whatever device I have (car-now I have a souped up audio system/video, home-nice arcam components etc..), so I began with the prospect of overclocking my PC.

Ah, it's a Dell, after reading numerous posts, I thought that for sure there was just no way to overclock this comp. without a new motherboard or flashing a new bios.
I stumbled upon a link on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-n83xgh4pA
Gave it a try, and surely enough it worked.
I loaded up core temp and verified that my FSB was actually increased.

Then I started looking at the temperatures, even before overclocking, my temps would easily hit 74 on a light load, this is with a ati 4350 at the time. Well, if I want to overclock, I better my temps down...

Purchased a (arctic cooling freezer pro 7) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....
Temps def. dropped, now with a overclocked cpu i'm hitting under 65 load.

Well, if i overclocked my cpu, I figure I should just go ahead and upgrade my gpu to try and maximize what i have. The dell is a tight fit, with an anemic 350watt PSU with one 6 pin PCI-E cable, and only one PCI-E 16 slot I wanted an effecient graphics card, decided on sapphire 6850 (in retrospect should have gotten a gtx 260, you'll see why later...)

So after tinkering, why not maximize the 6850? Lets overclock it! At this point I realize that overclocking a cpu and gpu on a 350 psu probably not a good idea.

Let's upgrade.

Purchased a Corsair HX650W. Absolutely LOVE IT! Fits right in the stock case, modular design gives me flexibility as the dell mobo is a mini-atx design, with cramped internal space.

So let's overclock both cpu/gpu now, temps too high, ok lets go ahead an add a new fan (arctic F9pwm) to the cpu heatsink for push-pull effect. Temps at 69 on full load.

Kind of dissapointed in temps. I do an experiment, I noticed temps creep up when gpu is being pushed, using the sapphire trixx, I put my fan speed to 60%, and BOOM.No, my computer did not explode, but my temps dropped to 64 max!

Realizing I need more cooling, I change the 92mm case fan out with a arctic tri-cool 92mm fan, w/ fan control, set it to high speed, temps max hitting 60 now with the GPU on auto-fan (have not tried to keep gpu fan up yet with this set up, as it was completed about 1 hr ago :) 

Ok, I feel good about system now, idel temps around 22C, load in low 60's. I still have the bug, what else can I do to improve the system.

Here is a profile of my system using various utilities: http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd488/mrhdream/IMG_...

Here is my system.
http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd488/mrhdream/IMG_...

1: Is replacing ram a worthwhile idea? I have fairly slow ram, yet somehow with my high FSB overclock it seems to run, I wonder if purchasing higher speed ram would increase chances of overclocking FSb more? (any FSB approaching 160 is not stable)
2. Is the ram safe to run at such a high speed?

3. Any utility in adding a new intake fan? Note how there are really only 2.5 areas of intake (one on the front bottom of the case, on the side panel). I open up an empty drive bay to expose more area for intake.
Look here: http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd488/mrhdream/IMG_...
and here: http://i1222.photobucket.com/albums/dd488/mrhdream/IMG_...

4. SSD drive a worthy investment?

Any other thoughts?
Would happily answer any questions about my system,
thanks!!
March 16, 2011 8:32:04 PM

would love any suggestions or comments!
thanks
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March 16, 2011 11:08:44 PM

SOLUTION: question 3 regarding intake fan

So, I read reports on the certain motherboards underpowering case fans. I decided to use the molex power plug (in addition to the white wire to mobo) for the tri-cool 92mm.

WhOA! What a difference, the fan actually sounds like its working now, moving great air!

Temps dropped to 18 at idle, at 52 max under load, now I'm very happy with temps and is inline with what I expected considering I have an aftermarket cpu cooler, push-pull set up. Also made the gpu temps drop a bit too!!

Still wondering about the ram issue...
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!