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Upgrading a dell?

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May 21, 2011 3:25:14 AM

i have alot of experience with building my own computers but is it any different when upgrading a dell?

i plan to swap out psu, cpu, motherboard, and of course RAM

will i need special screws? what is the hole placement on the board? is it standard ATX or microATX? i am planning to put a new microATX motherboard in it. will the windows work?

thanks

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a b V Motherboard
May 21, 2011 3:39:00 AM

Most dells these days are Micro ATX systems that use standard parts, there were some old ones that were BTX.

If you plan to swap out the PSU, CPU, motherboard, and the RAM you will need to reinstall the OS due to the motherboard change at which point its not really a dell, you might was well just get a nice case to go with it and call it a new build from scratch.
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May 21, 2011 3:59:26 AM

ok so it's all standard pretty much except for the fact that you have to reinstall OS?

the point of this build is to pretty much upgrade my computer in "steps" since i dont have the cash right now
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a c 97 V Motherboard
May 27, 2011 3:17:50 AM

jeff77789 said:
ok so it's all standard pretty much except for the fact that you have to reinstall OS?

the point of this build is to pretty much upgrade my computer in "steps" since i dont have the cash right now

The biggest bang for your buck is to upgrade/add RAM.

Older Dells have DDR2 667 MHz RAM, and I just ordered 4 x 1 GB Corsair modules for my Optiplex 745 running XP. Nothing else is worth upgrading on my system.

I go along with hunter315's suggestion. Just build a nice computer from scratch gradually, spreading out the cost of the components. Black Friday 2011 (Nov 25) is a great time to buy stuff.
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May 27, 2011 3:22:57 PM

I have a Dell, like it well enough as a workhouse, but agree with the others' advice. Mechanically they're pretty standard, but they play lots of games with modified motherboards and BIOSes. Upgrading the mobo/CPU/RAM piecemeal will probably be an expensive headache since it's probably all pretty thoroughly outdated. (Dells tend to be semi-outdated right out of the box.)

You should Google around to see what can be done with your exact model/version before deciding whether it's worth trying to upgrade the core system beyond maxing out the RAM. FYI, Dell tends to produce numerous "revisions"/"versions" of the same model number PCs so figure out exactly what you're working with and be specific when you search!
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May 28, 2011 2:07:56 PM

We have a dimension 8400 that my dh is using now. I have swapped out over time, the psu, ram, dvd drive, video card, hard drive and I believe the motherboard was replaced but that was done by a tech before I figured out how to do these things on my own. Our runs pretty smoothly. I'm not sure what type of motherboard they used to replace it but may have been a replacement part from Dell. I replaced the power supply with a power and cooling one that says it fits the older dell machines and it worked fine. I have a new Dell, and the case is so small that I am struggling adding a new hard drive getting it in there and am short on bays as well. I am tempted to get a new case as well and move the guts over. I don't think I will do that right now as everything works well, but when I am ready to do an upgrade, I think I will.
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a c 97 V Motherboard
May 28, 2011 2:29:56 PM

mcrmama said:
We have a dimension 8400 that my dh is using now. I have swapped out over time, the psu, ram, dvd drive, video card, hard drive and I believe the motherboard was replaced but that was done by a tech before I figured out how to do these things on my own. Our runs pretty smoothly. I'm not sure what type of motherboard they used to replace it but may have been a replacement part from Dell. I replaced the power supply with a power and cooling one that says it fits the older dell machines and it worked fine. I have a new Dell, and the case is so small that I am struggling adding a new hard drive getting it in there and am short on bays as well. I am tempted to get a new case as well and move the guts over. I don't think I will do that right now as everything works well, but when I am ready to do an upgrade, I think I will.

You ended up with a new computer!
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May 28, 2011 10:19:08 PM

LOL, I really did. I guess that is why it is still around and humming 6 years later. We still have the old processor though. I have learned some doing this.
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May 29, 2011 2:36:41 AM

yea the point of this is to build a new computer but i dont have all $1500 right now so i have to upgrade a couple parts at a time
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June 5, 2011 1:10:35 AM

Best answer selected by jeff77789.
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