Dell Dimension 4700 Upgrades

I have seen quite a few people around the web asking about upgrading their old Dell Dimension 4700. Allot of the answer's are either completely wrong or the person is simply told "Buy a new computer".

While it's hard to argue the need to have a much newer PC if you want to run all the latest apps efficiently, there are still plenty of good reasons to keep an old 4700 around as long as it doesn't run slower than a dead dinosaur.

About a year and a half ago I built a new PC that can handle anything I give it but, before that (besides newer laptops) my old Dell Dimension 4700 was the best computer I had and due to a few upgrades it's still a very capable PC for a large number of tasks. For various reasons I also like to have a separate PC dedicated to windows XP and my 4700 is great for that.

About my upgrades: Cost is very important. If you are going to spend allot of money you might as well just buy a newer faster machine.

Compatibility with the 4700 and newer PC's (where it can be achieved) is also important. This is an old PC. It might last a long while longer and it might kick the bucket tomorrow. You just can't tell and it would be nice to salvage as many of the components you just bought if it does die tomorrow.

So I'll list all the upgrades I made in order of importance. Not all of these like the CPU and Ram will meet many compatibility standards for newer PC's.

1.) Ram: 2 - Crucial 2GB kits (1GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR2 PC2-5300 @ 35.99 each for a total of 4GB @ $71.98

2.) CPU: For any thing less than a 3.4GHz I would upgrade to a P4 670 @ 3.8GHz Socket 775 LGA (you need to have the latest bios A10) If you are upgrading from any thing less than a 3.4GHz you will also need to upgrade the Heatsink and Fan/Shroud Assembly

2a) CPU: as low as $61.25 new
or $27.88 used
Total cost for a 3.8GHz CPU upgrade: Under $100!

2b) N4399 CPU Fan & Shroud Assembly for CPU 3.4G (550)& Faster $14.95

2c) W4254 Heatsink Assembly for CPU 3.4G (550)& Faster New $29.00

2d) Bottom line : For around $100 new or allot less used you can upgrade to a 3.8GHz CPU

3.) PSU: you will need this next upgrade for the subsequent upgrade. I upgraded to a CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W PSU when it was on sale for $79 I went for the 650w PSU for future compatibility in a new build but for all intents and purposes a 500w PSU will do fine.

4.) Video card: I bought this one: which is now out of stock but, there are plenty of good choices for $100 or less. Some of my considerations were future compatibility, I wanted a card that only took up 1 slot in the back so I could add 2 outputs for eSata, HDMI W/audio, HDCP Ready and PCI Express 2.1. Even though the 4700 just has the original PCIe x16 for video PCIe 2.1 is backward compatible and will just run a little slower. You will still be able to play games like Borderlands and Call of Duty 2.

5.) Sata II: I bought this PCIe x1 card for $26
With this card you can use either the 2 internal Sata II ports or the 2 external eSata ports I used the internal ports which upgraded my 2-internal hard drives to a Sata II connection.

6.) Hard Drives: The 4700 can take 2 Hard Drives but if you want more than 1 you will need this bracket for $7.00:
I have 2 hard drives 1-Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM SATA II for my OS and more ($134) and 1-SAMSUNG F4 HD204UI 2TB SATA II for storage ($129.99).

7.) eSata: Since I was no longer using my mother boards 2-Sata ports, I bought an Ultra 2-Port eSATA PCI Bracket (Similar to this one: ) for $5 and mounted it under my video card. The fan for the video card is in the way of this PCI port but, since the eSata card doesn't need the port, just the rear slot and the video card is just a single slot card, I easily used this 2nd slot and just routed the Sata cables around the video cards fan to the motherboards Sata ports. This gives my 4700 2-eSata ports for external storage

8.) Sound Card: This still leaves one PCI slot open for a sound card. Soon after I originally purchased this 4700 from dell I added a $300 sound card. I would not do this today with a newer much better/faster PC that also has a great sound card. However if I still had the original Sound Blaster live 24 bit sound card installed I would upgrade to a $60 to $100 card but, that's just me.

9.) With these upgrades you might want to improve your cases cooling. I added a 120mm fan to the (modded) side panel that blows directly on the video card and another small fan blowing on the hard drives.

The total cost for all these up grades wasn't cheap but I don't think to many people want a $300 sound card on an old PC and you don't necessarily need 3TB of hard drive space either.

So if you take the cheep route and buy a used CPU @ $27.88, A CPU Fan & Shroud Assembly @ $14.95 and a CPU Heatsink @ $29 your total CPU upgrade is only $71.83.

Add a 4GB ram upgrade @ $71.98 and a Sata II capability upgrade @ $26 (not including what ever hard drive(s) you want since you may already purchased an upgraded HD) and your PC will seem like a completely different, quite capable PC for just under $170. Not a bad deal I think!

Is there anyone else with a 4700? What upgrades have you done?
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More about dell dimension 4700 upgrades
  1. IMO, a waste to upgrade anything on the existing board , like you said "it might kick the bucket tommorrow" then you'd be stuck with parts you can't do anything with

    Got the psu on sale for $40, plenty of power for all but the most expensive dual gpu cards
    About $255 total with tax

    No front sound, doesn't have a mic port anyway
    Mounted the HD in the floppy bay to make space for a 92mm intake fan, photo was taken before the exhaust was installed

    What did you do , buy a used D4700 ? The secondary HD cage should have been in it
  2. delluser1 said:
    IMO, a waste to upgrade anything on the existing board , like you said "it might kick the bucket tommorrow" then you'd be stuck with parts you can't do anything with

    Yea, you have a hell of a point there. I've been thinking about replacing the mother board too. I already have a good PSU, video card and sound card.

    Does any micro-ATX board fit that case or did you have to modify it?
    delluser1 said:
    What did you do , buy a used D4700 ? The secondary HD cage should have been in it

    No bought it brand new about 10yrs ago. Mine only came with 1 HD cage. Started upgrading about 4 months after that when I bought 2-1GB sticks of DDR2 400MHz ram for $480 LOL.

    My final upgrade was about 3yrs ago. After my video card died I bought a new PSU & video card with the intention of eventually putting them in a new build since I didn't want to add anything else to it that couldn't be used in another environment at a later time.

    Anyway, I'm glad you posted with another and probably the best upgrade alternative at this point.
  3. I upgraded my old 4700 too and it runs pretty good.
    512 MB RAM -> 4 GB RAM
    ATI Radeon x300 (integrated?) graphics -> MSI N240GT (PCI Express x16)
    80 GB SATA HDD -> 1 TB + 2 TB SATA HDD
    1x CD burner/DVD player (IDE) -> 2x DVD burners (IDE)
    305W PSU -> 700W PSU
    P4 520 CPU -> P4 661 CPU (ES)

    I also removed the floppy drive and some modem card. When I was installing the new PSU and CPU, I reversed the CPU fan inside the curved green shroud that was sucking air in so that it now blows out like the PSU. My 4700 used to get hot and blow out hot air but after the switch it seems to be cool and blows out cool air all the time. I'm not sure if the reversed fan or the new Cedar Mill core CPU reduced the heat more but I think the CPU did.
  4. I forgot to say that I reversed the fan because I heard that it made it run cooler.
  5. joeman99 said:
    I forgot to say that I reversed the fan because I heard that it made it run cooler.
    Yea, the 4700's case defiantly wasn't made with superior cooling in mind. I added 3 fans to mine. One in the removable side panel blowing on the video card, one underneath the front plastic face blowing towards the 1st hard drive (the metal under the face already has vent holes) and one small fan on the 2nd hard drive cage to keep that cool.

    I just recently added a 1GB RamCashe (no hardware, just a program) and its pretty amazing how much faster programs start up. I just added it like the day before yesterday but so far I'm really pleased.

    I have been using SuperSpeed's "RamCashe 5" on my other 6-PC's for over a year now and while I like it very much, with 2-SSD's in raid 0 for my OS the results are no where near as noticeable even though I have far more ram available to dedicate to the RamCashe.

    I'm not saying a RamCashe on my newer PC isn't worthwhile, I think it is. I'm just saying that the difference isn't night and day like it is with my old 4700 and it's mechanical hard drives.

    You should give it a try and let me know what you think. The application is "SuperSpeed RamCashe 5". It has a 14 day free trial period and SuperSpeed makes the only RamCashe that's certified by Microsoft.

    If you have 4 gigs of ram I suggest dedicating one gig or ram to it and using a 5 sec lazy-write. I think you'll be impressed. :sol:
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