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Dell Dimension 8400 CPU upgrade

Last response: in CPUs
October 29, 2012 12:28:03 PM

I have installed Windows 8 on my Dell Dimension 8400 only to discover my Pentium 4 3ghz 530 is incompatible as it does not have the Execute Disable option (XD). Can anyone recommend a replacement P4 CPU? I have found a P4 520 which according to Intels website has the XD option or is there a 64bit CPU compatible with my system?
a c 188 à CPUs
October 29, 2012 2:59:09 PM

All of the Intel® Pentium® 4 and Intel Pentium D processors were 32bit only. So the maximum addressable memory is 4GB. In order to get a 64bit processor you would have move to the Intel Core™ 2 Duo processors. The problem with this is that the chipset that is on the board that you have is a 925 which won't support the Intel Core 2 Duo's. The Intel Pentium 4 640 looks to be the best option to try and find and get support for Execute Disable.

I would think it would be a better value for you to simply get a newer low end system that would outperform that old system.
June 12, 2013 7:05:53 AM

IntelEnthusiast said:
All of the Intel® Pentium® 4 and Intel Pentium D processors were 32bit only. So the maximum addressable memory is 4GB. In order to get a 64bit processor you would have move to the Intel Core™ 2 Duo processors.

This is not true. Check the Wikipedia page List of Intel Pentium 4 Microprosessors for chips that support "Intel 64" There are many. I am researching options for a Dimension 8400, so wanted to comment.
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June 12, 2013 7:18:17 AM

The recommendation is correct though. He could purchase an AMD APU system that would outperform his current PC. His options currently for the 8400 is purchasing a faster (if one exists) used processor but it will still be far behind current technology.

The model line from Dell was available in 2004. 9 years equals a computer way past its prime no matter how much you paid for it.
June 12, 2013 7:47:18 AM

You can always spend more money on upgrades. My Dimension 8400 is a good quality machine that is still running.

A Pentium 4 HT 640 Prescott 2M 3.2GHz can be had used for under $10. People have reported that the 3.8GHz 670 also works, but will produce more fan noise.
a b à CPUs
June 12, 2013 12:07:46 PM


I have a Dell Dimension 8400, purchased new in 2004. The bad news is that it can only use as single-core Pentium 4 (not Pentium D or Core2) and the good news is that you can change to a single-core Pentium 4, that is 64-bit, hyperthreading 670, runs at 3.8GHz- and not at all expensive>

> which is a current eBay (6.12.13) listing for the magic P4 670 for only $13.75, shipping included. This is a bit hotter running as bhhenry mentioned.

First, update the BIOS at Dell's site, have the full 4GB RAM, and the 670 CPU will really surprise you. Most applications are still single threaded and as the hyperthreading allows the core's off time to take up instruction sets, and this is 64-bit at 3.8GHz, you'll have good results- a good use of $14. The 670 does have the execute disable bit >

My 8400 has the 630 @ 3.0GHz, 4GB RAM, and a Quadro FX 570 (256MB) with Windows 7 64-bit (upgraded from XP 32-bit), AutoCad 2004, Adobe CS3, Corel Graphics Suite 12, Sketchup, WordPerfect Office X4 and MS Office 2003, and more- perfectly well. If I didn't change to 3D CAD modeling in 2010, I'd probably be using still the 8400 as my main system. After I changed systems, for a year and a half, I used the 8400 as a HD recording system and made 100's of both live and MIDI recordings. Extremely reliable.

If you're having sluggish performance, you might consider upgrading the graphics card- the results can be better yet. You might consider something like a GeForce GT 210 1GB DDR3 for $30 or so>

and if you're doing CAD, find a used Quadro 600 (1GB)- about $60.

The top rated 8400 on Passmark has a rating of 501, 2D=311, 3D=456, MEM=604, Disk=508, using 32-bit XP Pro, a 3.2GHz and GeForce 8600GT.

There are limitations of course- with 4 GB RAM, not too many programs will run at once, but as mentioned most programs do not utilize multiple cores- rendering is the main exception, so the 8400 with a bit of sprucing up, will - if your not doing rendering, complex 3D modeling, particle simulations and so on, work for a long time.



June 12, 2013 6:34:04 PM

hafijur said:
Get a new computer. If you upgrade to a new cpu you will feel much better trust me. Last thing you want is a super slow hot computer. Your life is being wasted using ancient tech if you do anything intensive. Trust me pentium m cpus destroyed p4's about 5x better performance per watt back 10 years ago then p4's. Look on ebay and get a cheap core i3 machine, any core i3 thats cheap will do. Then you will have a cool and quiet pc ready to do tasks superfast. I would not even bother upgrading the cpu, there is literally no point. Keep in mind the newer cpus take a lot less electricity to complete the same task about 10x less electricity to complete the same task. Its your choice.

Spending $275 + $25 shipping on a used machine from ebay won't make you feel better. The idea is to make one's life better, not poorer. 9 or 10 year old tech is not ancient, at least not if it is built with good quality parts.

CPU intensive tasks are rare. Also, spending some time optimizing the system can reward. Leave the waste in the garbage. And do that superfast.

Oh yes, the point: What will make you feel better is spending only $10-15 to solve the original problem.

And I forgot ... Enable power management in the system to minimize carbon footprint. Power to the People!