A huge upgrade

Ok here's the story. I recently (well last summer) inherited my parents old computer. Its a Dell Dimension XPS P166s. It has a pentium 1 (no MMX) 166 mhz. It came with 32 mb of RAM (we upgraded it to 64) Has a 2mb video card (wOOt) and integrated sound. I am thinking about upgrading it to a K6-2 550 mhz. (since the sockets are the same... or so i believe... please tell me if they aren't) And adding in a PCI geforce 2 mx 64 mb. THis would run me a bit under 100 bucks. But the problem is, that the computer only supports 64 mb of ram according to the dell spec sheet. I don't know if i should believe them. The big qwestion is, DO i believe dell about the 64 mb. And if it was true, then would a 550 mhz w/ geforce 2 still run fine for 100 bucks worth of equipment?

Any idiot can take apart a computer... It's putting it back together that troubles them.
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  1. Look.

    For the price of parts these days, you really should consider a different approach. Upgrading a P166 isn't really worthwhile. Ask yourself a few questions.

    What do I want my computer to do?
    How fast do I need it done.

    I've done a couple of P166s and a 133, and they're fine doing home wp, spreadsheets and 2D games. With 64MB of RAM your getting a decent speed from a system like that.

    I think if you spend your money on this, you'll be throwing good money after bad. Why not save for a while and get something a bit better.

    Not a cheerful post, but honest.

    <b><font color=blue>~scribble~</font color=blue></b> :wink: <A HREF="http://www.ud.com/home.htm" target="_new">Help cure cancer.</A>
  2. I have the same opinon as camieabz. And i'm pretty sure that your mobo couldn't fit a 550Mhz when it's been made for a pentium 166. It isn't from the same generation at all! For upgrading it you would need to change the mobo too.

    good luck!

    AMD vs Intel : the misinformation war! :tongue:
  3. Basically, your problem upgrading the memory is that it has an Intel VX chipset which have several severe limmitations. Also, the Dell BIOS will NOT work with anything other than an Intel CPU. Your best upgrade option with that machine is to throw in a Pentium 233 MMX and call it a internet port or web server. If you want to play games, work with video, etc, you'll need a new machine, but when upgraded to 233 that Dell will make a nice spare!

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  4. I would keep your system for a spare, and get a new generic system from pricewatch. Select "pc windows" and pick your cpu speed. Even the duron will be a big jump in speed, and they start at about $239 plus shipping. You can select from dozens of systems in each cpu category. Use a credit card in case you don't get what you ordered.
  5. Ok... I ripped open the computer today, and took off the heatsink, and found out it was socket 7, which is the same as the K6-2. I also updated the bios, which did very little.
    emailed dell, and they sent me there autoresponse, where the compyuter reads the message, and it responds with what it think can be done. It didnt say much:
    4g. Upgrading the processor on Pentium-based Dell PCs.

    If you are upgrading a Pentium-based Dell system, such as a Dimension
    XPS P___c series, Dimension M___a series or Optiplex GXi series computer
    (this is a partial and not a comprehensive list), there are a few
    options available to you to upgrade your processor.

    First, check the specifications for your system at:


    Go to the Reference section and select User's Guides.

    Any processors that are tested and known to work with your system will
    be listed in the specifications for the system. Processors that are
    not listed have not been tested or validated by Dell.

    There are socket adapters that may allow you to use the latest chips
    such as MMX and AMD. They also allow dip-switch settings to use the
    higher clock speeds, and power connections for dual power requirements of
    MMX and AMD chips, and this is without using the MMX Overdrive upgrade.
    The PowerLeap adapter at:


    is one option for upgrading to Socket 5 and 7 Processors.

    Another company that makes products that you may wish to consider is
    Concept Manufacturing at:


    They offer a similar line of products that allow the use of other

    Check with the manufacturer before buying an upgrade to determine if
    they have tested their product with your particular Dell model; many
    companies perform their own validation testing on Dell systems.
    I am waiting for their human response.

    Any idiot can take apart a computer... It's putting it back together that troubles them.
  6. dells are disposable computers, dont waste your money on upgrading that thing. not too much is going to be reusable on it, if you upgrade the cpu you will most likely have to get an adaptor and im not too keen on that idea, if you upgrade the mobo to somthing more civilised the psu probly wont be enough. then you would need ram, assuming that thing only has simms. the box may not work for you either, i dont think they used atx back then. the hard drive is not a performer either. you could probly use the floppy over again if its not built into the case.

    i went to the tomshardware forums and all i got was this lousy signature.
  7. Actually, i took linux off of it(well no i switched hard drives) and i installed DOS 6.2 I wanted to play all the original games. It runs dos very well. I put in my old Sound Blaster sc400 which came with my 4x cdrom drive(i put that into the computer also even though it doesnt work in dos) and i was going to put in my old 5 1/4 inch floppy drive, but i got rid of it about 3 months earlier. It helps me remember my childhood gaming of Commander Keen, Captain Comic, Crystal Caves, Jill of the Jungle, Dangerous Dave(i didnt play it as a child but its very addictive) Duke Nukem, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventures etc etc etc
    So now i have a computer that runs nothing but dos games, but it loads in 5 seconds so i'm game
    Thx for your response

    Any idiot can take apart a computer... It's putting it back together that troubles them.
  8. Reversi, just a note about upgrade to k6. One of the most important things is that it uses LOWER voltage that Pentiums (and obviously BIOS has to detect it). Even if it's socket 7, it won't work, you will fry the CPU.

    Your problem is that probably nothing you have can be reused in a new system. Even the case and PSU should be AT, meaning current mobo's can't run on it. The only thing is if you find some mobo+k6 for a very good price, I would recomend the upgrade.

    DIY: read, buy, test, learn, reward yourself!
  9. You can't run any AMD CPU on any Dell motherboard because Dell intentionally puts a bug in the BIOS to prevent it from booting. I've ran into this issue many times, where the same model board with Intel BIOS would boot with the AMD CPU, but the Dell would not.

    You may have an ATX case, if it's a plastic tower model, it's most likely a Palo Alto ATX case with a Dell proprietary power supply/front panel connector. The front panel connector is relatively easy to rewire, but cases with power supplies are so inexpensive now it's probably not worth the effort.

    <font color=blue>At least half of all problems are caused by an insufficient power supply!</font color=blue>
  10. Just to let all of you know, this idea has been scrapped. This computer now runs dos(see previous message)

    Any idiot can take apart a computer... It's putting it back together that troubles them.
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