Dell XPS Generation 5, would like to upgrade

December 7, 2009 at 10:50:12
Specs: Windows 7 64-bit Professional
Ok all, I have an upgrade question for you:

My original system configuration was a Dell XPS Generation 5, Pentium D 830, FSB of 800 MHz, Intel 955x Express chipset, 1 GB (2 x 512 MB DIMMs) PC5300 (DDR2-667), 74 GB WD Raptor (8 MB, 10K RPM), 256 MB NVidia GeForce 6800, running Windows XP (with some other randoms: TV tuner, Soundblaster, 5.1 speaker, media-card reader, etc). I bought it in 2005, and since then have done the following:

1) Added 2 more 512 MB DIMMs in the other 2 slots for a total of 2 GB (same specs as originals)

2) Upgraded to a GeForce 9800 GT (512 MB)

3) Upgraded to Windows 7 professional 64-bit

4) offloaded all my media/storage onto a Linux-run RAID 5 consisting of 5 500 GB HDDs, for a total storage space of 1.8 TB according to the computer.

I'd like very much to optimize further, and I want to know first of all, are the following upgrades a) possible, b) the best (or can we go further with this system) and c) necessary, regarding when the CPU will likely be the bottleneck, rather than all the components.

1) Intel Generation 2 80 GB SSD: SSDSA2MH080G2C1

2) 4 x 1GB DIMM of PC6400 DDR2-800, or 4 x 2GB DIMM of PC6400 DDR2-800

3) What else, short of buying a new computer/ new mobo and CPU?

Any ideas/sugestions?

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December 7, 2009 at 10:54:33
Oh, also, I'm pretty sure my Power Supply goes up to 800 Watts, or 1 kW, either way, power's not really an issue. Do you think any of these upgrades...well...specifically the memory, would necessitate better cooling?

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December 7, 2009 at 13:39:18
The SSD is a waste of money & I doubt you'll gain anything by running DDR2-800 RAM. You *may* gain some performance by increasing the RAM amount from 2GB to 4GB, but the proper RAM to run with an 800MHz FSB Pentium D would be DDR2-533 (or higher speed RAM underclocked to DDR2-533 speed). That would give you a 3:4 ratio, which seems to be optimal for netburst based CPUs.

If cooling isn't an issue now, it won't be after adding more RAM.

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December 7, 2009 at 13:52:40
Thanks for the reply. Why do you think the SSD is a "waste of money?" will my system (SATA2 supported) not see the benefit for some reason that I';m not thinking of? As for the memory, I appreciate the assessment, I think that supports the rest of the info I've found, in that 800 MHz is overkill.

On a side note, do you think upgrading to a new CPU would change anything in your assessment? My mobo is a dell GC068, which (I think) supports only the Pentium D lines, (though I'd really like to get Core 2 Duo), so, do you think going to Pentium D 960 would be a good idea? What about the memory and SSD then?

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