View Full Version : Dell, overclocking, and after market parts

04-24-2007, 10:21 PM
I looked into overclocking my P4 3 GHz Northwood and due to the fact that it is a Dell, I can't. You can't mess with the BIOS. Then I found that some Dells can be overclocked using a utility called CPUFSB, but not mine. It has an unsupported PLL. So that's that. But it is the last in a string of little nuisinces from my Dell. If you buy an aftermarket power supply, it won't fit into the case (without doing some pain in the @$$ "modifications".) If you want to install a different cooling system for your CPU, it has a non standard heat sink bracket (which you can change but that entails removing the whole Mobo- yeah I feel like doing that.) I guess my point is- If you think you will ever like to tweak your system, maybe even way in the future just for fun, don't get a Dell. They REALLY want you to buy parts from them and only them. In their defense, I see where they're coming from- they probably got a million calls from people who fried their CPU by screwing around as I'm describing and just didn't want to deal with it. That's one thing. But having to wait a week for a new Dell power supply, when one can walk around the corner and pick a stock one up in 30 minutes. That's a different story. Now I'm rambling but I've made my point.

Here's a question- What PC makers make systems that are better for tweaking and modifying. (I know I know build your own from scratch blah blah blah.) I ask because maybe they are all pains about that like Dell (but I doubt it.)

04-24-2007, 10:45 PM
sorry you bought a Dell - I 'Fell' for it the first time I bought a rig.

CRapboxes suckalot - you need to find a builder in your area, thats what I eventually did.

Local guy - not a big shop - licensed to build M/S spec rigs....get to know about motherboards CPU's, GPU's etc and then go to a shop and talk about what you want the rig to do, what kind of performance you expect and how much you want to spend.

Things like ram and hard drives and sound cards, are not big ticket items like the other stuff I mentioned so aside from planning on at least 2 gigs of ram just make sure you get a big roomy case and lots of fans to keep it all cool under the hood. You already know how important a good power supply is - you want atleast 500w now maybe more...

It does add up quick though so make sure you know what you can afford.

The good news is that you probably have all your peripherals already, speakers, monitor, keyboard etc...all you need to replace is the big box so thats a good thing.

Look - those mcputers have their place- if you've got alot of cash and can afford a brand new one every 12-14 months than stay with it - but they ARE all the same - all proprietary machines where you have to buy their hardware and have extremely limited upgradeability (just enough so that they can tell you they are upgradeable) without breaking the law.

Go the other way - learn about compatability and expandability and know which mobo's and chipsets can be upgraded - make sure you can go from one GPU to two on that board - make sure you can add another HD if you want without needing a new PSU and don't be a victim.

Do not buy anymore Dell or Alien or whatever...unless you like aggravation.

04-25-2007, 02:57 AM
Absolutely agree with Heywood re branded PC's. 90% of them are designed with proprietary strategic components and planned obsolescence in mind. The major PC mfrs want to make sure that you come back to them every three years for a new pc.

The best gaming PC I ever owned was done by a builder buddy. He used all top of the line components, from m/b to scsi h/d to case and coolers and it still came out at about half the cost of a comparable Falcon NW system.

Since it was built first and foremost as a gaming machine, bios settings were oriented 100% toward gaming instead of being compromised by business app needs, etc. Never had a single hiccup loading or running a game and the FR performance was terrific (for the games of the day).

04-25-2007, 03:21 AM
Hey Dude, you got a DELL! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Now if you got Alienware, it's a DELL! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/34.gif

Since your in Dell Hell it's time to
concider a custom or build it yourself.

HP, Dell, Gateway, HP all have nice pre-packaged
E-Mail machines.

If you want to have a high end maching the best
way is to....

Befriend a Geek....

Build your own....

Pay for a custom builder to do it for you....


04-25-2007, 04:19 AM
I don't buy Hell, Hateway, or Aikenware, I've built my own for many years. The last "factory" computer I bought was a Commodore Amiga, next one was Intel based and built by a local shop, that was in 1995 or 96. Since then, I've built my own. With Plug-n-Play it is very easy to build your own, just exercise a bit of care and read the instructions.

04-25-2007, 05:26 AM
Another option is to buy a Dell and go to Comp USA and buy a Centurian new case $50 and move the parts over to the new case.

Custom build ITWTG but all parts have to have no defects and you have to build within the warranty return time for each component.

TgD Thunderbolt56
04-25-2007, 05:56 AM
My laptop is a Dell, but I build all my own desktops (and a few of my friends'). It's cheaper, I make sure there's a decent upgrade path and I don't get all that added useless software that just slows down my system. I also know exactly what is inside and though they only have individual hardware manufacturers' warranties, I've had little trouble with any of them.

Good research, reputable dealers and hardware compatibility go far to eliminate any potential problems and the satisfaction of doing it yourself is sweet.


04-25-2007, 03:47 PM
Building your own is really no big deal.
As "stansdds" said, it's easier since Win XP
and most modern components are plug and play.
I won't recomend Windows Vista yet.

Yes, read the instructions.
Never force anyting.

Matching and compatibility is the only
real challenge. Motherboard, RAM and CPU
must match.
If in doubt, post here for a recomendation,
you will get plenty of free advise.

Motherboard also must match Nvidia or ATI if
you have your heart set on a Crossfire(ATI)
or a SLI (Nvidia) dual video card rig.

Otherwise you can use ATI or Nvidia on any

If you want a high end game rig, this is the best
rout. If you want an E-Mail rig and all you
do is web surfing buy a $600 special from HP
or Dell, you can not build the low end cheaper
than they do.

But on the high end, you can double your bang for the buck.

By the way, I had an Gateway GP6 for many years.
I removed the plastic top from the case, cut
a large square hole and mounted the power supply
there because it did not fit in the original location.
It looked neat.


04-25-2007, 04:24 PM
Dell is not so bad as people like to over exagerate them to be. Just be sure to buy from the outlet and you get some great deals.

We have all Dell machines at our office now because we don't have time to fix them ourselves and Dell on-site support is quite good to us. I have been so impressed that I stopped building my own machines and have ordered 4 for my family and myself.

The last deal I got was an XPS 410, E6300, 1 gig ram, 160 mb hard drive for $428. I tossed in a BFG 7900GSOC and another gig of ram (from Newegg) and it's a very nice mid-stream gaming system. No way could I have built it cheaper buying the parts seperately.

04-25-2007, 06:18 PM
lol i bought a Dell XPS 710, 2 days after my order arrived, they had updated the one on their site to include a 8800GTX, i got stuck with the 7950GX2 http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif.... not to mention about $800 cheaper than what i payed

04-25-2007, 06:45 PM
Playing this game is what got me started building my own computers. I'm on Number 8(in 5 years) now, so it's becoming an addiction.

It starts out small, you know, just a little PCI video card update for your barebones eMachine, then you think "Hmmm. The sound on this thing's a little tinny," and you're off to add a soundcard.

Then the poor thing's so overloaded, it slows down, so it's down to the store for more RAM, and while you're there, you see the special for a motherboard and processor at a ridiculously low price...

Pretty soon you're watching the ads like a hawk, picking up a nice video card here, a power supply there, faster RAM, a SATA hard drive or a good case and some speakers whenever the price is right, squirreling them away for when the great deal on the mobo and processor comes up. You hide them in the garage or attic from your wife and kids, secretly ashamed because you told them that you were saving the money for a trip to Disneyland.

Ooooh, the anticipation...and then you unload the old rig on some poor slug who thinks he's getting a good half-step-behind-the-cutting-edge-gaming-rig-for-a-song-deal, when all he's really getting is your leftovers.

And you use that cash to start the sick cycle all over again...

Sorry kids. We can't go to Disneyland after all! Daddy has to work!



04-25-2007, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by Brownba:
Dell is not so bad as people like to over exagerate them to be.

I've worked on enough Dells to dispute this. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif

Dell, like many OEMs, likes to use proprietary parts like motherboards, heatsinks and power supplies. This is fine for people that don't ever upgrade their PCs or have maintenance contracts to cover them when the "lowest bidder" parts flake out. This practice of using proprietary parts also seems more prevalent on 'consumer' models than 'business' models for all OEMs I've seen.

Hugo, if you're serious about being able to tweak and/or upgrade your Dell, my suggestion would be to invest in a new case, motherboard and CPU cooler. You can re-use all the other parts (CPU, RAM, HDD, etc.), so your cost should't be too steep. The reason I say to replace the case is that your Dell's mobo likely has a proprietary layout so an aftermarket board won't fit in it!

The one part where this gets dicey is the Windows license. Since your Dell has an OEM copy of Windows, it is non-transferable to another PC. Some people will say that you can keep using the Dell license, some will disagree. In either case, if Dell has shafted you by not supplying a REAL XP installation CD, then you'd probably not even be abe to reinstall Windows anyway. (Many OEMs check for their own BIOS to prevent installation on a different PC)

Originally posted by hugohugo37:
Here's a question- What PC makers make systems that are better for tweaking and modifying. (I know I know build your own from scratch blah blah blah.) I ask because maybe they are all pains about that like Dell (but I doubt it.)

For those that like to play but don't want (or aren't sure how) to build their own, I would suggest getting a PC from a local "white box" dealer. They will usually have a few standard configurations to choose from and you can easily switch components since they would use standard parts.

04-25-2007, 08:41 PM
horseback- I see what you mean. I don't have kids so I'm not blowing the family vacation money but....You need a little memory so you get used to opening up the box, then you blow your video card so you start researching video cards, then you realise your box is getting kind of hot so you get a fan, then you start dreaming of a faster processor- next thing you know you want to build a monster!

That's what I'm saying- you buy a Dell or HP or whatever 'cuz you think you don't care about modding (overclocking? what's that? who cares?) but you start gaming and reading about new stuff coming out and all that...All the sudden you care that you are stuck with a POS. I guess everyone learns the hard way.

04-25-2007, 08:43 PM
yep - thats the deal, plane and simple....

and if you want to fly this plane with all the bells and whistles...



its simple....

you need a good foundation of a rig with room to upgrade to keep pace with all the new sims coming online this year and next.

04-25-2007, 10:19 PM
hugo, all joking aside, building your own is THE way to go. I put together my current gaming rig over the course of over six months, and I have pretty close to a dream machine for around $1100 US; an E6600 duo core processor, a pair of SATA HDs totaling 250Gb, 2Gb of RAM, an nVidia 7900GT/256 PCI-E, a Creative X-Fi soundcard and a pair of DVD drives (one burner, one ROM), all plugged into an Intel 965 mobo, with a 600W Enermax PS tucked inside an Antec 900 case with 3x120mm and 1x200mm fans. I'm looking at an Olevia 26' LCDHDTV/monitor with a TIR4 perched on top as I type these words.

I may have to move up to an 8800 or 8850 in a year or so for BoB (IF the AI gunners are fixed), but right now, I'm good.

Not only am I a happy boy http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif, but I know that I can troubleshoot and repair anything that goes wrong. Buying quality components is part of the equation, but you do have to be patient, do a little research and shop around for the best prices.

However, I am single, and I have a pretty good job, and I financed a good half of my current rig by selling my old one to a co-worker who was thrilled to get a year old computer as capable as my old one was.

If you're not comfortable with a screwdriver and plugging electrical components together, check out the local computer shops and see what they have to offer. As noted above, many have some pretty good economy gaming rigs that you can upgrade yourself later.



04-26-2007, 12:51 AM
Originally posted by hugohugo37:
...Here's a question- What PC makers make systems that are better for tweaking and modifying. (I know I know build your own from scratch blah blah blah.) I ask because maybe they are all pains about that like Dell (but I doubt it.)

To answer your question you may want to review some of these sites. Do some research on them and don't let the chicken littles of the web sway your educated opinion.




Just to name a few.

I understand that many folks do not desire to build their own. That is perfectly fine as there are reputable companies out there that can deliver what you want.

If this is the route you would like to take I would suggest that you become 'puter smart prior to purchase. Delve into technical web sites and become savy on Motherboards, Ram, Hard drives, Video cards, etc.

Good luck with whatever avenue you pursue.