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Upgrading Dell Dimension 8100

by honesttoafault / December 8, 2010 3:56 AM PST

I'm in the process of trying to upgrade my Dell Dimension 8100. My powerleap upgraded XPS-T Mobo died a few weeks ago and a family member had this as a backup so I was gifted this computer.
I thought I'd upgrade the RDRAM PC800 to the 2GB max (4 x 512) and the PSU from the existing 250w to PC Power & Cooling S41D1 Silencer 410w Dell-1 so I can use my SATA HD. I thought Id upgrade the CPU with a powerleap Pentium 4 423 to 478 Socket Adapter (Powerleap PL-P4/N)...the original 8100 has a 1.3GHz P4 and this powerleap kit comes with a 2.8GHz P4 so this will be a substantial cpu upgrade.
But unfortunately I've hit a few snags along the way. First my system boot only registers 128MB of RDRAM. This was before I upgraded the RDRAM from 256MB (4 x 64MB) to 2GB. The RDAM is PC800 samsung and is supposed to be compatible with 400FSB. I've read recently that cpu's faster than 2.2 require 40ns memory. Since the memory I've installed is 45ns ECC memory, I'm wondering if the 45ns access time is the problem with the boot or if the ECC is the problem.
I've used Everest software to determine all the various components, etc of the system and the 2GB of memory modules I installed is registering with the software and the system is using the 2gb of RDRAM.
But my MOBO info just states it's a Dell Dimension 8100 Motherbopard...no numbers or anything. Confusing though is the chipset info, which states the northbridge is a Tehama i850E, which I've read is compatible with both 400fsb and 533fsb. I've also read that this chipset requires 40ns RDRAM.
The Intel chipset utility shows just 850.
So I'm left wondering if the memory I installed and the Mobo will work with the powerleap 2.8GHz when I install.
The system originally had Bios A09 and I read that the powerleap upgrade required Dell Bios XP2 to work when using Win XP pro, which is what I have installed on the computer.
Another problem I have is the video card I took out of my xps-t is a power hungry GEForce 5 5900XT (Leadtek A350XT) with it's own fan and I use several hard drives....one for C drive, one for downloading, and one for backup.
Also I thought I'd need more than 250w psu so I purchased PC Power And Cooling Silencer Dell 410-1 PSU, which is supposed to be compatible with the dell dimension 8100. But the comp case comes with a swing out and away power supply metal cradle which the psu is supposed to fit into using two slots that slip into the opposite side of the labeled side of the psu...to hold the psu up in the cradle. The S41D1 does not have the two slots.
Any help with my upgrade would be truly appreciated. I need to know why the initial boot only registers 128mb RDRAM no matter how much memory is actually installed. I also need to know if the RDRAM I've installed will work with the powerleap adapter and 2.8GHz CPU I've purchased. And, finally, I need to know if and or how to get the PSU upgrade installed....I'm not even sure if it will work. I contacted the manufacturer with the serial# but did not get much of a response. I understand that this is a very old system (Legacy) but many people have these older systems still running just fine. The following is Everest info for my system:

CPU Type Intel Pentium 4, 1300 MHz (13 x 100)
Motherboard Name Dell Dimension 8100
Motherboard Chipset Intel Tehama i850(E)
System Memory 2048 MB (PC800 ECC RDRAM)
RIMM1: Samsung MR18R 162GAF0-CK8 512 MB PC800 RDRAM
RIMM2: Samsung MR18R 162GAF0-CK8 512 MB PC800 RDRAM
RIMM3: Samsung MR18R 162GAF0-CK8 512 MB PC800 RDRAM
RIMM4: Samsung MR18R 162GAF0-CK8 512 MB PC800 RDRAM
BIOS Type Phoenix (11/09/01)
Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
Communication Port ECP Printer Port (LPT1)

Video Adapter NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900XT (128 MB)
3D Accelerator nVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 XT
Monitor Samsung SyncMaster T260HD (Analog) [26" LCD] (HVZS900261)

Audio Adapter Creative Audigy 2 ZS (SB0350) Sound Card

IDE Controller Intel(R) 82801BA Ultra ATA Controller
Storage Controller Promise SATA Console SCSI Processor
Storage Controller Promise SATA Console SCSI Processor
Storage Controller Windows Promise SATA300 TX4 (tm) IDE Controller
Storage Controller WinXP Promise SATA150 TX Series (tm) IDE Controller
Floppy Drive Floppy disk drive
Disk Drive WDC WD740GD-00FLA1 (74 GB, 10000 RPM, SATA)
Optical Drive TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S222A (DVD+R9:16x, DVD-R9:12x, DVD+RW:22x/8x, DVD-RW:22x/6x, DVD-RAM:12x, DVD-ROM:16x, CD:48x/32x/48x DVD+RW/DVD-RW/DVD-RAM)
Optical Drive TSSTcorp DVD-ROM SH-D162D (16x/48x DVD-ROM)
SMART Hard Disks Status OK

C: (NTFS) 70896 MB (53989 MB free)
Total Size 69.2 GB (52.7 GB free)

DMI BIOS Vendor Dell Computer Corporation
DMI BIOS Version XP2
DMI System Manufacturer Dell Computer Corporation
DMI System Product Dimension 8100
DMI System Version
DMI System Serial Number 6ST6211
DMI System UUID 44454C4C-53C71054-8036B6C0-4F323131
DMI Motherboard Manufacturer Dell Computer Corporation
DMI Motherboard Product Dimension 8100
DMI Motherboard Version
DMI Motherboard Serial Number
DMI Chassis Manufacturer Dell Computer Corporation
DMI Chassis Version
DMI Chassis Serial Number 6ST6211
DMI Chassis Asset Tag
DMI Chassis Type Mini Tower

Any help/advice with my dell dimension 8100 upgrade problems/issues/questions would be truly appreciated. Maybe someone out there has done the same upgrade and has precious info to reveal to me?

Anyway, Thank you for reading my post....sorry it's so long but I have several issues running at once. Sincerely,


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Once you cost out the upgrade ....compare it to new.
by VAPCMD / December 8, 2010 6:42 AM PST

You may find that new has materially better performance without significantly greater cost.


Collapse -
I agree...move on
by Willy / December 9, 2010 9:35 PM PST

The overall cost of the upgrades while impressive would be better served buying a new system. At this time of the yr. deals or sales are aplenty and even a low-cost entry level PC will be leaps and bounds better than the 8100. Further more, the RDRAM alone just isn't worth the upgrade unless that's all you got. RDRAM isn't a viable ram any more for new systems, so even if you upgrade you couldn't swap it over to a new PC should funds become available later. Otherwise, buy RDRAM via eBay, Craigslist or used sources until you can get a new PC if possible. Of course, if you can get parts on the cheap or free, then your solution would be workable, thus get what you need.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Upgrade not feasible
by rockyjohns / December 13, 2010 10:03 AM PST

I second what the others say - you need to bite the bullet and go for a new system. Last year there was a long thread at Tom's Hardwqare about upgrading a Dell 8400 with a new motherboard, CPU and memory for about $400 (not counting whatever GPU you choose). But the 8400 had a 350w PSU - your is 250w so you would need to replace it as well and for that you could get a new, much faster system. Your system has 3 fatal flaws: the 250w PSU, the RDRAM memory, and, according to the specs, no PCIe slot.

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