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Upgrading Dell (or other) PC's

by 5starsrising / August 1, 2005 1:23 AM PDT

My son would like to upgrade components (e.g. the hard drive) on our Dell 8300, but has heard from other techies that doing this often causes other Dell components to die. The reason he's given is that Dell uses cheap components that are not always compatible with other components. Is this a known issue?

Are there "better" PC's out there for upgrading that minimize any problems like this? If I'm going to invest in a new desktop machine, I'd like one that can be easily upgraded - meaning if I use quality components (harddisk, graphics cards, CD/DVD burners, RAM, etc) upgrading won't be an issue. What vendors would you recommend?


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The usual story is..
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 1, 2005 1:28 AM PDT

Someone replaces the hard disk, "installs Windows" and they find the modem or other component doesn't work. The reason is simple. Microsoft doesn't install all the needed drivers.


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not an easy answer
by AKonny47 / August 1, 2005 1:35 AM PDT

well, i'm not sure about upgrading the hdd on the dell, but i would'nt think that it would "die". most pcs have the ability to upgrade those things, e.g. ram without a problem. as for the companys/vendors that sell "non generic" components, alienware voodoo velocity micro, but they are on the expensive side, monarch, you basically pick every component out to your choice, including brands and such, and i'm not sure about others. i have a gateway, and i replaced the power supply, graphics card, fans, and upped the sound with a sound card. most oem pc makers often use generic ram, generic video cards, usually the simplest things with heatsinks abound, and even some hard drives. i am glad that gateway puts western digitals in their's as i love it. i believe emachine uses the generic hard drive. the power supply is really what you have to watch out for. that is a component that almost all oem vendors, dell gateway hp emachines, use the generic often "crap" ones. that would be the first thing i'd replaced when you get it, but that IMO.

if you want the best components, your best bet is to build your own computer as you pick EVERYTHING out so you know that you did'nt put generic ram from mexico er something. or, i would highly recomend monarch as you know what your getting and is a resort if you don't want to build your own pc.


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Nope, just like anything...
by Willy / August 1, 2005 2:17 AM PDT

Dell, like other OEM vendors offer a "computer solution" ready to go. They use the same componets as any other vendor out there, like HDs, CDs, etc. made by Sony, Teac, Western Digitial, the whole nine yards. The only difference is the mtrbd and that's made by several of the common mtrbd. makers as well, just a model for Dell. The main drawback for any Dell is the power supply(p/s unit). It usually states the wattage output, ie: 300W, but the real value is 325W of good stable, solid output voltage of the "mean value" of a p/s. But even that may fall short of the systems demands upon becomming stuffed with new goodies as upgrades will do now and later. On top of that Dell uses its own proprietory sizing and/or wire harness setup which is expensive to replace. However, adding at least another HD shouldn't cause a problem. Plus, using a Dell recovery CD, it expects to find what was sold at time of sale, not the other goodies, beware of that. A user must then be prepared to have the latest drivers or patches, etc. to add or recover/return the system back to a running state after a crash or replacement/upgrade.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Upgrading components in a Dell
by John Robie / August 1, 2005 3:13 AM PDT

will not cause other Dell components to die. That is rediculous. Also, most store bought PC's have some generic or cheap components.

A possibly does exist that when you load down a computer with additional or more powerful components (generic, cheap, name brand, or expensive) the PC will start crashing and have other problems because the Power Supply is too low to take care of it all, and needs replacement to a higher wattage.

Other above comments cover things pretty well.

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While I am currently not a Dell fan
by Alan Copeland / August 1, 2005 3:35 AM PDT

I just installed XP Pro on a 4 year old Dimension 4100 that came with ME. This was a good machine for its day, 933MHZ with both sound and video cards. Dell told me I might need an upgraded driver for the Soundblaster card but it turned out that all I needed was on the XP diskette. I did a full install as opposed to an upgrade since the machine had some goblins. The install went through with flying colors. I did upgrade her from 128MB to 256 MB RAM. The only issue turned out to be that I needed a DVD decoder/software package but the owner didn't use the dvd player and could have cared less.

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Upgrading Dell
by jcrobso / August 2, 2005 1:20 AM PDT

Keep in mind that Dell uses a non standard PSU connector
so if you upgrade to much you will need a new PSU and it has to be dell compatable.
Many of us feel that is better to build your own PC. John

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Wonder if that applies to more recent Dells?
by John Robie / August 2, 2005 2:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Upgrading Dell

I've read that the older Dells are not compatible with generic power supply you can get anywhere, and must buy those specific to Dell, but the newer Dell 8xxx and above are not that way and the power supply can be upgraded like other PC's.

Can't seem to find the URL where I read that, and not having a current Dell to check it out....

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