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Build Advice £250 Dell - Worth it?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by FatMikel, 11 Jan 2009.

  1. FatMikel

    FatMikel Statistically not that fat...

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    Hi guys, I recently started a thread on here looking for upgrade advice.

    However, with the way the market is at the moment - transition to Windows 7, DirectX 11, proper multi-core optimization, Intel mainstream i5 or whatever, I think I might hold on for a while.

    So, what I plan to do is this: steal my parents/family PC from downstairs.

    It's one of my old ones; a HP XW6000 Workstation with 2 Xeon processors, 2GB DDR, 6800GT 256MB, and it's a pretty solid machine.

    At the moment, I'm using a very old one; Athlon 64 3200+, 1GB DDR, 6600GT, and it keeps blue screening I think due to one of the capacitors being bent on the motherboard (was fine before hand, then all of sudden started having problems - bluescreening, programs crashing, OS installations failing).

    So, as my mum runs her own business, I thought I'd see what I could get from Dell so that I could steal the machine downstairs back.

    For £250, here's what I could get for them to use:

    Vostro 220 Minitower
    Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 2.2Ghz 800Mhz 1MB cache
    Windows Vista Home Premium
    2048MB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
    250GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive
    Integrated Intel GMA X4500
    16x DVD-RW
    Dell keyboard + mouse

    Now, what I'm wondering, is how that would stack up against the Dual Xeons, 2GB DDR, 6800GT. Does anyone know what PSU is in these things? There is an option for a 8800GT but Dell want £180 for it, so it must be a reasonable wattage, right? Just wondering whether it would be worth me getting that and plopping a midrange graphics card (I've checked the manuals and the motherboard has 16x PCI-E slot).

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2009
  2. mm vr

    mm vr The cheesecake is a lie

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    I'd guess the PSU is a ~200-300W no-name jobbie... Not very good quality, cheap-ass.

    Running Vista on 2GB should work fairly well, but if running heavy apps, it might get slow.
     
  3. oasked

    oasked Stuck in (better) mud

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    Looks good, but what kind of software does your Mum use? If its just Word / Excel / Emails etc that should be more than enough to do the job.

    But with her having a dual-xeon computer, that would suggest something more intensive - like what?
     
  4. markjw

    markjw What's a Dremel?

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    I setup one of there recently for a friend and it is quite a nice entry level machine - spec was the same as the one you quoted and Vista was responsive enough on it. For a machine that is just going to be used for basic office/home type use then I would say it is a good buy.

    One point to note is although there is space to fit a second hard drive it requires a mounting bracket which does not come with the machine.

    I may be seeing the friend today and if so I'll see if I can see what the PSU spec is and what connectors are on it.

    Mark
     
  5. capnPedro

    capnPedro Hacker. Maker. Engineer.

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    Dells are really hard to upgrade; most parts have bespoke connectors and mounting hardware.
     
  6. FatMikel

    FatMikel Statistically not that fat...

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    Nah, my mum didn't ask specifically for the Dual Xeon machine. :eek:

    Just everyday stuff. Office, internet, emails, that stuff. 250GB will be fine for them. They manage with 80GB at the moment, so.
     
  7. identikit

    identikit Minimodder

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    The Dell will more likely be faster than the Dual Xeon at the sort of apps your mother with be using. The Xeon might play games slightly faster. If you were to get the Dell and do the swap it could be worth picking up an 8800GT on ebay.
     
  8. FatMikel

    FatMikel Statistically not that fat...

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    That's what I'm thinking now.

    Apparently (just read through some threads on Hexus forums), the Vostro use standard ATX psu fittings on the motherboard and case, so I might just get one and upgrade the PSU and put a cheap midrange card in.
     
  9. cpemma

    cpemma Ecky thump

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    Dell stopped some of their bespoke behaviour years ago after a lot of bad press. The power supply will now be standard ATX12V size and plug pin-outs on that model. Note it may not be 460W as shown at the link, that replacement is claimed to be "superior all respects but has only 2 SATA connectors versus 4 SATA connectors on original."

    One disadvantage of Dell is that on all bar the most expensive models the BIOS is locked, preventing overclocking; a shame as that E2200 is begging for it. :sigh: But bang-for-buck they're hard to beat at the budget end.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2009
  10. capnPedro

    capnPedro Hacker. Maker. Engineer.

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    Thank God for that! I haven't touched one in years for that reason.
     
  11. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg What's a Dremel?

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    Might also be worth looking at the dell outlet. I got my auties a pc for less than £150 which was still much more powerful then they needed.

    http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/default.aspx?c=uk&l=en&s=dfh&~ck=betafrbsd

    However there appears to be no bargains on at the moment, the stock is very real time to the point where your not guaranteed to get what you want till you've started putting your credit card number in. Might be worth a look back during the week when there are more returns.
     
  12. FatMikel

    FatMikel Statistically not that fat...

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    Right, I've ordered it. £250. Would have cost me £350 to build myself from Scan, so I think it's a pretty good deal.

    I'll wait till it arrives, then check out the PSU, if it looks to be okay quality and it's got a 4pin PCI-E connector (the manual says it has), I can put in a 9600GSO to tied me over till all the new lovely stuff comes out (And then it can replace the dual Xeons downstairs and I can use that box for file sharing/folding/whatever), and if it doesn't have the connector, a Radeon HD4670 will do just as well.

    Piccies when it arrives. :eek:
     
  13. cpemma

    cpemma Ecky thump

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    Bit late now, but Dell pay 3% Quidco cashback "on transactions purchased through Dell UK." ;)
     
  14. FatMikel

    FatMikel Statistically not that fat...

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    So that'd be £7.50. No big loss. I've never heard of QuidCo either, so I'd rather not sign up to some dodgy site. ¬_¬
     
  15. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg What's a Dremel?

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    Far from dodgy, but its got a £5 annual fee so you'd only have got £2.50 unless you use it often.
     

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