tonydv
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Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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 I have a Dimension 3100 Desktop running with an Pentium 4 and 2GB of memory. The bios says its Version A03 that's running and the Dell system is a DV051.  I want to rum Win 7.0, but the hard drive size ( which is 80GB) must be increased and the graphics card needs upgrading to a Direct X 9 compatibility.   I tried to upgrade to version A04, but I got an error saying Windows prevented upgrade form desktop executable file.

Question:  How big a SATA drive will the current bios recognize?? Suggestions?  Any recommendations for a graphics card?  I have a PCIe X1 and a PCL slot still open.  The monitor is a VGA input, Viewsonic VA800 LCD.  I want to upgrade before MIcrosoft abandons Win XP.  Money is very tight, otherwise, I would buy a new PC. Thoughts?

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8 Platinum

RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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tonydv

The Dimension e310/3100 can support SATA hard drives up 2tb in size.

Regards to the graphics card, PCI cards are usually low end.

The following PCI card has Direct x 9.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130477

The following card has Direct x 11 compatibility:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814139070

But, you may need to upgrade the default 230w PSU to a minimum of a 400w unit.

More PCI cards can be found here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=40000048%20600007853&IsNodeId=1&Descript...

Bev.

 

 

 


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tonydv
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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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Thank you, Bev.

Wow. 2TB is huge.  Thanks for the graphics card suggestion, too.  One clarification though is whether or not PCI 2.1 is compatible with my PCI slot, since I assume they are version 1.0 or does the card simply run at a slower rate?

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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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tonydv

You are welcome.

Yes, the PCI card is compatible, the e310/3100 is PCI 2.3.

Bev.

 


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rdunnill
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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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Thank you, Bev.

Wow. 2TB is huge.  Thanks for the graphics card suggestion, too.  One clarification though is whether or not PCI 2.1 is compatible with my PCI slot, since I assume they are version 1.0 or does the card simply run at a slower rate?

If you're going to go to the expense of a new video card, I suggest a Sapphire 6450 PCIe x16 coupled with the Startech adapter. The NVidia 6200 is eight years old and woefully underpowered compared to modern cards. (The PCI cards require special "bridge" chips, as their GPU electronics were designed to work with the PCIe bus.)
 
 
I've tried the 6450 with the Startech adapter in a Dimension 3100 and can confirm that the combination works as advertised. Being PCIe, the Sapphire doesn't need special drivers and support will continue for years to come.
 

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tonydv
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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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Thank you  for your very interesting suggestion.  While the 16X adaptor would add to the cost, the superior board may be the way to go. The question is whether I need the better board for a short term (2 years or so) fix to just run Win 7.  The Pentium 4 is getting long in the tooth, so I know a new PC purchase is in my future.

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rdunnill
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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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Thank you  for your very interesting suggestion.  While the 16X adaptor would add to the cost, the superior board may be the way to go. The question is whether I need the better board for a short term (2 years or so) fix to just run Win 7.  The Pentium 4 is getting long in the tooth, so I know a new PC purchase is in my future.

In the event you get a new desktop, you could move the video card over.
 
The 6200, being eight or nine years old, has minimal driver support and antiquated features. It was a budget card in its day. Meanwhile, the 6450, a state-of-the-art budget card of today, is considered slightly better in performance to the 6800GT, a high-end card of 2005: http://www.game-debate.com/gpu/index.php?gid=471&gid2=47&compare=radeon-hd-6450-vs-geforce-6800-gt
 
You can speed up the 3100 considerably by using an SSD as a boot drive, and if you buy a new desktop (or even laptop), you can move the SSD over. (Note that most new PCs are not sold equipped with SSDs.) An SSD is the single biggest performance boost you can add to an older machine, and the boost will be so noticeable it will be like having a new computer.

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tonydv
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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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Thanks sincerely rdunnill for your comments.


I am sold on your argument. I will be getting the 6450 card and adaptor, but I must change out the power supply first.  According to bev in her reply and your game site reference, a bigger 400W minimum supply is needed (graphics card draws 27W  alone and my supply is way under 300W).  A power supply upgrade is therefore needed first.


I have seen how fast SSD drives are and I agree this would transform an older PC, but I don't think I have the cash right now.  Prices may continue to drop though as PC vendors use them more frequently as the boot drive in their systems.   I need to wait till prices drop to much less than $1 per gigabyte.

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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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I'm delighted that tonydv has raised this query cos I was going to do so! This is a really serious issue for Dell Dimension users whose computers have run perfectly fine for years on Windows XP. We will be in for a nasty shock because we will NOT - according to both Dell and Microsoft - be able to run them on Windows 7 when XP support is withdrawn in about 4/5 months' time. 

It looks to me as though we have two choicesSmiley Sad1) buy another computer (massive expense) or (2) see if we can somehow upgrade our existing hardware and software to a level that can cope with Windows 7.

Dell's info about upgrading for Dimension customers is IMHO worse than useless! Dimensions simply aren't listed in the models of desktops capable of being upgraded, leading us to conclude that they can't be upgraded. Instead we are passed on to Microsoft who are almost too busy plugging Windows 8 but if you dig around you will find a  Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor that assesses your computer.

And this is where you hit a big snag! According to MS, my computer which is virtually identical to tonydv's setup, has only two problems:  (1) the graphics adapter won't support Aeroface (whatever that is); and (2) the driver for the Intel(R) 82915G/GV/910GL Express Chipset Family is inadequate
No mention of the need for a bigger hard drive (mine is only 69GB), or anything else.

What we need is AUTHORITATIVE and RELIABLE guidance on whether we can upgrade and if so the likely cost.
 I'd really appreciate other forum members views and guidance but please note, I'm not a teccie so the sort of in-depth technical discussions will just sail straight over my head.

Thanks for reading & look forward to your views!

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tonydv
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RE: Dimension 3100 Hard Drive and Graphics upgrade

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Thank you "whatamidoing" for your deeply concerned input. 

I should explain that the Hard Drive requirement by the Upgrade Advisor was because I did not have 16GB free for Win 7.   I am running too close to the limit as it is right now (69GB full on the 80GB drive)).  However, since this will be a clean install of Win 7 after all, there is no mention how much space is needed, when Win 7 replaces Win XP's files on the hard drive.  With SATA II drive prices around $40 for 250 GB, I figure it makes sense to upgrade anyway.  The hard part is going to be  cloning the smaller drive to a large drive, so MS Win 7 Upgrade software sees the XP files it needs to see before it will install.  Please note that it is a clean install and all files are deleted.   If one does not clone, a full boot version of Win 7 is $100 more than the upgrade price. 

The graphics upgrade is a must from what I have read From the conversation so far, one can either go with a  PCI graphics card (older technology) or a PCIe card with an adaptor combination.  No way to get the DirectX 9 compatibility that the Win 7 Aero interface requires from just upgrading the video driver.  Like you, I am not a computer whiz, so any input here is appreciated.


I was shocked to see the need for a new driver for the Intel Express Chipset you mentioned. On re-examination of my Windows Upgrade Advisor Report, you are absolutely right.  WE need a new updated driver.  Happen to know where to look for a driver that will pass the Windows 7 compatibility??  Let's hope the Dell community helps out here.


Additionally, be aware that the Dimension 3100 has a rather anemic 230W power supply for a tower design.  It has been recommended to me to upgrade to a 400W supply at a minimum,  before I add the larger hard drive (while keeping the original 80GB as a spare) and/or adding a graphics card that will draw more watts.  Since these are old machines with many hours of use, it would not take much to burn out the old supply.


So if we start adding up all the hardware upgrades needed, the labor involved and the cost of the Win 7 Upgrade Retail version, it makes me wonder if buying a newer "old" machine might not be better.  It all depends on your budget.   Like you, I can't afford a new machine right now, so I am exploring all options, even getting a refurbished tower from anyone including local mom and pop computer stores.

Finally, I agree it has been disgraceful how Microsoft has been pushing Win 8 on their website, when they must know a majority of computers can't run it.  Even finding a price for Win 7 is a real chore on that website.  Dell's equally poor treatment of their long time customers like me by not providing authorative upgrade information makes me wonder if there is any real advantage to buying a Dell computer.

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