It sounds like it may be time to return the Tower and ask for a new one. I am truly impressed you have the will to not give up on it though. All I can hope for is that I do not encounter the same problems.
La informática es mi pasión!
An XPS desktop sold in 2010 would not have any warranty left. So they cannot "return the Tower and ask for a new one".
On page 19 of this forum, and some previous and post pages, there was a large discussion about this. At some point it is better to give up on waiting for an exact answer.
I have owned 2 Dell XPS 8300 systems; at the time I purchased my first one there were many of them that were turned back into Dell and they were selling them as refurbs. Initially I did not even plan to purchase the 8300, but I got it as a replacement for an AMD system I purchased that failed to POST.
At the end of the day with both systems it was resolved. One by constantly hammering Dell for replacement parts, the other by using what I learned.
Issues: Hard freeze and random reboot of system. BSOD occassionally. To see if you are hard frozen, press [CAPSLOCK] -- if your keyboard led doesn't change, then you are hard frozen.
1. All firmware was updated.
2. All drivers reinstalled.
3. Hard drive checked for failures (long test)
4. Ram checked for failures (long test)
5. Checked chipset against recall list.
6. Checked power supply voltage.
7. Replaced Power Supply with 600w power supply (the video card is thirsty, the one that came with the board did not supply enough energy.
After all of the above I was still having failures and freezes. This was with an ATI card in the system, so I did the following after randomly testing an Nvidia 9800gt and finding no lock-ups:
1. Replaced video card, in my case with a GTX 560 ti in both systems.
2. Replaced memory with Corsair.
Solution: Replaced video card with Dell supplied GTX560.
The i7-2600 had a lot of issues with ATI card. Just last year I tried to put a newer ATI card in the XPS 8300 and it started to hard lock again! I went back to the 560 and shrugged it off.
Both systems are still running to this day, and just recently I have created a "Hackintosh" / "CustoMac" out of one of them and it performs flawlessly (minus the wireless mini half-card which I would suggest replacing with a TP-Link pci-e)
Side note: I work with a lot of systems, and worked with the Dell contracts for years. I have noticed in many cases where we see a larger percentage of failure in the systems that are not desktop (i.e. not onboard video) and the best places to start replacing are this order:
1. Firmware and Drivers
3. Power Supply
4. Video card (change brand)
Do this as soon as you notice the issues.Call Dell support and work through the steps patiently on the phone. Allow them to replace each component, and be forceful but polite, and eventually they will replace the system. For many of the Dell techs they are utilizing a scripted approach and most of the "on-site" techs are subcontractors. I actually had a Unisys dude visit my shop in Tallahassee and try to replace the Mobo for a video card failure.
Be understanding that these things are hard to diagnose and troubleshoot. Sometimes you get a dud, but for most people the solution is above.
If you are out of warranty, and the above does not work, then at this point start replacing items least cost to most cost.
Note: To the few NVIDIA users with freezing, please follow all troubleshooting procedures in hand with Dell Support. Likely places to start: Drivers, Ram, Video Card, Storage.
Hope everyone else has good luck with theirs!
well, actually, so far I didn't do anything to fix it and the problem hasn't occured recently, so i'm guessing it was just a blip in the computer preformance. thanks for all the feedback and advice. As a sidenote, is the graphics card AMD radeon 6770 any good? I was thinking of getting it since I only have 6450.