This is an older topic that hasn't received attention in a couple years (at least from what I have found). I currently have a Dell XPS 8300 Desktop with a Core i7 2600 3.4 GHz processor. I still have my original Nvidia GeForce GT 545 video card and the stock 460W PSU. I have upgraded some of the RAM from the original 8GB to 12GB by adding 2 4GB Crucial Sticks.
Moving forward, I would like to purchase a high end GPU with a power supply that would support it. At this point, I have chosen one of the following GPU's: MSI GeForce GTX 970, ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 970, or the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970. With one of those GPU's, I have narrowed down a PSU to be a Corsair 600W or 650W unit (haven't picked exactly which one yet). With these upgrades I also considered upgrading the CPU heatsink fan and the 80mm rear fan to improve expected temperature increases.
Based on these changes, physical upgrading space has become my biggest issue. The GPU's listed above are each 10.5" or longer and 5.5" tall (rising up from the MOBO). The length isn't the biggest issue with the GPU, but rather the height from the MOBO. The metal panel on the right side of the PC, which is used for mounting the hard drives and disk drives, is approximately 5" or just over 5" from the top of the MOBO. For a 5.5" card, that presents the issue. Keep in mind that the length of the card would put end of the card under this panel.
Aside from the GPU, upgrading fans and the PSU is also tricky. Size constraints for the fan include losing memory space due to fan width. The PSU is restricted as well due to mounting cutouts in the opposite wall of the case.
Obviously this has become an issue. If it helps with answering other questions, No I will not purchase another entire PC just to avoid this (I like this one).
Based on the info I presented, should I try to squeeze in what parts I can into the XPS case and try to keep it cool inside? Or would it be better to pursue a more open and breathing case for the parts? I have scoped out the Corsair 200R, Air 540, 600T, and the Cooler Master HAF 912. I also read of success stories of fitting into the 200R through Tom's Hardware Blogs.
The 8500 and 8100 seem to have similar case sizes, so I have researched there also.
Any help/suggestions would be fantastic at this point. Thanks.
The Dell XPS 8300 is severly limited by the upgrades it can receive. I know because I have one too, with the same setup with the exception of mine having a AMD Radeon Hd 6700. You can upgrade the ram, fans, and hard drive, psu, etc. But you will encounter a problem with your GPU upgrade. As far as I know, The latest cards, AMD Radeon R9 200 series and the GTX 970/980 is incompatible with a 0Y2MRG motherboard. If you bought your computer prebuilt, replacing your motherboard would require:
1)One that fits your case
2) A Clean Certified Copy of Windows
That is because the OS of OEM machines is made only to work with your installed motherboard.
I know it is cruel. But, Dell can fix this all with a bios update for your motherboard past A06. Beta A07 will not work either.
You have an additional $300 that you will need to address these issues.
My background is a major in Digital Forensics, Information Assurance, and Computer Science. I know fod a fact these issues will occur because I tried to turn my xps 8300 into a forensic workstation, and Dell's motherboard made me unable to do.
Wow, I can't tell you how frustrated that makes me. I've been researching for weeks on the upgrades and what would work best only to find out the MOBO is basically a POS. I had noticed someone who successfully installed a GTX 970 on the Dell XPS 8500 desktop. Is that MOBO a lot different? Is it the same circumstance as this?
Based on what you've said. You have already invested money into new components abou 200-300$ you are better off building your own computer, and to cut costs, use a linux operating system(Free). Until you can afford Windows OS. I know that a whole lot of steam games work with Linux. So I know that, you will have no problems playing games on linux. (But you need to research the version of linux you want to use).
I will be honest with you, the motherboard itself isn't broken. It is the fact that Dell has no update for the motherboard bios. The dell xps 8500 has a motherboard that dell has created for it ( A10 as of writing this). The bios for the xps 8500 supports (or can recognize the latest graphics cards).
Summary of all I said:
--- XPS 8500 motherboard is what Dell Supports, so it gets the latest and greatest.
---Grandpa XPS 8300 motherboard is a muscular macho man with great equipment, but can't function without the latest knowledge on how to utilize himself. (Because Dell stopped giving him knowledge since 2011)
So when grandpa faces a brand new technology (The graphics cards, GTX 970 or 980. AMD Radeon R9 Series), grandpa doesn't understand how to utilize his new muscles.
Drivers are like (revisions to a law) and are more in depth of how the graphics card utilizes its hardware abilities.
HOWEVER, how can drivers help the graphics card, if grandpas brain doesn't even know what the new graphics card is?
This means that just updating or installing drivers will not fix the problem.
Hopefully this helps you understand.
Yes the motherboard is different, but the newer motherboard will have the same issues without the latest bios to recognize the latest hardware being connected to it.
Thank you very much for your help. I have been trying to determine what path to go on now. I had too much excitement built up for this high end GPU and now I have to slam on the brakes. Moving forward, should I begin with an entire new PC? Building from the ground up? This case is too small anyway, so I could at least start there and look for a MOBO. Tips for a good MOBO?
I'm really just at a loss here and don't know where to go from here.
For starters, I am in the same situation you are in. I got a 1000 dollar xps8300 with my first job. You can salvage everything from your dell xps 8300, the hard drives, ram, default psu good for a dedicated psu for your gpu. Power everything else with new psu. Microcenter is currently offering price matching for those building a new pc. *Use newegg, they will cry (prices are damn good).
*Warning: Microcenter is a stickler on people returning bent pins on motherboards due to processor installation.
Make sure you have some anti static bags( static shock will destroy components.
Cases on sale for as low as 49.99 and a good motherboard will cost 150-200. Go with ASUS for the motherboard.
*Upon research I have found that EVGA 970 or 980s may work. Without a mobo change. Price match with newegg that sells em for 250-300. *But there is a risk it they may not work