I recently acquired a stock Vostro-460 (XPS-8300) for trade-in/recycling. There is really nothing wrong with it other than it being older and kinda slow (still has spinning HDD). Since it is a 2011 model, the client just wanted a new one. We got them a couple OptiPlex 5050 SFF's and 24inch UltraSharps instead (and they love them).
Anyway, I was looking at this little computer closer. With this (stock) config:
Intel i5-2400 @3.1ghz (4core/4thread) SandyBridge / Cougar-Point architecture
4gb RAM (2x 2gb)
320gb WDC 7200rpm HDD
350watt power supply
Windows-7 Pro 64bit (which means it should still barely get free Windows-10 Pro 64bit)
My current Kodi box is circa-2007 with a good-ole Intel Q6600 quad-core and a AMD-5670 video-card.
If I'm reading this right, CPUBoss says this little Intel i5-2400 benchmarks twice-as-fast as the Q6600. It just has to do 1080p video (and DolbyDigital/DTS HD-Audio-7.1) but I also occasionally do some light gaming on it (actually, pretty cool on projector). Like the old one, it will be connected to Onkyo-AVR with HDMI used for all video and audio.
I've got some parts laying around, so (since it's been 7 years) I'm thinking of doing some key upgrades to the Vostro-460 (Power-Supply, SSD, video ... maybe RAM etc.) and making it my new Kodi/Steam-Box (in Big-Picture-Mode). Typically, my HTPC is just a hand-me-down or what's left anyway.
For starters, I guess I just want to check with you guys ... that this machine is worth the time and parts.
I have been using my XPS 8300 as a primary PC at home for about 7 years, it's still going strong (it's been on for most of the time). It had an i7-2600, 16 GB of RAM (the RAM for it is relatively pricey nowadays). It still has it's original video card the HD-5770.
It unfortunately just missed out on a UEFI Boot so you have to have to install Windows 10 Version 1709 (or 1803 if it's out by the time you get round to it) with the Bootable USB formatted using the MBR partition scheme and NTFS format.
I added a 500 GB Crucial MX200 to mine and 2×2 TB drives to mine. Make sure to use SATA0 and SATA1 for the SSD as they are SATA III whereas SATA2 and SATA3 are only SATAII. I put the SSD in the empty optical drive bay.
The system's wireless card isn't fantastic so I ripped mine out and installed an Intel AC-7260.
Finally the system does not have USB 3.0 ports so I installed a Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card in mine as I needed them for my USB3HDCAP device.
1. I have been using my XPS 8300 as a primary PC at home for about 7 years, it's still going strong (it's been on for most of the time).
2. It had an i7-2600, 16 GB of RAM (the RAM for it is relatively pricey nowadays).
2b. It still has it's original video card the HD-5770.
3. It unfortunately just missed out on a UEFI Boot so you have to have to install Windows 10 Version 1709 (or 1803 if it's out by the time you get round to it) with the Bootable USB formatted
4. using the MBR partition scheme and NTFS format.
5. I added a 500 GB Crucial MX200 to mine and 2×2 TB drives to mine. Make sure to use SATA0 and SATA1 for the SSD as they are SATA III whereas SATA2 and SATA3 are only SATAII.
6. I put the SSD in the empty optical drive bay.
7. The system's wireless card isn't fantastic so I ripped mine out and installed an Intel AC-7260.
8. Finally the system does not have USB 3.0 ports so I installed a Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card in mine as I needed them for my USB3HDCAP device.
Thanks for taking the time for the detailed reply.
1. Perfect, just what I needed to know.
2. Yeah, my 4gb is really just fair for Windows-10/64bit. I'll check eBay. I would be happy with 8gb total installed.
2b. I saw in the brochure that the little 350w PS has "up to 150W of graphics-card power" but I'll likely drop a spare "nice sized" Corsair in there.
3. Yeah, that is unfortunate ... I'm really liking UEFI these days. But what's strange, it that it boots-fast like a UEFI machine.
4. Oh really? I'll watch that.
5. Nice config. you have. OK, with H67 Cougar-Point chipset I will watch that. I'll think I'll move the DVD-ROM to a higher SATA-2/300 Port (to leave the first two for faster SSD/HDD).
6. Good idea. I will put my bootable SSD there also. That saves the lower bays for other drives. I noticed the plastic trays from XPS-410 fit.
7. Yeah, I was surprised to see the Mini-PCIe slot in there. Mine is empty and I just need wired Gigabit Ethernet anyway.
8. Right, looks like it "just missed-out" on USB-3 also. Thanks for the recommendation. Fresco FL1100 Chipset is welcome (I'd rather not buy any more Renesas-based cards).
UPGRADES and PROCEDURES Done
(I'll try to come back and keep this list edited and updated as my adventure continues).
Updated BIOS from A03 to A06 (with FreeDOS boot-flash)
- Set "CPU C6 Report" back to Disabled so Sleep and Shut-Down work properly again.
- Successfully completed F12-on-Boot ePSA Diagnostics.
In-place upgrade from Windows-7 to (free) Windows-10 Pro 64-bit :Cool:
- Try connecting live ethernet cable before you start so it gets final pre-install updates
- Maybe it didn't reboot on-its-own that one first time, but Install was normal and fine otherwise.
- All this will be deleted and wiped soon (but now I got legit Windows-10)
Ran "wmic idecontroller get deviceid" and got REV_05 which is B3 Stepping.
- So that is the better (Intel fixed) SATA-2/300 Ports 2-5 ... dodged that bullet. The bad ones were B2.
Upgraded Power-Supply to Corsair tx650w.
- Not modular or new, but it was ... low-hours, my old parts, and a perfect fit
Ran Magic Jelly Bean and NirSoft-ProduKey
- Retrieved Microsoft Office-2010 (Home & Business) Dell-OEM license-key.
Installed AMD Radeon HD-7750 (1gb) Video Card (XFX)
- Single-slot and at 55w-max, does not use a PCIe-Power-cable.
- Windows-10/64bit loads v17.30 driver with a working Radeon control-panel
Installed Kingston V300 240gb SSD (2.5inch, SATA-3/600, MLC)
- In 3.5inch bay under DVD-ROM on first SATA Port (SATA-0)
- Disconnected spinning HDD for now
Clean-installed Windows-10 Pro 64bit (v1703) to blank/raw SSD.
- Used Microsoft.com made flash-drive. F12 to start.
- Entered Windows-7 key from sticker on machine. Full install to blank SSD.
- Took about 15 minutes total (including a few reboots)
- Windows Installer formatted SSD as MBR/NTFS (says DiskPart later)
- Device Manager is clean and correct. Windows-10 Pro 64bit shows Activated
- Set to Private Network and other network settings
- Boots up (to fully loaded and usable desktop) in about 15 seconds. :Cool:
Re-connected its old 320gb WDC 7200rpm-HDD and Formatted at MBR/NTFS as 😧
- Also, Over-Provisioned the Kingston SSD by 7% (Shrink main C: partition by 16gb or 16000mb)
Added Aluratek USB-2.0-dongle for system BlueTooth 2.0 EDR
- Via BlueTooth-2.0-EDR, added Sony DualShock-4 Controller (with gyro and vibration-rumble)
Installed Steam with new account (and Family Sharing from main account)
- Steam Family Sharing is pretty cool (never tried it before).
- Setup Big-Picture Mode and DualShock-4
- To get gyro to work with (driving) games, add "Joystick-Move/Horizontal output-axis only" to config
Upgraded ram Memory from 4gb to 8gb
- Found an identical pair of Samsung DDR3-1333mhz 2gb DIMMs on eBay for $17 shipped.
- So now, 4 of these DIMMs are installed: Samsung 2gb 1Rx8 PC3-10600u (M378B5773DH0-CH9)
- Installed new pair in (black-clipped) "Secondary Memory Bank" slots
- Shows up in BIOS and Windows (and as Dual-Channel)
- Passed Extended ePSA Ram Memory test.
I did some more hardware upgrades and clean-installed Windows-10 Pro (64bit). I only used Microsoft drivers (NO specific Dell drivers from dell.com ). Did NOT install Intel-RST either. I added these to post above.
All working smoothly.
Sleep-Mode is working nicely.
Before I removed the stock Dell 350-watt power-supply:
- Model No: L350PD-00 ~ P/N: PS-6351-4DF-RoHS ~ Dell PN: 9J0VD ~ Circa-2011
- Two dedicated +12volt Rails . One with 16Amps max. and the other with 18Amps max
- Vostro-460 sales brochure said "up to 150-watts of power for video card".
- It has all the usual cables and a single 6-pin PCIe-Power.
I tested the following old video-cards and they worked fine:
- GeForce-7300 (2-DVI, Passive-HeatSink and no PCIe-Power-cable required)
- GeForce-8600 (Fanned and required the 6-pin PCIe-Power-cable)
Remember, the Vostro-460/XPS-8300 is Legacy-BIOS (aka non-UEFI )
More hardware and software updates (see edits above) ... mostly focused around Steam, gaming and seeing what this little machine can do.
As configured (with AMD-5770) the Vostro-460 seems to be handling games from 2015 (and older) with no problems. This is at 1080p with medium-to-high graphical settings in games.
If it can do this, I'm not expecting any problems with Kodi.
the RAM for it is relatively pricey nowadays).
My ram upgrade showed up today.
Not too bad ... I got another 4gb (2gb x2 dimms) from eBay for $17 shipped. :Cool:
Works fine. 8gb in total now (running Dual-Channel). :Yes: :Beer:
My local Microsoft Certified Refurbisher Sells Systems with OEM System Builder Windows 10 DVD's and COA's . The pro is purple disk and home is blue disk. EITHER Disk will reinstall windows home or pro when choosing the "I don't have a key" option on install.
The 1709 DVD is my starting point for any system.
I then download and install DOT NET 4.71 offline installer and run that.
Then Manually Download the March 22, 2018 - KB4089848 Rollup to get to 16299.334
I never create a microsoft Account I create a local user and administrator.
Self Destruct Version build Availability
|Creators Self Destruct Version||1709||16299.334||10/17/2017||3/22/2018|
|Current Branch (CB)||1703||15063.994||4/11/2017||3/22/2018|
|Current Branch (CB)||1607||14393.2156||8/2/2016||3/29/2018|
|Current Branch (CB)||1511||10586.1478||11/12/2015||3/13/2018|
1. My local Microsoft Certified Refurbisher Sells Systems with OEM System Builder Windows 10 DVD's and COA's . The pro is purple disk and home is blue disk. EITHER Disk will reinstall windows home or pro when choosing the "I don't have a key" option on install.
2. Self Destruct Version build Availability
Creators Self Destruct Version 1709 16299.334 10/17/2017 3/22/2018 Current Branch (CB) 1703 15063.994 4/11/2017 3/22/2018 Current Branch (CB) 1607 14393.2156 8/2/2016 3/29/2018 Current Branch (CB) 1511 10586.1478 11/12/2015 3/13/2018
But no use burning a Windows-10 license if you don't have to, right? Upgrades of old Dells (with Windows-7 CoA stickers) still seems to work. I've been doing an in-place upgrade to Win-10 and it shows Activated. Then, I erase that, then enter CoA sticker Key at start of clean-install.
Yeah, v1709 had some glitchy updates a month-or-so-ago. A little hard to fix, but not impossible. However, doing full updates on "recently birthed Win-10 systems" reveals that only the new replacement updates are used and seems OK (Self Destruct avoided). :Smile:
The 1703 and 1709 disks allow you to clean install by saying " I do not have a KEY" and then entering a
WIN7 or 8 or 10 Key afterwards for HOME or PRO. If you have 7 ultimate you choose PRO and it activates.
The OEM key I keep for later. I havent had to buy 10 copies of the DVD. I bought one at 1511 then 1607 then 1703 now 1709.
The other disks are in storage now.
The point is that all the older ones have WINDOWS.OLD that is a pain to get rid of and wastes 20gigs or more of space. Much easier to start with 1709 and then manually download the march rollup 735 megs and DOTNET 471 stand alone. Do Dotnet then the rollup. It has few if any updates after that.