I'd appreciate some advice on my upgrade options on my Dell XPS 8700 running Windows 10 with
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770 CPU @ 3.40GHz ,
2TB,S3,7.2K,512E,SGT-GRDABP Hard Drive,
NVDIA G Force GTX 650 ti.
Memory slots 1& 2 hold 4GB, slots 3 & 4 hold 8 GB
I have a HDMI, DisplayPort and USB free and free expansion slots
I have two screen system of a U2913WM, and a S2340L attached to the graphics card by a HDMI to DVI adapter
(1) What are my upgrade options? What can I add to or improve to help this PC last longer.?
(2) I have available to use a StarTech USB3 to Dual HDMI adapter - would this be a better set up than the current set up?
I use the PC for the usual office type stuff - telconferencing, document editing, word processing, email, etc, plus videos
I'm fairly competent with a screwdriver and at following technical instructions, although I am by no means a hardware expert I'm qute willing and able to get inside the machine.
Thanks in advance
@jes2014 The first upgrade I would make is to add a solid-state drive (SSD). This upgrade will give you a boost in bootup time and performance. I recommend a 2.5" SATA 500GB or 1TB drive or a 2TB drive if it is within your budget. You will need a SATA cable and a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter to mount your SSD. Depending upon how much space you can free up on the 2TB HDD you may not be able to clone it to the new SSD. If not you may have to re-install Windows. I am not sure this upgrade will help your PC last longer unless the 2TB HDD is the original drive that came with the PC.
Regarding your video setup, from your description, it is not clear to me how your monitors are connected to the graphics card. The U2913WM has VGA, HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort and the S2340L has VGA and HDMI. What outputs do you have on the graphics card? You mentioned HDMI and DisplayPort, so if you connect the U2913WM via DisplayPort or DVI and the S2340L via HDMI you should be OK. There is no advantage to using USB unless you are thinking about adding a third monitor and you don't have a graphic port to support it.
The 2Tb disk is original. I am looking into the SDD you suggest
Here's photos of the PC to clarify the set up
It appears that your graphics card has from left to right, DVI-I (Dual Link), DVI-D (Dual Link), and HDMI. The DVI to HDMI connections to your monitors should work fine, there is no need or benefit of making any changes. This DVI Wiki explains the different types of DVI connections.
Since your 2TB HDD is the original, you should back up your data as soon as possible. Your HDD is old and you are lucky it has lasted this long. After you had upgraded to an SSD, I was going to suggest you can use your HDD for additional storage, but given its age, you may wish to purchase a new one.
1050 TI or 1060TI would work fine.
NON dell cards require secure boot OFF in bios.
Even Better would be GTX 1650
I would use a program like Macrium Reflect Free Edition. Some SSD manufacturers offer cloning software for free download. Depending upon the size of the SSD you get and how your HDD is partitioned, you may have to free up space on the HDD in order to fit on the SSD. If your HDD is partitioned into an OS partition and a data partition, you could just clone the OS partition.
Clone of HDD to SSD is recipe for early SSD DEATH in as little as a few hours.
You should do clean install onto ssd and optimize it to remove indexing, defrag, prefetch, superfetch, error logs, memory paging etc.
You can literally write an SSD to death with 1000 to 10000 cycles.
Neither Dell Nor Microsoft support cloning.
microsoft policy for disk duplication of windows installations
If you want to do it anyway use EZGIG software and a Drive wire.
Then remove the hard drive and use in a Dock
The SSD should be mounted in a metal case like this one
Some of this advice is obsolete especially if you are running Windows 10. See this article: https://www.howtogeek.com/256859/dont-waste-time-optimizing-your-ssd-windows-knows-what-its-doing/
Also, there is no reason to buy an external dock when all you need is to install the SSD and clone it internally. To install the SSD you will need a SATA cable and a 2.5" to 3.5 mounting adapter.