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Old 07-26-2009, 04:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dell Optiplex 240 help

i just got one of the from my dad and i want to spend about $400 in upgrades as of now i know i need tons of spaces for movies and music, I dont really play video games but i think Autodesk Maya will be the most demanding software on the computer. What part component makes the computer funs fast? I just went to the dell site and saw an optiplex 740 but it looks pretty basic will i come out better ipgrading the one i have of buying a new one?
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

If you're going to spend $400, you'd almost certainly be better off buying a completely new computer. I spent less than that a year and a half ago on a computer that would run circles around that Optiplex.

I did a quick search, and it looks like that computer has a Pentium 4 processor, and one of the slower ones, meaning it's quite likely that
1) it uses DDR memory, and not DDR2
2) it probably doesn't have a PCI Express port for a new graphics card
3) it might not have SATA connectors, which would severely limit the hard drives you could install

(Bit of perspective: My computer has an Athlon X2 4000+ running at 2.1ghz. That "4000+" is marketing lingo that says that the processor compares to a Pentium 4 running at 4ghz speed. The processor in the build below is about 4/3 as "fast" as mine comparing clock speeds, and is a newer architecture that's even faster. Not to mention it's dual core, which is like two Pentium 4s working together. Yes, it's a huge difference.)

And although I've never used Maya, from a glance at its wikipedia page I can tell you that it'd greatly benefit from having a graphics card.

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 245 - not the fastest, but incredibly better than a Pentium 4

Either:
Motherboard: MSI 770-C45 AM3 AMD 770 - think this will work, not entirely sure about the new AM3 socket + DDR3 memory.
Memory: 2gb DDR3
or
Motherboard:ASRock K10N78M - it's cheap and uses DDR2
Memory: 2gb DDR2

Case: Cheap Rosewill case
PSU: Cheap Rosewill power supply - could probably find a better one, but this one works for me
Cheap DVD Burner

All together, this comes to ~$372 (motherboard needs a graphics card, see below) or ~$250. All it should need is a hard drive and video card.

For a video card, a good budget start would probably be the XFX 9800GT - not because it's a budget card, but because it's still a fairly powerful card, it's much less expensive than the competition, and it supports CUDA (a programming language that uses the graphics card along with the CPU for more power). That adds ~$100 to the price.

Then for hard drive space, it really depends on how much storage you need. Unless you have a massive amount of movies and music, something like this 500gb Seagate ($60) will probably work. You can always add more later on. If you're willing to spend more, they have this 1000gb Seagate ($90) for just a little more.

There's no OS included - I'd recommend using the Windows 7 release candidate until the actual version comes out for purchase. It's free and will last until March or June (I think) of next year.

All together with the smaller hard drive, first build option comes to about $430 (you get a faster kind of memory) and the second comes to right around $410. It's slightly more expensive than the upgrades, but it's definitely more powerful. And, you can always use the old computer for something else.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

i didnt know i can build a complete computer for $400...my original plan was to upgrade one part at a time until i get the semi super computer that i want but the guy at best buy said its not a good idea
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

Going to Best Buy generally isn't a good idea. He is only there to make cash.

Pricing up something for you, give me a moment.

EDIT: This is tenative, it's over 400 bucks, but there's ways of tweaking it so it's cheaper. It's just a basis.

Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Desktop Memory
Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GV-R485ZL-512H Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!
Newegg.com - LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners

Total comes to $530.08 after shipping, then you get 50 bucks back in MIRs.

We can get a lesser GPU, HDD, or RAM, for starters. But This is a general good build for around your budget, and you'll be fine for playing a decent amount of games.

What size monitor do you have, by the way?
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

im thinking about using my television as a monitor so i can have an all around computer/tv setup..well thats my goal but i saw this Newegg.com - Hanns&#183;G Hi-221DPB Black 22&#34; 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd&#47;m2 1000&#58;1 Built in Speakers - LCD Monitors
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

Not a bad monitor, pretty cheap too.

So is my build way out of what you are willing to spend, especially now that you need a monitor? because really, fitting a monitor in under 400 bucks is pretty impossible.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

no its not actually i still might end up paying more..and i dont really need a monitor i have a 20'' and a 16'' i just want to use the television as a monitor just to have more use for it. whats the biggest case available for a custom build? and is most of the large cases are for gaming
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

There are some pretty gigantic cases out there, pretty sure you don't need anything that huge. The case you have there has more than enough space to fit a good bit of stuff in.

You can always browse newegg for the sort of thing you would like, and post here for our opinions.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help


well this is the case that i had in mind or maybe something a little bigger at the end i want to have about 5 hard drives with a total with about 1200 GB..overkill or what?
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell Optiplex 240 help

They have extended motherboards which require larger cases. If you use an ATX motherboard with an extended case it will work, but the extra space won't be usable as you won't have that many pci slots or sata ports on the motherboard. Would just be wasted.
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