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Old 06-16-2010, 06:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

Recently my Dell XPS710 motherboard died (what a nuisance). From what I've read, the motherboards on these units tend to die after 2 years. Rather than replace the motherboard I want to build or buy a new computer.

If possible, I'd like to reuse some of the Dell hardware I already have.

I probably can reuse the SATA hard drive without difficulty. So the new computer can have a small drive or no drive.

Should I try to reuse: nVidia GeForce 8600GTS 256MB PCI-e Video Card?
It requires PCI-express x16 slot and adequate power supply. I'm not into gaming but I do a lot of graphics including 3D design and animation.

Is there any chance I can reuse the CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo processor E6320
(4MB L2 Cache,1.86GHz,1066 FSB)

If not, I would like new computer to have this much computing power or more. The most computer intensive apps I use are probably Lightwave #D (NewTek), and Adobe Premiere, which I run simultaneously.

I'm a sculptor/3D developer who doesn't know much about computers so any advice would be very, very appreciated.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

If you don't mind me asking, what is your budget? We can design you something that should work with minimal effort and assembly (In theory, you know how these things go).

You can for sure reuse the hard drive.
If you really wanted to, you can re-use the graphics card, but for somebody who does 3d while the graphics card is not as important as the processor, you would still benefit from a bit of an upgrade.

I think it is time to scrap that processor and upgrade, for 3d I would call it less than adequate.

I can give you some recommendations (as can everybody else here) once you provide a budget you will be working with, as well as components you will be re-using for sure (IE: Monitor, sound, Etc)
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxMcCarther View Post
I can give you some recommendations (as can everybody else here) once you provide a budget you will be working with, as well as components you will be re-using for sure (IE: Monitor, sound, Etc)
Thanks for your response.

Let's say I definitely reuse the hard drive and monitor. I can start with the current video card and upgrade it later. I don't care about sound that much, so will use the current card or get something cheap.

Let's say I scrap the processor and memory.

Questions:

The Dell case is monster big, can one just put in a different motherboard? Are there mounting issues?

Budget: what could I do spending in the range:
$300 - $500
$500 - $800
$800 - $1200
I guess ~ $1200 is a max. I'm trying to balance cost vs. performance. For example if what I could get for $1200 is better than $800 but only a tiny bit better, cost would be significant.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

Your computer has a good power supply that you can reuse as well. Same goes for the optical drive(s), too. Your case is a BTX so it is basically worthless.

Here's a little something... A quad core with 8GB of RAM to feed your 3-D programs.

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
&
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

$150

Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
$110

Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
$160

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb&#47;s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
$100

Total = $520

Add another $100 if you want Windows 7.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

Anyway, this is my suggestion for a semi-budget build

Motherboard: Foxconn A9DA-S $110.00
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 (3.4 ghz) $183.00
RAM Gskill Ripjaws Series (4 gigs) $110.00
Case Phoenix Neo ~$80.00

Total Cost - $483.00

While not super top of the line, this would be a whole lot better than you have now.

So, Four gigs of ram would probably be fine to start with, if you want to go for 8, chances are you will eventually so you can if you want, when it comes to 3d, the processor is very important, whatever you do, don't skimp on it.

Motherboard - With all the happenings at Foxconn lately (non-technology related), I am semi-hesitant to recommend this to you, but it has nice reviews and is a good choice given your budget.
Processor - This processor should do just about everything you can throw at it.
Ram - Like I said above, you can get away with 4 No problem, and still have a bit of room to spare.
Case - I chose this mid case primarily because I know it does a good job cooling and is well laid out, also it has room for the new graphics cards with room to spare, which is rare in mid cases, feel free to go with a full tower though if you think you have room, also, newegg is currently sold out, but you can get this case allot cheaper else-ware. Also, if you want a full, the Antec 1200 series is nice, if not very bright.

Also, I recommend windows 7 for sure!
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

Thank you very much for your advice.

I have another question. This is my first attempt at building a computer and I was wondering- how do you go about mounting things in the case? Are there generic brackets that you can buy on line? Do people generally fabricate these thing by themselves? As I mentioned above, I'm a sculptor and 3D designer. I have a lot of experience fabricating various metal forms, but it seems like it would be a lot easier to simply buy the mountings.

Does anyone know of a URL where you can order mounting brackets, etc?
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell XPS710-replace or build from the ruins?)

You shouldn't need any additional mounting brackets. Here's a link that will help in getting you familiar with assembling a PC

The animated guide to Building a PC. Learn to build a PC from scratch with PCitYourself!
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