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Upgrade XP desktop for Win7


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#1
Zook

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I have a Dell XPS 400 desktop here that was built for Windows XP. Last year my friend installed Windows 7 on it without considering the hardware capabilities and now it chugs, basically operating in slow motion. I now have my hands on it and what I would like to do is go through the hardware and upgrade it. This to not only to get it back up and running but also to learn a whole lot about computer hardware. I have begun looking around for guides and how-to's and figured I would ask here as well. I have compiled a report of the existing components using that Everest Home Edition software and so if anyone know of any good sources of info I would certainly appreciate it. To clarify, it IS running Windows 7 Home Edition right now, it is just very, very slow to the point of being unusable.
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#2
Fenor

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Hi Zook!

From what I can find, it appears that the Dell XPS 400 is capable of having between 512 and 4GB of memory maximum.

Can you look at that Everest output you have and verify how much memory (aka RAM) is in your system currently?

Edited by Fenor, 18 April 2012 - 02:21 PM.

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#3
Zook

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Thanks for the quick reply!
As far as I can tell, there is only 1.00 GB installed of memory. From taking a peak inside it does look like there is room for more.
Oh and if anyone is curious, here is the entire report, https://docs.google....SVBXU1lSX1lnSU0
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#4
phillpower2

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Use the Crucial system scanner tool to find the best recommended Ram for your system, no need to purchase from there, write down the details and shop around for the best deal http://www.crucial.c...ner/?click=true let us know what is suggested and we can also look for you.

Other things that can slow your system down are having inadequate available storage space on your HDD (less than 15% available) a badly fragmented HDD, the anti virus program or having more than one AV running as examples.

Please Run the PCPitstop.com OverDrive Full Tests

Here's how:

You must use your Internet Explorer for this procedure. (doesn't work so well in Firefox or others). If your machine is running Vista or Windows 7, you must Select IE to “Run as Administrator”. After completing PCPitstop OverDrive you can close your IE browser and re-open it Normally so that you are no longer running as administrator.

Go to: http://www.pcpitstop...pit/default.asp
Click on "Free Computer Check-up" listed below PC Pitstop OverDrive
In the User Login - Click on "Sign up FREE!"
You'll need to submit a valid email address and create your own password, then click - Create Account(button)

Now enter your email address and password to Log in, Select - Scan this system Now!(button)
You will then be asked to download an ActiveX component and allow it to install.
It is safe and does not compromise your privacy.
Follow the on-screen prompts to install the ActiveX and to allow the Full Tests to be run on your machine.

The Full Tests take about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes on most machines.
When complete, a Results - Summary - Recommended Fixes will be displayed.

Please post the URL internet address, from your Results, back here into this Topic Thread so that we can review the configuration and present performance levels of your machine.

Note: During the graphics 2D and graphics 3D testing, your screen will display some rapidly moving objects.
If you are sensitive to visual flashing, it may cause dizziness. Therefore, look away from the screen during that portion of the testing.

After reviewing the results we will be more informed and may be able to provide better recommendations for you to work towards improving your machine's performance.

While PCPitstop does offer a variety of Paid Products, the PCPitstop OverDrive testing is FREE. Please ignore the references to Paid Products. We prefer to provide manual solution instructions that you can apply directly to your machine.

Thanks to rshaffer61 for the PCPitstop instructions :thumbsup:
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#5
Fenor

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What phillpower2 posted will help immensely with regards to seeing what you need/can upgrade on your system to make it run better, but from the memory standpoint, 1GB is the bare minimum for Windows 7, so jumping that up to at least 2GB will definitely help a lot. You said there looked like there was room for more, so hopefully you only have two sticks of memory (leaving two slots empty), meaning they are 512MB each, allowing you to get two more 512 sticks to get you up to 2GB.
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#6
Zook

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Great! Looking good thanks for the help guys.
I'll go through the instructions and see what my results are.
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#7
phillpower2

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:thumbsup:
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#8
Zook

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Alright here we go,
The Crucial system scanner confirmed that I have 2 512MB cards currently installed and there is room for two more cards.
They show how I can bump it up to 2, 3, or even 4GB. My question is, should I stop at 2GB or bump it up even more. I have 4GB of memory in my laptop and that runs like a champ so I would assume I should do the same for the desktop but I'd definitely like to get your opinion.
Regardless, what details about the cards should I focus on when shopping around elsewhere for them?

As for the PC Pitstop results, check out the results here, http://www.pcpitstop...?conid=24880502
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#9
Fenor

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2GB should be enough, but depending on how much it costs, it might actually be cheaper to buy four 1GB sticks instead of two 512MB.

Now your processor is pretty dated, considering it came out in early 2004, so that might bottleneck you if you like to game a lot, but there really is no point in upgrading that, as you would need to upgrade the motherboard and the RAM.

Needlessly to say, the best bang for your buck is to shell out $50-100 and get another GB of ram and that should help a lot.

Edited by Fenor, 18 April 2012 - 07:15 PM.

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#10
Fenor

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I don't see any PC4200 DDR2 533MHz sticks for sale, and I found some 1GB sticks (which are faster speed @ 667MHz which your XPS400 can run) for only $15.99 on TigerDirect, which you can find HERE.

Probably best to just go with the 4GB for under $75 w/ shipping.

*Actually, it's only $66.25 shipped to my house. So even better price than $75. :)

Edited by Fenor, 18 April 2012 - 07:18 PM.

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#11
Zook

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Alright yeah thanks for the info. I don't plan on doing any gaming on it, just multitasking and storing videos to share on a network.

EDIT: actually scratch that. What should I look for if I wanted to play games on like GTA IV and Skyrim?

Edited by Zook, 19 April 2012 - 09:40 AM.

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#12
phillpower2

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I note from your listed software LimeWire 5.4.8 which = free peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) please uninstall this asap, I can only advise you on removing this nothing more as determined by the GTG TOU (Terms of Use) which states;

q.We will not support or allow the discussion of any peer to peer (P2P) applications, except for their removal.

Also see http://www.mywot.com...rd/limewire.com for an understanding of why the removal is recommended.

To help improve your systems overall performance please return to the PCPitstop results and address the items that have a red X against them, if you hover the cursor over the item you will be given a description of the issue and if you click on it you will be instructed how to correct the problem, post back when you have done this.
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#13
Zook

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Oh sure, my apologizes, I did not know the entire list of programs installed, it will be removed immediately and I will go through the PCPitstop results.

EDIT: updated report, http://www.pcpitstop...?conid=24882421
It looks like the persistent problems now are 2D video benchmark which recommenced I check the drivers with their Driver Alert software, it found no problems or updates with any of the drivers. The other is the disk speed which recommended a disk fragmentation. I am currently in the process of running one. Is there anything hardware wise I could do to improve these?

EDIT2: another update, the disk fragmentation finished and condensed 0% but honestly since beginning this work it has been running well, most likely because I have removed a massive amount of old and temporary files and there are now only 23 programs install. Still as I said before I would like to find out if there are other hardware upgrades I can perform aside from bumping up the memory.

Edited by Zook, 20 April 2012 - 11:30 AM.

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#14
phillpower2

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Hi Zook

For immediate improvements please deal with the PCPitsop fixes.

I am currently in the process of running one. Is there anything hardware wise I could do to improve these?

Please deal with the above as directed and then post back;

The Crucial system scanner confirmed that I have 2 512MB cards currently installed and there is room for two more cards.
They show how I can bump it up to 2, 3, or even 4GB.


8Gb of Ram is the sweet spot for W7 64-bit but 2 or 4Gb is good for W7 32-bit or low end performance from W7 64-bit.

Colleague Fenor may also have suggestions and recommendations as how to proceed.

Upgrading to a better add on video card is the next logical step but before you purchase a video card there are a couple of things to take into consideration;
1: How much room do you have inside your case for the card.
2: Add on video cards can be power hungry so will the present PSU also need to be upgraded to power the card.
3: If the new add on video card requires a direct feed from the PSU does the PSU have the correct type of connection (commonly a 6-pin pci-e type).

If your PSU can provide the required power you can get round No3 if no 6-pin pci-e is available by using a 4-pin molex to 6-pin pci-e adapter such as http://www.ebuyer.co...er-lp4pciexadap

A link to your MB and the stock PSU in your Dell http://support.dell....v.htm#wp1053958
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