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Anthony1968

Want to break free from Dell

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I have a Dell Studio XPS 8100 ( see specs below, snapshot from speccy). The Core i7-860 is restricted to 2.8GHz because DELL have locked everything down. The only way to break free of this is to upgrade the M/B and buy a decent Heatsink/Fan for overclocking. Operating SystemMS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1CPUIntel Core i7 860 @ 2.80GHz 38 °CLynnfield 45nm TechnologyRAM6.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 661MHz (9-9-9-24)MotherboardDell Inc. 0X231R (CPU 1) 22 °CGraphicsHP w1907 (1440x900@60Hz) ( I also use Dell 2310@1920x1080)LogMeIn Mirror DriverNVIDIA GeForce GTS 240Hard Drives625GB Western Digital WDC WD6400AAKS-75A7B2 ATA Device (SATA) 34 °C977GB Seagate ST31000528AS ATA Device (SATA) 30 °C391GB SAMSUNG NDAS SAMSUNG HD400LD SCSI Disk Device (NULL) 25 °COptical DrivesHL-DT-ST BD-RE BH10LS30 ATA DeviceTSSTcorp DVD+-RW TS-H653G ATA DeviceAudioRealtek High Definition AudioCan anydody please suggest a good M/B that will allow me to overclock? (BTW, I'm out of Warranty)


Anthony O'Brien

 

 

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Anthony,This is exactly how I got into building computers! With that said, be careful when purchasing components specifically to fit into your current Dell case. I'm not sure if that's a mATX or ATX case, but most of the motherboards used for overclocking are ATX, which is larger than mATX. Same goes for heatsinks - don't sacrifice on purchasing a heatsink just because the Dell case won't fit one of the nice ones.What I'm saying is, consider a decent larger case if you find your current Dell case to be the limiting factor of other hardware decisions. It will cost you up front, but this will save you a lot more money in the long run when you're not replacing poor hardware choices made early on. A nice case makes working on your PC much more enjoyable as well.What you're going to find as you upgrade this PC is that the components that came with the Dell are all cheap and pretty much worthless. Eventually you will want to replace the RAM, the PSU, the GPU, and everything else. Luckily, you don't need to do it all now. But you might as well start off with a solid case.IMHO, you would be better off picking up a new motherboard and processor on socket 1155. An ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Gen3 and an i5-2500k will far exceed the performance of your i7-860. A good budget mobo for socket 1155 would be the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3.


Corey Meeks

Flight Simulator - FS2020 | CPU - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X | Video Card - Sapphire RX 5700 XT Main Board - ASUS ROG Strix X570-I mini-ITX | RAM - G.SKILL Trident Z Neo 2x16Gb DDR4 3600Mhz CL16 | Monitor - DELL 38" U3818DW | Case - Cooler Master NR200 | CPU Cooling - Noctua NH-U12A | Power Supply - Corsair SF750

Download: FSXMark11 Benchmark and post results here

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Thanks for the detailed response. But can I honestly ask if you think my FSX experience will benefit "noticably" by going for a new MB/Processor combination? With Turbo-Boost my i7 can run at about 3.4GHz and paired with the Geforce GTS 240 (another DELL OEM) my frame-rates only take a hit at busy airport addons such as UK2000 Heathrow V2. I have UTX Europe, REX 2.0 Overdrive, Ultimate Traffic 2 and numerous other add-ons incl. PMDG 737NGX. also installed. Would I be wasting money and time trying to get busy airports to run better with a GPU upgrade?


Anthony O'Brien

 

 

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It's hard for me to say for sure, but I would think a decent GPU such as the GTX 560 might provide an easy, but relatively small, boost in performance. It's a good alternative if you're really tight on money and it will be good to have for future upgrades. BUT, it might turn out to be a complete waste of time and money as FSX is mostly CPU driven. For less than $200 in the U.S., You can buy an i5-2500k and clock it to 4.5GHz easily. With an OC'd 2500k, a GTX 560 will improve frame rates by roughly 25% over your GTS 240 - but that's only because the GTS 240 would create such a bottleneck. Trust me, I'm running a GTS 250 - my system is currently bottlenecked and it shows in the FSXMark11 benchmark resutls!With an i7-860 at 3.4GHz, the benefit of the better GPU is going to be much much lower because the bottleneck in your system could be the CPU or the GPU - I'm not sure. Keep in mind that at equal clock speeds, a 2500k will outperform your 860 by 10 or 15%. Now consider it will OC at least .5GHz higher!A new Sandy Bridge processor and motherboard combined with a halfway decent GPU will provide a massive improvement. It might be wise to wait a few months to save up the money to make the upgrades. Ivy Bridge is coming out sometime around March or April and should drop right in to current socket 1155 boards. It will clock higher and run cooler and I doubt it will cost much more. But as it goes with computer hardware, there's always something better a few months down the road.Just an idea... you might scrap the idea of trying to slowly upgrade your Dell system and instead sell it on Craigslist. Then you have a bit of cash to put into a system designed from the ground up. Price out all your options and see what works best for YOU. I'll be glad to help.-wow, that turned into a novel


Corey Meeks

Flight Simulator - FS2020 | CPU - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X | Video Card - Sapphire RX 5700 XT Main Board - ASUS ROG Strix X570-I mini-ITX | RAM - G.SKILL Trident Z Neo 2x16Gb DDR4 3600Mhz CL16 | Monitor - DELL 38" U3818DW | Case - Cooler Master NR200 | CPU Cooling - Noctua NH-U12A | Power Supply - Corsair SF750

Download: FSXMark11 Benchmark and post results here

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Well thank you for the novel. You've certainly given me food for thought and prevented me from going off and buying a new GPU on spec. I reckon I will take your advice and save up for a complete new system ( well a bare-bones at least) later in the new year. I'm not for building a PC from scratch myself as my technical knowledge (albeit not bad) wouldn't stretch to piecing all these things together.


Anthony O'Brien

 

 

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Anthony, for money reasons I stayed with brand-name computers for years. However, the last 3 PC's I have built have been an amazing experience. First of all, you can't buy a comparable computer from a retailer for what you can buy the components for. For example, this August I built my latest rig with a CoolerMaster Storm case with built-in 700W coolermaster PSU, an ASUS P8Z68 V-Pro motherboard, an i7-2600k, an AMD 6870 videocard, 8GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM, 2x500GB WD Caviar Black hard drives, a Creative SB X-Fi and a H60 liquid-cooling heatsink by Corsair. After shopping around online, a combo of amazon.com and newegg.com found me all my components including aftermarket CPU paste and a small toolkit for just over $1050!A comparable system using the well known high-end building company Digital Storm, at the time, was running at over $2000 and I'm being conservative as I think it was closer to 2500. All for about 3 hours work putting the pieces together. These days, there are tonnes of youtube videos and other follow along tutorials that if you pick one build, you can barely go wrong.I picked my build through MaximumPC magazine, it was one of their step-by-step builds and although I'm comfortable building computers, the minefield of comparing what goes with what didn't enthuse me enough this year, so I let them do the hard work and I now have a killer rig running FSX that is upgradeable. I recently bought a couple SSD's [$94 for 64GB each!]and another 8GB of the same RAM [$40!] on a Black Friday special from Newegg, for example and my next purchase will be a second videocard once the 6870 comes down in price, to run crossfire.Breaking away from the manufacturers that lock you into their upgrade cycle is paramount for performance and price, I'm afraid. Your alternative is one of the high-end builders, but like I pointed out, unless you have a bunch of surplus cash lying around it isn't very wise to do that unless you have no choice.

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