Advice on Dell Dimension 1100 upgrade

By Mariana ยท 6 replies
Sep 19, 2010
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  1. Hi
    I have a Dell Dimension 1100 that I would like to upgrade, if possible.. I need some advice on what exactly can be upgraded.

    So far I have ordered (but not yet received) an extra 2GB RAM (1GB x 2)
    Apparently that's all it can handle. So I assume if I wanted more RAM I'd need a new motherboard? And if I get a new motherboard what else will I have to upgrade?

    I'd also like a bigger hard drive...but would that mean I'd need to replace the one it's already got? and put everything on the new hard drive?
    At the moment it has 80 GB partitioned in 3, so the main part with all the programs on it is 20 GB and it has 1GB free.

    As for price range, obviously the cheaper the better. :)

    I have very limited knowledge of computers so I'd appreciate your patience with me.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    2GB is the max for that system. Installing a new motherboard can be a mixed bag with some dells. Sometimes they use proprietary connectors or parts that make replacing the motherboard difficult or impossible.

    There appears to be only one drive bay for a hard drive although you could always put one where the floppy drive goes or into a free 5 1/4 slot with the appropriate spacers and cable if needed.

    If you were going to replace the drive, you could use something like Acronis True Image to Copy the 3 partitions to the new drive and leave the remaining space blank or you could do something like clone the boot partition to a large partition and manually copy the data from the other 2 partitions to the remaining free space.
  3. Mariana

    Mariana TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply.
    Now, could you help me with what kind of hard drive I should look for? (to replace the old one)
    Also, how will I copy from the old partition/s if I'm replacing it?
  4. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    In order to do the copy you'd either have to hook them both up internally temporarily or use an external enclosure for one of the drives. To connect the two drives internally may require a new drive cable with two connections. Sometimes Dell uses cables with single connectors.

    Your system (according to the specs) only supports IDE hard drives so you can only use one of those (i.e. not a SATA drive).

    You can get a 250GB or 320GB drive for around $50-$70.
  5. Mariana

    Mariana TS Rookie Topic Starter

    From what I've read so far, I could use an adaptor cable for IDE to SATA - would you say this is correct?
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,520

    No. But, you could probably use an add-in PCI to SATA card to run the drives off of. This is a decent alternative to buying more IDE hard drives. ATM, they're getting rare, smaller than available SATA, and priced higher for the same capacity.

    However, if you do change things around like this, you may run into trouble with the restore discs from your Dell not working.

    I'm not sure exactly what vintage this machine is, but there does at least exist the possibility that it is not 45 bit LBA enabled, limiting you to a drive no larger than 137 GB. You should research this further.

    You really should look into replacing this machine. It is possible to slap something together for something in the neighborhood of 300 bucks, that would far outperform even the Dell after upgrading.

    The one hitch is, that with a different motherboard, you will likely lose the "value added" software that came with the machine.
  7. Mariana

    Mariana TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think you are right captaincranky, (as much as I hate giving up) upgrading this machine seems to be more trouble than its worth so I will start looking at other posts and educate myself on building a new "beast" :)

    Thank you both for your help.

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