Modding a Dimension 3000.

By Needle ยท 27 replies
Feb 9, 2007
  1. Look below.
  2. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    I think DDR2 would be a better investment than DDR1.

    What is in your Dell right now, and what of it do you intend to keep? I don't know if I totally understand what you're trying to do.
  3. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Once more.
  4. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Modding up a Dimension 3000!

    Give me some insight/help here. Since my budget is kind of low... I guess, I'm sticking with my old processor and keeping some other things like hard drive, disk drives, etc. What I am getting are as follows.

    2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)

    ATX350-PA, version 2.2 RoHS, SATA, 350W Power Supply

    BIOSTAR P4M80-M4 Socket 478 VIA P4M800 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    (Going to get this for the sole purpose of an AGP slot)

    PNY GeForce 7600GS AGP Graphics Card
    (If it doesn't get in stock soon, I'll just go to another site.

    XION Hydraulic XON-566TB Black with Blue LED Light Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    (It looks awesome...)

    MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan
    (I may or may not need these, but I'll get 10 if someone tells me it would be a good idea, it'll only be 12 dollars)

    Suggestions, helpful tips, or replacements for any of those, please post them and help me out. My budget is 500 dollars, with all of those it roughly equals 440 without shipping, with shipping it'll probably equal like 490.
  5. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Threads merged at post #4.
  6. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    For 500 dollars you could build yourself a very basic AM2, 939, or 775 system that would probably outperform any old socket 478 system - it would also be much, much more upgradeable in the future.

    For example, this promotion gives you a Socket 939 mobo/cpu combo for under $100. Toss in a gig of ddr2 thats another 100, hdd/optical thats another 100, that leaves 200 for you to play around with case/psu/video.

    Its your computer though :)
  7. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Nah, a regular socket 478 is fine. I probably won't need to upgrade for a while, not really looking around for a new computer, my mother would flip. I'm technically suppose to just modify my original one and not get an entirely new computer..
  8. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    How computer savvy is your mother? Perhaps "modding" could mean replacing everything inside the computer and keeping the case :)

    I just dont think its very cost efficient at this point to mod or upgrade old technology like that.

    On the other hand - are you still using an old CRT monitor? The first time I used an LCD it felt like I had never really been using a computer in the first place. 150 bucks would get you a 17'', 200 would get you a 19'' widescreen... maybe another 20 or 30 for a good sound system...

    There's lots of ways you could go with it, really.
  9. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I actually have a pretty good 19 inch LCD monitor, we bought it when our old CRT broke down :p. My dimension 3000 isn't that old, it's good enough to have 256 MB of ram atleast. I'm technically getting a new case anyway, it has built in fans and looks much better, so I don't have to spend extra on fans. Of course, I might get those two dollar fans and place like one or two next to the graphics cards/ram to prevent overheat.
  10. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    Alright, I tried - if you're going to stick to Socket 478, then this Motherboard, RAM, and your old processor should do it for the core. A WD HD, or perhaps Seagate if you prefer less noise, and the 7600GS you mentioned would be my recommendation.
  11. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Alright, I've read up and they said to get a better power supply, cheaper ones fail soon. So I think maybe this one would do, I don't think the motherboard that I have/you suggested currently has a 4 cpu connector, or a 8 cpu connector, so should I get a new motherboard or do you think the 20 pin is fine? I don't really know much about power supplies, is just sticking in the 20+4 and the 4 molex fine for the whole system? That or any suggestions for a better power supply? Maybe this one or just go with the one I posted a few sentences ago?
  12. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    That biostar board shouldn't need the 4-pin power support, if thats what you're talking about, older chipsets don't draw that much power. Also, I think 500w is overdoing it a little bit, but I suppose its better to have too much juice rather than too little.

    Power supplies are tricky - i've had luck with Rosewill, Antec, and Apevia. A bad power supply will take out half your machine with it when it goes, so choose wisely. Thermaltake, Allied, and OCZ are also brands you may want to take a look at. In-win makes pretty good cases but i've never used one of their non-bundled power supplies, may be worth a look.

    That board has two 1.5gb/s SATA ports, you may want to invest in a power supply that has SATA power plugs if you decide to get a SATA hard drive or optical.
  13. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Only one problem. Socket 939 isn't compatible with DDR2. If it was I wouldn't have 2 gigs of old DDR1 :)

    Also, with a certain add-on from ASUS, you can mount mobile CPUs onto socket 478, so you could put a Core (2) on there. Or so I've heard.
  14. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I have a question. The graphics card I'm going to get says 512MB DDR2 Memory in it's description. Does that mean it NEEDS 512 MB DDR2 memory or that it has it? I'm going to get a motherboard with DDR SDRAM memory support, and if it needs DDR2 memory then I'll downgrade.
  15. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    Dont get a card with DDR2, get GDDR3, tell me your budget and ill find you a card, dont look for yourself if you have low experience.
  16. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    The "512MB DDR2" refers to the video card's on-board memory. it has nothing to do with your system memory.

  17. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    I'd be interested in seeing if you have any problems connecting the front panel (on switch, reset, leds) of the Dell case with the new motherboard. I have two older Dells and their motherboards appear to have proprietary connectors for the front panel. I suppose it is for faster assembly at the Dell factory but it is one single long connector on the motherboard. As such, it won't match ordinary aftermarket motherboards. Your Dell might be different.
  18. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    No worries, I put a case on the links for people to look over. It's all set. My budget for a graphics card is about 140 dollars, so if you can find a better one than that 7600GS then tell me please. Maybe a sapphire radeon x1650 pro? My motherboard I plan to get does NOT have a PCI-E slot. [EDIT]
    Which one would be better?


    The first one is 256 MB GDDR3 with 450 MHZ core clock with memory clock at 1300 MHZ. Open GL2 + 12 pixel pipelines.
    The second one is 512 GDDR2 with 590 MHZ core clock with memory clock at 1380 MHZ. Open GL2 + 12 pixel pipelines.
    Is the second one better since it has 512 and an increased core clock or is the first one better for the sole reason that it has a GDDR3 memory?
  19. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8


    there are a few things you should consider before buying any new hardware...
    • the operating system that came with your Dell will not work with your new setup, so you will need to figure in about $90 for XP Home SP2 (or more money if you want XP Pro or Vista)
    • you appear to be replacing every major component except your CPU. that's not "modding" your Dell, that is building a whole new computer.
    • socket-478 is outdated, performance-limited, and upgrade-limited. motherboard selection is very limited, basically because they don't make them anymore (you have to choose from remaining/leftover store stock). Intel replaced socket-478 with socket-775 almost 2 years ago.
    • AGP cards are more expensive than PCI-E cards. all modern video cards are native PCI-E (including the 7600GS), what this means is that to make the card available in an AGP format they have to add a PCI-E>to>AGP bridge, that adds to it's cost. a 7600GS in it's native PCI-E version can be purchased for less than $100 (newegg currently has one for $74.99 after rebate)
    • DDR1 is often more expensive than DDR2.

    with that all being said, you can see how it actually will cost you more money to build a system around an old platform...

    I suggest you read this TechSpot guide on building an affordable AM2 gaming system. the system in that guide cost $600 at the time it was written, prices have come down since. it can easily be modified to fit your budget.

    the point is you can easily upgrade to a modern AM2 or 775 system for $500 and it will be much more powerful and much more upgradeable than what you were planning to do. Now that modern CPUs and video card prices have fallen dramatically, you can see what a waste of money it would be spend $500 on an old socket-478 system. whatever you decide, good luck.

    cheers :wave:
  20. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Why would the operating system not work? The operating systems are stored on the hard drive, which I plan to keep..
  21. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    your operating system is a proprietary Dell version. it checks the BIOS to verify that the machine is the one it came bundled with. it will not function on a different machine.

    it is also against Microsoft's EULA which makes it illegal to install it on anything other than the machine it came bundled with.
  22. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Are you serious? Argh, do you know of anyway I could get an official version or something? What does the bios check, the motherboard or what?
  23. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Posts: 373

    It doesn't matter ad long as you plan on changing the motherboard. Only a dell branded motherboard with a Dell Bios chip is going to work with a Dell OEM verison of windows.
  24. Needle

    Needle TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Would it be possible to add on the BIOS chip onto the new motherboard?
  25. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Posts: 373

    No, Also is this system still under warranty, which I doubt it is but if it is your going to void it doing all these changes. But no you cant change the Bios chip, your basicly going to need a new copy of windows.
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