"Pimping Out" A Dell Dimension 3000

By Plasma ยท 20 replies
Nov 29, 2005
  1. (I'm terribly sorry if this is in the wrong forum.)

    Hello all!

    After previously purchasing a Dell Dimension 3000 from work, I decided to see it's performance with some modern games. After being disappointed with it's performance with Quake 3 Online, I decided to "Trick It Out", as you might say, with many quality parts with some extra money I've received from cleaning sewers (Yes, it is a dirty job, but if I wasn't there to do it, Glade Plug-ins would be obsolete. ;) ).

    The problem is that I have no idea where to start. Could someone please point me in the right of some web sites with computer parts or some articles that describe the (painful?) process of replacing computer parts?

    Thanks in advance! :)

    EDIT: Silly me, I forgot my computer specs! :)

    OS Name: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600

    System Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corporation

    System Model: Dimension 3000

    System Type: X86-based PC

    Processor: x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 1 GenuineIntel ~2394 Mhz (Celeron 2.40 GHz)

    BIOS Version/Date: Dell Computer Corporation A02, 11/8/2004
    SMBIOS Version 2.3

    Total Physical Memory: 256.00 MB
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Well, unfortunately the 3000 is not very "pimpable", especially if we are talking about making it into a gaming machine.

    The main problem is that it doesn't have an AGP or PCIexpress graphics slot. You are limited to using PCI graphics which is quite out of date. The best PCI card in the world is too slow to run today's newest games at full settings....

    I wish I had some better news for you. :(

    But if you just want to sqeeze as much as you can out of it, get a new PCI card, and upgrade your ram to at least 512.
  3. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Also (you'll want to confirm this), I believe your system only has a 250w power supply. If this is the case, you'll likely need to upgrade this as well when you go to upgrade your your video card and ram.
  4. Plasma

    Plasma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I understand.

    Well, I was thinking about building my own computer someday. (Of course, when I get the time and money. :) ) Do you have any links to reports or articles that have any valuable information on how to do this task? I would appreciate it. :)
  5. Plasma

    Plasma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello again mates. (Sorry to double-post.)

    After doing some Goggling I've found some reasonably good resources on how to build computers. (Silly me, I had a soldering torch in hand. :haha: ) Anyway, I've compiled a list of some computer parts and I want to double-check to see if they're compatible with each other. :)



    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1232719&sku=CP1-P4-630 C

    Hard Drive:


    DVD/CD Drive:

    Video Card:

    I'm thinking about changing the video card, however.

    Thanks in advance guys. :)
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    What is your budget? Let me try and put something together for you. I took the day off today sick, and have some free time ;)

    3 comments on the system above:

    1. You will notice that in general we try and turn people away from using power supplies that come with cases (with the exception of some companies such as Antec). Those PSUs are 9 times out of 10 bad news and cause extremely hard to diagnose system glitches. Highly recommended you do not get a case/psu combo.

    2. You have 333mhz ram listed above. Of course it will work with your system, but your system will be happier with some 400Mhz ram.

    3. Your video card will be able to play older games at average settings, but the newer games are going to choke on that card, and the games that come out in 6 months from now will not be able to run on it.

    Like I said, give me a budget and let me see what I can do for ya.
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    I like the case you've chosen. I have a different model of the same brand (Xion). It's a good solid case with plenty of room to work. I didn't use the power supply that came with it, however. I replaced it with an Antec as I was aware of what DonNagual said about power supplies that generally come with cases.
  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Alright, your total for the parts above comes to U.S. $699.93

    Asuming (from your first post) that you are wanting something that can handle new games, here's what I'd suggest.

    Case and PSU - $99.99
    Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt

    Motherboard - $63.99
    CHAINTECH VNF4/Ultra Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard

    CPU - $163
    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz FSB 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor

    Memory - $72.50
    CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory

    Hard Drive - $100.99
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM

    DVD/CD drive - $44.99
    NEC Black 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2M Cache IDE DVD Burner - Retai

    Graphics Card - $119.99
    GIGABYTE GV-NX66T128D Geforce 6600GT 128MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

    Total so far: $665.45

    This is $30 cheaper than what you have listed above, and will be FAR superior when playing games.

    Not only that, but your system is EXTREMELY upgradable, both in CPU (socket 939) and graphics (PCI-express).
  9. Plasma

    Plasma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm trying to stay away from the 64 bit AMD processors until they increase in technology, for now, I think I'll stick with the P4. ;)

    Great selection, by the way. :)
  10. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Stick with P4 for gaming? AMD increase in technology?

    Ah well. At least you are moving away from Dell. That's one step in the right direction at least ;)
  11. Plasma

    Plasma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm a bit scared with Athlon 64's weak 2.x GHz. Unless, of course, it doesn't preform like a celeron. (I have no experence with the Athlon 64.) :stickout:

    And as a programmer in the free time, it would be great to compile 64 bit code...

    Bah, I'm very conflicted. :p
  12. mossimoboy

    mossimoboy TS Rookie Posts: 121

    a 2.xGHz would out perform even a P4 3.0GHz..
    Athlon 64's are much better than intels for gaming and multi-tasking.

    And, 64 bit is backward compatible with 32 bit WinXP and other programs.
    Its the 64bit FX you might want to stay away from for a while.

    P.S. Great choice for parts DonNagual, I'm going to be using a Vnf4ultra too. :D
  13. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Athlon64 2.X Ghz are not weak by any means, and they really can not even be compared to a celeron. An Athlon64 cpu will take a celeron chip into a dark alley, mug it, slap it around for a while, then feed it to a homeless dog.

    Take a look at this site here to get some stats on speeds of the various processors doing different tasks.


    You'll see that the Athlon64 cpus are excellent performers. The 2.X Ghz number is really confusing, I know. There are something like 5 different 2.4Ghz Athlon processors and their price difference is huge.
  14. Plasma

    Plasma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow, I had no idea of the power of Athlon 64's, thanks man! :grinthumb (I especially like the frame-rate on Doom III; I'm the biggest Doom fan so I'll love that!)

    On the reviews, the reviewers kept mentioning a item called "Arctic Silver 5", will I be needing this to cool this processor?

    Any who, I can't thank you enough, thanks! :)
  15. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    For gaming machines, Athlon is the champ.

    You don't necessarily NEED the artic silver, but it's not a bad idea.

    When you put your CPU in the motherboard, you will also be putting a large heatsink on top of it to keep it cool (heatsink comes with the CPU). The heatsink comes with a thermal pad (it is a special material to help the heat transfer from the CPU into the heatsink).

    That arctic silver is a special paste that is a little better than the standard thermal pad that comes with the heatsink. It'll drop your temps down a few degrees. Not really necessary unless you are thinking of overclocking, but like I said, it can't hurt.
  16. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    And by the way, I'll just add this here for you to think about.

    That system I put together above is the MINIMUM of what I'd put togther if building a system for gaming. It'll handle today's games just fine.

    If you have a little more cash, and wondering where to best spend it....

    Here are a few options:

    1. Upgrade the motherboard from the one I have suggested to a nforce4 based motherboard.
    2. Upgrade your CPU to something juicier, like the 3700+
    3. Upgrade your graphics to something sexier, like the 6800GT, or X800XT. By the way, here is another good chart for comparing graphics cards:
  17. Plasma

    Plasma TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm going to take a risk and buy a refurbished AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 1GHz FSB 1MB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor (Wow, that just leaves a bad taste in the mouth huh?). By the way; OEM means it doesn't come with cables, right?

    EDIT: Heh, never mind: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103539. The same processor, except it's never been owned for just $30 more! :grinthumb
  18. teentech

    teentech TS Rookie Posts: 20

    cool let me know how it works
  19. KillerPrince

    KillerPrince TS Rookie

    man i wish i had enough money to get that stuff
  20. teentech

    teentech TS Rookie Posts: 20

    hey man me too you sound pritty cool here is my e-mail teentech4computers@yahoo.com hope to here from you and help you out with things and i can help you out to and we can just talk about what ever
  21. waynist

    waynist TS Rookie

    DEF go with AMD for gaming!!

    AMD is the leader in gaming!! I would maybe think about a intel if I was more a surfer and some of a gamer but full gamer got to go with AMD!
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