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£300 to upgrade my system - any advice?

leeuk321

Active Member
Hey everyone, could anyone please give me some help on upgrading my system? Basically for faster video-editing rendering time, standard video (not hd). I've currently got an ancient Dell Precision 370, here's the specs:

Motherboard: Intel Alderwood i925X
CPU: Pentium 4 3Ghz (530)
Memory: 4GB (4 x 1GB DDR2-400 SDRAM)
Video card: NVidia Quadro FX 3400 with dual-monitor output
Hard Drives: 80gb & 2 x 500gb, all internal SATA-II 7200RPM.
2 x 19" monitors.
DVDROM, DVDRW, Floppy.
Firewire card

What I'm wanting to do is to spend £300 (give or take a few quid) on getting another 2nd hand / refurbished system - such as a Dell Precision 670 / 690 - and then putting as much as what I've already got into it as possible. I figured this was the best route since the Dell 370 can't really be upgraded that much more because of the motherboard (and newer motherboards won't fit).

For instance, I've seen a Dell 670 with dual xeon 3Ghz with 2gb ram for £200, Dell 670 with dual xeon 3.6ghz with 2gb ram for £290, Dell 690 with dual core Xeon 5060 3.2ghz and 4gb RAM for £300.

Basically, I just need some help in figuring out where's best to put my money. It seems as though it's cheaper to buy a refurbished system (e.g. dell 670) than it is to buy the parts separately and self-build. Is this right? I don't really know much about HP workstations - has anyone any experience? Also, will I be able to put my 4GB ram with another system using different memory? I don't know what the 'rules' are regarding ram.

Any help would be greatly, greatly appreciated! Thanks guys. Lee
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Basically, I just need some help in figuring out where's best to put my money. It seems as though it's cheaper to buy a refurbished system (e.g. dell 670) than it is to buy the parts separately and self-build. Is this right? I don't really know much about HP workstations - has anyone any experience? Also, will I be able to put my 4GB ram with another system using different memory? I don't know what the 'rules' are regarding ram.

Any help would be greatly, greatly appreciated! Thanks guys. Lee

I am pretty sure any new system the motherboard would not support the ram you have now.

All new motherboards the lowest they support nowdays is PC2-5300, maybe you can find one with PC2-4200 support if you are lucky but no chance really of PC2-3200 support.

The only thing you will be able to really use out of this system is the hard drives, and of course the floppy and DVD Drives if desperate.
 

leeuk321

Active Member
Hi, thanks for your reply. Will I not even be able to use my Nvidia graphics card? Because I was under the impression that it was a pretty good one, so I definitely wanted to bring it into my new system. Also - it supports my 2 monitors.
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Hi, thanks for your reply. Will I not even be able to use my Nvidia graphics card? Because I was under the impression that it was a pretty good one, so I definitely wanted to bring it into my new system. Also - it supports my 2 monitors.

To be honest I have never heard of the graphics card.

If its PCIe 16x and not AGP then yes you could swap this over.

I just assumed it was an old card, given the age of all the other components and it was AGP.

From reading this thread here it looks like it is PCIe16x, and comparible in performance to the 6800GT (a midrange card from around mid 2006)

QUADRO FX 3400 - is it a 6800 Ultra equivalent? - nV News Forums

If this is the case, newer cards today would dwarf its performance.

I had the 6800GS and swapped this for the ATI 4850 and the performance jump was incredible.
 

crossbow

Well-known Member
As you presently have a workstation PC, & appears you're after a similar one, it's unlikely you're a gamer. If that's true, then yes you could use the same workstation graphics card in the new system (with a PCI-E x16 slot) & save a bundle.
 

leeuk321

Active Member
Thanks for your replies. I'm not a gamer, so I agree I'd like to keep this graphics card. I don't do any 3D stuff either, the card is purely so that I can run two monitors.

Does anyone have any suggestions on workstations or systems?

Thanks.
 

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