Advice on processor upgrade please...

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I have a desktop Dell XPS 420, about 2 years old that I use primarily to process photos with LR3 and CS5(light usage), equipped with..

Intel Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40 GHz, 3 GB of Ram running Vista Home Premium 32 bit. I've got 2 HDD's already so really not as much interest in a 3rd as I'm not sure I can add a 3rd.

This morning I saw this deal
http://dealnews.com/Intel-Core-i7-Quad-3.2-GHz-CPU-w-1-TB-SATA-6-Gbps-HDD-for-250-pickup/455517.html

1) Would upgrading my processor make any sense? I'm really not seeing any noticable slowdowns, other than what I blame on Vista. I'm probably just bored.

2)If I upgrade the processor, I would also upgrade to Windows 7 which I already use on my laptop, and upgrade to more RAM, probably 8 MB.

2)If a processor upgrade would make a noticable difference, is this a task for a novice? I've changed HDD's, added RAM, added a wireless card, but that's about it. Like my photography, my confidence outbids my talent level.

What can be done with the least amount of problems, with the greatest increase in performance?

Thanks for your input.
 

Growltiger

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The deal you have identified is only the CPU itself plus a disk. You would also need a new motherboard for the CPU to sit on - it would need a 1366 type socket. You will need new memory as well.

You might want to look for a deal that is motherboard+CPU+memory, that would be the easiest for you.

To answer your questions by number.
1. If you are happy why upgrade? But I can tell you that when using CS5 for example, there are many things that create delays with a slow CPU. Such as Image/Adjustments/Shadows/Highlights. With an i7 everything happens at several times the speed of your old Core2.

An example. I just processed about 60 architectural photos (which require great accuracy), and each one needed PTLens, followed by Filter/Lens Correction, then Shadow/Highlights and Levels, then Cropping and sometimes Content-Aware Fill. Many of these steps are slow and really hit the CPU. This process used to involve delays waiting for the PC. Now with an i7 it goes as fast as my fingers can make it.

2. Yes, you would certainly want Win 7, and the 64 bit version. You will need a clean install. Win 7 runs faster than Vista and makes far better use of memory to speed things up.

A cheap alternative for you - add more memory, preferably bringing it up to 6GB, to your old machine and install Win 7 64 bit. It will run more smoothly and faster.

3. It is not hard to install a new motherboard. Buying all the components at once would make sure you buy the right things.

4. The easiest solution is the memory and Win 7 installation. Or easier still, simply buy a new machine.
 
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BTW, that is a killer deal on that CPU and a hard drive. I noticed it was in store pickup only though, if someone lives near a Microcenter.
 
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After buying "complete" computers(4 Gateways over the past 15 years) I finally decided to spec out what I wanted for what I primarily use it for, which is PS & LR. I just finished building(my 5th computer and first build) and will have to agree on the i7 as being fast. That said, I also installed Win7-64(highly reccomended) in order to accomodate more ram(16gb). If you upgrade to win 7-32(or staying with your Vista) you're locked into ~3.5gb of usable ram. 32 bit can't handle more than 4gb max.
Can your current motherboard take a i7 CPU? If not, you'll need one that will.
If you've never done a CPU upgrade, then you'll need to invest time in learning about setting up the BIOS. I cheated. My son in law is an IT and buidls his own systems so he did it for me.
If you're satisfied with what you got, that's fine. If not, look into componets for building a new system. I learned a lot(more than I did) about what's needed and did some price shopping and took advantage of rebates where I could. But a word of warning! Stay away from microcenter and newegg. Their allure is over powering and you'll end up with a lighter wallet!
But it was worth it!
 
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Well, it's definitely over my skis....

But as Douglas pointed out, it WAS a helluva deal, and that's what got me thinking.

But I'm all done thinking now. You guys have talked me right out of that silly notion.

I may just assign that XPS to another job and start watching for another desktop for my photo editing.
 
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Texas!
Well, it's definitely over my skis....

But as Douglas pointed out, it WAS a helluva deal, and that's what got me thinking.

But I'm all done thinking now. You guys have talked me right out of that silly notion.

I may just assign that XPS to another job and start watching for another desktop for my photo editing.
I call that a good decision. What you were considering is the computer equivalent of hotrodding a family sedan via an engine swap. Lot of hurdles, even with experience, and even if you succeed, it's still gonna get spanked by the sports car with all components engineered together for high performance.


<<<<<<<<<<< does computers for a living
 
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I may just assign that XPS to another job and start watching for another desktop for my photo editing.
I'll agree with the poster that used the souped up sedan anology.
This might be the time to just look into the components of what you want in a system whether you build it yourself or spec one out from somebody like Dell. After the first 2 Gateway computers I bought(and got WAY too use to being on line) I found that I could swap items out from the models they showed to get more of what I wanted in a system. My last system was fast(for it's day) and had 2 internal drives for storage. Vista had just come out, 64 bit was just starting to be talked about(there was no software for it) and nobody had terabyte drives. That was 4 years ago! Almost ancient! I honestly had only joked with my son in law about building something myself and he said if I get what I wanted, he'd help get it set up. When CS5 & LR3 came out, I upgraded. Then I started reading how much they had been optimized for 64 bit. I started thinking, then I started reading, comparing and finally decided to do it. I've had about 2 weeks now and love it. And the 2 HD's from my other computer are being put to use inside the new one in a raid for the cache. I couldn't see them just sitting and not being utilized.
 
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I've got the same problem, I'm due for a computer upgrade myself, my XPS 410 just turned 3 (XP machine now...I hated Vista and downgraded) and I tend to buy new machines every 3 years and downgrade the main machines to my main current hobby room (scale model building).

I've looked at the current Dell "XPS410/425" level machine and it seems a tad limited compared to when I bought this machine.

I'm talking to a couple local shops about building a i7 machine. The advantage I'm thinking is it's easier to upgrade vs. a Dell which you can't swap motherboards out and the like.

I've also looked at HP machines, the level machine they sell same as the XPS8300 seems to have more features than Dell does.

I'm waiting to hear back from 1 shop...2nd one I talked to yesterday kind of wants to streer me down a bit....I told em I have no problems maxing a system out up front and don't feel comfortible trying to build one myself....that and the towers they offered seem on the cheap side
 
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I've actually read good things about the XPS8300, just recently in a PC World review. Not great things, but very good considering the price point.

And also saw a dealnews.com link to XPS8300 for something like $800 including monitor(which I have no use for).
 
Joined
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I'm talking to a couple local shops about building a i7 machine. The advantage I'm thinking is it's easier to upgrade vs. a Dell which you can't swap motherboards out and the like.
I'm waiting to hear back from 1 shop...2nd one I talked to yesterday kind of wants to streer me down a bit....I told em I have no problems maxing a system out up front and don't feel comfortible trying to build one myself....that and the towers they offered seem on the cheap side
As I stated earlier, I'd do some research on what you want. Talk to the shops and ask if you supply the components including case, what it would cost to assemble and get it running(setting up the BIOS and installing the os). Or give them a list of what you want(hardware wise) and see if there is a price difference from what you could get it at. I took advantage of discounts(newegg seems to always have these going), rebates (also always going on) and free shipping.
 
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I'd expect higher graphics card options myself, that and it looks like you can only have 1 hardrive installed if I'm reading Dell's site right...2 if you do 1TB drives but I'd like a 2TB with the option to add another if needed....
 
Joined
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As I stated earlier, I'd do some research on what you want. Talk to the shops and ask if you supply the components including case, what it would cost to assemble and get it running(setting up the BIOS and installing the os). Or give them a list of what you want(hardware wise) and see if there is a price difference from what you could get it at. I took advantage of discounts(newegg seems to always have these going), rebates (also always going on) and free shipping.
I might try that, I'll see what the primary shop I've contacted says
 

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