Dell Dimension 9200 - Can it handle an SSD and Windows 8.1 64 bit??

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Dell Dimension 9200 - Can it handle an SSD and Windows 8.1 64 bit??

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I have a seven year old Dell  Dimension 9200 - see config below. Before chucking it, I want to explore the merits of breathing new life into this pc with an bootable SSD drive and WIndows 8.1 Pro 64 bit

Can it handle it for non-gaming, non-rendering, HTPC-type use???  It would be mailnly acting as client to access  (perhaps running XBMC), and ideally, if I can, to stream tv/movies off of the internet ( or on other home pc's).

I dont might upgrading re-useable hardware, like replacing the old HD with a bootable SSD, but I am hesitant to buy memory, a PCI GPU etc for old hardware that I cannot easily re-use.

If its a bad path to go down, I will recycle and build a new one from scratch.

Config
______-

  • CPU: Intel E6600 core 2 duo processor - 2.4GHz 4MB cache, 1066MHz FFSB
  • Chipset: Intel P965 Express
  • Memory**: 1,5GB DDR2 PC2-5300, DDR2 (non-ECC) ;  Maximum Memory: 4GB ;  4 slots : 2 empty ; 1  @ 1GB   ; 1  @ 512 MB
  • Graphics: HMGA15  (aka Nvidia Geforce 8600 GTS Graphics 256MB)
  • HD:To be repalce with as SSD
  • OS: To be repalced with Win 7 or 8.1
  • NIC: Integrated Intel 82566DC Gigabit Network Connection
  • Audio: Sigmatel 9227 audio codec ;  Internal 7.1 channel or PCI option cards
  • Expansion: 3 PCI ; PCIex1 ; PCIex4/x9 ; PCIe16
  • PSU : 375W

**DDR2 533-MHz (PC2-4300), DDR2 667-MHz (PC2-5300), and DDR2
800-MHz (PC2-6400) memory, the modules function at the slowest speed installed.


 

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  • I own a Dimension 9200 and am running Windows 8.1 64 bit off an SSD in it. Runs very well. Though I do have a different configuration than what you have in yours (more memory, better processor etc). I believe there are drivers for all the hardware you have though including sound and graphics, that work with Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 . I think the only thing that won't work with Windows 8.1 is the card slot front panel. Unless there is a driver out there I don't know about. Apart from that everything else should work.

    According to Wikipedia, your system meets the hardware requirements for XBMC. On the subject of re-usable hardware, the dimension 9200 can take any pci-e graphics card even modern ones (provided the PSU meets the power requirements) which could then be re-used in another PC. If you felt your graphics processing needed a boost.

     

  • Sheldon G
    I have a seven year old Dell  Dimension 9200 - see config below. Before chucking it, I want to explore the merits of breathing new life into this pc with an bootable SSD drive and WIndows 8.1 Pro

    Windows 8.1 32-bit won't be a problem. It will also support both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and 8. Windows 7 has an MPEG-2 decoder and Windows Media Center bundled, so you might consider choosing it over 8.1.

    I'd recommend the Sapphire 6450 for the GPU upgrade, as it has strong support for HTPC features like streaming video and I can verify its compatibility with old Dells, including the OptiPlex GX620 and 320 and Dimension E310/3100, all of which are as old as your 9200.

  • Thanks for the input guys..

    This is where the slippery slope begins..

    Windows- I was planning to buy Win 8.1 64 bit (Pro or not) in case the 9200 expreiment did not work. Win 7 is fine for the 9200 but wanted to have an 8.1 license if I were to build new. I can always reconsider.

    Memory - well, I could as 2 x 1MB ( for a total of  3.5Gb) for about maybe $50 http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=ct2kit12864aa667 so thats not too bad. But it would be a sunk cost - likely not re-used again.

    GPU/PSU - Fair points re GPU card....but the PSU is 375W, so I think that option would mean a new GPU and PSU, so thats not oging to happen. Are there cheap GPUs that  work with a 375W power supply? I see the Sapphire HD6450 here :
    Newgegg:  http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102933   and
    Tiger: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=365400&CatId=3669
    ..... I note The Tiger model say 2.0 x 16 and the Newggg says 2.1 x16. Is 2.1 compatiable with the 9200??

    CPU - I would not invest in new CPU on this board, so a CPU change means a CPU/Motherboard change, which puts this option over the top.

    Hmmm, if I proceed , looks like:

    $100 ish for WIndows - reuabale
    $100-$200 for SSD, reusable
    $50 for addiotnla memory - sunk
    $50 for video sunk

  • Sheldon G

    GPU/PSU - Fair points re GPU card....but the PSU is 375W, so I think that option would mean a new GPU and PSU, so thats not oging to happen. Are there cheap GPUs that  work with a 375W power supply? I see the Sapphire HD6450 here : http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102933  I note it saya 2.1 x16. Is 2.1 compatiable with the 9200??

    Yes PCI-e 2 cards are backwards compatible with PCI-e 1 slots in general. And in particular, I have a PCI-e 2 card in my 9200 working absolutely fine, even though it only has a PCI-e 1 slot. You won't get PCI-e 2 transfer speeds but it won't be noticeable on the cards you're thinking of, and considering the rest of the system.

    Regarding memory being a sunk cost, if you will use this system for a while for the purpose you have in mind, maybe it is still worth it despite it being sunk.

  • The Sapphire 6450 will work and its performance is akin to the 6800GT king-of-the-hill of 2005. Other GPUs that are compatible with the power supply include the 6570, 6670 and 7750.

    1.5gb is enough for Windows 7 x64, but you'll need a swap file, and an SSD will help immensely. I have an OptiPlex 320 with a Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe and 128gb SSD, and it's very responsive.

     

  • IDEA...

    If I recall, I can download a  Win 7 SP1 ISO file somewhere ( digital river ??) and then create a bootable USB (using tools like ISO-to-USB), install windows, and have 30 days to activate.   So maybe  I bite the bullet on:
    -memory
    -SSD
    -sapphire gpu
    ...and once they all arrive, I attempt a windows 7 install and see how far I get.

    If it works >>  great, and I can decide then to purchase a Win 7 vs 8.1 key.

    If its not great >>   I can pull out the SSD,  put in old spare hard drive use the machine for guest room - email etc, and use the SDD for the beginning of a new DIY build ( windows, case, motherbaord, fans, cpu, memory, psu, ssd, etc)

    UPDATE : I think this will get me going re the ISO file :
    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/digital-river/66a8439b-0d16-4b70-92f7-1c8486a46ebf

  • I prefer Windows 7 to 8.1, because the UI is optimized for desktop use.

  • I cant disagree that much. Win 8 is really meant for a tablet. But using desktop mode gives the best of both worlds. Also I like keeping 'current' if I can when building / re-building a machine.

     

  • Well, the GOOD news is I don't need to buy memory! Popped the case open tonight and I see I upgrade it 7 years ago! (My mom has had the machine all this time). And I have a new SSD in a sealed box. So I 'was' all set to go to fire it up with an SSD and the Win 7 ISO...

    The BAD news is....I did a stupid thing and am now paying the price. In my attempt to temporarily secure the SSD beneath the 3.5" bay (havent yet bought an adaptor,  I dropped a tiny screw. So its game over for weeks now until I take EVERYTHING part to find it. Never saw that one coming. Its not all obvious where it is. Moved the machine in a million directions- heard it once that was it. So I cannot power up until I find it. Close to an hour I will never get back. I cant really afford to spend weeks looking for it , so when I lose patience, which I will, it really is game over for this option. Too bad. So close!

    Anyone ever chuck a machine over a loose screw???

  • No, I've always found the loose screws. In fact, I dropped one last night into an OptiPlex 390 DT, but found it within a few minutes.

  • Okay, re the dumb loose screw, I kept at it, as far as I could ; didnt find anything loose, but did find a screw on the carpet, so I am hoping that's the one , and am moving on.

    Gotta say, 100% success.

    Had to play with a few bios settings, boot from rear USB ports, reseat and relocate the SSD cable, carefully choose the right partition options (new vs format), give it time to respond  ;  then it all came together.. I didn't even need a resource disk. 

    System is extremely resposive with the combination of a fresh install and the SSD.  Might be an idea to update all my other machines as well!!

    So I quite pleased with the potential off putting this unit to good use. Re win 7 vs 8, the 30 days is exactly what I needed.. if the unit remains this responsive after I load it up. , then I think maybe Win 7 will be a better fit for this this seven yr old machine., especially if I am going to be hiding the interface  most of the time with XBMC......and conversely, if HTPC it too taxing,  I can simply redploy this box to the guest room, and again Win 7 would be a suitable choice. 

  • A modern video card will offload most of the stress of video decoding, so the 9200 should be up to serving as an HTPC.

    Good to hear that it's working out.

  • Agreed, will pick up that Sapphire card.

    Also, perhaps its just a reminder, but it now says "3 days until automatic activation"  !

     

  • See Windows Reinstallation Guide/A Clean Install of Windows 7/8.1:

    http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/

    Instructions how to evaluate Windows 7 for 30 days using the Digital River .iso with a keyless install is included. In addition the Windows 8.1 Enterprize trial for a 90 day evaluation period. Try both to see how you get along.

    Philip Yip

     

    Windows Reinstallation Guide and Related Wikies See here for other wikies such as Customising and Using Windows 8.1, Dell Wireless Cards and Unofficial Drivers.

  • The Sapphire HD 6450 arrved to day...its not working out so well. Nightmare to install...in hour #2 already for what should have taken 5 minutes. Sorry, not impressed.

    Clean Win 7 SP1 install on new SDD. No other cards in the system. I cannot get any cleaner that this. I removed all the old NVidia video drivers. Replaced the card. Rebooted. It picked up generic drivers.

    I then went to install the Saphhire drivers, and cannot move forward.

    1) I first tried off the CD.. it starts to install ATI catalyst and then take right of a Blue Screen of Death. Wonderful.

    2) I gave up on the CD, and went go to http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/product/product_index.aspx?pid=1166&lid=1#
     but the download driver page is hopless. The files are not in any order. Most of the links tell me I cannot download.

    ( I get this page : http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/incomplete

    Gonna take a little break. This is not how it should be.

    If anyone is using this card successfully, I would appreciate the direct URL for;

    Win 7 64 bit Catalyst file to download

    Win 7 64 bit Drivers file to download

    I cannot find then. I  either get release notes or error message indicating the file is not available for downlaod

    So far the experience of 0 out of 10.

    With such a clean install ,I am curious what I possibly did wrong.