I know a few of you out there are pretty savvy when it comes to computers and upgrades and whatnot, so I'm going to ask for your help.
I have a 2 year old Dell XPS 600 that runs pretty well, but is starting to chug a bit at times. I want to give it a boost and try to make it "new again" but not sure where to start. Essentially, I want to extend the life of the machine so I don't end up spending another $3k to replace it next year. Between games, video editing and batch-processing hundreds and sometimes thousands of screenshots at a time, I need something on the beefier end of the spectrum, especially now that I'm working a lot with HD-quality images.
Here's the nuts & bolts of the current machine:
- Windows XP Media Center S.P. 2
- Intel Pentium D 840 (3.20 GHz) w/Dual-Core Technology
- 2.00 GB DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
- Nvidia 256MB Geforce 6800 videocard
- 250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
- 160GB NCQ Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
- 16X DVD-ROM
- 18X DVD-RW
The system came with twin Geforce 6800 cards with SLI support but one of the cards died recently and since I typically run two monitors simultaneously (not supported with SLI) I usually had to turn SLI off and only use one card anyway. Also, the originaly DVD-RW died a few months ago and I replaced it with the 18X one shown in the list. I also have a 250GB Maxtor external hard-drive.
What I'm thinking of doing is this: replace the video card with something a bit more current, perhaps with DirectX 10 support, and to also replace the RAM with 4GB of something better. Maybe replace the Hard-drives with faster hard drives as well.
Also, while I'm at it, should I wipe the discs and reformat the entire machine and use the OEM discs Dell provided and re-install the OS and everything else Dell sent along or should I make the jump to Vista? My laptop is Vista and while I definitely *HATE* the new version of Office 2007, I might grow to hate it less if I was forced to use it regularly.
Any specific suggestions or product advice you can provide would be appreciated. Espeially when it comes to choosing RAM and Hard-Drives and going about reformatting the machine and making it new again.
Edit: I should also add that if anyone is local and would like to help me complete the upgrade, I'll happily buy you lunch and beer at the Snoqualmie Taproom.