Upgrade options for Dimension 8200

Hindsight 20/20. Now that I think about it, I should've built my own computer.  Because of time shortage, I decided to go with Dell's Dimension 8200 machine. My question is this - the unit needs a new power supply because I think with all the extra cards and peripherals, the paltry 250W PSU will blow someday. I also need to double its current memory of 256MB.

Considering that the absolute cheapest option will be to find Dell's proprietary power supply, there's no guarantee that I'll find a 400W unit that I want. The price will also be not very competitive. The next option will be to buy a motherboard, PSU and memory and fit it in Dell's box? This way I'll not only get a kickass motherboard but get faster memory as well. I can just use my old P4 1.8GHz processor and upgrade it later on.

Can anyone please tell me if a standard ATX motherboard fit in a Dimension 8200 box? And what options do I really have?

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If you want to use the current board & processor, you can always just add extra PC800 RDRAM which by now should be getting fairly affordable.  Dell doesn't use proprietary memory so any PC800 RDRAM will do.  Also. even just 250W on the PSU, it's designed to power up to the maximum supported memory on the system with is either 1.5GB or 2GB, I can't remember off the top of my head.

If you do want to switch out everything (board, CPU, RAM, PSU, etc.) any standard ATX board will fit in the 8200's case.  The only possible modification would be to switch out the back port cover which would usually come with the board.  Since the current board does use RDRAM and a Northwood (I believe) P4 processor, you probably would need to switch everything if you are switching boards.

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Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
You can check this thread about upgrading the psu in your 8200.  It's been done for $33 . . .  :-)

Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
the other option with upgrading would be to buy a new case/psu and a new motherboard and DDR memory (less expensive than RDRAM) and put all the other components in.
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elfLegolasAuthor Commented:

Sorry, I should have specified - The reason for upgrading the PSU is not the additional memory. I've upgraded video cards, added a CD-ROM drive, firewire card etc etc that puts the *required* wattage to be 350 watts. In fact, you can go to http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/ for this very helpful calculator. AlbertaBeef's suggestion is enticing, if I figure out a way to cut the hole.

Then again, if I do get a new ATX motherboard, I won't have to drill a hole? Considering that an ATX motherboard fits in that case, it might be worthwhile to go with a new motherboard + PC3200 RAM + 400W PSU. I have a budget of around $250 and I might be able to pull it off....what do you think?

I think that albertabeef's second suggestion is the best one...get a new case with a 400watt power supply & then just do the modifications that you need.
elfLegolasAuthor Commented:

I think so too. However, if I can save $100 bucks or so by reusing the Dell case, then I'd get the rest - atx motherboard, psu, and ddr400 RAM. Then I can slap in the IDEs, Audio and Video cards and its brand new machine!
Then why not buy a brand new machine...second one.  It just seems that the cost benefit would be unseen.  For 50 bucks you get a new case & for another 50 you get memory, then you have a machine that is plenty good.
elfLegolasAuthor Commented:
Well, because I want to reuse my Audigy2 and Radeon 9700Pro card. Another machine is always exciting but I'd rather replace, considering that I have pretty good cards & burners that can use some moving room with more FSB and DDR400 rates.
So get a "barebones" system that doesn't have any of that.  Where are you located?  I know that you can pickup some really good stuff for cheap (relatively).
elfLegolasAuthor Commented:
That's exactly what I'm hoping to do for cheapest. I'm in Rochester, NY. Where are you located?
I am in So Cal.  However, I would assume you can find somewhere there local.

I go to Pcclub.com and they have a very large selection of "kits" that come with Case (400w PS), CPU, Mobo, and sometimes memory...everything else (HD, CD, Sound, Video etc) you supply.
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:

split between albertabeef,rustyrpage, and saoirse1916

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