CPU Upgrade

SEStratton used Ask the Experts™
I've got an old Dell Dimension 4700 with an Intel 915G Express chipset. It's got a Pentium 4 540 processor. In addition, I have an old Pentium 4 661 just sitting around. Intel says the 915G Express is compatible with the P4 661, but when I put it in the Dell 4700, it just does the single beep and freeze act; no boot. The bios on the pc has been updated to the latest version (10, I think). Is there any way to make the P4 661 processor work in this 4700?
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Yes, that's true. Dell does not support it. Is there any way to make the P4 661 processor work in this 4700?
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Personally I wouldn't spend the time necessary to wrestle with this.  You can look at these CPU benchmarks and realize why:

The 540 is rated at 3.2 GHz, and scores 522 passmarks.
The 661 is rated at 3.6 GHz, and scores 587 passmarks.

The amount of time you'll spend will make a minimal difference in terms of computing power, and even then, when you compare it to today's entry-level CPUs which are 8x faster, you'll know why it's probably a better to put your time elsewhere.


It's not about any performance improvement; I could just buy a new machine if that were the issue. I'm just trying to make it work. If the cpu works with the chipset, why doesn't the machine recognize it? Is it just the bios? Are there other issues? Does anyone know?
In the years of my dealing with Dell, HP, etc, I've found that manufactured computers are picky about changing / upgrading certain components; it could be something that Dell just doesn't want you doing.

Would you provide the service tag #?  I'll look up the beep code you're experiencing.
Top Expert 2012

The 661 is compatible with the 915G chipset, but it is based on a 65nm process, whereas the 540 is based on a 90nm process.  Though the chipset supports it, the motherboard usually does not.  I have run into this problem trying to go from a E6600 Conroe 65nm cpu to an E8400 Wolfdale 45nm cpu - the socket fits both, but the motherboard does not work.

I suggest resetting the BIOS, but if that doesn't work, you're out of luck.
With Tier 1 manufacturuers like HP/Dell/Lenovo the bios is only set to support the actual processors that were available during the run of the PC.   Given the difference of launch dates of these processors it is extremely likely that the bios simply does not support the 661 processor.  

The 915 express chipset was used though as a low cost chipset in future generations of units which is why Intel says it supports the processor but in the Tier 1 world it would have to be a future machine as well they just do not build them for processor upgrades other then what was available and tested at launch and during the product sales cycle.

lastly there is a major difference between these, the 661 is a 64 bit capable processor where the 540 was not so the 4700 bios probably does not actually understand the 64bit piece which could also cause your error.

To see all the differnences please see the below link but most likely the 64bit piece and it being a much newer processor plus the slightly differnet voltage is causing the probelm.  I would advise against proceeding any further in this upgrade.

Comparison chart:


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