Help me plan a system upgrade...

Started Mar 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield
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Re: Dell XPS 8500/Question
In reply to Robert Schoner, Mar 20, 2013

Hi Jim,

How expandable are the Dell PC's? I've been to their site but I don't see anything about empty drive bays, available PCIE slots etc.

Thanks,

Bob Schoner

Hey Bob.

As mentioned in my first post, the XPS 8500 only has two 3.5" drive bays.

But, it also has two 5.25" optical bays.

The MB has 4 SATA ports (two SATA II, two SATA III). So, if you only need 1 optical drive, you could install up to 3 physical drives (using the extra optical bay for a third drive). Since it also has an mSATA slot, you could install an mSATA SSD for the OS and Programs in it (without using any of your SATA ports or drive bays). plus 3 physical hard drives (two of them in the 3.5" bays, one of them in an optical bay), plus an optical drive.

AS for PCIe slots, don't expect to run dual video cards or anything. It's got a single PCIe x16 slot for a video card, and they all come with a dedicated card (Dell sells them with the ATI Radeon HD 7570, 7770, 7870; or Nvidia GT 620, 640, GTX 660 models), and a Wireless N card with Bluetooth (standard on all XPS 8500 configs I've seen, using an Intel Chipset in a mini PCIe slot). But, they also have 3 free PCIe x1 slots you could use for other cards (eSATA card, TV tuner, etc.)

They also have 7.1 Surround Sound with audio jacks on the back, and plenty of USB ports:

  • REAR: (2) USB 3.0, (4) USB 2.0, Audio Jacks, RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
    Front: (2) USB 3.0, MCR
    Top: (2) USB 2.0 (One Powershare) Microphone, Headphones

In addition, you have a dedicated card reader (already built into the XPS 8500).

IOW, it should be fine for the vast majority of users, unless you're a gamer that wants a Crossfire or SLI Video dual video card setup setup that would need support for more than one PCIe x16 slot (the Dell XPS 8500 only has one x16 type card slot that's suitable for a video card).

It also has a 460 Watt PSU that allows a video card drawing up to 225 Watts (and Dell sells them with the Nvidia GTX 660 or ATI Radeon HD 7870 cards, which are fairly high end video card capable of playing about any game you'd want to throw at one at their highest settings).  But, you could replace the PSU if you needed an even faster card (as a number of users have done).

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JimC
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