Dell XPS 400 Hardware Upgrades
Closed     Case # 10028     Affiliated Job:  BaBaDou DOT Com
Opened:  Monday, March 15, 2010     Closed:  Thursday, April 1, 2010
Total Hit Count:  67062     Last Hit:  Saturday, June 22, 2024 8:19:53 AM
Unique Hit Count:  10009     Last Unique Hit:  Saturday, June 22, 2024 8:19:53 AM
Case Type(s):  Helpdesk, Server
Case Notes(s):  All cases are posted for review purposes only. Any implementations should be performed at your own risk.

I have an older Dell XPS 400 (Also known as Dimension 9150) workstation with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 Prescott Processor, ATI Radeon X600 graphics 256 MB, 4GB RAM (apparently an Intel 945P motherboard with a 32-bit address bus can only use 3.5GB usable memory regardless of the OS 32/64-bit status), 250GB Maxtor 5400 RPM SATA 150 drive, Dual TV tuner & Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic sound card.

My goal is to upgrade this to support a "HD Media Center" with better performance. I currently use this machine in the living room connected to my HDTV via the DVI port on the ATI card for use with Windows Media Center. It has served its purpose well - however the Prescott is 32-bit, does not support hardware virtualization and is only a HyperThread rather than a Dual Core. The video is rather outdated with a 3.2 Windows 7 Experience index. And I have been experiencing an issue - regardless of the operating system - where the drive will beat hard pausing everything in the system until it finishes whatever it is doing.

Action(s) Performed:
Total Action(s): 7
Action # Recorded Date Type Hit(s) User Expand Details
10103 4/1/2010 9:28:11 AM Server 3238 Step 1: upgrade the processor. I started researching the 945P motherboard   More ...
10104 4/1/2010 9:28:10 AM Server 3409 Step 2: upgrade the video card. Researching the support of the included 37  More ...
10105 4/1/2010 9:28:09 AM Server 3254 Step 3: additional HDTV dual tuner. I decided on the WINTV-HVR-2250 becaus  More ...
10106 4/1/2010 9:28:08 AM Server 3267 Step 4: replace the hard disk. My belief is the problems I was struggling   More ...
10107 4/1/2010 9:28:07 AM Server 3239 Step 5: rebuild the system. My current OS was Windows 7 32-bit and I wante  Collapse ...
Last Hit: Friday, June 21, 2024 2:13:01 PM

Step 5: rebuild the system. My current OS was Windows 7 32-bit and I wanted to step up to the 64-bit release. The only feature really used on this machine is to act as my Media Center. So I wanted to back up the windows media center recording schedule. I found a website that explained this process beautifully.

The process to backup and restore Recorded TV series (the tv schedule, not the actual recorded programming) is as follows:
-   Make sure you can see hidden & system files/folders
-   C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\mcepgx-x-x\backup\recordings
   o   Where "mcepgx-x-x" refers to the tuner with assigned items
   o   Grab the file with the most recent file date (or just grab them all for safety) and copy them somewhere
-   After you rebuild the system, go into Media Center and run through the setup/configuration
-   Copy the files back into their respective . mcepgx-x-x\backup\recordings folder
-   Open a command prompt (Run as Administrator)
-   C:\Windows\eHome\loadmxf.exe -I FILELOCATION
   o   FILELOCATION representing your file to restore i.e. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\mcepg2-0\backup\recordings\20100331_215303
   o   Make sure to use double quotes around the FILELOCATION path
-   Proceed into Media Center, if you goto Recorded TV/Scheduled - this will be empty, but continue into "Series" and you will see your line-up.
-   Goto Tasks - TV - Guide - Get Latest Guide Listings, and wait for this to complete. Once finished, it will automatically fill in the schedule with your specified line-up.
10108 4/1/2010 9:28:06 AM Server 3325 Step 6: 7.1 surround sound. I decided to maintain my X-Fi Sound Blaster Xt  More ...
10117 4/1/2010 9:28:05 AM Server 3438 Step 7: add a Blue-ray player. My final step was to make my computer do pr  More ...

In conclusion, I am happy to report everything is working well. I now have my machine at what I think is maxed out in specs. A dual core 3.60GHz Pentium D 960, 7.1 surround sound XtremeMusic, 4 channel TV recording (two in HDTV offering 38 channels through Evanston Clear QAM Comcast $9/month basic cable), 64-bit Windows 7, 2TB internal (plus an additional 1.5TB, 1.5TB & 1TB of External drives), subscribe to NetFlix for online streaming through Media Center, NVIDIA GTS 250 1GB DDR3 (working apparently well on my 375W power supply) and finally my LG Blue Ray reader/writer for crisp movie rentals from NetFlix.

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