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Question Repurpose a Dell XPS 8300 for budget gaming?

In2Photos

Member
Mar 21, 2007
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We are looking at getting a computer for my daughter so she can play some games, watch Twitch and Youtube, etc and stop using my PC, lol. Games will be Minecraft, Fortnite, and she wants to play the new Harry Potter game coming out next year I think. I've been planning on buying all new components, but when I mention to my wife it will run around $800 (just for the PC) she winces a little. It just so happens that I might be retiring a Dell XPS 8300 at work. It has an i5-2300, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB Samsung 860 SSD, and an AMD 6450 GPU. I believe the PSU is 460W but I'll have to double check. I know I would need to upgrade the GPU and perhaps the power supply. But would the 2300 be OK for a year or two maybe? How about the 6GB of RAM? Probably looking at a 1650/1660 variety for the GPU.
 

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
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Heya,

Yes, you can totally game those games and more modern stuff on an i5-2300, 6Gb RAM and SSD. The GPU needs updating and will make the biggest impact here. The nVidia 1660 Super is a great way to go for a budget, as it performs great in all games at 1080p which should be sufficient for your daughter without a big impact on cost. The only update needed would be the PSU, potentially, simply to make sure it has the right PCIe rail connection for the GPU card. There are GPU's that can run without a PCIe rail, but they're lower power of course, but they still can play most of these games at fair settings in 1080p (the older nVidia 750 Ti requires no extra power just the motherboard and plays these games decently). But overall for the next few years and newer releases, it's worth while getting a newer GPU like the 1660 Super and a modern PSU.

Very best,
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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I agree with MalVeauX, for the most part, but I almost wonder if the 1660 Super is a little too high-end for a non-overclockable i5-2300. It's probably OK, but if you didn't want to upgrade the PSU, then the highest card that you can get that is PCI-E slot-powered, is a GTX 1650 D6 version, but be careful, most of the ones on the market these days, and including the GTX 1650 Super, take a 6-pin PCI-E.

That said, possibly if you have a free SATA lead, you could use a SATA-to-PCI-E 6-pin power adapter. It's not ideal, and may be slightly more risky than replacing a PSU, but even the GDDR6 (D6) models of the GTX 1650 and 1650 Super, probably don't take over 100W, so an adapter cable is probably OK, in most cases. Especially if your PSU is 460W, and not 270W.

Nota Bene: I recently replaced a GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 card with a failed fan in a Dell i5-2400 tower rig, that had a 270W PSU, with an EVGA dual-fan GTX 1650 D6 SC Ultra model (not the GTX 1650 Super SC Ultra, which would have been preferable, but I didn't have one of those on hand), and I used a SATA-to-PCI-E 6-pin adapter. So far, so good. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that for cards that draw over 100W though.

Edit: Also, if buying new, a GTX 1660 Super may cost nearly as much as that whole older PC is worth; eg. it may be more economical to just stick to a GTX 1650 Super and a SATA-to-PCI-E adapter 6-pin cable.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,671
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Also, if you are worried about the processor, you can upgrade the XPS 8300 as far as to an i7-2600 for probably less than $90 if you aren't adverse to picking up a used CPU on eBay.

That being said, I've seen refurbished PCs with i7-3770 processors at Newegg for less than $220 including OS. Worst case, you might have to add a memory module (used from eBay would work fine). The 3770 is old, but you can still do a lot with one. I also saw 4th gen i7s there for about $50 more. Optiplex 7010/9010 boxes are easy to work with and relatively easy to upgrade as well.
 

In2Photos

Member
Mar 21, 2007
199
17
81
Thanks for the replies. I repurposed a Dell XPS 8700 for my son a while back. We put a 1660 in it and didn't have to change the PSU, so I might be able to get away with it here as well.

Steltek
I wouldn't want to spend any more money on the 8300 other than the GPU and maybe PSU because I could reuse those on a new build if we end up going that route down the road. If I'm going to buy any parts other than that I think it would be wisest to just go with a new build. Evidently we like using old PCs around here. My rig is from 2009 and still kicking with just a few upgrades throughout the years. Maybe if I save enough money on the kids' PCs I can get a new one for me! ;)
 

In2Photos

Member
Mar 21, 2007
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So I had some time to dig around in the 8300. It has the 460W PSU and it has dual 6 pin PCI-E power connectors in it. So adding a new GPU shouldn't be a problem. I did, however, find out that I can not use any touring cards in this PC as it does not accept UEFI cards. So here are my options:

1. Buy a GTX 1660 and use it in my computer (x58 system from 2009 assuming the card works in it) and give my daughter the GTX 1060 6GB that I am using.
2. Buy a used GTX 1060 6GB

Also, it looks like the ram is 2 sticks of 1GB and 2 sticks of 2GB. I have 6 sticks of 2GB that I pulled from another machine. So go with 8GB or pick up 2-4GB sticks to replace the 1GB sticks (about $30)?
 

In2Photos

Member
Mar 21, 2007
199
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Wanted to provide an update in case anyone else was looking to do the same as me.

I added 8GB RAM for a total of 12.
I gave my daughter my GTX 1060 6GB.

For now she is using the system with 2 screens, an old Samsung 19" 4:3 monitor and a 22" Dell at 1680x1050. The results are OK, but not great. The system is CPU bound on Fortnite. 100% utilization most of the time and the GPU stays around 50%. The plan is to upgrade the monitors to 1080p and from what I understand lower resolutions require more CPU so maybe this will help a little bit. Not expecting much honestly. Minecraft runs absolutely fine. Not looking too good for future titles that need more processing power. This is most likely going to just be a stop gap for a year or so. I'm planning to go through and make sure there are no background programs causing any extra load on the CPU, but its a fresh Windows 10 install and I didn't install much else on top of the games.
 

In2Photos

Member
Mar 21, 2007
199
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81
i5-2300 is CPU-bound on Fortnite? Really? I thought that game ran on a potato.
System requirements show an i3-3225 as the minimum and i5-7300u as the recommended. I'm sure it's changed since it came out. We've turned down a lot of the settings and it still hovers at 100%. It's usable now, she says it seems to run fine. I still need to go through it and see if I can eliminate any background processes.
 

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