Dell XPS 8700

Start of a new era – Dell XPS 8700

So my desktop PC of past 7 years finally gave up for good, it has had much upgrades over its lifetime – everything from new keyboard/mouse, monitor to hard disk, memory and even the CPU. In fact the only thing that pretty much wasn’t touched is the motherboard and power unit (so quite likely its one of these two that burned out).

After a bit of research, I decided to go with the Dell XPS 8700 which had a reasonably new CPU in the form of Intel i7 4770 and its stylish tower comes with plenty of capacity to expand.

Dell XPS 8700 (new) vs Dell Inspiron 530 (old)

What was the first thing I did when I got my new PC? Open it up of course, people that like to mess around with hardware will always stick with desktops over laptop.

Dell XPS 8700 Internals

The organisation of the internals were pretty neat, but Dell really tried to save every bit of money possible by supplying the shortest wire connectors possible. This meant I had a bit of a hard time plugging my old hard disk into the system to transfer over my data. The cables were so short in fact, that I had to pull out the DVD cable from my old computer for the duration of the transfer.

Transferring data from my old disk using external disk transfer kit
Transferring data from my old disk using external disk transfer kit
Messing with the BIOS

However, the biggest stumbling block was that Windows didn’t recognize the second hard drive I was trying to install. No matter which SATA port I used, it didn’t register in Windows. In fact, it seemed only the first two ports worked and if I swapped the DVD (which was using port 2) with the new hard drive, then the DVD wouldn’t appear! Half an hour of googling later I stumbled upon the answer in various user forums.

To install new SATA port components in Dell XPS desktops, you have to go into the BIOS and disable Secure Boot mode first.

Couple of things worth noting, firstly there was some initial confusion as the BIOS did correctly read the new SATA components but didn’t allow Windows to register them. Secondly, you only have to turn off secure boot once, on next boot up you can turn this back on. Lastly, there was a lot of misleading stuff on the net about your motherboard being broken, even Dell support would tell you this apparently. Don’t listen, it’s just a simple config item.

Welcome to my blog

It has been too long since I last looked under the bonnet as it were and really this new PC has given me a new lease of life. It’s good to be back.

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