Opinion: Dell XPS 400 (aka Dimension 9150) and similar Dell computers

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Ben Myers, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers Guest

    I've serviced two of these boxes recently.

    On the plus side:
    1. Built like a small tank, very rugged.
    2. Quiet running.
    3. Large CPU cooling fan ventilates well.
    4. Hard drives and add-in cards are easy to remove and insert.
    5. Huge honking CPU heat sink cools the CPU well, same as earlier Dimension
    4700, Optiplex GX280 and Precision 370.
    6. The case is very nice in appearance.

    On the minus side:
    1. They are a royal pain in the ass to clean when loaded up with dust and dirt.
    To do a thorough job, an almost complete disassembly is required to get in all
    the nooks and crannies. This chassis has many nooks and crannies.
    2. The side cover is tricky to fit on.
    3. The power supply is custom, because it has long, long cables to reach drives.
    4. This computer is just plain over-engineered. The same could easily have been
    accomplished with a MUCH simpler design. Infrequently, I assemble computers
    using a simple Foxconn/CasEdge full ATX case. It is admittedly less sturdy, but
    solidly made nonetheless. Last summer, I did a very customized system with a
    higher quality Antec case, comparable in quality of construction and sturdiness
    to the XPS 400. Both the Antec and Foxconn cases use standard ATX12v 24-pin
    power supplies and are just as easy to field strip and repair, with easy access
    to all the parts, and quiet in operation.
    5. The BTX motherboard form factor and case layout sort of suck.

    FWIW... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Apr 23, 2008
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  2. Ben Myers

    olfart Guest

    I've had my 400 for almost 2 years. 4-250gb SATA drives (2 inside and 2 for
    backup in ext enclosure with sata cables from MB snaking out the back of the
    case) If runs pretty much 24/7. With a DVD-RW, Phillips DVD-RAM, Floppy
    Drive( yup still use it once in a while) and Card Reader it does most
    anything I need without a wimper. Multi computer use during the day and
    record and burn DirecTv programs at night. Cleaning isn't much of a problem
    since my area is pretty much dust free, but there are some tight places
    inside to get to.
    The only problem so far is that the card reader won't read SDHC cards and
    both Dell and Teac haven't been much help. I recently got a USB Reader which
    solved that problem.I plan to keep this box for a long time...knock on wood.
    olfart, Apr 23, 2008
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  3. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers Guest

    Many of the new XPS (not the old beige XPS Pentium 3) models are very similar in
    BTX layout and construction, as are the latest Precision and Dimension models.
    Interestingly, for a couple of XPS systems, Dell reverted to the old-style
    ATX12v motherboard-on-a-tray design found in black chassis Optiplexes,
    Precisions and larger black Dimensions.

    I use a combination of "tools" to get the dust and dirt out of a system:
    Q-tips to dislodge the dirt
    A DustBuster with extension nozzle to constrict and speed up the air flow
    Cans of compressed air

    Dust and dirt collect on the front of the XPS chassis, on the grating where the
    air flows in to the big honking CPU cooling fan. The grating is far from
    perfect, so dust and dirt get lodged in the heat sink underneath the cowl that
    directs the air. It is probably sufficient to remove the cowl, and clean out
    all the dirt in the path through the heat sink. Some dirt accumulates
    elsewhere, most notably inside and around the power supply... Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Apr 23, 2008
  4. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers Guest

    To reduce the clutter, you might replace the internal flash card reader with one
    of the many inexpensive USB ones on the market. They are cheap and they work...
    Ben Myers
    Ben Myers, Apr 23, 2008
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