My wife has an 8200. I bought it for her for 2 reasons:
1. I was experienced with Computer and Network Operations, not hardware, etc.
2. She had heard all the hype about Dell this and Dell that, and she WANTED a Dell.
Now, since making the mistake of purchasing it 3-4 years ago, I have learned ALOT about PC hardware, and will forever prefer to build my own (cheaper and fully upgradable).
Like most of you, I hate the price for the PC800 RDRAM DIMMs. I can upgrade my PC2100 266MHz with 2 - 1Gb sticks for about the same price as a 256Mb of RDRAM.
However, since she 'loves' her dell and I can't get her to part with it, I have resolved myself to finding ways to upgrade it.
Here is what I have done to her original Dell Deminsion 8200 that came stock with P4 1.8GHZ (478 pin), 256Mb (2x128Mb) PC800 RAMBUS RDRAM DIMM memory, nVidia GeForce 2MX 64MB AGP 4x video, 80Gb ATA 7200RPM.
(1) P4 2.6GHz 400MHz 478 pin CPU - $65 US
(4) 256MB PC800 184-PIN 40ns Non ECC Unbuffered RDRAM RAMBUS - $248 US ($62 US each)
(1) GeForce FX 5500 256MB DDR 4x/8x AGP TV,VGA,DVI - $49 US
I also threw in a 120Gb SATA I had laying around from one of my old toys. (Had to add the SATA PCI adapter, cause the MB doesn't support it.)
So, I spent $362 US for a SERIOUS upgrade on her 8200 and it runs like a scalded cat on XP. Her online MMORPG (Everquest) never lags (even in heavy zones) and her video/graphic editing (web design) applications scream.
I could have built her nearly twice the machine for the same money, but like I said... she LOVES her Dell. It is very nearly maxed out for upgrades, except that it will hold max 4Gb RAM... but I am NOT paying the price for that. I told her her 'baby Dell' was maxed out and that if she needed another 'upgrade' I would have to order the parts to build her a new machine. She sees how mine runs and is impressed, but for now, she still has her Dell. =)
Hope this little story of my Wife and her 8200's upgrades helps you and/or someone else.
My advice - If you own a Dell computer, especially an 8200 (or other model that uses RAMBUS RDRAM DIMM memory) ~~~ Toodle on down to Fry's Electronics or to your favorite online shopping site (see http://www.pricewatch.com for some nice comparison shopping) and build your own. There are too many sites that can help you figure out what Motherboards fit what cases with what power supply with what memory, etc. You can have a monster machine (see http://www.alienware.com for some examples of monster machines) for under $500 US.
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