9 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2015 10:06 AM by EstebanC_Intel

    old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related


      I have searched the net for hours now, and posted a question on another forum so far. But, i created an account here to get confirmation from the source (intel itself).  I have a old Dell Dimension 3100 / E310 desktop that i am going to upgrade and convert into a Ubuntu 64-bit  OS machine. I looked into the BIOS and here is what i find:


      • Dell Dimension 3100/E310 with BIOS version A03
      • CPU : Processor 80547 Pentium 4 Prescott DT 2.8Ghz 800 Mhz bus, Hyperthreading capable,  64-bit Technology : YES - Intel EM64T (Processor ID 0F49)
      • RAM : 1.25GB 533MHz DDR2. I have found reports on the net of people who are successfully running 4GB (even though dell website mentions only 2GB max on this machine).  Also, according to 915G specs at http://ark.intel.com/products/27733/Intel-915G-Graphics-and-Memory-Controller this can take upto 8GB RAM. But, I am not sure if 915G refers to what is being reported by Windows XP (Control Panel) under Video ::: Intel 82915G/GV/910GL Express chipset,  128MB memory. Would like confirmation that the above link indeed corresponds to what is being reported by Windows XP as 82915G/GV/910GL.  This way, i am sure that i can upgrade this machine with a 8GB DDR2, rather than the 4GB which others seem to have done.
      • The above link also shows couple of things that I do not understand. It says Supported FSBs:: 533/800MHz, but also says Memory Types:: DDR 333/400, DDR2 400/533. Since I am planning to upgrade RAM, can i buy DDR2  at  800Mhz or am I restricted to the 533Mhz max given at above URL?
      • Video memory:   As noted above, i see a mention of 128MB for this chipset. But under BIOS, i see 8MB of system memory allocated for video.  Does this mean the chipset has 128MB memory built into it ? BIOS is not smart enough to report this video information ?
      • 64-bit  OS : The above intel link also says (under memory specs), Physical Address Extensions:: 32-bit.  I was wondering if this means that I CAN NOT run ubuntu OS 64 bit versions.  Note that BIOS says CPU is 64-bit Technology:::  YES  (Intel EM64T).   I am not sure what the 32-bit  PAE  means for memory. 
      • Hard Drive: Currently Hitachi 7200rpm SATA 80GB. Under Windows XP (control panel),  I see that SATA Controller is Intel 82801FB Ultra ATA 2652(and Ultra ATA 266F).   I want to get a SSD, but since I do not see AHCI listed anywhere in BIOS, so i wonder if this hardware will support SSD.   Is  the above  Intel controller  capable of  SATA II or  SATA   III ?? 
      • Anything else ? :   Finally,  if  there is any drivers  that I need to update for this hardware, please let me know what keywords I should use to find them at this website.


      Thank you for the response.

        • 1. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

          Hello seekingbuddha

          Or you can contact the Chat support team at Dell.

          I am sorry the information is limited but is because we are sure the exact motherboard model.  Also you could open
          the system and look directly on the motherboard for the model number.

          • 2. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

            I am surprised someone from Intel is looking at these forums, even though weeks have passed since my original question.  The motherboard is E310, as i mentioned right at top.  Don't bother with the question anymore, because I have found answers to all my questions by searching the net in the past 2 weeks.  It was worth a try here though, to see how responsive  Intel is in their support.

            • 3. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

              Hello seekingbuddha;


              I am sorry for the delay and there is no excuse for the delay.  And I will also like to apologize for the incomplete information I provided.


              Dell Dimension 3100/E310 is the model from Dell.  And says that it has a chipset for video 915GV.  And you can find the information on this two web sites:





              Memory above 1 GB DDR runns at 800

              and the 915GV is a chipset.  It also depends on the configuration done for the motherboard model.  This to ensure it could also run at 800.  The memory should also down clock to 500 if necessary but it will be best to verify with the model number of the motherboard to ensure that it will work with anything about 2GB

              • 4. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

                Hi   HenryA,


                Thanks for taking the time to reply with further info.  I would like to add to this forum, the info that I found using my own research lasting many days.  Perhaps it maybe of use to someone else, who is trying to do the same (even though it is low probability someone will use this 10 yr old computer). 


                1. I have been able to successfully install and run Ubuntu-64 bit OS on this machine.  Yes, it is 64-bit capable, and the hyper-threading gives it 2 logical CPU cores.  It runs very good, responsive and I am able to use this old machine now as netflix streaming machine and for as a fun toy.  
                2. During my research on this motherboard, i also found the technical specs on it at Dell website. It mentions the use of Intel 915GV  chipset.  But, the max RAM (2GB) mentioned at Dell site is wrong.
                3. RAM:  Using Intel website (ark.intel.com) I was able to  find that 915GV  chipset can handle upto 8GB of RAM.  But, since this is an old machine, that is a toy at home, the only upgrade i did was to buy 4GB of RAM - even that is an overkill for running  Xubuntu (which is lightweight).  The DDR2 specs  mention that all higher speeds will be downgraded to run at motherboard capacity.  In my case, the motherboard supports only 533Mhz  DDR2 memory, but i found cheap DDR2 on ebay that is rated for higher speeds.  I won't be able to use the full capability of the memory I bought, but i just went with the cheapest I found, without bothering about the speed.  Now a days, most memory sticks are selling with higher speeds than this mobo can handle.
                4. Video memory:   As noted above, i see a mention of 128MB for this chipset. But under BIOS, i see 8MB of system memory allocated for video.   The reason for this is explained in a white paper I found on intel website ftp://download.intel.com/design/chipsets/applnots/30262305.pdf  This  document explains the Graphics technology behind 915GV chipset that this motherboard is using.  The 128MB  is the maximum RAM memory (from system) that this chipset is capable of using (according to the PDF document - see table 3.1 in document).  The 8MB in BIOS does not mean anything, and is a baseline for system to allocate during startup, for video driver.
                5. Hard Drive & SSD related:  This motherboard can handle SATA-I  speeds.  Even though SATA-II and III  specs say that they will work with a SATA-I  motherboard, reports on internet show that you need to pick an SSD carefully, because some of them have bad drivers that are not backwards compatible.  I did not even bother buying a SSD, because my system is pretty good as it is in terms of performance.  The high speed of the CPU and the excellent Intel 915GV  chipset  + driver make this a great machine even after a decade.......Especially with  Xubuntu (or Lubuntu or Ubuntu etc).


                The only puzzle for me, from this fun project is related to the white paper from Intel at the link provided above, dated August 2005.  This technical paper mentions that the maximum video memory that the chipset + Intel video driver  is 128MB.  (see Table 3.1 in PDF link).  But, i have run various commands & tools available in  Ubuntu OS to check how much memory the video driver is using.  I see over 256MB  being used by the video driver.  Would it be possible to get the scoop on this ?  Is it possible that the white paper is outdated, and perhaps 915GV  is capable of using more than 256MB if  there is excessive RAM memory available in system and it is not being used ?  I understand how DVMT works, but i wonder where the real cap is on the video memory usage -obviously  it is not at 128MB, as the above PDF document states.   Thanks for any info you can dig up on this.

                • 5. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

                  Hello seekingbuddha;

                       No problem at all.  Yes Intel provides that max memory but on ftp://download.intel.com/design/chipsets/applnots/30262305.pdf

                  Check the pages 9 and 16.  The BIOS on each manufacturer is able to limit the access for memory.

                  Any other question please feel free to ask.


                  Henry A.

                  • 6. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

                    Hi  Henry,

                       I went through that whitepaper a few times. And yes, in page 9 it discusses the initial 8MB that is allocated for historic reasons. This is tagged in the pictures as "Pre-allocated" memory.  The table on page 16 specifies the "maximum memory under different situations".  Notice that under all three schemes (Fixed, DVMT and Fixed+DVMT) the maximum shown is only 128MB.  Since the kernel is reporting 256MB, clearly this whitepaper is either outdated or wrong.  So, my question still stands....."Is 915GV  is capable of using more than 256MB if  there is excessive RAM memory available in system ?"  I am sure someone in Intel knows the answer to this. Unfortunately, the BIOS i have from Dell is pretty primitive, and does not have any configurations for RAM - it only reports whats installed.  Thanks for your time.

                    • 7. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

                      Hello seekingbuddha;

                                      It has been my pleasure to help you as much as I can. And yes the White paper is kind of old but I will pass the information to support to see if we can get a newer version post.


                      Henry A.

                      • 8. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related


                        I too have Dell E310 and I upgraded it to 4GB with no problems.  This has always been my main computer but I am about ready to retire it and I have extra harddrive for it that I want experiment with different OS's.  It originally came with Windows XP Media Center 32bit.  Right now I am putting Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit (Clean Install) on it as time permitted. So far I haven't had any problems with installation or updates. Seem to be running pretty fast. As much as Windows Vista was poo-poo'd I haven't had a problem with it. I am also going to try Windows 7 and Windows 10.

                        I didn't have a question, just wanted to let you know I came across your post.

                        Oh...The motherboard on mine is a CN-0JC474.

                        Bob H.

                        • 9. Re: old CPU / RAM / upgrade / specs related

                          Hello ry8046:


                          Thank you for the information provided regarding this computer and the upgrade room you have.



                          Esteban C