read the articles at Tweakers Page
you may want to check if the manual lists cpu upgrade options or you may need to contact dell. the dell webpage lists several cpu's for that dell workstation when customizing to buy, like the E5-1650 v3. in theory any haswell-EP single (E5-16xx v3) or dual (E5-26xx v3) cpu should work in that motherboard, but again confirm as much as you can before any purchase. the E5-1630 v3 would be almost 2x faster than current, pretty good value for performance. the E5-1650 v3 is around 2.5x faster than current. after that the cpu's start getting way more expensive for their performance. a cpu like the E5-2660 v3 may be around 3x faster but will be alot more expensive.
upgrading to 32gb would be recommended for large projects, or multi tasking with other programs, or AE. depending on what you are doing, the 16gb may be ok for now. you would need to confirm the memory spec's with the manual or dell to make sure you are buying the right kind to add. memory finder apps like kingston's may also provide the right memory to buy.
depending on your media and projects, as well as which cpu you upgrade to, you may be looking at a gtx 960 or 970 or higher to upgrade/replace the video card. you would need to make sure the power supply in the system can handle the extra power draw and has the required power leads to plug into a new video card. odds are its the 425W power supply listed in the dell build customizing options, which would limit the options for video cards to a gtx 960. the power supply may have 1x6pin, or 2x6pin, or 2x8pin connectors. you would need to buy a video card with the same power connections. some gtx 960 models use a 1x6pin power connector.
depending on your projects, the 2tb hdd may be fine to hold media, or you may want to check the motherboard for raid-0 with hdd's, or just buy a large ssd. the tweakers page articles will have several examples of drive setups.
Well I am amazed looking at the specs on that Xeon. While it is a quad core CPU it it cannot operate in the hyperthreaded mode. The problem with a unit like yours is that quite possible it has no expansion capability limited by a very low wattage rated power supply. I see that it can have a 425 watt or 685 watt power supply. If it is the 425 watt power supply you probably can not upgrade the graphics card. Let us know what PS you have. You could upgrade the CPU, I cannot tell how far but it does support up to a 14-core Xeon but those Xeon's get expensive very fast. Here is what I would suggest priority-wise:
- Faster storage (SSD?)
Your unit does have several USB3 connections You might want to use one of them with something like a Samsung USB3 T1 that would be several times faster than you internal 2 TB drive.
I just looked at the specs on the puny Quadro K420 and since it is only a 45 watt power requirement I will bet it is a 425 watt power supply in that unit
Thank you Ronin and Bill, these are very helpful responses. But they do make me realize what a mistake I made in jumping on this "good deal" without fully understanding what I would need for video editing. I am beginning to think that it would be easier and smarter to sell this and get a Dell with i7 and CPU, memory, and GPU specs closer to what I really need.
If I do keep this computer, I appreciate the ideas and suggestions for upgrades. The power supply is indeed only 425 watt. Could/should I upgrade that too?
I will check with Dell about how far I can go with an upgraded Xeon processor. I think I could swing the E5-1630 v3. I understand now that I really need a CPU with hyperthreading, right? The memory is pretty easy and not too expensive. I already used the Crucial checker to see what I would need to get to 32GB. And I will also check with Dell to see what the highest level GTX GPU it will take.
But as I say, when I am done with all this it will at least double the cost of what I started with. Yikes.
Expensive lesson learned.
the tweakers page articles should give you some sort of idea as to what kind of system you need for your projects. you may be able to just upgrade one or two parts and be fine, but if you have a very demanding project you may have to replace or upgrade almost everything. depending how much you upgrade, your original investment into the refurbished computer may not be worth the price paid for what parts you would be keeping. at that point it may be better to sell or return it and start over. if you do that, you can go with a desktop grade pc with an i7 cpu and not have to pay for expensive workstation grade hardware.
depending on your projects, you might be fine with just upgrading to the E5-1630 v3 cpu. premiere is mostly cpu based, so if you are looking at a minimal upgrade to keep this system, its the most important. if you don't use alot of gpu effects or lumetri color effects, you may be fine with the quadro you have now. if you did want to upgrade it, the gtx 950 is a more budget friendly option, and its about 2x faster than the quadro. you can also set the playback from full to 1/2 or 1/4 to reduce the demand on the system and video card.
the dell pictures i'm looking at do not show a standard ATX power supply. if you did need to replace it, you may have to get a replacement dell model or find out from dell or dell forums if there is another power supply that would work with it.
hyper-threading is important for programs that take advantage of it and are programmed correctly for multi-threading in a 64-bit environment. unfortunately adobe's software isn't always fully optimized to take advantage of this. premiere doesn't suffer as much as other adobe programs, and most of the time it works fine, but when it doesn't hyper-threading and higher core counts in cpu's actually reduce performance with adobe software. in the end, hyper-threading will be in any of the faster intel cpu's, so you don't necessarily have to look for it, vs looking for a fast cpu.
Thank you once again for the full and generous and helpful response.
I had a five year old Dell Optiplex with a, i7-860 2.8 processor and a 128 GB SSD that was filling up. When I started editing video it was very slow, which is why I bought a new computer. But I then found this to be not much faster! Which is why I started looking at the tweakers page and coming here to ask for help. I bought this refurbished workstation because Dell had $1000 off on them, which is why I chose it over an i7 consumer model. But I didn't really do my homework. Oh well.
Looks like the CPU is first upgrade. The 1630 is about $450 and the 1650 about $600 and has six cores, probably worth the extra $150? I will wait on the memory until I see what a difference the CPU makes.
The GTX 950 that you mention looks good and is only about $170-$200 depending on features (SC, SSC, FTW). Here is what the manual says about the video card slots:
Discrete (PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16) up to 2 full-height, full-length (maximum of 225 W).
The GTX 950 specs are:
Graphics Card Power (W) 90
Minimum System Power Requirement (W) 350W
1x 6-pinsSupplementary Power Connectors
So I assume that will work, just plug into the PCie slot where the current card is? Then, depending on budget, I might eventually get the Samsung USB3 T1 drive that Bill mentions and bring the memory up to 32GB.
I will read more on the tweakers page and talk to Dell before I do anything, but you have put me on the right track and I think I will just keep this computer and make the best of it.
the i7-860 is basically the same speed as the E5-1603 v3. the E5-1650 v3 is about 30% faster than the E5-1630 v3, and that roughly matches the price difference you found. the E5-1630 v3 would be the same as a 4 core i7, which is considered budget or minimum recommendation. the E5-1650 v3 is more like the 6 core i7's, which are the next step up.
stick with the gtx 950's around $160-170, you don't need to get one of the SC, OC, etc versions. you should have at least one pcie 3.0 16x slot that the quadro is in now, if not more. so yeah, you should just be able to replace where the quadro is now. just make sure you have the 1x6pin power lead available to power the new video card and the card you buy uses 1x6pin. you can also wait and see how things go with the quadro before upgrading. if you decide later you want to upgrade it, there may be newer cards out by then that run faster with less power so you can get something better than the gtx 950 or 960. those next gen cards may be 6 months out, if you did wait.
from what i could see in a picture of a dell workstation (hopefully the same as yours), there were two 3.5" hdd bays available (1 used in your specs) and an empty 5.25" bay? so depending on what you want to try, you could either raid two 3.5" hdd's, or use the 1tb 3.5" for backup and get more ssd's. they sell 3.5" to 2x2.5" adapters, 5.25" to 2x2.5" adapters, and 5.25" to 4x2.5" adapters, so you may be able to get several more ssd's installed internally and avoid usb latency. you could also remove the 3.5" drive and get an external usb case or dock for it, to convert it to an external usb backup drive. that would free up its spot for another 1 or 2 ssd's.
Thanks again very helpful about the CPU. I think I will go for the ES-1650 v.3 and see where I am at after that. And yes, plenty of space for different drive configurations inside that huge case. And they are all plug and play, which makes things pretty easy. I will make sure I have the right power lead for the GPU.
Just so you are aware, replacing "dell' components with you own components will probably void the warranty.
Thanks Bill, I figured that, but I think I'm ok if I just replace with parts on their recommended list. I just talked to Dell support and they gave me these CPUs on their recommended list:
E5-1620V3, E51680V3, E51650V3, E5-2603 V2, E5-2637 V2, E51660V3, E5-2630 V2, E5-2650 V2
So the E5-1650 V3 that I'm thinking of getting is on there.
and these video cards:
NVIDIA® Quadro® - K6000, K5000, K4000, K2000, K600, NVIDIA Quadro 400, V3900, NVS 510, NVS 310 and NVS 315
No GTX cards on their list.