Upgrading the CPU on a Dell GX240 – Again!

I never expected that I would upgrade one of my elderly Dell GX240 PCs again, but today I did. I have two GX240 tower PCs. One of them has been used as a firewall for five years, the other as it’s fallback spare. I retired both of them a few weeks ago, replacing them with Dell PowerEdge 840 servers. Yes, they are old too, but not as old as the GX240.

I have been planning to upgrade my parent’s firewall with a PowerEdge 840 but I’m working on a project at the moment and can’t really spare one of my modified super quiet ones. I had a job lot of old CPUs arrive today and an intel SL7EY was in the bundle. I soon realized that this was the high end processor for the GX240 and quickly decided that perhaps a GX240 would go on for a bit longer at my parents house.

I stripped down both GX240s and rebuilt one using the best bits from each. I will save the other for spares and scrap them both eventually but for now the best of them gets a 2.8Ghz Pentium 4 with 512KB cache. To my dissapointment, a very large number of the new processor’s pins were bent. It took about an hour or so of work with a magnifying glass and craft knife to carefully straighten them enough for the socket to accept the processor. The PC was booted up with the new CPU and it was correctly recognised in the BIOS setup. A successful upgrade!

The 2.6Ghz Celeron has performed really well and I’m interested to see if the additional 200 Mhz and 384KB of cache that the 2.8Ghz Pentium 4 has make a noticeable difference. I didn’t take any benchmarks before and after, this was just a case of making use of a surprise ‘windfall’. I’m not expecting anything as amazing as the last processor upgrade but I think it was worthwhile doing.

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