Upgrading from Dell 710 H2C to 720 H2C
So, I ordered my Dell 720 H2C Upgrade kit. Let me begin that the sales guy’s idea of a “trivial” installation is … like building a car from paper clips. What I anticipated to be an hour or two… took me almost five hours. To qualify that a bit—this is somewhat what I used to do for a job and I still maintain my Dell Technician certs (for the business class servers, Precision workstations, and Latitude laptops) today. The 700 series case is so tightly packed that there are a few cables with teflon coating them on specific spots—apparently they assumed they’d rub. Getting in and around, pulling a few cables through that are replaced, and generally working is not meant for someone with large hands. My hands are nicely cut up from the adventure. So, a few tips:
- Take everything out. Seriously. Why?
- It’s VERY painful to snake the front input panel ribbons behind the drive cages and power supply.
- You can’t take the back cover off (well, without taking the power supply and media drive cages out and about 50 screws), so taking out the fan cages and such makes it easier to get to the front input panel.
- Careful with the thermal grease.
- They don’t give you very much, be conservative and realize that you don’t need to COAT it.
- Put the memory and CPU on the board before you put it back in… save yourself some pain.
- Label your cables and drives.
- Make sure your cables and drives are labled somehow so you know where they go or take a photograph with your camera/cell phone/whatever first.
I did run into one snafu. After booting up, I went into the BIOS to configure the processor, service tag, and RAID controller. Made my changes, saved, exited… and it reverted on reboot. Ehh. I did this 3–4 more times and finally took a look at the event log.
Type: “POST ERROR” Message: “CMOS Checksum Error”
The book tells me that system configuration is incorrect and or my battery is dead. I changed the battery (pulled it off the old motherboard) and nothing. Bleh. I Googled and found almost nothing relating to Dell PCs. So, I rejumpered it, reboot a few times, no dice. Finally called XPS Support and got ahold of a tech who was very nice but didn’t see anything in their books for my problem. Well, while he was looking, I made a couple of changes in the BIOS. Under Maintenance, I set Load Defaults (well, clicked Continue)… I set the H2C color to green (so I could see if it reset), and it didn’t. Wheeee! Made a few more changes and everything seemed to stick. I’m not sure why “loading the defaults” was more helpful than simply clearning the CMOS via the jumper, but oh well. So, told the Dell guy and was on my way. I downloaded the 680i NVidia Drivers, reinstalled my Video Drivers, and everything is running smooth.