Upgrading a Dell computer can be a daunting, and at some point a futile, task. Most of the problems come in the motherboard and the power supply unit (PSU), since Dell uses proprietary power source units.

If you plan to add more power consuming items like a better graphics card that consumes more power, another hard drive, a sound card, or a few PC cards, you may have to upgrade the PSU. Because of what Dell tells its customers, many people worry that they will have to go back to Dell and pay a fortune, or be forced to simply buy a new computer, which is bothersome to those who feel guilt about giving up on what is, essentially, a perfectly good computer.

However, PC Power and Cooling, Inc. specializes in replacement Dell and HP power supplies. For around $100, you can buy a better, more powerful PSU that will fit your Dell case without any problem.

Moreover, a lot of Dell power supplies can be exchanged for one another. To get a quick understanding of this, just look at this power supply selector page and notice that a most feature the Dell Silencer 360 or 410. Thus, one can, as I did a couple of years ago, use an Optiplex power supply on a Dimension, should something go wrong.

Another option for upgrading a Dell PSU is to buy a standard ATX PSU and then purchase an attachment to connect it to the Dell motherboard. The attachment is required since the Dell motherboard requires fewer pins than a normal ATX motherboard. The benefit of this option is that and you might find an ATX PSU that is cheaper than the Dell-specific replacement and you will be able to use that ATX PSU in a new case or computer should you decide to build your own computer in the future. Keep in mind if you select this upgrade to make sure the new supply fits properly within the computer case.

If you are looking to upgrade the processor on your Dell, here is an excellent explanation of the paths available, and limitations.