Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Optiplex 740 Processor Upgrade

I have an Optiplex 740 "desktop" that I have successfully upgraded to a Quad Core 2.4GHz Phenom and would like to share the information I gathered with you, the internet. :)

I first had to determine was what type of socket it had so I would be able to choose a proper processor upgrade. I have a "YP696" motherboard. Apparently there are some 740s with 939 sockets out there, but most are AM2 sockets.  I'm not entirely sure whether I have an AM2 or an AM2+ socket - if I find out I'll update this. The AM2+ processors will work in an AM2 slot, just without the cores being individually powered and no Hypertransport 3.0.

The "YP696" motherboard is also an "enhanced" version which has 8MB of VRAM and can support up to a Phenom X4 9850 whereas the non-"enhanced" boards top out with 64x2 Brisbanes.

The "desktop" form factor also appears to only support 95 watt processors. Dell's larger "mini-tower" does support 125w though, so I'm not sure if it is a hard limitation or just recommended because the "desktop" PSU is less powerful than the "mini-tower." I decided not to chance it.

Another note about sockets, I did consider putting an AM3 CPU into the AM2 socket, they are fairly inexpensive and creep up above 3GHz, but for them to work the BIOS firmware needs to support AM3 and I could not find any reports of people putting these in Optiplex 740s and did not see any mention of AM3 support in the 740 firmware release notes.

With all of this information gathered I looked around for an AM2+ 95w Phenom x4 processor.  The one I finally decided to purchase was a refurbished AMD Phenom X4 9750 2.4GHz p/n: HD9750WCJ4BGH.  I would have gotten the 9850, but I could not find one for under $100, the refurb 9750 was only $72.

After I received the CPU the install went like so:
  • Disconnect everything
  • Open up the 740
  • Take off the heatsink/shroud combo
  • Clean the thermal paste off heatsink
  • Release ZIF socket lever
  • Carefully remove old 4400+ CPU
  • Carefully insert new 9750 CPU
  • Push ZIF socket lever back into position
  • Apply new thermal paste (Pea size drop of Arctic Silver, spread flat with credit card)
  • Reattach heatsink/shroud combo
  • Close 740 case
  • Reconnect everything
  • Push power button
  • Cross fingers!!! .. ... ...
  • Press F2, look at processor info, WOOT! PHENOM!
I tested Brink, Minecraft and Just Cause 2 and they all ran significantly faster with Brink getting a steady 60+ fps whereas before the CPU upgrade I was lucky to hit 30.

I should also mention that I have installed a low profile nVidia 9600GT video card (Galaxy 96GFF6HVDCXX GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile) which has worked well so far, it's not too loud and even though I thought the PSU would be underpowered for this card I have had no issues at all!

In the end, this computer serves as a powerful and compact media center and gaming machine which is exactly what I wanted from it.

My hope is that others will be able to save time gathering information by reading this post.

If you have anything to add or see that something needs to be corrected please leave a comment and I will update this as soon as I can.



  1. Great post. I'm looking at doing the exact same thing except with the mini-tower model. Thanks for the pointers.

  2. hi i have the same dell 740 with the 0ut225 board. non enhanced.. anyway.. i was going to try the kuma cpu 7750BE but this article says they top out at brisbane cpu. do you know if this cpu will work?


  3. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103300 this would be the same cpu

  4. Hmm, I looked at some info for the Kuma and it appears to be very similar to the Phenom so I would guess that it wouldn't work, but who knows... it's really hard to get solid info for these Dell mobos. Please post back if you get info one way or the other! Thanks.

  5. so how can you tell which motherboard you have?

  6. roger, check out the little sticker with the barcodes on it by the RAM slots... here's a YP696 http://imgur.com/SgpSf

  7. Any chance you would know if the 693 board is the "enhanced" model as well? Thank you.

  8. You can tell if it is a mobo with the 8MB of VRAM by looking for the word "enhanced" on the screen when the computer is first booted. Other than that I don't know about the YP693.

  9. It is! Thank you!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Now the real question is will this thing handle a 8800 gtx GPU?

  12. Will the 965BE work with the "enhanced" motherboard running the latest bios rev?

  13. Thanks for sharing the valuable information. I am also thinking to upgrade the CPU and have copied your guide for my use next week, hopefully.

  14. Great ! That's what I search ! But where did you buy your Phenom X4 9750 ?

  15. Zog, search google for the part number: "HD9750WCJ4BGH" I saw some used ones from amazon for ~50USD. I got mine from Geeks.com but they don't have any in stock right now.

  16. Im doing the same thing just ordered the 9850. Thanks for posting this.

  17. I may be buying one of these soon. Thanks!

  18. I'm thinking of buying this processor, I have 2 optiplex 740 and only one is enhanced mobo, this will be awesome.

  19. I have to ask you a couple of questions I might buy this CPU tower, but I would like to know if its possible for it to be upgraded with a quadcore processor, They have not given me any more specifications other than the mother board has a triple-core processor, can hold up to 8 ddr2 Ram and that is has integrated dedicated video memory of 1gb Nvidia Quadro

  20. Informative article, thanks. BTW, I was able to verify the "enhanced" status of my 740 on linux thusly:
    dmesg | grep -i YP696

    which yielded:
    [ 0.000000] DMI: Dell Inc. OptiPlex 740 Enhanced/0YP696, BIOS 2.2.7 08/03/2011
    [ 353.950253] Hardware name: Dell Inc. OptiPlex 740 Enhanced/0YP696, BIOS 2.2.7 08/03/2011

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. Great news. I have just installed a phenom 9550 x4 into an enhanced dell 740, absolutely no problems! Was worried about core temp, as I did not upgrade fan and sink, checked the temps under stress and barely reached 45 degrees. From my understanding normal temps are between 50 and 70 for this processor. Considering possibly upgrading, to the specs you mention, if its economically viable regards processor prices. Cheers

  23. I've successfully installed a Phenom II X4 B99 (95w) into an Optiplex 740 SFF with the 'Enhanced' motherboard. It runs at 3.3Ghz with zero problem. I also have used both a low profile Raedon R240 and a GEForce GT 730 as graphic cards, and a total of 8Ghz PC2-6400 DDR2 RAM.

    The main problem with upgrading a 740 SFF is the system design for the standard low output power supply, which is only 275 watts. All the possible upgrades are limited due to this, not to mention at this point in time the associated components age.

    But, this system runs solid as is and there are no heat or power problems.

    1. Glad to hear it, that chip is a lot faster than the one I put in! The X4 B99 specs show it as compatible with AM2+ and AM3 but don't mention AM2 - more evidence that there is an AM2+ socket in the Optiplex.

  24. Tried a Phenom II X4 B97 - No Post. What else did you change to get a POST


all the entries