Dell Dimension V-Series Processor Upgrade Information
compiled by Robert Hancock
For reference, the list of changes in all Dell BIOS versions for this system is available here. If you have a BIOS version earlier than A07 and want to upgrade the processor, I recommend you upgrade to the latest BIOS version, currently A08.
It seems these machines are based on an Intel board called the AR440BX. I haven't been able to find any information about this board. Most likely this is one Intel designed based on Dell's specifications.
However, I have been informed that this system uses the same SC1182 regulator chip that the R-series uses, so it should be capable of outputting the right voltages for a Coppermine processor. I have also been told that the regulator transistors on this board are part number 50N03-10, which would be 50 amp maximum dissipation, 30 volts maximum, and 10 milliohms channel resistance. This part number cross-references to Philips part number PHB55N03LT (though that part is likely superior in some respects). This is quite similar to the transistor on the T-series, and should be able to handle any compatible processor.
So, if your motherboard has some transistors with 50N03-10 marked on them, upgrading your system should be basically the same as upgrading the T-series, which would mean you can go all the way up to an 1 GHz processor (it has to be a 100 MHz FSB processor, see the main page to figure out which ones those are).
The later versions of the BIOS for these machines seem to prevent the use of the older Katmai Pentium III processors, saying something like "The motherboard is not compatible with this family of processors" when you try to boot. The Coppermine CPUs shouldn't have this problem.
1.1 GHz processors with a 100 MHz bus should work on these machines. So far, I have one report that an attempted upgrade with one of these on a T-series machine using an Iwill Slocket II ver. 1.2 failed, and one that a similar attempt succeeded. These are all FC-PGA processors, so you would need a slocket adapter to use one. An FC-PGA version of the 1 GHz processor with 100 MHz bus is also being released. As well, there are now 100 MHz bus Celerons up to 1.1 GHz available. These should all theoretically work as well.
These systems can also use the Powerleap PL-iP3/T CPU adapter, which allows the use of Tualatin-core Celeron CPUs at 1.2 GHz and up. Tualatin-core Pentium IIIs cannot be used as these are all 133 MHz bus only. See the review of this adapter linked to on the main page for more information.
(Note: The SECC2 1 GHz processor with 100 MHz bus has a big warning label saying it's only been tested on certain Intel server boards. This doesn't mean it won't work on others, and many people have put these in with no problems.)
Note that apparently these machines identify faster CPUs as a Pentium Pro 700. This does not affect the actual operating speed of the processor, this is a cosmetic display issue only.
(Another person informed me previously that they found two MTD3302 transistors on their board, which have a maximum current of 11.2 amps continuous on a 1" square heatsink pad. The person who said their board had 50N03-10s couldn't find any MTD3302s on their board. If some boards have these transistors instead, without seeing the schematic of the board's regulator, I can't tell for certain how much total power the regulator can output. If the two MTD3302s are wired up in parallel, which would give a combined maximum output of 22.4 amps, the output should be sufficient to run any compatible processor. However, if they're wired up in a "push-pull" setup as shown in the SC1182 chip specs, this would not be enough. Actually that wouldn't be enough even for the original processors, which means either that isn't the way they're wired or I'm missing something.)
Like the T-series, these systems use a plastic shroud to duct air from the chassis cooling fan over the existing processor's heatsink. The new processor will use a fan of its own, so this shroud can be left off.
It seems that some or all of these systems may not have a power connector on the motherboard to plug the new CPU heatsink/fan into. If this is the case for you, there are adapters available which allow you to connect the CPU fan's type of connector to a spare drive power connector from the power supply.
As for slockets, the Iwill Slocket II is reported to work, but I have no specific knowledge about whether any other slockets work. I would read the slocket section of the XPS R page and generally stick to those recommended there.
And as for overclocking Pentium IIIs, same situation as the R-series, since apparently these machines use the same PLL chip which can't be accessed by software like SoftFSB and can't produce speeds over 100 MHz FSB. Overclocking a Celeron by running it at 100 MHz FSB instead of the normal 66 MHz should be possible, however.