They upgraded the graphics card, the hard drive options to mSATA, and the base RAM to 6GB with out increasing the price very much at all. I think the new one is better then the old one although it isn't too different.
I won't be ordering a new one as this one is still really good. The Geforce555 can still run virtually all high end games at high/advanced settings on the market today. And I'll likely upgrade it myself at some point, not so much the video card unless Dell can do it for me, swapping out the motherboard with a new one or something. Then I'll put in ram+second harddrive+better wireless,etc.
I've seen numerous video's of people removing the optical drive and replacing it with an adapter which then has their new SSD in it. In one the guy didn't even have his computer turned off (in hibernate) and when he turned it back on the second harddrive appeared without any problem. If I have to get a new motherboard then I'd be getting a new video card as well, which I'm not sure about how that works... R1 and R2 have them soldered on I believe, at least R1
You don't have to get a new mother board to replace the optical drive and I've seen that guide as well. It's pretty much a good way to add another hard drive (like a boot SSD if you don't have one) and it's probably something I might do in the future. A lot of movies are being streamed these days and who puts their music in CDs anymore? You can also buy a USB optical drive to plug in if you ever needed it anyway. And for those old games that need a disc to hold the information you can always install Daemon Tools and create a virtual optical drive and mount the .ISO or similar image on it.
I haven't done it yet but it's probably something I'll do in the future.
I think you could do this the M17x and M18x too but since they already have multiple storage spots I'm not sure it would be worth it. (Although, it would be cool to have 4 storage drives on your M18x.)
I was just wondering if it is possible to replace my processor to a newer one like 3rd gen intel (or more practically 4th or even 5th gen by the time I actually do it if I do it)
I know the gpu is replaceable on M17 and M18 but is it on the M14 R1?
Well motherboars have a certain compatibility with processors. I'm not too savy on that, but obviously the newer processors aren't compatible with older motherboards. As far as it goes vetween Sandy and Ivy bridge tho, I've read somewhere that Intel mad the Ivys so they fit into Sandys' sockets, but I haven't had the chance to confirm that yet.
To sum it up, if your motherboard is old, you can't fit new CPUs in it, but if it's a swap from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge then look it up yourself, you might be able to do that.