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Upgrading The Graphics Card For A Dell Dimension E520


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Upgrading The Graphics Card For A Dell Dimension E520

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I've had my Dell Dimension E520 for 3ish years and i need to upgrade my graphics card. I've spent a long while surfing around the internet and it seems that people recommend the GeForce 9500GT and the RadeonHD 4670. Unfortunately i struggle to understand computer hardware and people are talking about watts and PSUs which confuses me.

These are what i believe to be my system specs, as the only things that i've upgraded on my standard E520 is the RAM (1GB to 3GB) and HDD (160GB to 320GB). I used CUP-Z to find out this information. You can see the full report here.

Processor = Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 2CPU @ 1.86GHz

Motherboard = Dell 0WG864

Memory = DDR2 3GB

Graphics = X1300/X1550 Series PCI-E x16 ver 1.0


Can someone give me a dummies answer to what graphics cards will give me a noticable increase in performance without having to change anything else to do with the computer (Just plug in and play, i hope). Possibly with prices and a general rating?

Sorry if im being too demanding, im just really unsure about all this and don't want to waste my money on something that's not compatible.


Thanks for looking.

Will Herbert.


PS: This is the E520 documentation. http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dime520/en/SM_EN/specs.htm#wp1052310

All Replies
  • Help anyone?

  • Keep in mind this a users helping users forum.  Bumping is not something we do on this forum and getting excited because your post wasn't responded to immediately is not something that always happens on here.  If a user reads your post and has something to add or comment about they will answer, otherwise no one will respond.

    First the power supply.  The stock power supply is a 310 watt model.  

    There are upgrade video cards that will work with the stock power supply and even some PCIeX16 models that require an additonal PCIe power connection (although you would have to have an adapter from one of the other type power connectors). 

    The biggest item is how much you are willing to spend for an upgraded video card and what you want the upgraded card for? e.g. games. video editing, etc.  Also, if you want a higher end card and are also willing to upgrade the power supply to a higher wattage. 


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  • I think my model has 305Watts of power, and tbh i'd not really want to spend much more than £100. However if theres nothing under £100 that will give me a good boost then im might be able to go higher. For example, today i bought borderlands but with my current setup i have to have everything on lowest at 640x400 resolution (i think thats right). It doesn't look pretty. Taking this as an example would there be a card that could boost me up to some more acceptable graphics for this game. There are other games such as BFBC2 which don't run and if theres a card that can let me play that then that would be awesome.


    Also, i've heard that overclocking is a good way to boost performance. Does anyone know of a beginners guide for all this, seeing as i know very little about things but im willing to learn.

  • If gaming is the goal you might get more information in the Group (listed at the top of this page) for Gamers. Keep in mind that with overclocking you run the risk of frying the components. I would rather not overclock anything in my system and keep the warranties in tact.


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  • Since you are primarily interested in upgrading for games, the Gaming Section   HERE  as Jeff points out is the best place to start.

    Keep in mind the old Dimension E520 (I have an E510 and very similar) is not a "gaming" PC.  When the E520 was being sold, Dell had the XPS line which was their "gaming PC's" at the time.

    I am not a Dell Employee

    Dell forum member since 2002

    Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

    Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS Z170, i7 6700K CPU,  Windows 10 64 bit Pro. SSD drive.  Sonar Platinum Recordng Studio Software.

    Dell SE2717HR 27" Monitor


    Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

  • I own a Dell Dimensions E520.  When I had the computer analyized for a graphic card update by Dell, Dell recommended the ATI Radeon HD 4650 card so I bought the card, however I would not recommend this card to anyone who owns an E520.  It crashes all the time.  I wish Dell would remove this card from the recommended or suggested graphics card upgrade.

  • Weird ... I used a 4650 for a year in my 540s (250-watt power supply) and it was rock solid.

    It might be the card is defective, or perhaps there is an issue with drivers?

  • One would have to understand what "crashes all the time means".  Could be that your hard drive or power supply is having issues.

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  • Thanks for reminding me about the "crashing video card" last year that was due to a faulty (though nearly new) power supply.

  • Hey rdunnill: I can't believe you aren't pushing your 6670 fetish here ;-)

    The HD 6670 seems like a pretty good fit for this situation.

  • The OP was complaining their reasonably modern card doesn't work. They're not asking for advice in picking a new one.

    Speedstep's suggestion that the power supply may be failing makes sense. I've seen that happen this last year (in a corporate PC with an 8800GT video card). Problem went away when I swapped in a known good power supply.

  • To the best of my knowledge, which is limited, I'm having no problems with the power supply.  Overall I'd rate the E520 as a very good and dependable computer.  As far as 'crashing all the time" I keep get the message that the card had to reset my graphics accelerator.

  • What would indicate a failing power supply?  Until I installed the card I didn't have any problems.  I'm still asking about the ATI Radeon HD 4650 card.  It will run for about 30 minutes before the video starts having problems.  Could it be the driver?

  • Weird video errors can be caused by a failing power supply.

    May we ask the operating system? And do you have the latest Catalyst drivers?

    Also, is there dust build-up inside the case? I'd recommend blowing out any accumulated dust with a can of compressed air.

  • The operating system is Windows XP.  Yes I have the latest Catalyst drivers.  When I installed the card I cleaned the inside of the computer thoroughly using compressed air.  There is no dust inside the computer.