Dimension E521 Video Card Upgrade

Desktop

Desktop
Desktop computer Hardware and Software discussion

Dimension E521 Video Card Upgrade

This question is not answered

Hello, my system specs are:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+

Windows XP Pro Service Pack 3

2.0GB DDR2 RAM(to be upgraded to 4.0GB)

Dell Dimension E521

System is not under warranty

I have a question regarding video cards for this system. This is the card that I(located in Canada) currently have installed on this system(i.e. this is the card the Dell had installed and shipped when I ordered the system 3 years ago):

http://reviews.cnet.com/graphics-car...tag=mncol;psum

OR

http://ati.amd.com/products/RadeonX1300/index.html

The ATI website does NOT provide a power supply requirement.  However, the CNET website does.  As per their website, the system requirements say a 350W power supply is required for this card. The Dell system Owner's Manual for my 3 year old desktop system(Dimension E521) says that the system has a 305W power supply, as seen from page 110 below:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dime521/en/OM_EN/PY349A03MR.pdf

I don't know how it is possible for Dell to have installed that card with this PSU. Anyways, that's besides the point.

I want to upgrade to an NVIDIA GeForce card(I NEED Nvidia since I am going to reformat with Ubuntu and ATI drivers are well-known to have very bad Linux support).  I want as high specifications as possible(I mean I want 512 MB or 1024MB if the system allows --> that is, if my power supply allows).

After searching, I found these two cards:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=4116647&sku=P56-8404&srkey=P56-8404

OR

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4111744&CatId=3669

Now, the requirements for either card(scroll down the page) say 300W.

I do NOT want to change my power supply because I don't know how to and also because I don't have the time to.

With this information in mind, I have the following two questions:

Question 1: Does my system have sufficient wattage for either of these two cards?

Question 2: What does "300 watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 18 amps on the +12 volt rail" mean?  This was from the second of the two GeForce card links above.  Does my system meet this requirement?

Your help witll be greatly appreciated as I am quite unfamiliar with power supplies so I would not want to risk damage to the system.

EDIT:  I don't do any gaming, this choice of card(NVIDIA) is mainly to enable the special desktop effects of Compiz Fusion in Linux.

EDIT 2:  Upgraded first tigerdirect link

All Replies
  • your system can power the nvidia 9400 with one power cord tied behind it's back ... the other link in your post is a dead link so i don't know what the other card is.

    I would actually bump up to a 9500 if i were you ... the cost difference isn't that much ... if you weren't running linux the answer would be the ATI 4650 hands down but if you are just running linux you aren't a gamer.

    What's your need to upgrade if you are just running linux?  the athlon and the built in nvidia 6150 on your motherboard should be able to run a linux distro no problem.

    I would download the windows 7 rc for free before you abandon windows ... unless your into linux ... upgrading video to run linux has no advantage that i know of.

  • freakmarket

    What's your need to upgrade if you are just running linux?  the athlon and the built in nvidia 6150 on your motherboard should be able to run a linux distro no problem.

    I would download the windows 7 rc for free before you abandon windows ... unless your into linux ... upgrading video to run linux has no advantage that i know of.

    My experience with an older non-Dell system produced a singificant improvement in performance with an upgrade in video.  That's the only reason.  I might consider your suggestion to try the onboard video slot.

    I would prefer to skip past Windows 7 since Linux meets my requirements...and the price factor is a huge bonus as well.  I don't like having to keep upgrading my anti-virus subscription and having to deal with the cost of MS Office when Open Office will do just fine for me.  Plus, again based on previous experience on a non-Dell system, Ubuntu ran SIGNIFICANTLY faster than Windows XP(even with XP in classic view).

    I've updated the first of the 2 links.  It's for a 512 MB GeForce card.

    freakmarket

    your system can power the nvidia 9400 with one power cord tied behind it's back ... the other link in your post is a dead link so i don't know what the other card is.

    I would actually bump up to a 9500 if i were you ... the cost difference isn't that much...

    Question 3:  Really?  Even with that approx. 300W PSU?

    I'll look out for the 9500 as well.

    Question 4:  What about cooling?  I completely forgot about it.  Will the fan included with the 9400, or 9500 for that matter, be sufficient?

    Question 5:  Is there a way to monitor the PSU's performance?  I read, on these forums(Dell 8400 thread?), that PSUs respond best when they run at 25% to 75%.  Is there some way to monitor PSU performance.....from the BIOS or through some downloadable software?

  • http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/DellPartsFamily.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1&~ck=anavml

    use this to check for available upgrades .

    dont choose anything greater than power supply of your PC ,

  • rem_rem_rem

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/DellPartsFamily.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&redirect=1&~ck=anavml

    use this to check for available upgrades .

    dont choose anything greater than power supply of your PC ,

    Yes, I've already done that for the E521 as shown here:

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/category.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&mfgpid=184892&chassisid=8245&category_id=6715&~ck=bt

    and the GeForce 9500 is listed here too:

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Graphics_Cards/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=A2295458&mfgpid=184892&chassisid=8245

    Even the 9400 is listed there, but no power supply rating is provided for either card AND neither card shows up as an available upgrade for the E521 when you go through the Dell Canada website below:

    http://accessories.dell.com/sna/pfydResults.aspx?c=ca&l=en&s=dhs&cs=cadhs1&mfgpid=125169&chassisid=-1

    which is why I had to look elsewhere.

    It's been quite aggravatign going through the Dell.ca website...it really has.

  • your PC has 305W power supply

     

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9500gt_us.html  -  350W - 9500GT -

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9400gt_us.html  -  305W - 9400GT ( this looks OK )

     

     

     

     

  • Either the 9400GT or 9500GT will work on the 305W power supply.  You are only looking at most the 9500GT using 170 total system watts while under load and the 9400GT around 140 watts.  If you are not playing games, at idle, they both only use about 90 watts and again that is for the entire system not just the card itself.  If you don't play games as you indicated, then the 9400GT would be good enough and save you some money.   You can get the card anywhere you want such as TigerDirect or Newegg.  EVGA is my favorite brand for Nvidia cards. 

    • Dell Dimension 4600, P4 2.66 GHZ, 320GB SATA HD, Nvidia 6200, Vista Home Premium 32-bit
    • Dell Optiplex GX280, P4 3.2 GHZ, 80GB SATA HD, Windows XP 32-bit
    • Dell Inspiron 530, Q6600 Quad, 500GB HD, Vista Home Premium 32-bit
    • Custom Build, Q6600 Quad, (2) 500GB SATA HDs, 4GB Ram, EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 SC, Corsair 650TX PSU, DVD RW, DVD Blu-ray, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit