How to make my Dell E521 a better Media Player?

Hi Guys
I’m not rich. I want to update my current computer in such a way that I can run 1080p video flawlessly. I would like to play 3D games (to the best ability that the system can muster, but this is not critical) The current system does ok with 1080p mkv video (size: 8GB – 15GB), but it’s not silky smooth.

My System:
Dell E521 Dimension
Processor: AMD Athlon X2 64 (5000+) [Dual Core]
Ram: 4GB
Operating System: Windows 8.1
Power Supply: 320w (no 4 pin connector for modern cards but spare older style power connectors)
Main software: XBMC, Daum Potplayer Cyberlink PowerDVD (to play movies)
Output: To a 55 Inch TV via HDMI (via Yamaha Receiver V673)
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 7300 LE (PCi Xpress slot 16) via DVI

I’m hoping that both video and audio can be sent via HDMI (when purchasing a new video card)
What’s very important is to have 5.1 (or above) sound sent to the receiver (at the highest quality)
These appear to be some choices some have suggested:
1) Use Linux instead (apparently video run better)
2) Upgrade my graphics card (within the limits/capability of the power supply and processor)
3) Upgrade my graphics card and power-supply (in relation to the AMD processor’s capability)

PREFER AMD graphics cards due to low power requirements.

Am I wasting my time and money or is it possible?
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about make dell e521 media player
  1. For an HTPC, I would just only upgrade to this graphics card: the R7 240
  2. For gaming, you've got to upgrade the motherboard, and the CPU, since it is an AM2 socket, and only older processors, which are not capable of playing games nowadays, support that socket.
  3. Thank Tech;

    Is that as good as it gets? The R240? Not that gaming is important, but if I can get some more performance out of this computer, with changing the board or the CPU, that would be great!

    Can I get something better, before the CPU becomes the bottleneck?
    I'm willing to get a new powersupply?

    Whats critical is the sound via HDMI (as well as smooth movies) I don't want to be in a position where I shell out for a good card, only to find out it is limited in relation to 5.1, 7.1 sound that will eventually go to my recieve.

    Thanks before hand!
  4. Best answer
    You'll have to upgrade the motherboard and CPU, since the CPU is 7 years old and will bottleneck the R7240 or better cards. And yes you can upgrade the power supply.
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