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Help with finding a video card upgrade for my Dell Inspiron 3646

I am trying to set my new computer up with a duel monitors in an extended desktop set up, but I think my computer lacks the hardware for it. There is one VGA port and one HDMI port. Talking with Dell support answered some questions, (my computer cannot do extended desktop as it is now, but can be upgraded). Could someone please help me understand where I can get the type of video card he recommend? Here is part of the chat transcript:

Agent (Amit_230082): "Michael, the dedicated video card will be required for the extended display."

07/31/2014 11:14:50AM Michael: "How can I upgrade to that?"

07/31/2014 11:15:18AM Agent (Amit_230082): "The system is compatible with Discrete Nvidia GeForce 820M Graphics chipset."

07/31/2014 11:15:51AM Agent (Amit_230082): "You may contact our sales department on 800-915-3355 to purchase the video card."


Contacting the sale department did not help-the guy I spoke to suggested I return the computer and buy a more expensive unit.
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More about finding video card upgrade dell inspiron 3646
  1. Have you 1) connected two monitors to it, and 2) gone into display setup? I've never heard of a computer with two video output ports that couldn't use them, but I have heard of incompetent support.

    On the other hand, I looked at the site for that line of machines and they only show a VGA port. Can you provide a link to your particular model?
  2. Thanks for your interest!

    There is only one VGA port and when I bought a VGA splitter all I could do was mirror my desktop. I did go into the display settings and changed the option to extend, but the computer doesn't recognize the second monitor.

    The other port is HDMI, which Tech support guy says I could use, but not VGA and HDMI at the same time. Here to my particular unit
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-3646-small-desktop/pd?oc=fdcwnt7101&model_id=inspiron-3646-small-desktop
  3. Best answer
    Yes, a VGA splitter will only give you two slightly fuzzy copies of the original.

    The specs don't mention it even being able to take a video card; either that or greed is why the sales rep said what he said. If you do have a video card slot you can get cards from cheap to hundreds of dollars to support two monitors. If you don't have a slot, you are SOL. The only way I know to tell is open up the machine and look.

    Depending on what you want to do (this will support spreadsheets but not serious gaming) you could buy a USB - to - video adapter. They are fairly low power and won't support gaming or even decent movies, but will give you a second screen of spreadsheet or web browsing pages without much moving stuff.
  4. Wow! I didn't know there was such a thing! I looked around saw several listed as "external video cards." The decent quality ones, from what I could gather from reading the reviews start around $50. It is definitely a possibility.

    I went back to Tech support yesterday and this guy was more specific-I need a card that will fit a PCI x16, such as this on: NVIDIA® GeForce® GT630 2 GB DDR3 Graphics Card, which I think is a video card for a laptop. He said I would still have to use a VGA splitter though.

    But I feel like I won't know for sure until I open up my box and see for myself if there really is a slot!

    Thanks again for your help!
  5. mwilliams1220 - Did you find a solution? I'm currently dealing with the exact same issue, trying to hook up dual monitors for an Inspiron 3646. Tech support has not been any assistance thus far, but I'm still waiting for a reply email.
  6. Malbork said:
    mwilliams1220 - Did you find a solution? I'm currently dealing with the exact same issue, trying to hook up dual monitors for an Inspiron 3646. Tech support has not been any assistance thus far, but I'm still waiting for a reply email.


    No news. Dell Tech support has not responded to my email request for support. I did talk to a local repair guy and said it might be done, but he would have to do some research first. The good news is he said that if it were doable it would cost less than a $100.
  7. Dell responded to me, and they suggested first trying an HDMI cable (which didn't work). They also said that the motherboard on the 3646 could not support an external video card. I opened up the case and I'm looking at the motherboard now, and there isn't a slot for a video card either, so I couldn't just buy a cheap one and install it. Back to square one I guess.
  8. Malbork said:
    Dell responded to me, and they suggested first trying an HDMI cable (which didn't work). They also said that the motherboard on the 3646 could not support an external video card. I opened up the case and I'm looking at the motherboard now, and there isn't a slot for a video card either, so I couldn't just buy a cheap one and install it. Back to square one I guess.


    i had a repair place take a look at it this morning and he suggested using an HDMI cable and it worked for me.
  9. So you have 2 monitors, one using VGA and one using HDMI and it works?
  10. Malbork said:
    So you have 2 monitors, one using VGA and one using HDMI and it works?


    Exactly. Interesting note, the tech at Dell told me that would NOT work. For the price of an HDMI cord ($20 at Radio Shack), I got my extended monitors.
  11. Yep, HDMI worked for me as well (used a test monitor), but the monitors we already have use DP. I ended up ordering a USB to DVI/VGA adapter from Tripplite, and that worked also. I ordered it through Dell and it cost $60.00. This is the one I used, in case anyone else stumbles across this thread with a similar issue: http://www.tripplite.com/usb-to-dvi-vga-adapter-1080p~U244001R/
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