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Replacing The Graphics Card in a DELL Dimension 8250

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January 12, 2007 5:10:57 PM

Hello,
About a month ago my grapfics card on my Dell broke down after 4-5 years... Now I am wondering what cards I can replace it with...
The current card is a ATI Radeon 9700 PRO card... What i am looking for is a card that will fit in its place and performs equaly or better...
What cards can I get? Its an AGP socket and getting the best of the best for it would be a waste since I am saving up to build my own computer in the near future...
Thanks in advance!
January 12, 2007 5:56:48 PM

Depends on your budget. But yeah, about $120 the X1650 PRO or 7600 GS are your best bets.

There are better cards for more, but if your CPU is 4 years old chances are it will bottleneck performance anyway. What CPU is it?
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January 12, 2007 6:04:25 PM

Well running CPU-Z it says its a Pentium 4 2,8GHz running at 2,78 GHz...
In the mainboard tab on CPU-Z it says that the graphic interface is AGP version 2,0 and max supported 4x, i take it that is translated into it being a AGP 4x socket?
The budget isnt really a problem, since what i can fit probably wont be that pricy.... What I am looking for is a card that I can just put in its place and install the drivers and it will work fine... I dont want to change the power supply or anything else in the computer...
January 12, 2007 6:09:39 PM

A 7600 GS or X1650 PRO will do that for you.

If you have $190-ish to spend and can find one, the 7600 GT should also work in your system, and is a very good AGP card.
January 12, 2007 6:19:20 PM

Looking at the online store wich I will most likley buy them at I find the 7600 GS ranging from about 175$ to 235$ depending on brand (Asus, Gainward, MSI and XFX)...
The X1650 Pros range from about 136$ to 221$ and one more expencive than the others at 305$ (HIS, Power Color, and Sapphire)
Wich brand and card would you suggest at those prices? I liv in Sweden btw and will buy from a internet store here...
January 12, 2007 6:32:33 PM

It's a bit dependent on the games (if any) you play. What do you plan to do with it?
January 12, 2007 6:38:38 PM

Well with the Radeon 9700 Pro I've been playing quite a few games... Oblivion is probably the most taxing one, though it wasnt at highest eye candy... I mostly play EVE Online and Civilization and the occational Generals Zero Hour...
I am planing on getting myself a new computer that I build myself in the near future wich will closer to a powerhouse gaming machine than this one... I just want to make this one work so it can still be used instead of just throwing it away...
January 12, 2007 6:39:53 PM

Anoobis is right, I assume you play games because you come from a 9700 PRO, which is a gaming card.

If it's gaming you're doing, get the cheap X1650 PRO; cheaper, and a bit better than the 7600 GS.

If you're not into gaming, get the cheapest Radeon or Geforce you can find... a 9500 or FX 5200 at least if you plan to upgrade to Vista with this platform someday.
January 12, 2007 6:44:06 PM

Yes, and the X1650Pro will fair better in Oblivion than the 7600GS, but don't expect any miracles here.
January 12, 2007 6:48:52 PM

From what I've seen, the X1650 PRO will fair better than the 7600 GS across the board... but they're pretty darn close.

Either should be a good bump from a 9700 PRO though.

Not revolutionsary compared to it, but a solid bit higher.
January 12, 2007 6:49:09 PM

So its a X1650 i should be looking at? well here is a link to the list of cards (prices are in SEK) that I can choose from... I am mostly looking at Sapphire cards at the bottom, though one of them is a demo product and thus has reduced price...
http://www.komplett.se/k/search.asp?q=x1650%20agp
Since the price for them are pretty much the same should i get the 512 MB one?
January 12, 2007 6:51:11 PM

With your system and specs, I'd just get the cheapest X1650 PRO you can find.

In the last review I did, there wasn't even a notable difference between a 256mb and 512mb X1950 PRO.
January 12, 2007 7:05:01 PM

well the difference bwteeen the non open box deals for the sapphires is a mare 2-3 dollars... though it says that it is a agp x8 socket required for these cards and i am not 100% sure if that is what i have since CPU-Z says 4x...
January 12, 2007 7:13:37 PM

Quote:
From what I've seen, the X1650 PRO will fair better than the 7600 GS across the board... but they're pretty darn close.

You would know better than me dude as I haven't kept on them all that well.

@Teslasnip, if you trust this site and feel they stand by their sales, then the demo X1650Pro for 985.00 SEK (~$140 U.S.) is a very reasonable deal for a system you don't plan on keeping around for much longer. If you want to be on the safer side, then go with the 256Mb Sapphire.

The 8X card should work no problem and the bottlenecking (if any) would be minute.
January 12, 2007 7:24:39 PM

Well I've never bought from them before and since I am not very good with computer parts, hoping to get better, I would probably go for the retail ones...
For me who isnt very experienced the small price difference, wich is very tiny actualy, between the 256 and 512 models would tip me over to the 512 one since in the numbers is twize as much... But since you guys are more experienced than me I'll ask, will there be any negative effect by going for the 512 card instead of the 265 one? 20 sek (about 3$) is pretty much nothing...
And heres another question, whats the difference between AGP 4X and AGP 8x? Since I cant find any card on any site I've found that sells one that says 4x...
January 12, 2007 7:30:01 PM

1. For $3 sure! Go 512.

2. All AGP 8x cards will work in a 4x slot.
January 12, 2007 7:32:14 PM

There aren't any negative effects from buying the 512MB card, aside from the cost. Since it's only a few bucks, go ahead and get whichever one you like.

You won't find any new cards being sold as 4X as they are all 8X/4X compatible these days. The difference between AGP 4X and 8X is generically how much bandwidth the AGP bus can handle however, I doubt you'll notice much of a difference as the 8X AGP bus wasn't even close to being saturated when manufacturers switched to PCI-E. I would see your CPU bottlenecking the graphics cards before reaching the limitations of the 4X AGP bus, but Cleeve is more knowledgeable in these areas.
January 12, 2007 7:37:43 PM

Ah ok, well I think I will search around for the X1650 Pros then to see if i can get it at a better price, i doubt the 100 that site has in stock will run out any time soon...
This is probably a question I should have asked first, will the DELL allow me to change the gfx card? I've heard that DELLs arnt the most upgrade friendly computers but I kinda have to since the old one broke hehe...
January 12, 2007 7:51:46 PM

After doing a bit of Googling it seems that other have upgraded to 6600GTs, X800s and a few 6800XTs. My guess is that you'll be fine. The PSU might be a bit under par, but I doubt an X1650Pro draws more power than a 6600GT or X800 class card.

You'll probably run into driver issues if you haven't been able to use the machine since the 9700Pro died. Your best bet would be to install the new card, boot into Safe Mode and uninstall the old drivers from the machine. Then boot normally and install the X1650Pro's new drivers.
January 12, 2007 8:10:14 PM

Will the X1650Pro draw about the same as the 9700 pro?
And I am actualy using the computer in question right now... its just that i cant run any gfx taxing stuff like games... Well I can run them but i get crazy gfx errors all over and drivers and updating direct x didnt work so I decided to change the card...
So when I get the card my best bet would be to unistall the drivers, shut of the comp and swap the cards and then booting up and installing the correct drivers?
January 12, 2007 8:42:00 PM

Completely off the subject, but how much RAM do you have? This might make a good time to add some more if you're looking for gaming performance increases in this replacement/upgrade.
January 12, 2007 8:51:30 PM

Don't know for sure about the power usage. My guess would be about the same, perhaps just a bit more. I think you'll be fine.

Normally you download the newest drivers from the manufacturer or directly from ATI. Uninstall old drivers, turn off, remove old card, put new one in, turn-on. Windows will say new hardware was found and prompt you with an install drivers setup screen. Just cancel out of it and double-click the driver package you downloaded earlier and follow the install instructions.

More RAM would be good if you're at or below 512MB, unless you're using RDRAM. It just isn't cost effective as RDRAM is so expensive.
January 12, 2007 9:21:30 PM

Mostly echoing other people here but:
1. for your situation seems like cheaper is better
2. 8x card will work in 4x slot
3. 512mb memory not necessary

I have a 1600PRO PCIe card that is HIS brand. No problems so far; I'd buy HIS brand again (I like their HSF designs, but most other manufacturers have followed suite). I haven't tried OCing it or using the TV-out but dual monitors and games appear to be working without error.

If you use the latest driver install utility from ATI you should have no problems. Unisntalling the old drivers should not affect functionality (extremely minor impacts on disk space used and OS performance, shouldn't affect game performance though). If you have problems you'll just have to troubleshoot them no matter what card you buy. ATI's catalyst drivers and install utility have firmed up quite a bit and I wouldn't anticipate any problems.

The 1650PRO draws like 3watts more than the 9700pro. If that makes your PSU crap out it's probably time to get a new one anyway. If the PSU is rated above 300w you shouldn't have any problems at all (I assumed that is a P4 Northwood 2.8ghz with 2sticks of DDR RAM 1 Optical drive 1 HDD) assuming that it still works well and only normal wear and tear has occured. If it's in really good condition a 250w PSU should also be able to do the trick.
a b U Graphics card
January 12, 2007 9:25:40 PM

Quote:
A 7600 GS or X1650 PRO will do that for you.

If you have $190-ish to spend and can find one, the 7600 GT should also work in your system, and is a very good AGP card.


Ebay it. I've seen 7600GTs come down to $85+$15 shipping.

If you're near a Fry's, they've had specials on eVGA 7600GTs for $99 AR.

nevermind, that's PCI-E.
January 13, 2007 1:32:05 PM

Well it has 512 RDRAM so it seems increasing it is out of the question?
I allso have no idea what PSU it has and I'm not 100% sure how I can find out either... But if its just 3 watts it shouldnt be a problem...
Mostly any other upgrade than replacing the card is kinda out of the question... All I want with this is getting a card that works so I can get back to some gaming untill I build a new computer on my own...
January 17, 2007 4:07:11 AM

I should probably have asked this first... How do I make sure that it actualy is the graphics card that is the problem?
At first the problems occured mostly while playing games, I started one up and got alot of black lines and faulty textures and it spread to the desktop when I closed the game down... Now I get the errors even when just starting the computer, for example the windows logo on bootup has different coloured, most oftenly grey, squares on the image etc and icons and the cursor gets either black picksels all over them or white lines here and there...
Is it the card or is it the whole system thats starting to fail?
January 17, 2007 3:49:48 PM

Unless you can see the problem with your eyes (burnings, dead fans, physically broken stuff) you can only:
replace a suspected bad component with a known good component and retest


Have you checked the fan on the GFX card? It might be too late now but it sounds like it's overheating...

These are graphical artifacts so it's most likely the GFX card. I would be suprised if the GFX card was still good if this problem has gotten worse. It's also unlikely that multiple components are failing unless you're having PSU or heat problems so it should be *just* the GFX card.

Before you install the new card do a quick visual check of the system, make sure all the fans are working, dust it out, and check the voltages (should be able to see them in BIOS, or use a utility like speed fan).
!