Upping the gaming ability of my Inspiron 530

So here's what I just bought from some dude locally:

Dell Inspiron 530

Pentium Core 2 Duo Processor E4400 (2MB L2 Cache,2.00GHz,800 FSB)

1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs

Graphics Card:
128mb 8300 GS

Here's what I'm looking at doing:
-Replacing the 8300GS with my current vid card, an EVGA 512mb 7900GT KO (which is PCI-E)
-Changing out the 2 dimms of 512ddr2 to either 2 or 4gb of ddr2 @ 800mhz
-Switching out the stock psu w/ my enermax psu to support my 7900GT.

My questions:

1) Is it worth going to 4gb instead of 2gb of ddr2? The money isn't really an issue, I just wonder if I should actually do it. I game a lot...games like Battlefield 2142, World of Warcraft, Dark Crusade, F.E.A.R., and I hope to play the new Command and Conquer when I purchase it and some of the newer FPS games (Bioshock, etc.). I'm happy to pay for another 2gb of memory if it's going to make a large difference (in a POSITIVE way!).

2) How much faster is my Core 2 Duo compared to my current computer's processor? I have a 3.0ghz Pentium 4, and it has 2gb of ddr pc3200 memory in it atm.

3) Is the 7900GT KO still a formidable card, or is it going to bottleneck out before my processor does?

4) I should've mentioned I'm going to be running Vista (comes on the system already). Worth going back to XP or should I just stick w/ vista? no fanboy answers please. :)
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  1. Also, once I have upgraded to whatever components we decide upon in this thread, what are some basic steps I can take to SAFELY overclock my computer? I would like to get some extra power out of it but don't want to have to fool around with extra cooling situations or thermal paste all over the place, and I don't want to have it overheat! Any suggestions?
  2. C'mon I know I threw a lot at you but there's gotta be some guru here who can handle it. :)
  3. Okay, will stress this once again : OEM MOTHERBOARDS BIOS'S LOCKED!!! YOU CAN'T OVERCLOCK THEM!!!

    Far as your other questions:

    1) The OS is most likely 32-bit which won't handle 4GB. Just go with 2GB.

    2) 1GHz Core2Duo = 2Ghz Pentium 4 roughly

    3) The 7900GT is now a midrange card. I think the 7900 will bottleneck before the CPU.

    4) Personal choice there. I'm still running XP and don't plan to going to Vista till 2008. Besides, it already comes with Vista. Might as well save the money.
  4. So when you say a 1ghz pentium core2duo = a 2ghz pentium 4 roughly, you're saying that roughly my 2.0ghz Core2duo = a 4ghz pentium 4 roughly?
  5. Yes.
  6. I'm voting for 2gig's of DDR2, since your OS (unless it's 64bit) won't see/use all of the 4 gig's of RAM. Here are a few links to some good DDR2, enjoy!

    Memory - $102 shipped - $40 MIR = $62!! Solid performing CAS 4 DDR2
    CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail

    Memory - $110 shipped - $47 MIR = $63!! Good OC’ing RAM + CAS 4 too.
    Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail

    Memory - $93 shipped - $30 MIR = $63!! CAS 4 and good RAM
    GeIL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
  7. I will be using vista home premium. You saying that there will be no diff between 2gb and 4gb? I ordered 4gb last night, but if this is the case then I will cancel 2 of them.
  8. Yes, cancel. If/when you go to a 64-bit OS go to 4GB, don't waste your money now. However, ram prices are at historic lows, so it may be wise to get it now while it's not expensive-obsolete components, even if your OS only will recognise ~3.2 GB.
  9. You may want to swap out your motherboard for:

    When I got into the aftermarket/home built a few years ago, I checked eBay and my Compaq's P4 motherboard was going for $110-150 lol just because it was OEM. I posted it on craigslist (eBay fees) and some guy from Boston actually bought it. Maybe your Dell mobo can also be swapped for no cost?
  10. Basically use 2gb of ram use the dual core and put the 7900gt in.

    There, all done :D
  11. You don't absolutely have to go with an aftermarket mobo to overclock the CPU. You can easily overclock that e4400 to 2.66GHz with a simple pin mod. Since it is a G33 chipest, it might also do a 333MHz pinmod, but then you'd definately have to do Vcore pin mods as well....not really worth it for 3.33GHz. Doubt you'll really NEED the extra performance for gaming anyhow.
  12. yeah I will probably keep the ddr2 just for future use if nothing else. it wasn't that $ so might as well.

    how do I do that mod? seems like a formidable gain, almost .75ghz. is it fairly simple?
  13. I just got an Inspiron 530 about a month and a half ago. I've made some changes.

    I am currently running an Intel Core 2 Quad CPR Q9300 2.5GHz, overclocked at 3.2 GHz
    Also upgraded from 2GB of DDR2 RAM to 6GB DDR2 RAM.
    Running an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics card.
    Upgraded 320GB HD to a BIG 750 GB HD
    Running 2 giant 24" monitors hooked through Radeon graphics card.

    This system has NO problem running any games that I throw it's way.
  14. i got the inspirion 530 aswell i upgraded mine to a 500 watt psu and 4 x 1gb ram 800mhz ddr2 320gb hdd quad core 2.4ghz HIS Radeon 4830 graphics card 512 mb ddr3. i got the original motherboard. and my dvd drive the same. this was relativly cheap as i did it on my own. and im only 13 so hope that helps and if your going for crysis or better games that demand more i suggest better proccessor or simpler a better graphics card. also stick with vista 32 bit it dnt amke a big difference games still run cuz games depend more on your graphics and btw the max ram your motherboard can take is 4gb even tho its got 4 slots. if you have any more ques my email is theboyslip@hotmail.com and here are the answers to your ques:

    Q1. Yes it will be alot faster and you will be able to open more programs at once.

    Q2. Its alot faster.

    Q3. i have tried both i dnt like vista but id say it rlly dnt matter if your gaming. xp and vista are both good and ive tried the folowing os's Win xp 64 bit - was decent and pretty fast. Win xp 32 bit- same as xp 64 but only read 3.25gb ram was fairly quick, still. Vista 32 bit - was slow during startup at first but fixed it and ran fine. they were all the same when it came to gaming but vista had a slight edge with its compatibilty with most games today.
  15. The Ati 4670 would be much faster (according to Tom's charts) and would be fine with the dell's stock 300w PSU. A friend of mine put it in his 530 with a Pentium Dual Core 2.2 GHz and he can play almost everything on very high settings (dunno crysis tho) at 1650*1050 resolution. I really like the 4670 now!
  16. I got 8 gigs of 667 in my 530 running Vista 64 home basic... think I got it for 38 shipped and paid 9.99 to get the 64 bit version from MS, what PSU did you use? did you have to mod the case? want to put a nicer vid card in and try the 333 pin mod, Best E
  17. Necro posts. Once again nothing but strangers, answering a topic over a year old. Recommending hardware not even available at the time the question was asked.

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