Greetings! First post, any help would be appreciated! Sorry for the length, I wanted to provide as much info as possible and also show I've done a little research and not just looking for a quick answer.
I have a Dell e521, it appears that THIS Dell model does not use a proprietary psu. So if I need to upgrade it shouldn't be difficult to find one. If anyone can confirm this information it would be great.
Yesterday I replaced my 7600 GT with a 8800 GT. I have an Athlon Duo Core 3800+ CPU and 4 gigs of corsair RAM, as well as two optical drives and one 250 GB HD.
Install went great, although I had to disconnect one of my optical drives to use the cord to get power to the video card. I have enough connections but it wasnt long enough when connected to the optical drive, just ordered a longer cable for 2.99.
3d Mark score jumped from 3400 to about 7700, windows vista rating are all at 5.9 aside from the processor. Running COD4 smoothly at all high settings in SP with no issues. I really have two questions.
Do I need more power? I've never installed a power supply and would avoid it unless the consensus is that it'd add 10%+ performance to the card. I've tried a couple online calculators with mixed results ranging from 277w to 550w.
If I need a 500w psu I will go to Microcenter tonight. I've never been to one of their stores, I plan on bringing the diagram of what I currently and a list of quality psu manufacturers. Anything else I'll need in order for them to help me out?
Be sure to never tell a dell tech you opened the chasis, or they will probably void the warranty immediately. Newegg sells the pc power and cooling 470w ps for about $15 less then the dell model. Looks the same as the dell upgrade. You might try the dell ps for awhile. If you get no random reboots or artifacts, you can probably run with it. But it's only about 350 watts.
You don't need a specially made psu for the E521, almost any standard ATX power supply will work, just don't go buy something like a Galaxy 1000 and try to fit it in the little box. The PCP&C Dell Silencer differs from the regular Silencer in that it does not have a switch, something that you don't need to worry about due to the open back design of the E5xx series.
And opening the case will not void the warranty, any parts you add will not be covered and if you have to call for support the tech may ask you to put the original parts back in.