Old Dimension E521- trying to upgrade video for son

Hello,
I recently picked up a E521 dimension from a garage sale that looks brand new. Its a athalon 64 - 3200+ at 2.0 ghz - 448 MB with a 256 on board video shared. We picked this up for our son to play World of Warcraft on it but with the on board video its a slide show with everything turned down to the lowest other than in instances where he says he gets 15fps. So we told him we would go about getting him a video card. I have no idea if its an agp or pci slot so that is where I am hung up at. I searched but it seems I am getting conflicting answers from the web. If someone could help me with that I would really appreciate it and maybe a recommendation for a card that will play wow with medium settings - he does not play anything else and I do not want to spend more than 60$ on an aging computer. Also, will a video card upgrade really help out or is it just that the computer is old?

Thank you for any help.
42 answers Last reply
More about dimension e521 upgrade video
  1. Check the color, length, and placement of the slot. Usually AGP is brown, and farther away from the case than a PCI slot (which is white). If the MB uses AGP, I'd say there really isnt a card to get, the cheapest and most powerful is the HD 2600 PRO from ATI.
    If the motherboard has PCIe, the best for $60 is probably 8600GT or GTS if youre lucky. Other than that, most choices are more than $60.
  2. Hope this helps. You need to open your case to see this. http://img.zdnet.com/techDirectory/PCXSLOTS.GIF After you determine which it is, it will be easier to recommend a card.
  3. maybe you could get a new mother board with integrated graphics just look for the same cpu slot type
  4. There are a few smaller pci slots and the one that looks like a video card slot is a little longer and has a hold down clip on the end. Its blue maybe black in color - is there some software or something I can use to look and see if its pci-e?
  5. Just be carefull about the power requirements for the card. Dell and others seriously underpower their boxes for upgrades, and power supply replacement probably wasn't part of your budget.
  6. It's a PCI-e 16x slot. Your PSU has 22A on the 12v rails, but doesn't have a 6-pin power connector, so the 8600GT mentioned above would be a good fit.
  7. you tell the slots apart by physical appearance and color
  8. 8600gt i have requires at least 350 watts it might not be right for you
  9. If the label of the power supply says you have 22 amps on the 12v rails, you can safely get the 8600GT.
  10. If I were to go to the route of the 8600gt would that be able to run world of warcraft for him? Should I be worried about the power supply? I really do not want to upgrade the entire computer - just the video card.
  11. an inadequate power supply can cause numerous issues so watch your wattage
  12. Dell - N305n-03
    input 100-120v / 9.0a 50-60 ghz
    200-240 /4.5a
    Output +5v / 22.0a -12v / 1.0a
    +12va / 18.0a +3.3v / 17.0a
    +12vb / 18.0a +5vfp / 2.0a

    max comined power on +5v a 3.3v output is 150pw
    max combined output current on +12va % 12vb output is 264 w


    so not seeing any 22's anywhere- I have no idea what any of that stuff means. Just a single mom trying to help her son out. Thanks for the help guys -

    Andrea
  13. It doesn't actually say 22 on the PSU. 264W divided by 12 = 22A.
  14. Edit: carver_g beat me to it.

    264/12=22.
  15. FYI: You don't need to open up the case to figure out the sockets. Just download CPUZ and check under Motherboard.
  16. Wonderful - so with all that out of the way I need to find this 8600gt - I went to newegg and the cheapest was

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814136019

    Someone for mentioned :

    "Your PSU has 22A on the 12v rails, but doesn't have a 6-pin power connector, so the 8600GT mentioned above would be a good fit. "

    Will the video card work - I have no idea what a 6pin power connector is - but this one is cheap and has no rebates which works for me. Thanks again for all the help.

    Andrea
  17. that doesn't work i just tried it all it displayed were slots for ram but that was in a different tab
  18. I ran an 8600GT in my E521 for almost a year with no issues on the stock psu.
    I even ran my 8800GT in it with an upgraded psu.
    This is the card:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150229
  19. Also, another 1GB of RAM would make a significant performance difference If you could go to CPU-Z and look at the memory tab, and tell us what it says there, then we can help you in that regard. You could get a gig for $20.
  20. So
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814136019
    that video card will work with the PSU since someone said
    "Your PSU has 22A on the 12v rails, but doesn't have a 6-pin power connector."


    type - ddr2
    size 512 mb
    channel single
    dram 250.5
    cpu/8
    4
    4
    4
    12
    17
    t1
  21. Most 8600GT don't require the 6pin power connection.
  22. That particular 8600GT does not require the 6-pin connector- you should be fine.

    Here is a pair of 2x1GB RAM sticks for $37. Replace the 512MB stick that's already in there and you should be cruising. This will significantly increase performance in every aspect- boot up times, web surfing, gaming. Last year that pair cost $150. RAM has never been this cheap. I'm not saying you should buy it right now, but it would definitely be a good option to upgrade to in the near future.
  23. Your system meets the recommended specifications for the game:

    World of Warcraft PC Game BLIZZARD - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832127112
  24. before getting the ram look into the mhz transfer rate for best performance
  25. Aurora18 said:
    before getting the ram look into the mhz transfer rate for best performance

    She's buying a 8600GT for $60... I don't think she wants to spend any more money on RAM, when that RAM is perfectly fine for WoW use.... this is a non overclocking system, besides, the difference between 4-4-4-12 DDR2-800 and 5-5-5-18 DDR2-667 is minimal. A half of a FPS in a game, maximum.
  26. I have been following this with great interest because I have a Dell Dimension E521. I would like to upgrade the video card because I would like to run RealFlight G4 sim. Do you think the 8600GT would be a good card for the sim? I sure would like to here the results of Andria's upgrade.

    Ken
  27. This 2600XT for $29.99 is an amazing deal and a great upgrade from integrated graphics. Its equivalent to the 8600GT DDR2. Perfect for WoW, I'd say.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102755
  28. I brought 4 gb of ddr2-800 made for my Dell Dimension e521 computer for $53.72 total including tax. It has am AMD Athlon Dual Core Processor 3600+. Eight hundred MHz is the fast memory you can install in this computer The AMD Athlon processor has a 1ghz memory bus. This is best deal I have seen on memory for m Dell E521.

    4alldeals

    4 All Deals Item #22903962
    1GB DDR2-800 Dell Dimension E521 Memory RAM
    Price: $13.43
    Quantity: 4
    Inventory SKU: 53819-01
    Date: 4/17/2009 8:53:37 PM

    Subtotal: $53.72
    Shipping & Handling: $0.00
    Sales Tax: $0.00
    -----------------------------------
    Purchase Total: $53.72
  29. I also have a Dimension E521; AMD Athlon 64X2 2.00Ghz 3800+. I am looking to upgrade my video card with the GeForce 8600GT. I have seen they are available in several levels of onboard cache; 256Mb, 512Mg and 1Gb. Is this merely a buy-what-you-can-afford issue or do the other components limit what I should install. I also have noted some comments on other forums about compatibility from one manufacturere to another. Any recommendations?

    I also recently upgraded my RAM to 3G at the suggestion of this thread. What an improvement!!! Once I upgrade my vid card I will probably replace my original 512 sticks with 1G for a total(max) of 4G of RAM.
  30. If it's PCI-e I'd say your best bet is a GTX295. No overkill there.
  31. ^ His CPU will bottleneck a GTX295. Also, a GTX295 probably won't fit in a E521.
    And a E521 only has a 305 watt PSU with 18amps on 12v rails.

    A GTX295 is a nono
  32. Bluescreendeath said:
    ^ His CPU will bottleneck a GTX295. Also, a GTX295 probably won't fit in a E521.
    And a E521 only has a 305 watt PSU with 18amps on 12v rails.

    A GTX295 is a nono

    Im hoping that guy was being sarcastic :pfff:

    You guys wanting to upgrade to a gpu will be seriously...seriously limited on performance and even with this cpu upgrade you won't be able to run games like GTA which thrive on quad cores....

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103274

    Since i doubt your dells support overclocking there is a CHEAP! cpu with a stock 3ghz clock

    You could also look on ebay and maybe pick up a cheap amd 6000+ for around the same price...or even the cpu from newegg for a lower price on ebay...

    Best of luck
  33. Make sure tho that the CPU is a 89W max watts can't exceed that, and a GTX 295 wont fit because of its double width height. A 295 is horribly bottleneck by that CPU
  34. ermorris1 said:
    I also have a Dimension E521; AMD Athlon 64X2 2.00Ghz 3800+. I am looking to upgrade my video card with the GeForce 8600GT. I have seen they are available in several levels of onboard cache; 256Mb, 512Mg and 1Gb. Is this merely a buy-what-you-can-afford issue or do the other components limit what I should install. I also have noted some comments on other forums about compatibility from one manufacturere to another. Any recommendations?

    I also recently upgraded my RAM to 3G at the suggestion of this thread. What an improvement!!! Once I upgrade my vid card I will probably replace my original 512 sticks with 1G for a total(max) of 4G of RAM.


    I have a an E521, you can run the 8600GT in it with no problem. Although i would suggest looking at the ATI 4670, its a much better card for the same price. If you do get the 8600GT, make sure it uses DDR3 memory as most of the 1GB cards use DDR2. Neither the 8600GT or the 4670 need or able to fully utilize 1GB of memory anyway.

    As far as ram memory, unless you have Vista, 3GBs is more then enough and XP can't even utilize 4GBs.
  35. ct1615 said:
    I have a an E521, you can run the 8600GT in it with no problem. Although i would suggest looking at the ATI 4670, its a much better card for the same price. If you do get the 8600GT, make sure it uses DDR3 memory as most of the 1GB cards use DDR2. Neither the 8600GT or the 4670 need or able to fully utilize 1GB of memory anyway.

    As far as ram memory, unless you have Vista, 3GBs is more then enough and XP can't even utilize 4GBs.

    A 4670 would definitely be a great gpu...i forgot that this thing was mainly for wow..still i believe wow gets quite a bit of its performance from the cpu

    You are best off waiting for the 4770...it will bring down prices of the gpus in your price range it will be stronger then a 8600gt and it should be close to a 9800gtx after overclocking...maybe not im just speculating
  36. If you upgrade the GPU, you will see very little difference in FPS compared to upgrading the CPU, because WoW is a CPU intensive game. I had a 64 X2 3800 with x850, upgraded to an HD 3850 and... hardly any difference.
  37. I also just bought a E521 pc. It has 2gigs of ram in it, I Just upgraded it. I have a 8800 nvidia geforce gts card, that I won at a lan a while back. I was wondering if it is possible for this pc to run that card without making any upgrades to the power supply!!!

    ...lol I'm a girl so I don't know much about computers. So if someone could respond to this with some help that would be amazing!! :D
  38. Quote:
    I have been following this with great interest because I have a Dell Dimension E521. I would like to upgrade the video card because I would like to run RealFlight G4 sim. Do you think the 8600GT would be a good card for the sim? I sure would like to here the results of Andria's upgrade.

    Ken

    I need to do the same thing with the same computer and realflight ,..Maybe by now you know what option works in this circumstance?...I'm puzzled still..I purchased a pci express card and it didn't fit in the chassis..(GEFORCE 7300LE 256MB)..It has a nvidia 6500 integrated video and I'm not sure if I should disable that before adding a card,..but I havn't got to that far as the card would not fit physically..My son really want's to fly the Realflight G3.5 simulator,.and I'm looking for answers...hoping you worked it out...Thanxxx
  39. planeandy said:
    I need to do the same thing with the same computer and realflight ,..Maybe by now you know what option works in this circumstance?...I'm puzzled still..I purchased a pci express card and it didn't fit in the chassis..(GEFORCE 7300LE 256MB)..It has a nvidia 6500 integrated video and I'm not sure if I should disable that before adding a card,..but I havn't got to that far as the card would not fit physically..My son really want's to fly the Realflight G3.5 simulator,.and I'm looking for answers...hoping you worked it out...Thanxxx

    Don't know anything about the game or if the card will play it, but there's no way that a 7300 LE wouldn't fit in an E521.
  40. the 7300LE came standard on most E521, the card will fit
  41. i have a p1 card that will work in it ati radion 3d graphic card and driver disk new in the box allen.chudley@yahoo.com/// pci slot is what will fit it
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