Upgrade CPU and or Video Card

Hello all, I'm new here. A long time ago, I was really in to computer hardware and I built my own system when I was in high school. Since then, I've lost track of the whole hardware scene.

About a year ago, I bought a kind of cheap Dell computer with a Core 2 Duo 6400 processor and an ATI Radeon X1300 low profile video card. I'm thinking about upgrading one or both of these components and I was hoping to tap some community knowledge for recommendations.

First, are there any substantially better low profile video cards than the one I already have? I've found it difficult to locate any other low profile PCI-e video cards.

Second, what are my options in terms of processor upgrades? I do a lot of video encoding, so I'm thinking bumping up to a quad core processor. Is this a wise decision or is it too expensive for the performance gain?

I'd love any thoughts to get me started in the right direction.
7 answers Last reply
More about upgrade video card
  1. I hate to say this but you might have to check with Dell. They have prorietary everything. I was able to upgrade the RAM and GPU in my Dell XPS600 but it used standard parts for those and not the low profile.
  2. Actually, on that gpu, go out to newegg.com, they've got an ATI 4670. I don't know if they are a low profile card, but supposed to be a card that will perform almost on par with a 9600 gso, in other words, quite a performance jump from what you've got, but require no additional power connector and are supposed to be a lot smaller than a lot of higher end cards. Price is about 80 bucks I think. Check it out, may be just the ticket for you. That and a nice ram upgrade.

  3. well do you feel like ur core 2 duo is slow? I ask because for the average user, that core 2 duo is more than enough...the quad would definitely speed up your video encoding (if the software supports it)...If your case is a full atx case, then you shouldnt have trouble getting a regular sized video card...if your case isnt atx sized, then i would check newegg for whatever low profile solutions they carry...(what kind of video card do you want? a light gaming video card? if for gaming, what resolution is your monitor?)

    ^good suggestion on the video card
  4. Here is a low profile card that would do much better.


    I would avoid upgrading the CPU and GPU.

    #1 - The Cooling in your case is likely not very good.
    #2 - The PSU is likely not overly strong so I would not want to add to much extra power draw.

    Since you GPU is by far the weakest part of your setup, that is what I would upgrade.
  5. Also a good choice if it has to be low profile if not, I think I would take a chance on the 4670 for 10 more.
  6. Thanks everyone, especially zenmaster. I'm defnitely going to order up that low-profile Radeon HD 3650 you recommended. And ohiou_grad_06, thanks so much for the info, but it definitely needs to be low profile, the case doesn't have much clearance inside in the vertical direction. I'm not so worried about overheating, the case is very spacious inside, there's plenty of room for air to move around.
  7. Your cpu upgrades are limited by what the motherboard will support. We need to know that. Run CPU-Z and tell us what it says.

    A graphics card upgrade may be limited by the PSU. If this is a compact case, you are likely to have a small proprietary unit that can't handle more than what was initially installed. Open up the case, and read off the specs of the PSU. Does the psu have a 6 pin pci-e connector?

    Possibly a good upgrade is more RAM.
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