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Upgrading a GPU in an old Dell XPS.

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December 25, 2008 1:06:46 PM

My friend has an old Dell XPS and he wants to upgrade the graphics card to something that will play World of Warcraft with max settings. He doesn't want to replace the PSU or anything else cause he's saving up to build a new system.

PNY Verto GeForce 8500GT 512MB is the card that he has now.

GeForce 9400 GT 1GB is what he's looking at upgrading to.

Any suggestions will be helpful. Will the 9400 GT max WoW or come close?

More about : upgrading gpu dell xps

a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2008 1:32:05 PM

Review summary here:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Point_Of_View/GeForc...
Things to look at IMHO.....
1 gig of memory is a complete waste on this card, as it is too underpowered to make use of it.
Going form a 8500GT to a 9400GT is a very minimal performance difference.
A 9500GT would double the performance of his current 8500GT.
Though it does not take much graphic power to run WOW, if he feels the need to upgrade, go for the 9500, as the 9400 will leave him feeling he wasted his money.
Related resources
December 25, 2008 5:37:41 PM

Hey all, I'm the friend Dunkel is referring to. Thanks for the replies and suggestions, both cards have a great price and look great except I don't think they meet my PSU requirement.

My PSU is currently a 375 W and I'm trying to get a card that will be an upgrade to my 8500 but also work with my PSU. I just need something to get me by as I'm saving up money for a new computer.

I've been searching for nearly a month now and all of the card that are potential upgrades either don't match my psu requirement or I simply cannot find the specific card's psu requirement in their documentation, websites, etc.
December 25, 2008 5:47:59 PM

With only a 375watt PSU, I would suggest replacing that first. A good name brand PSU around 500w or more will be fine for mid range build down the road anyway. Use it in the Dell for now then in your new build when you get around to it.

imo, PSUs are the key to a good build. Everything else can be overclocked and or upgraded. A nice PSU will last a very long time.

Thanks for the replies guys.
December 25, 2008 5:47:59 PM

If you're using the XPS 400/410, which has the PSU rated as 375 watts, it's able to handle an 8800 GT. Dell PSUs may have low watt outage but the the amps on the rails are decent. If you check around on the Dell forums, plenty were able to install an 8800 GT onto there with no problems. So of course it'll be able to handle a 9600 GT/GSO without problems.
December 25, 2008 5:51:02 PM

9600 GT it is then. Thanks eccentric.
a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2008 5:53:03 PM

Eccentric said:
If you're using the XPS 400/410, which has the PSU rated as 375 watts, it's able to handle an 8800 GT. Dell PSUs may have low watt outage but the the amps on the rails are decent. If you check around on the Dell forums, plenty were able to install an 8800 GT onto there with no problems. So of course it'll be able to handle a 9600 GT/GSO without problems.


I have one ( XPS 410 ) with an oc'ed 8800 GTS 640, stock psu and another with an overclocked 8800 GTS 512.
The XPS 410 was sold with the option of upgrading to the 8800GTX with the same psu, Dell used a power splitter to accomodate it.
December 25, 2008 5:54:38 PM

Dunkel said:
9600 GT it is then. Thanks eccentric.


No problem mate.
December 25, 2008 6:00:28 PM

Thanks for the replies again guys, I'll start looking into getting a new PSU then. I really didn't want to right now but it looks like it's probably the best thing for me to do right now.

Thanks again everyone. :) 
December 25, 2008 6:03:55 PM

If you're using an XPS 400/410/420, those cases use a BTX power supply in order to fit their smaller cases. You might not be able to upgrade the Dell power supply if you're going for an ATX power supply.
a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2008 6:54:38 PM

Eccentric said:
If you're using an XPS 400/410/420, those cases use a BTX power supply in order to fit their smaller cases. You might not be able to upgrade the Dell power supply if you're going for an ATX power supply.

They can use a standard ATX power supply, but an upgrade isn't needed for the cards the OP mentioned or even more powerful cards.

a b U Graphics card
December 25, 2008 7:35:52 PM

The PSU in your Dell is fine for the cards you are looking at.
Even though Dell PSU's are low total wattage output, the amps on the 12 volts rails are pretty strong.(which is really the key where it counts here) They are better than a lot of 450-550 watt power supplies.
The reason the card "recommends" the PSU it does, they are trying to take into account that a lot of buyers may have cheap power supplies that do not put out enough amps where it is really needed.
As others have said, your Dell PSU should handle a 9600GT just fine.
December 25, 2008 7:38:04 PM

Dunkel said:
With only a 375watt PSU, I would suggest replacing that first. A good name brand PSU around 500w or more will be fine for mid range build down the road anyway. Use it in the Dell for now then in your new build when you get around to it.

imo, PSUs are the key to a good build. Everything else can be overclocked and or upgraded. A nice PSU will last a very long time.

Thanks for the replies guys.

375 continuous watts @ 30amps is fine for any of the cards mentioned.
December 26, 2008 5:09:06 PM

Can't thank you guys enough for all of the info. I'm definately going to get me a 9600GT. :) 
June 16, 2009 3:21:16 AM

delluser1 said:
They can use a standard ATX power supply, but an upgrade isn't needed for the cards the OP mentioned or even more powerful cards.

http://contrvlr.no-ip.org:12300/ussdirect/cb/IMG_0526.JPG


i'm looking to upgrade beyond the wattage of OP's cards, did you have any trouble fitting in your hx620 that you have pictured? was it relatively painless to install?
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 1:19:27 PM

yrrah said:
was it relatively painless to install?

Pretty much.
You need to loosen the heatsink and swing it out of the way to get the sata and pcie cables out ( Either replace the thermal grease or be careful not to disturb it any further )
June 17, 2009 6:17:21 PM

@ DELL

i also have xps 400 have the pentium d processer
2gb ocz memory
1x250 Gb hd
1x160 Gb hd
xfi xtreme music
dvd
dvd burner
7800 gtx
OEM power supply at 375w

I just bought a

cosair hx620w PSU
and a evga 9800 GTX 512

will i be ok to install those on this system??

thanks again for replay
a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2009 9:08:59 PM

PREPARE to lose your dell exclusive warranty!!!
a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2009 9:14:54 PM

N.Broekhuijsen said:
PREPARE to lose your dell exclusive warranty!!!

It would be nice to have a clue!!!
The Dell warranty is not voided by upgrading any components, they will however want you to install the original equipment if support is neccessary.
a b U Graphics card
June 17, 2009 9:15:32 PM

neggie said:
@ DELL

i also have xps 400 have the pentium d processer
2gb ocz memory
1x250 Gb hd
1x160 Gb hd
xfi xtreme music
dvd
dvd burner
7800 gtx
OEM power supply at 375w

I just bought a

cosair hx620w PSU
and a evga 9800 GTX 512

will i be ok to install those on this system??

thanks again for replay

Yes
a b U Graphics card
June 18, 2009 1:50:17 AM

yrrah said:
what do you have in the front ventilation scoop there? and what is that big pink cable?

thanks for the help also

A loose 3.5 inch bay cover
Firewire
June 18, 2009 4:01:09 AM

delluser1 said:
A loose 3.5 inch bay cover
Firewire


ah, cool

i ended up getting this one (Tuniq Potency 650w)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

it's not modular, but i have a huge empty space below my one dvd drive ( no floppy )

not sure what gpu i'm getting yet, i might wait to see how the market is if dx11 cards are released

EDIT: ah, i forgot to get thermal grease - hopefully i can manage not to disturb it much
June 18, 2009 12:36:10 PM

wouldnt the pentium D 820 2.8 ghz
bottleneck the system due to the video card as well (the 9800 gtx)
cuz i know its no alway about gpu but the cpu has alot to do with it
June 23, 2009 4:58:10 AM

it took me quite a while to switch out the power supply, but i guess it wasn't too bad

there's no gap on the outside of the case like i've read happens with other PSUs but i could only use 2 screws

fun facts:

- those white clip things that hold the wires slide - basically everything in the 410 is designed to somehow pop or slide out (except what is screwed down)

- don't use your drivers license to scrape old thermal paste off the heatsink, i read that you could use a credit card but it scratched up the copper (just use q-tips and high % alcohol)

- my heatsink and fans were very dusty, i had to take them outside to blow them off


!