Need help with video card upgrade

I want to upgrade the graphics card in this computer but I don't know exactly which ones will work in it. I will be using this computer for gaming primarily. I want to be able to play games like COD4 and of course any newer games that are released in the near future that catch my attention! I do not know what kind of power supply or slots this computer has because I have not received it yet, but would like to have a new graphics card in hand when it arrives if possible. I have a budget of up to 350.00 for card and PSU(if needed).

Studio XPS 435 Desktop: Intel Core i7-920 Processor (8MB L3 Cache, 1MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz)
640 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 supporting HDMI
6 GB Tri-Channel DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz (6 DIMMs)
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

I also asked in the Dell forum if this is a computer that I will be happy with for a while or if I would be happier with the performance of a Q9x00 chip since I primarily just game. Any thoughts on this? I grabbed this for 679.00 but have been having second thoughts on whether I should have just went for a quad.
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  1. Did you get it from Dell?
    Did you buy it over the `net?
    What country are you in?
    On the UK Dell site it is possible to customise this system with a HD4850 and this would have been by far the best option.
    Opening the case and doing a upgrade yourself will almost certainly void the warranty.
    If you live in the UK and bought it over the `net you can return it witout giving any reason under the Distaince Selling Regulations;

    Dell, like most builders usually do n`t put big PSUs` in their systems so if you intend to do an upgrade yourself I`s suggest waiting until it arrives so you can see exactly which PSU it has installed and then repost.
  2. Ok first off the i7 IS a quad core chip. It is actually a Hyperthreading Quad core which so windows will see it as 8 cores. Trust me you did best by getting the i7, it rocks the hot totty.

    Looking at the XPS Studio PC's i see they package either a 3450 or 4850 card with these desktops. I am assuming since you want to upgrade you are getting the 3450 card. The Specs state they have a 360W power supply. I am ALSO assuming this is across their entire line of XPS Studio PC's. Assuming this, I would say it is safe to install a 4850 card in this machine since they already offer this as an option. 360W is not alot to work with but obviously they have tested this with a 4850 already and sell this option.

    I would get a factory clocked (non OC) 4850 card. It is your safest bet. It will have NO issues running COD4. I built a machine with a 4670 and it ran COD4 maxed, but no AA smooth as butter. A 4850 will do you well. They are about $150. I wouldn't try anything more unless you upgrade your PSU.

    My real suggestion would had been NOT to get a studio PC but rather one of their XPS standard desktop. They come with a 375 or 425W PSU. Or at least get the PC with the 4850 option already, at least Dell would follow through with a warranty.
  3. I purchased this at the Dell Outlet in the US. I still could cancel as it has not shipped out yet. If I just upgrade for now with the 4850, will that run me for awhile? Or should I just head back to rummage around again for something that would be better suited for me? It seemed like a good price for an i7 but I wasn't confident that it would run games as well as say the Q9x50 for example.
  4. Cancel and reorder with the HD4850.
    If I was buying a Dell, which I never will (it`s much more fun to build your own:) ) I`d go for the Studio, despite its other shortcomings, because it has the i7 and 6Gb of memory. As a core system it`s going to be good for a long while to come.
  5. ^ jay2tall hit it just right, go with a HD4850 on the stock Dell 360w power supply. Unless you're a hard core gamer you should be set for most games at reasonable resolutions and settings. If after a month or 3 you're not happy with the performance you can upgrade the power supply and graphic card. If you want top end performance right from the start this ugly 750w power supply for $70 after rebate
    Since the motherboard for the XPS 435 only has one PCIex16 socket this HD4850x2 would be your best bet at about your budget with the above listed PSU.
  6. Thanks guys for all the information, it helped more than you could imagine! I have decided to go ahead with a HD4850 and see how it goes from there. If I'm not happy with it, I will definately be picking up the ugly PSU and HD4850x2 later on.
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