Advice: Buy or Upgrade

I currently have a Dell Dimension 8400 with Pentium 4 3.4GHz and I believe an ATI x300 graphics card. It was a great little worker until I was bombarded with viruses last month. I gave up fighting to remove them and formatted the drive and reinstalled windows. When windows was back, I couldnt use any of my disk drives. Sound card will not work and i cannot locate the drivers for any of these things. My friend says its time for a new computer, but im unsure.

All i did on the computer was use the internet and play games like Empire Earth 2 and Rise Of Nations. RTS games. I'm not into First person shooter games, i have PS3 for those. Anyway, would I be better off to upgrade my current computer's graphics card if i can fix the hardware issues, or should I go ahead and upgrade to something that's dual core? I'm not looking to spend over $300-$400 and all computers under that either have hardly any features, or a weak power supply. Any advice?
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  1. Have you gone back to the Dell website and get your drivers?
  2. AKM880 is right on the money... I've reformatted a couple old Dell's before (Pentium II and III) and their website still had all the drivers I needed. I used the service code on the sticker on the back of the tower, and it pulled up the page that contained the drivers I needed. (which was great, cause I had no idea what model computers these were)

    Click Here...

    If you are still happy with your Pentium 4, there's no reason you should spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new computer.
  3. I managed to get my disk drives to work just now. Simple mistake on my part. The sound card on the other hand still doesnt work. I tried the other day to find the drivers that I thought it took based off of what the internet said my computer came with, but when i went to install them, it said there were no supported products available. Is there a way to go into device manager or something and find what my sound card is? I've looked everywhere i thought of and came up empty every time.
  4. Do you know what model your sound card is? The device manager won't tell you because it has no drivers.
  5. AKM880, no, i do not know the model. Is there a way to find out? Dell lists two different ones for my computer, i already tried one and that was not it, i think ill try the other and see if that works
  6. Good luck with it, but without drivers sadly most programs can't recognize it. Is it just the builtin onboard sound?
  7. im downloading the other drivers right now, about to test. On a side note, if i was to upgrade my graphics card, what should I get thats good for the games i play? I have PCI express slots and a 350W power supply. Ive looked into graphics cards, but theres so much that goes into them i would never know what i need.
  8. AKM880 said:
    Good luck with it, but without drivers sadly most programs can't recognize it. Is it just the builtin onboard sound?


    Im afraid i dont know what you mean? Bullitin onboard sound? I cant access the sound controls, and games tell me i have no sound card installed. however there is a beep that comes from the tower whenever I have an error turning on the computer.
  9. Do you have a external sound card installed in a PCI or PCI-e?
  10. AKM880 said:
    Do you have a external sound card installed in a PCI or PCI-e?


    I got the sound card to work. all systems go. Do you think you could help me select a graphics card or should i start a new thread in that section?
  11. Sure, what are the rtest of your system specifications?
  12. It's an Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.4GHz with 1GB of RAM. the graphics card is currently a Radeon x300 i believe, and my power supply is 350W. Anything else i need just let me know what and how to find it.
  13. If you are determined to keep your current pc and just upgrade the graphics card.

    Then here is the best card you can get without being severely held back by your cpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121306

    Here's a fanless version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102819
  14. With the 1Gb of RAM you currently have you might be better off just getting a 4350: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125251
  15. edeawillrule said:
    With the 1Gb of RAM you currently have you might be better off just getting a 4350: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125251



    how much of an upgrade from my current card would that be?
  16. It'll be a nice upgrade from that X300, is it that or the X1300? Anyways the 4550 would be a good card too.
  17. 3Dmark 2001 SE score for X300: 2646
    Score for HD4350: 26453

    So 13 points under a 10x performance increase.
    Plus all the architectural changes that are too numerous to be listed.
  18. AKM880 said:
    It'll be a nice upgrade from that X300, is it that or the X1300? Anyways the 4550 would be a good card too.


    deffinately the x300. Came in my computer back in 03 if im right. So that card would still allow me to play my games and those in the near future correct?
  19. oh wait that was for the 4830
    oops xD
  20. It'll still be a massive improvement regardless lol
  21. X300 Fillrate: 1300 MT/S
    X300 Memory Bandwidth: 6.40 GB/S

    HD 4350 Fillrate: 4.8 GT/s (4800 MT/S)
    HD 4350 Memory Bandwidth: 8 GB/S

    HD 4550 Fillrate: 5.1 GT/S (5100 MT/s)
    HD 4550 Memory Bandwidth: 12.8 GB/S
  22. Ok, thanks to all of you who helped me. Ill definitely be making some improvements in the very near future.
  23. nvchad2 said:
    deffinately the x300. Came in my computer back in 03 if im right. So that card would still allow me to play my games and those in the near future correct?


    Sadly no
    For the games you have now the 4350 or 4550 will suffice.
    As for anything newer you will need to get a new computer.

    Dell does have some decent deals at the moment: http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/desktops_great_deals?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
    The studio slim and normal studio desktop are good ones but they're a bit out of your price range =P
  24. edeawillrule said:
    Sadly no
    For the games you have now the 4350 or 4550 will suffice.
    As for anything newer you will need to get a new computer.

    Dell does have some decent deals at the moment: http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/desktops_great_deals?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
    The studio slim and normal studio desktop are good ones but they're a bit out of your price range =P


    Speaking of Dells great deals, i was just on there looking at the studio slim. im worried tho that if i get one of those, the 250W power supply will be too weak to handle some new graphics cards. And about the budget, i graduate next month, hopefully the budget will increase quite a bit. :) I customized one that i would like to have, and it came to $649 which I could probably handle if i finance it, but then the added graphics card would probably teeter on being just a tad too expensive.
  25. Edit: Wrong post.
  26. Word of advice, if you want to upgrade don't ever buy a slimline PC. I leanrd it the hard way. You can't upgrade the PSU, you'll have to use it externally. Gaming is brutal for low profile desktops, except the 9800GT LP. The cooling is pretty bad, my 8400GS used to run @ 60+ degrees, until I added a fan on the side of my case it dropped till 46. And yes I have a slimline Dell. ;)
  27. AKM880 said:
    Word of advice, if you want to upgrade don't ever buy a slimline PC. I leanrd it the hard way. You can't upgrade the PSU, you'll have to use it externally. Gaming is brutal for low profile desktops, except the 9800GT LP. The cooling is pretty bad, my 8400GS used to run @ 60+ degrees, until I added a fan on the side of my case it dropped till 46. And yes I have a slimline Dell. ;)


    Thanks for the warning. Slim size isnt that important i guess. Just trying to save some space. My Dimension 8400 is a behemoth. Hardly fits in my computer desk cabinet. :) Runs like a dream though. Also, the Studio (not slim) comes with a 300W power supply. How is that as far as upgrading graphics cards are concerned?
  28. edeawillrule said:
    It'll still be a massive improvement regardless lol

    The previous post concerning the X300 Vs. 4830 seems biased. I'm almost certain the processor and memory were different on the tests. A GPU score would be more valid, or a test that used identical components.
    Quote:
    the 250W power supply will be too weak to handle some new graphics cards.

    The 250 watt power supply is able to handle a 4650, which is able to run many modern titles at average settings (depending on the resolution). I believe there is 18 amps on the 12 volt rail, which should be sufficient.
  29. nvchad2 said:
    Thanks for the warning. Slim size isnt that important i guess. Just trying to save some space. My Dimension 8400 is a behemoth. Hardly fits in my computer desk cabinet. :) Runs like a dream though. Also, the Studio (not slim) comes with a 300W power supply. How is that as far as upgrading graphics cards are concerned?


    Well depends on the specs of the PSU. Dell PSUs are mostly pretty good quality but not the greatest. I'm pretty sure Dell changed the layout to ATX so you can upgrade the PSU in the Studio computer
  30. Yep, comfirmed it is a ATX computer so therefore a graphics or PSU upgrade would be real easy.
  31. The previous post concerning the X300 Vs. 4830 seems biased. I'm almost certain the processor and memory were different on the tests. A GPU score would be more valid, or a test that used identical components.

    Like I said that post was an error anyway I was looking for a 4350's scores and couldn't find them.
    Although you do make a good point.
  32. AKM880 said:
    Yep, comfirmed it is a ATX computer so therefore a graphics or PSU upgrade would be real easy.

    Dell sometimes puts a proprietary PSU in their systems, I have no idea if this is true with the OP's system.
  33. I actually have a Studio Desktop myself
    When it arrived I put this graphics card that I had just purchased (for folding@home on my mom's computer lol) in it and I haven't had any problems whatsoever: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161252
  34. Dell has a tendency to underestimate their power supply ratings and graphics card manufacturers have a tendency to overestimate their power requirements so there usually isn't a reason to worry unless you have a really low rated one like in the slim.
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