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Recommended Video Card Upgrade for my Daughter

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a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 8:06:49 PM

I'm looking to upgrade my daughter's video card on her Dell Inspiron 530 with a Intel Celeron E1200 @ 1.6GHz. The power supply is a 350W with one PCIe 6-pin connector. I currently have a Nvidia 7600GS installed and was looking to upgrade. The computer has a 19" montitor and games are played at 1280 by 1024. The main game she plays is Sims2 but will upgrade to Sims3 when it comes out. Plus, I let my friend use the computer for COD4 LAN parties, since he is still running at P3 and hasn't been able to upgrade.

Budget - Under $100 (Will consider PSU upgrade for a better video card under $100 that would require it)
Video Card - Single Slot Card (Dual card won't fit because of where the SATA connectors are on the motherboard)

Thanks for your recommendations.
April 22, 2009 8:16:10 PM

Wait out about a week or two and the ATI 4770 will arrive...that will be your best performance for buck in your case....

Your PSU will be fine but your cpu is a limiting factor....a BIG one...you are going to want to find some way to upgrade the cpu....
April 22, 2009 8:36:56 PM

+1 for Rewindlabs

The cpu is definitely outdated
but a 4830 should be able to work also (Sapphire version would be my choice)

You should be able to get a psu if you want at newegg for a good price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

don't know if that is a good one though any comments on it anyone?
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a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 8:40:22 PM

Unless you upgrade teh CPU you will see very small gains for your money with a new graphics card.

Upgrade the CPU first, if you have budget left over then think about something in the 4700 series.
a c 199 U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 8:52:27 PM

A 4670 needs no auxilliary power, and can run in that system. It would provide a notable improvement over a 7600GS.
Before putting any more money into it though, you may wish to consider a new build. As previous posters have pointed out, that CPU is very weak. A 4670 would not be money wasted though, as at 1280x1024 it would remain viable in a new build. You could upgrade it as needed if you got a new, higher resolution monitor.
April 22, 2009 8:55:35 PM

I've seen problems running Sims 2 on ATI cards, as such I would recommend GeForce 9600 GT.
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 8:58:43 PM

It will of course increase frames, it is better than a 7600.... IMO I wouldn't bother considering the CPU though. Of course teh 4670 would be very viable in a little while if a new build is considered. But unless you do plan on upgrading the system as a whole you may want to reconsider a new GPU in the first place.
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 9:40:40 PM

Get yourself a cheap $50 Core2Duo first, then upgrade to a 4670 for the GPU.
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 10:25:21 PM

Intel® Boxed Pentium® Dual-Core Processor E5200 ( http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... ) $67.99 be a good upgrade correct? I couldn't find a $50 Core2Duo. The cheapest I found was the Intel Celeron E1200 1.6GHz 512KB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core, which it already has in it.

With upgrading to the E5200, do I go with the 9600GT or 9500GT 1GB for cost. I've always been an Nvidia guy and with Liuqyn's comments about seeing problems with ATI cards on Sims 2, I would like to stay with Nvidia.

Or I could always take the easy route and build me a Core i7 965 system and give her my current system.... but of course I would have to add in the cost of the divorce, child support, etc... :cry:  but won't it be worth it.... :lol: 
April 22, 2009 10:36:01 PM

The processor isn't bad, I guess if you could get that plus the soon to come 4770 it shouldn't bottleneck (just learnt that) it as bad.

If you like Nvidia then the 9600GT would probably be better than the 1GB 9500Gt because you aren't planning to get her a 22"inch or over monitor soon are you?
April 22, 2009 11:17:41 PM

The only problem with the 9600 GT is the recommended 400 watt powersupply with 26 amps on the 12 volt rail. The Dell has a 350 watt power supply.
a c 365 U Graphics card
April 23, 2009 2:12:05 AM

Power consumption of video cards:

HD 4650 = ~35w - 40w best guess
HD 4670 = 47w (measured)
9600GT = 60w (measured)
HD 4770 = 80w according to ATI and will be released in May
HD 4830 = 85w (measured)


My advice is to buy either the HD4670 if you are an ATI guy or the 9600GT if you are an nVidia guy. If you don't care then the 9600GT as it generally a little faster than the HD 4670.

If you can wait until May, then go for the HD 4770 which is expected to perform better than the HD 4830, and estimated to come within 5% - 10% of a HD 4850 (which consumes 110w) based on the specs; it's always wise to wait for actual reviews with benchmarks.

Those ATI / nVidia recommended minimum PSU is based on the fact they do not know what else is in your PC; everyone's PC is more or less different. So they play it safe and recommend a minimum PSU that should be more than enough for the average consumer. For example, I may have a Q6600 CPU in my Dell Inspiron 530 which has been measured to consume 88w under load, while your Dell Inspiron 530 has an E1200 CPU which consumes an estimated 22w under load based on several power consumption charts I was researching. Since your CPU consumes an estimated 66w less than my PC you can install a much more hungry video card than I can.

Buy the video card first, then save up money for a CPU upgrade later on. The E1200 will likely bottleneck the HD 4770 a little bit, but in the long run you will be ahead of the game as long as you are willing to upgrade the CPU. Based on the CPU that you currently have, you are most likely limited to the older Conroe / Allendale series CPUs which are based on 65nm tech. The newer Wolfdale 45nm CPU are likely to require a BIOS upgrade for the motherboard, if there is one (doubtful). Therefore you are limited to the following series of CPU upgrades:

E1xxx Series - Don't bother with these Allendale based Celeron CPUs, you already have one.

E2xxx Series - A little better than the Celerons because these Allendale CPUs have double the cache (1MB vs 512KB).

E6xxx Series - This is the series to buy because it comes with 2MB / 4MB of internal cache and has a bus speed (a.k.a. FSB) of 1,024MHz rather than 800MHz (Allendale), but you need DDR2 533 RAM (or faster) to take advantage. It is likely you may have DDR2 400 RAM. All this tech jargon means this series of CPU will be faster because it has more of everything.

Q6xxx Series - These are Quad Core CPU and is overkill for your needs.


Since you have a Dell, ignore any advice about overclocking the CPU because you cannot do so with their motherboard. My advice is to upgrade to an E6400 (2MB of cache) or E6420 (4MB of cache) at a the very least when you have the money. However, since these CPUs are no longer in production, the longer you wait the higher the price to purchase those CPU as inventory dwindle. Additionally, most of those CPU will be OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture) which basically means 1) 30 day - 90 day warranty at best and 2) you will need to purchase the heatsink separately. Do not attempt to use your current CPU heatsink since these faster CPU generate more heat.


P.S.: I am a moron? When I went to Dell's website and I couldn't find a button to add the Dell Inspiron 530 to my cart so that I could check out all the option. Does Dell expect people login first before they can add items to the shopping cart?

P.P.S.: You better not reply back with 'Yes' to the first part of my question above.
April 23, 2009 2:41:23 AM

invisik said:
If you can try to overclock that cpu. As for the gpu i would recommend the 4670 for your setup.

Pretty decent combo.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


Unfortunately, you can't OC Dell computers, or mostly any OEM manufacturer computers I think. The ones like Acer, Dell, HP etc. Is OC disabled.
a b U Graphics card
April 23, 2009 5:17:54 PM

I think I'm going to go with the E5200 CPU. It looks like the best bang for the buck in my situation. I was looking at the E7400 but can't see me paying about twice as much for that processor when the E5200 will do the job. The computer should handle it fine since it originally had a Q6600 in it when I originally bought it. I quickly realized the setup couldn't any handle hardcore gaming, so I took it for my gaming build :kaola:  than it became my daughter's hand me down. I just put the cheapest Dual-core I could find and now I want to improve it a little bit for her. In another year or so, I'll look to build me an i7 or i5 system depending on where they stand at the time and she can have my current system as a hand me down. Than her computer can become my youngest daugther's computer....

I'll revisit the video card a little later once I save up a little more money in my "Computer Spending Jar" and upgrade her than. It'll have to be a single slot card and I may look at a new power supply at that time so I can put in a Nvidia 9800GT, HD 4770 or better card

a c 199 U Graphics card
April 23, 2009 10:17:48 PM

According to jaguarskx, that CPU may not work, particularly without a BIOS update, which may not be possible.
April 24, 2009 2:35:51 AM

sims games are designed to be used on a broader array of systems and dont require much graphics horsepower as you'd think. Upgrade the CPU first, you'll probly see more benefit outta that then a GPU upgrade.
a b U Graphics card
April 24, 2009 3:12:00 PM

I think the E5200 should work. I did some research on the net and Dell does offer the Inspiron 530 with the E5200 card prior to introduction of the Q6600 ( http://shopper.cnet.com/desktops/dell-inspiron-530-desk... ). I don't think the Q6600 was in the market place in June, 2007. I wouldn't think Dell would make a different BIOS for each computer, but it is Dell so who knows since they once made unique PSU connectors to keep people from upgrading.
a c 199 U Graphics card
April 24, 2009 9:17:36 PM

Why not call Dell and ask them?
a b U Graphics card
April 24, 2009 9:48:30 PM

The 350 watt PSU can't a 9800GTX.

Try going with the 9600GT, 4770, or 4830.

!