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Dimension 3100 Upgrade Graphics card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
June 10, 2009 4:28:12 PM

I have a Dell Dimension 3100. There are two PCI Slots and one PCIE 1x slot. I believe I need to add a new graphics card. My daughter can't play SIMS3. She can start the program and play for a few minutes; then her computer freezes up for about 10 seconds, then resizes the monitor resolution to 640×480 and displays everything in 4 colors. An error box then pops up with an error message about the ialmrnt5 driver malfunctioning, and she is forced to reboot the PC to get back to her normal display resolution. I tried updating the display driver but we ended up getting blue screens after a few seconds of being logged on. SIMS3 is the only game she has any problems with.

I might need to add more memory too, but I am not sure if that is 100% completely necessary. Below are the original specifications from her computer. **I added 512 MB, so it has 1 GIG of Memory now. It is also running with XP SP3.

Quantity Parts # Part Description

1 FC754 Processor, 80547, Pentium 4 Prescott Dt, Pentium 4 Prescott DT, 2.8GHZ, 1 MEGB, 533FSB..., SOCKET T..., E0, Male
1 DD562 Base, MATRIX,SMITH,MINI TOWER..., Pentium 4 Prescott Dt, Pentium 4 Prescott DT, 2.8GHZ, 1 MEGB, 533FSB..., 3100
1 55956 Info, No Modem included
1 N2313 Module, Information, Software, Internet Service Provider, AOL 8.0, DELL AMERICAS ORGANIZATION..., PUBLICATION...
1 C8586 Module, Software, Windows Media Player, 10
1 CC228 Module, Dual In-line Memory Module, 512, 533, 1R, Non Error Correction Code
1 G0344 Module, Kit, Compact Diskette, AOL8.0, Buddy ROM, DELL AMERICAS ORGANIZATION...
1 DH925 Module, Software, Roxio, MYDVD NON-XPS, Low Encryption
1 F6405 Module, Information, No Raid, Dimension
1 H8457 Module, Mouse, Universal Serial Bus, 2BTN, Entry, Lead Free Dimension
1 HD756 Module, Software, Wordperfect 12, PLUS-TRIAL
1 JC663 Module, Label, MSLOGO, Windows Xp, Medium
1 JG088 Module, Software, PAINT SHOP PHOTO ALBUM..., 6.0 Standard, ENGLAND/ENGLISH..., Dell Americas Organization
1 K1609 Module, Software, Internet Service Provider, REM MSN ICON
1 K2967 Module, Information, Software, Internet Service Provider, AOL 8.0, DELL AMERICAS ORGANIZATION..., ASSET RECOVERY BUSINESS...
1 K2972 Module, Information, Software, Internet Service Provider, AMERICA ON LINE..., PRI-OOBE
1 K7257 Module, Software, Windows XP Home Service Pack 2, COMPACT DISK DRIVE..., EnglishDAO/BCC
1 KD341 Module, Software, DSPRT3.1, GTK Dimension
1 M6596 Module, Software, Internet Service Provider, Net Zero
1 N2307 Module, Software, Internet Service Provider, OOBE, CUSTOMIZATION...
1 N6174 Module, Software, Image, Restore, Dimension
1 N7965 Module, Software, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2, Dimension, English
1 N9575 Module, Software, Quickbooks 2K5, Special Simple Start Edition
1 P4262 Module, Keyboard, 104, UNITED STATES..., USB, LITEON..., Dimension
1 P7070 Module, COMPACT DISK DRIVE..., 48X, Half Height, LTONDimension, CHASSIS 2005...
1 PH652 Module, Software, Internet Service Provider, Internet Search, PORTAL
1 R1494 Module, Software, Internet Service Provider, EARTHLINK..., TOTAL ACCESS 2003..., DAO
1 R7823 Module, Hard Drive, 80GB, Serial Ata, #1, Generic, Dimension
1 RD157 Module, Panel, Filler, 3.5 inch Form Factor, MATRIX,SMITH,MINI TOWER...
1 RD933 Module, Badge, Medium Desktop, DIM3100
1 RF070 Module, Software, Music Match 10.1, Basic
1 TC246 Module, DVD+/-RW..., 16, Half HeightPHPS, CHASSIS 2005..., 2nd
1 TG017 Module, Software, MCAFEE..., 7, 90Day English, TRANSACTIONAL LINE OF BUSINESS...
1 U2001 Module, Information, Internet Service Provider, AMERICA ON LINE..., PRI_OOBE, SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS...
1 UG701 Module, Software, Sonic Solutions, Cineplayer, DimensionExtreme Performance System
1 WF355 Module, Software, Gaming, ICON DAO, English, SERVER MANAGEMENT BUS...
1 XC992 Ship Group, D3100, United States, England, DELL AMERICAS ORGANIZATION...
1 Y5679 Module, Software, ADBEACBT Reader, 6.0
Any recommendations for a graphics card that is compatible with this computer would be appreciated. I am looking for good quality without spending a fortune. Thank you so much!!!
June 10, 2009 4:38:51 PM

I just upgraded card in Dimension 9150. Important is your power supply. If you have 375Watt there is no problem, read this
If you have under 375 Watt, look for older graphics or replace power supply, before upgrading graphics card.
June 10, 2009 6:24:08 PM

I am pretty sure this has a power supply that is under 350 watt you mentioned. I will check on it when I get home. I looked on Dell's site & the power supply they recommended for my computer(after entering my service tag) is only a 230 watt P.S.
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a c 191 U Graphics card
June 10, 2009 8:09:32 PM

The PSU, according the Dell is, indeed, 230Watts.
given the system has only PCI and PCI-EX1 slots and a fairly old CPU, your best bet is to either: 1; Replace the box itself, keping the monitor etc, 2; Upgrade the box if possible with a new motherboard, RAM, CPU, card and powersupply.
I recently checked out an inexpensive 'guts' rebuild and the parts came to slightly over $200, although a new PSU might add another $50.
June 10, 2009 8:19:22 PM

Isn't it amazing that a computer is "old" after just 3 years!?! I know I did not not pay a lot for it, but come on! LOL
a c 236 U Graphics card
June 11, 2009 12:30:44 AM

hunter315 said:
As you only have PCI slots and a PCI-E 1x slot you cannot upgrade your graphics card to anything that is significant these days, the best you can do is probably a 9400GT

you just showed her a card that uses DDR2 memory and is twice as expensive as the 8600GT/9500GT yes does not offer the same performance. The 8600GT can run on the Dell 250w PSU which came standard on her PC.
a b U Graphics card
June 11, 2009 1:36:55 AM

^and you showed a card that isnt compatible, there is no pci-e x16 from what OP says
a b U Graphics card
June 11, 2009 1:49:42 AM

the pci would be the best bet at this point
June 11, 2009 2:28:05 AM

Thank you for all of your advice on purchasing a compatible graphics card. Are you guys saying this is the one that I should get? It is definately less money than I was expecting. : )

I will upgrade the memory as soon as I can too. Thanks again!
June 11, 2009 1:15:59 PM

Ok, I will order it today. Thanks again for all your help! :) 
October 31, 2009 8:33:48 AM

yes u can upgrade grafic card and memory up to 4 gb ,i did ,u need the proper tool to do it and qualified people to do it. u need program , upgrade memory to bios window 98 128 to 4 gb. once install u cannot go back u make sure what u do., then upgrade bios a03 to a04, on dell, i think u can change cpu to i m sitll looking into it . i have to dell dimensin one 1100 and the other 3100 the best so far., never let me down change hard drive a dvd burner will help. once u change put window vista or window 7 basic or more i have window 7 ultimate work perfect fast a reliable. i have for 4 years now still work remove all dell program and put your progams put only what u need. comme back here and after u do this let know u change in pc. dell dimension 3100 so every body knows that we can change it at low cost for upgrade like i did have a good day