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Dimension 3100 Upgrade Graphics card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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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 54981 MODULE..., INFORMATION..., NOSPEAKER
1 55956 Info, No Modem included
1 90729 MODULE..., SOFTWARE..., INFORMATION..., NEW TECHNOLOGY FILE SYSTEM...
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 http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-265657_15_0.ht...
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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


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. : )

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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 upgrade.com, 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 rhealproulx53@hotmail.com
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