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Can I add dual graphics cards to the Vostro 220 Mini towe?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 27, 2009 7:21:51 PM

Hi everyone,

I am thinking of purchasing the Dell Vostro 220 Mini tower. I am thinking of going with the onboard graphics option, but then adding two video cards to it so that I can support 4 discreet displays. I am not a gamer, and will be using the displays for Office apps and generally to multi-task.

The following slots are available for expansion:

PCI: 2 Slots
PCIe x1: 1 Slot
PCIe x16 (Graphics): 1 Slot

I should be able to add one card to the PCIe x16 slot and another one to either the PCIe x1 or the PCI slot, right?

FYI, I will NOT be adding any sound cards to the mix

The Power Supply on the Vostro 220 is rated as 300 Watts. Will I have any issues with this, as in is this enough power supply to support two video cards?

Also, I understand that the two video cards have to be the same chipset so that there is no driver conflict. Can anyone recommend a good set of cards to get?

Thanks for your help in advance!
October 28, 2009 12:29:04 AM

Any ideas anyone?
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October 28, 2009 1:17:20 AM

First, I will advise not to buy Dell and build your own. If this is not an option, than here is the rest. That PSU is the minimum power supplied to power everything in that mini. It will not support any other GPU modifications what so ever, let alone running two of them. So you have to upgrade the PSU to support the GPU you want to install, thats an absolute, no cutting corners here. The 9400 you are looking at just makes the cut having 300w minimum requirement, anything rated higher will not be compatible with your setup. Secondly, if you want to purchase a more powerful PSU, hope that fits in that mini, than you are limited in space and most importantly, PCI-E x16 slots. Its seems that you are limited to one PCI-E x16, and modern PCI-E cards all require x16 for graphics computing. Always read the card's requirements specs before purchase. You can run one PCI-E x16 card, but not 2. Translation, in order to run 2 cards, you have to have more of these favorable slots on your MOBO, no exceptions. So that will result in upgrading the MOBO as well. Real good reasons why we build, not buy. You are very, very limited here.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
October 28, 2009 7:58:01 AM

No. And again no. Need 2 X pci-e at minimum.
October 28, 2009 1:24:01 PM

I'm retracting my advice. The OP hasn't bought the Vostro yet... DO NOT BUY THAT. It is inadequate for your needs. If you truly require 4 monitor support, buy a computer that can properly support that kind of setup. Since you're not into gaming, you're aiming for the right (i.e. low-end) cards... but that Dell's PSU might not support that extra load.
October 29, 2009 11:55:47 PM

Thanks to the above posters for all the input!

I don't think I am up to the task of building my own PC. However, I am also looking at the Vostro 420, which has a bigger (350W) power supply. I remember posting about the Vostro 420 earlier and from the feedback that I received I thought this could be done.

Here are the specs that I am looking at:

Vostro Tower
Intel® G45 Express Chipset
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8400 (3.0GHz, 6M, L2Cache, 1333FSB)
Windows 7 Pro - 32-bit
250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™
3GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHZ - 1x2GB 1x1GB
Single Drive: 16X (DVD+/-RW) Burner Drive
512MB ATI Radeon™ HD 4350 - Dual Monitor - On the PCIe x1 slot
Integrated 5.1 Channel Audio (No separate Audio Card)

There are two free PCIe x1 slots on this computer and I know that HIS makes a low-profile PCIe x1 graphics card with the same ATI HD 4350 chipset. It's available here:

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

From what I understand this card only consumes 25 or 27 Watts.

Would I not be able to use this card as a secondary video card to support up to 4 monitors?

Thanks again for the input!
October 29, 2009 11:57:58 PM

Correction:

I meant the ATI HD 4350 card which comes installed with the Vostro 420 is installed on the PCIe x16 Slot

That leaves 2 PCIe x1 slots free...
October 30, 2009 5:59:14 PM

I just spoke to two diiferent Dell Tech Support reps. While one of them said a definitive "Yes, this can be done," the other one wasn't sure.

So, I'm back to where I started!
October 30, 2009 6:14:19 PM

BTW, I have now abandoned the thought of the Vostro 220 (300W PSU) and am only looking at the Vostro 420 (350W PSU)
!