A few questions about upgrading my computer.

Hey everyone!

So, I have a few questions about upgrading my current graphic card. What I currently have is an ATI HD 3400 series card. Now where it's start to be tricky is that the computer is not I've build myself. The machine is used by my family for more "normal" uses.

It was purchased from Dell (I know) as a replacement for the old machine. That means that there's a few things I need to look out for when looking for a new graphic card.

First, it's what seems to be called a "slim" case. The model, Vostro 220s(slim) is the one I have. Now, from what I can gather, that means that the video card needs to be a "low-profile" model. Is that still right or can I safely go with a standard model?

Second of all, the default PSU fitted with the computer is a lowly 250W powering the whole system. Again, from what I know, that limits my choices of GPU. It seemed that buying a new PSU wouldnt be a big deal, but I saw that Dell build computers sometimes used a proprietary power supply unit. Is that correct? In that case, could I use an "extra" PSU without actually removing the old one?

The rest of the computer is fairly standard with a dual core E8500 at 3.16ghz and 3Gigs of RAM.

The budget for both is around 250$ to a max of 350$.

Is my endeavour destined to be so complicated that I should simply stop? Should I build my own computer instead of "gimping" myself with a not so good case?

As you can see, I am quite confused and I would appreciate any help! :D

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  1. Best answer
    Alright so im going to help you out.

    First I want to teach you something very important.....never buy a slim computer if you plan on upgrading or really...never buy a slim computer. These are the worst possible things you can get for home computing....low air flow = high temperature.....few upgrade possiblities. Luckily dell pulled there head out of their as*...Im not sure when they made the switch to standard atx boards because last time I bought a dell xps 210 with the motherboard on the left side (BTX) pissed me off so much I stripped the computer of its parts....CPU, Harddrive, Ram and built a new one.

    Moving on...

    Seeing that you have a 250 Watt weird PSU that will be difficult and expensive to upgrade (if its even possible to upgrade) you should do the following.

    Buy a new good looking cheap case:
    Antec 300 for Instance $50 Newegg
    New PSU Anything will do over 500 watts $30-$100 Newegg
    Take motherboard w/ CPU w/ RAM out of current POS SLIM case
    Also Take SATA Cables Including CD/DVD Drive and Harddrive Out.
    Your going to have to find a backplate that will fit that motherboard (Unbrannded FoxCon G33M) or have no backplate $10 maybe?
    Put all that crap into the new case (plenty of guides)
    Get a decent video card $150 Bamm $250

    ^^^ All of that is really unorganized and sounds really simple to me but probably may not sound as simple to you. Tell me if I have confused the hell out of you.
  2. Ok, my last post may not have made much sense. Here is what you will need if you want any chance of putting a decent video card and making it work. Next time you get a computer make sure you get a full size case. It would have saved you alot of money. The standard Vostro 220 would have done great for upgrading; only would have to replace PSU and Video Card.

    Heres What You Need:

    Antec 300 Case (Or A Case You Like):

    ATI Radeon HD 5770 (Or Another Good Video Card):

    PSU 600 Watt Ultra (Im only Suggesting this because your new to this so modular is simple because you are not overwhelmed with all these extra wires every where + I have this PSU in one of my customers builds and it worked great) Obviously you can pick out any PSU you please because im only suggesting.

    Find some guides on putting it all together. I think tomshardware has guides on building computers.
  3. Thanks a bunch!

    I'll look into my options as I don't think my parents would enjoy me taking all the pieces out in the interest of gaming!
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