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Dell Studio 540 and a graphics card upgrade.

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January 14, 2010 1:18:02 AM

I am looking to purchase a Dell Studio 540 in the near future. I know it is most definitely not the best computer by any means, but for my budget and for what I want it's perfect. So with that in mind I want to upgrade the graphics card, and I am seeking some input as to what I should do.

The specs for what I am planning to buy is:

Dell Studio 540
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 2.5 GHz
6GB Dual Channel DDR2
500GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
350 W PSU (I think)

I am planning on playing games but nothing near a hardcore level and I am OK with not having the highest graphics settings. I would be playing games like Modern Warfare 2, Halo PC (which my crappy laptop can run so no problems here), and possibly buy some other, newer titles that I would like to try. Other than that I won't be doing anything demanding. However, I do plan on running my PC through a 26" Vizio HDTV and using that as my monitor. Originally I was going to just select the option that the Dell website gives you for the nVidia Geforce GTS 240 1 GB card. However, after reading around I have come to the conclusion that I can get more for less than the $160 that Dell requires you to pay. So my questions to you are:

1. Is a XFX Radeon HD 4770 512 MB card a good card for this system?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...

2. Will that card run good through a 26" Vizio HDTV?
http://www.vizio.com/va26lhdtv10t.html

3. Will it fit within my Studio 540 case?
4. Will the stock PSU have enough power to support it?
5. Will I be able to get good FPS in any games I might want to play? (my definition of good is 30 FPS and up, it does not bother me to have a low framerate like that UNLESS it's laggy)
6. I do not know much about graphics cards and such other than what I have learned by reading and my main question is: Will the fact that the memory on the 4770 is only 512 affect my performance that much?

That pretty much sums up what I want to know. I have read through several post on this site and nothing gave me the specific answer that I needed so I am posting one myself lol. And one more thing if there are better cards than this that are under $120 then please tell me, but don't go on a tirade of why my choice sucks please. I just have different needs and different standards Lol. Thanks in advance!!

More about : dell studio 540 graphics card upgrade

a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 2:24:28 AM

MjoLniR said:
I am looking to purchase a Dell Studio 540 in the near future. I know it is most definitely not the best computer by any means, but for my budget and for what I want it's perfect. So with that in mind I want to upgrade the graphics card, and I am seeking some input as to what I should do.

The specs for what I am planning to buy is:

Dell Studio 540
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 2.5 GHz
6GB Dual Channel DDR2
500GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
350 W PSU (I think)

I am planning on playing games but nothing near a hardcore level and I am OK with not having the highest graphics settings. I would be playing games like Modern Warfare 2, Halo PC (which my crappy laptop can run so no problems here), and possibly buy some other, newer titles that I would like to try. Other than that I won't be doing anything demanding. However, I do plan on running my PC through a 26" Vizio HDTV and using that as my monitor. Originally I was going to just select the option that the Dell website gives you for the nVidia Geforce GTS 240 1 GB card. However, after reading around I have come to the conclusion that I can get more for less than the $160 that Dell requires you to pay. So my questions to you are:

1. Is a XFX Radeon HD 4770 512 MB card a good card for this system?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...

2. Will that card run good through a 26" Vizio HDTV?
http://www.vizio.com/va26lhdtv10t.html

3. Will it fit within my Studio 540 case?
4. Will the stock PSU have enough power to support it?
5. Will I be able to get good FPS in any games I might want to play? (my definition of good is 30 FPS and up, it does not bother me to have a low framerate like that UNLESS it's laggy)
6. I do not know much about graphics cards and such other than what I have learned by reading and my main question is: Will the fact that the memory on the 4770 is only 512 affect my performance that much?

That pretty much sums up what I want to know. I have read through several post on this site and nothing gave me the specific answer that I needed so I am posting one myself lol. And one more thing if there are better cards than this that are under $120 then please tell me, but don't go on a tirade of why my choice sucks please. I just have different needs and different standards Lol. Thanks in advance!!


I have a Dell Studio 540 and I can assure you the 4770 will definitely fit in the case, I have a 5850 in mine :D 

But ATI is releasing the Radeon HD 5670 in a week or so and it would be perfect for you. I had a 4670 in here originally and it could run all games at 1440x900 completely maxed out without any problems. And the best thing about it is it didn't require a psu upgrade because the original 350w was plenty.

The 5670 supposedly performs between the 4670 and the 4770 and matches up with the Geforce 9800 GT at times, and it offers DirectX 11 support along with even lower power consumption than the 4670. With your resolution being 1360x768 it or the 4670 would be the best values available for you.
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a c 189 U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 7:27:24 AM

^+1
maybe u can try HD5670, your psu will be okay since that card wouldn't take much power from psu itself.
But if u still want HD4770 then like edea said, u will be okay too... :) 
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January 14, 2010 10:04:17 AM

Thanks for the advice! I looked at a review of the HD5670 (not sure how it was out yet, although it was dated today) and it performs less than the 4770. Although it does have DX11 support, I still want a higher performance than what the 5670 (according to the review I read) has. So at this point i am still will the 4770 :D 
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 12:00:48 PM

MjoLniR said:
Thanks for the advice! I looked at a review of the HD5670 (not sure how it was out yet, although it was dated today) and it performs less than the 4770. Although it does have DX11 support, I still want a higher performance than what the 5670 (according to the review I read) has. So at this point i am still will the 4770 :D 


Well if you go with the 4770 then you'll have to buy a new power supply as the one that comes with the studio isn't strong enough. At 1360x768 the 5670 really would be more than enough for you but it's all up to you :]
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a c 189 U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 12:12:06 PM

it's hard... u want 4770 but u must upgrade the psu too, that would make both prices exceeding your budget... :( 
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January 14, 2010 2:17:09 PM

Lol perhaps I should have been more clear on my budget :D  I am willing to spend 120 just for graphics, I have more money to spend elsewhere because the stock build of my PC will only be $624 (I think) and with the $109 graphics card that puts me up to $733, I am trying to build the PC for less than $800 but I am willing to go a little over to get what I want. So you guys got any links to a good PSU that will run the 4770? And thanks for the great advice lol
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January 14, 2010 2:34:35 PM

Wow I JUST came from that page to re-check this thread lol. I was going to ask if it would fit into my case? It looks to be what I need and has extremely good reviews, but let me know what you guys think. You guys seem to really know your stuff lol
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 2:34:57 PM

MjoLniR said:
Lol perhaps I should have been more clear on my budget :D  I am willing to spend 120 just for graphics, I have more money to spend elsewhere because the stock build of my PC will only be $624 (I think) and with the $109 graphics card that puts me up to $733, I am trying to build the PC for less than $800 but I am willing to go a little over to get what I want. So you guys got any links to a good PSU that will run the 4770? And thanks for the great advice lol


A warning, when you get a psu do NOT get one that has the sleeves on the cables, in fact a modular power supply would be best if you can find one. The psu I got to power this 5850 has so many cables (they have the sleeves which makes them very difficult to maneuver) that they don't all fit in the case, I have to leave the side off of it with a huge bundle of power cables hanging out the side XD
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 2:37:07 PM

That 450w one doesn't have as many cables to deal with as my 750w one does so hopefully it'll fit.
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January 14, 2010 6:35:39 PM

Looks as though I will be getting the 4770 and the Corsair PSU :D  I still have a while before I actually buy it but here is currently what my specs WILL be:

Dell Studio 540
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 2.5 GHz
6GB Dual Channel DDR2
500GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
XFX Radeon HD 4770 512 MB
450 W PSU

Any input on how this machine should perform gaming wise? music recording? photo editing (photoshop)?

And if anyone has some input as to whether or not the PSU will actually fit within the Dell case :D  that would be great too.
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January 14, 2010 6:54:02 PM

And one more update on my budget. I will be working over the summer to earn money for college and then at the end of the summer I am adding up all my money and budgeting it for college and I am buying my PC with the left over money that I wont need for living cost. So with that in mind I may actually be able to spend a little bit more money than what I am willing to right now.

As of right now I am willing to spend $800 give or take $50. However, depending on how much money I need for school I may be able to increase that to around $900 give or take $50.

So assuming I have more money to spend would the HD 5750 be a good card? and what other upgrades could I get at that price range? Just curious Lol and sorry for asking so many questions
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 7:24:13 PM

MjoLniR said:
And one more update on my budget. I will be working over the summer to earn money for college and then at the end of the summer I am adding up all my money and budgeting it for college and I am buying my PC with the left over money that I wont need for living cost. So with that in mind I may actually be able to spend a little bit more money than what I am willing to right now.

As of right now I am willing to spend $800 give or take $50. However, depending on how much money I need for school I may be able to increase that to around $900 give or take $50.

So assuming I have more money to spend would the HD 5750 be a good card? and what other upgrades could I get at that price range? Just curious Lol and sorry for asking so many questions


If you can afford the 5750 then get it, the DirectX 11 support will be a good thing to have later on and so will the better performance.

When you get up to that $900 price range i would start considering a Core i5/i7 build if I were you.
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January 14, 2010 8:02:57 PM

If I get a build that has a Core i5 or i7 then with all the added upgrades it becomes too expensive :(  lol
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January 14, 2010 8:27:29 PM

I just went to CyberPowerPC.com and i can get way more specs for less money there instead of going through dell.com. Would that be a better option than getting a dell?

*EDIT* Ok read some very bad reviews about CyberPowerPC plus they don't let you choose manufacturers... Lol! sticking with my original idea.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 9:25:01 PM

MjoLniR said:
I just went to CyberPowerPC.com and i can get way more specs for less money there instead of going through dell.com. Would that be a better option than getting a dell?

*EDIT* Ok read some very bad reviews about CyberPowerPC plus they don't let you choose manufacturers... Lol! sticking with my original idea.


Ever thought about building your own? It's a lot cheaper than going with a major manufacturer.
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January 14, 2010 9:59:00 PM

I have thought about it, but there are so many things that you have to consider and I would rather just go through Dell and make sure it all works well together Lol. About 4 years ago I was actually going to build my own PC but I didn't have the money( I had a case, motherboard and hard drive and ran out of money because I didn't have a steady flow of income haha). I have been looking on dell.com and I think I might actually go with the XPS 8100 with these specs:

Dell Studio XPS 8100
Intel® Core™ i5-750 processor(8MB Cache, 2.66GHz)
6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5

That comes out to $1008, and that is within my range IF I make enough money this summer. I payed $1069 for my laptop and it is a piece of crap :D  (HP tx2500z). I wish now that I had not bought it and bought a desktop instead but I didn't so here I am lol. Point being, I am willing to spend the money just not much more than $1000 :D 
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January 14, 2010 9:59:36 PM

I have thought about it, but there are so many things that you have to consider and I would rather just go through Dell and make sure it all works well together Lol. About 4 years ago I was actually going to build my own PC but I didn't have the money( I had a case, motherboard and hard drive and ran out of money because I didn't have a steady flow of income haha). I have been looking on dell.com and I think I might actually go with the XPS 8100 with these specs:

Dell Studio XPS 8100
Intel® Core™ i5-750 processor(8MB Cache, 2.66GHz)
6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5

That comes out to $1008, and that is within my range IF I make enough money this summer. I payed $1069 for my laptop and it is a piece of crap :D  (HP tx2500z). I wish now that I had not bought it and bought a desktop instead but I didn't so here I am lol. Point being, I am willing to spend the money just not much more than $1000 :D 
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 10:04:21 PM

MjoLniR said:
I have thought about it, but there are so many things that you have to consider and I would rather just go through Dell and make sure it all works well together Lol. About 4 years ago I was actually going to build my own PC but I didn't have the money( I had a case, motherboard and hard drive and ran out of money because I didn't have a steady flow of income haha). I have been looking on dell.com and I think I might actually go with the XPS 8100 with these specs:

Dell Studio XPS 8100
Intel® Core™ i5-750 processor(8MB Cache, 2.66GHz)
6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5

That comes out to $1008, and that is within my range IF I make enough money this summer. I payed $1069 for my laptop and it is a piece of crap :D  (HP tx2500z). I wish now that I had not bought it and bought a desktop instead but I didn't so here I am lol. Point being, I am willing to spend the money just not much more than $1000 :D 


That's my philosophy most of the time too XD
That is an absolutely fantastic build :D 
Dell has the best looking cases ever and the Studio XPS designs are the greatest ones so far :]
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a c 189 U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 11:19:02 PM

MjoLniR said:
I have thought about it, but there are so many things that you have to consider and I would rather just go through Dell and make sure it all works well together Lol. About 4 years ago I was actually going to build my own PC but I didn't have the money( I had a case, motherboard and hard drive and ran out of money because I didn't have a steady flow of income haha). I have been looking on dell.com and I think I might actually go with the XPS 8100 with these specs:

Dell Studio XPS 8100
Intel® Core™ i5-750 processor(8MB Cache, 2.66GHz)
6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB GDDR5

That comes out to $1008, and that is within my range IF I make enough money this summer. I payed $1069 for my laptop and it is a piece of crap :D  (HP tx2500z). I wish now that I had not bought it and bought a desktop instead but I didn't so here I am lol. Point being, I am willing to spend the money just not much more than $1000 :D 


Okay, same as edea, that's a good build, surely u will play games mostly with high setting... :D 
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January 14, 2010 11:39:48 PM

Well my build will either be my original with upgraded PSU and the Radeon card :D  or the XPS that I just posted... Now it is really all down to the amount of money that I have to spend.
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a b U Graphics card
January 14, 2010 11:57:24 PM

That Studio XPS is such a huge jump from the Studio Desktop that even if you don't get enough money then you may want to try to wait a bit longer and save a bit more money or finance it or something. The Studio XPS will also have much better longevity since it's not using an outdated platform that is starting to be phased out like the normal Studio Desktop.

It's always better to buy a good one that will last a while instead of a cheapy from the bargain bin that will need to be replaced much sooner. (Not saying the normal one is a cheapy but you know what I mean lol)
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January 15, 2010 12:08:27 AM

I agree completely which is why I am leaning towards the XPS, plus its so sexy looking lol I think overall I would be happier with the XPS :D 
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a b U Graphics card
January 15, 2010 12:43:34 AM

MjoLniR said:
I agree completely which is why I am leaning towards the XPS, plus its so sexy looking lol I think overall I would be happier with the XPS :D 


It really is one well designed computer, Dell has made some good looking systems in the past but I think the Studio XPS series takes the cake :D 
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January 15, 2010 12:45:15 AM

One question about the XPS can you OC any of it?
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a b U Graphics card
January 15, 2010 12:58:17 AM

MjoLniR said:
One question about the XPS can you OC any of it?


Nope :[

*Edit* You can OC the gpu but not anything else.
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July 8, 2010 2:22:49 PM

I also have a Dell Studio 540, and I am planning to fit a new graphics card very soon.

Edeawillrule (cool name btw, gotta love FF8) - you say you have fitted a 5850 into your studio 540? I am hoping to install a 5850 as well, how difficult it was to fit? As obviously space is limited in the 540 case, was there much room left? As I'd like to buy one of the custom 5850 cards (like the Sapphire Toxic) which is about an inch longer than the reference card.

You can see the 5850 card I am looking at purchasing here (Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5850 Toxic 1024MB GDDR5) - http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1238/1/

As you can see at the bottom of the page, the reference 5850 is 9.5 inches in length, while this card is about 10.2 inches in length.
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a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 2:11:34 AM

barzini said:
I also have a Dell Studio 540, and I am planning to fit a new graphics card very soon.

Edeawillrule (cool name btw, gotta love FF8) - you say you have fitted a 5850 into your studio 540? I am hoping to install a 5850 as well, how difficult it was to fit? As obviously space is limited in the 540 case, was there much room left? As I'd like to buy one of the custom 5850 cards (like the Sapphire Toxic) which is about an inch longer than the reference card.

You can see the 5850 card I am looking at purchasing here (Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5850 Toxic 1024MB GDDR5) - http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1238/1/

As you can see at the bottom of the page, the reference 5850 is 9.5 inches in length, while this card is about 10.2 inches in length.


Yep that's right :]. When installing it I had to remove the hard drive temporarily to maneuver the card into place, also plugging in the 6-pin power cables can be a bit difficult as well because you have to work around the piece of metal hard drives are mounted to. Not exactly, it can breathe but I wouldn't dare try to put a larger card in this case, mine is reference design so 9.5" is the limit. Once you install the card you'll have to plug your optical and hard drives' SATA cables in the lower two plugs because the card covers the top two unless you get SATA cables with L shaped connectors.

And ignore what I had said earlier about having cables hanging out of my case and whatnot, now that I got a new modular power supply I'm not so space constrained anymore. This is the psu I have now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And one quick question, are you in a hurry to upgrade your gpu? There will probably be a few price cuts across the board in coming months, and ATI is supposed to be releasing the HD 6000 series in the September - November time frame, so if you can wait a bit longer I would recommend doing so.
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July 20, 2010 12:52:27 PM

edeawillrule said:
Yep that's right :]. When installing it I had to remove the hard drive temporarily to maneuver the card into place, also plugging in the 6-pin power cables can be a bit difficult as well because you have to work around the piece of metal hard drives are mounted to. Not exactly, it can breathe but I wouldn't dare try to put a larger card in this case, mine is reference design so 9.5" is the limit. Once you install the card you'll have to plug your optical and hard drives' SATA cables in the lower two plugs because the card covers the top two unless you get SATA cables with L shaped connectors.

And ignore what I had said earlier about having cables hanging out of my case and whatnot, now that I got a new modular power supply I'm not so space constrained anymore. This is the psu I have now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And one quick question, are you in a hurry to upgrade your gpu? There will probably be a few price cuts across the board in coming months, and ATI is supposed to be releasing the HD 6000 series in the September - November time frame, so if you can wait a bit longer I would recommend doing so.


Thanks for your informative reply Edea. That's confirmed for me that I will be getting a reference 5850! That's interesting you had to temporarily remove the hard drive, was it difficult to get the hard drive back in after you had installed the card? Is there any risk of over-heating in the Studio 540 case with such a big graphics card installed?

It's also interesting that you mention your modular power supply, as that is something I am currently looking into. I was set on purchasing a Corsair VX 550W PSU to power this (which isn't modular), but I am becoming concerned about the vast quantity of cables it comes with, so I am now looking into the Corsair HX modular series.

How difficult was it to fit a new PSU into the Studio 540? I have never changed a power supply before, and obviously I don't want to screw up and fry the computer!

I am not in a hurry to upgrade the GPU as such, but I can get a really good deal on the 5850 cards so I don't think waiting for a few months will make much difference to me!
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a c 273 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 9:03:00 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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