How do you know which video card works with your computer

I am shopping for an inexpensive video card for my Dell Dimension e521. All i am sure of is it must be PCI Express. What else do i need to know?
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  1. Is your case a slim case?
  2. Is it this?
    These specs say that you have a 305w power supply, which is pretty decent for a stock computer.

    How inexpensive is "inexpensive"? Also, are you looking to play games? and at what resolution?

    Offhand I'll say
    $35--ATI 4350
    $50- ATI 4650
    $65- ATI 4670
    $70-75 -GT 240 DDR5
    $90 ATI 5670
  3. The link didn't work but yes i do have a 305w power supply. I'll check out the ATI 4350. The only games i play are Civilization 4 and The Sims 3. I had a geforce 7300 LE that just died. I found this Galaxy 84GEE6HDFEXN GeForce 8400 GS Video Card - 256MB DDR2, PCI Express for $35. I think it would work but i'm not sure.
  4. That's an extremely weak card. At least get an HD4650, but if you can afford it, an HD5570 is a god buy.
  5. The 4350 is quite a bit better than an 8400 GS, however if you want to game on the computer I would agree with Shadow that you should get a 4650 at the minimum.

    If you are interested in researching, Tom's "best Cards for the money" article has an overall hierarchy on the last page. It will let you compare old cards like your 7300 to new cards.,2569.html

    This is an alright deal on the cheap end:

    So is this:
  6. On my laptop, not clicking on links. I think the 521 is a slim.

    The 305W dell has 22A on the 12V line so your good up to the 8800GT. Lower 4xxx cards and the 57xx cards are also good. Not sure which of those come in slim form if you need it.
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