Dell Inspiron 546 MT Upgrade!

Dear Community,
I have been meaning to do an upgrade on my Dell Insipiron 546 MT. When I bought it I could play all the games I wanted at a stable enough frame rate for them to be enjoyable, now with newer and high end games the experience is not so enjoyable e.g I can't play Mass Effect 2, call of Duty Black Ops etc.

My current specs are as follows:
CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ AM2 socket (940)
Motherboard - Dell Inc. 0F896N
RAM - Samsung(?) 1024MB (x3)
GPU - ATI Radeon HD 4350

I want to upgrade my processor to a triple or quad core to support newer games. I was looking at these two: AMD Athlon II X4 630 Socket AM3 2.8GHz 2MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz Socket AM3 8MB L3 Cache 125W Retail Box Processor. Are those prices reasonable for what they are?

For either of these too work I will need a new motherboard that supports AM3. I no next to nothing about motherboards, any suggestions?

I may change my RAM, if I get a new motherboard will I have to check compatibility with that (DDR2)?

I'm looking to keep my graphics card for a little longer as I don't have the money to spend on a new one at the moment.

I'm also guessing I will need a new power supply for all this ans supplied ones in pre-built systems are usually rubbish?
8 answers Last reply
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  1. Are you from uk?

    If yes then get the parts from aria.co.uk it's the cheapest website i found for components in UK.

    Get this MOBO, it's very cheap and can do crossfire at x8,x8:
    AMD AM3 CPU, AMD 790X Chipset, DDR3, CrossfireX Support, Onboard 7.1 HD Audio, Gigabit LAN, SATA, 12x USB 2.0 £69.99

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Motherboards/AMD+AM3+%28700+Chipset%29/Asus+M4A79XTD+Evo+AMD+790X+%28Socket+AM3%29+DDR3+PCI-Express+Motherboard+?operation=shoppingCartAdd&productId=37386&context=

    Also from the CPUs if you can afford the AMD phenom ii x4 955 then get it it's awsom CPU.

    AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 955 Black Edition 125W C3 (Socket AM3) Processor - Retail £110.44

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/CPUs+%2F+Processors/AMD+Phenom+II/AMD+Phenom+II+X4+Quad+Core+955+Black+Edition+125W+C3+%28Socket+AM3%29+Processor+-+Retail+?productId=39930

    Also get a new RAM, if you not planning on overclockin get this one:
    G.SKILL RipJaw 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit £64.99

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Memory/DDR3+Dual+Channel+-+PC3-12800/G.SKILL+RipJaw+4GB+%282x2GB%29+DDR3+PC3-12800C9+1600MHz+Dual+Channel+Kit+?productId=37612

    or

    Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit £55.81

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Memory/DDR3+Dual+Channel+-+PC3-12800/Corsair+XMS3+4GB+%282x2GB%29+DDR3+PC3-12800C9+1600MHz+Dual+Channel+Kit+%28CMX4GX3M2A1600C9%29+?productId=37570

    Also you need PSU with like 600W:
    OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular Silent SLI/Crossfire Ready ATX2.2 Power Supply £62.86

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplies/Modular+650W+or+less/OCZ+ModXStream+Pro+600W+Modular+Silent+SLI%2FCrossfire+Ready+ATX2.2+Power+Supply+?productId=33612

    With all this you will be able to play the new games at low maybe low-med setting.

    If you buy better graphic card in future, somethink like HD 5770, GTX 460 or higher you will be able to max out any new game with some decent fraps.


    Hope this helps :)
  2. Gonna need a new case to put the full size motherboard into, and an OS.
  3. Then go for antec 300, 900 or 902.
  4. Thanks for the suggestions on hardware. My current (Inspiron 546MT) case is not large enough for a full sized motherboard?

    @Melmental I have updated my BIOS to the latest version available and CPU-z tells me I only support AM2. However I will still contact Dell for the full specs of the board.
  5. Sorry for the double post: I have just read this forum, they seem to think my Motherboard AM2+. I'm going to see if I can find a decent AM2+ processor. Any suggestions, I'm looking for a quad core.
  6. To everyone who owns an inspiron 546, you can upgrade to a better CPU, provided it's one that was originally sold by Dell with the computer!!! (i.e. Athlon II x2 250 or Athlon II x4 630) Make sure to get C2 revisions (harder to come by than C3-stepping versions). Have not tested a C3-stepping processor, doubt it would work because they did not come out until after the 546 was discontinued.
  7. jessterman21 said:
    To everyone who owns an inspiron 546, you can upgrade to a better CPU, provided it's one that was originally sold by Dell with the computer!!! (i.e. Athlon II x2 250 or Athlon II x4 630) Make sure to get C2 revisions (harder to come by than C3-stepping versions). Have not tested a C3-stepping processor, doubt it would work because they did not come out until after the 546 was discontinued.


    Great thread! I want to upgrade my dads 546mt because he just doesnt use it now that he has an XPS9100. But where can I buy an athlon II x4 630 or simply the best processor the mobo can handle? all of these processors are discontinued
  8. Checked the Dell Forums recently - someone put a brand new x4 640 in theirs and it works fine! That one's on Newegg for $99.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103871

    Would upgrade myself, but outta cash at the moment...
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