Dell Dimension E521 video card problem/update


I'm looking for information on upgrading my current video card. I'm not really a computer person, so will try my best at explaining what I currently have. My system is a Dell Dimension E521. I'm running Windows Vista 32 bit and the system is an AMD Anthlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3600+ 1.90 ghz with 3 gb of ram. I honestly don't know what video card I have. Device manager tells me that I have a Radeon X300/X550 series, but doesn't get much more specific than that. The computer power supply is 305W.

I do not use the computer for gaming, just e-mail, surfing and watching online and dvd movies. The reason I'm even thinking about upgrading the video card is that when I watch movies in full screen, the video has a few intermittent horizontal lines that shoot back and forth about a quarter way down the screen and where those lines are, the video looks choppy and out of sync. If I watch the movie in any size window, it looks perfectly fine. The problem only occurs in full screen.

When I bought the system (in 07) it only had 1 gb of RAM and a geforce 6150 video card. It started to act up when I upgraded to a 20" monitor, so unsure if it was the monitor or Vista or something else, I asked a friend of a friend look at it. He told me the lack of RAM could be causing problems with the monitor and also something meaning the 6150 card didn't have it's own memory, so was using the system RAM. He then put in a different (used) video card he had (the one in the system now) and said that it would be better than the geforce card as it has it's own onboard memory. Since then I get the choppy video lines. After adding the extra RAM, the lines are still there. I've swapped monitors and the choppy lines are there. I no longer have the 6150 card, so can't verify 100% if swapping the card would fix the problem.

Hoping someone out there might be able to point me in the right direction of going either going ahead and swapping out the video card or maybe try something else. If I do swap the video card, I don't want to have to swap power supplies, so it needs to be able to run with the system I am currently running.

Would this card work in my system?

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More about dell dimension e521 video card problem update
  1. Thanks for the replies!

    Do you think the problem I'm having (lines/choppy video), is being caused by the video card?

    How difficult is it to upgrade the processor? I'm no computer tech and learning as I go, so I may not be able to handle it if it's too technical. From what I saw with the last video card swap out, the video cards looks to be pretty much a simple plug and go procedure.

    Apart from price, what are the differences between the ATI 4350 and the HD5670?
  2. I would recommend a GPU like the Radeon HD4650 instead. It will require less power and should more than meet your needs. I have used this one successfully in several similar Dells as yours:

    Also, in the meantime, you should go to and download and install the latest drivers for your video card (this should help a lot):

    Get the Catalyst Software Suite (Option 1).

    Good luck!
  3. I plugged up a brand new monitor (22") to the computer and got the same problem when going to full screen, so I figured it wasn't the monitor and started to focus on the video card.

    The GT240 and the 5670 are the same price (after rebates). Looks like I'll be going with one of those. Same quality for both? Do you recommend one over the other?

    Upgrading the processor will make the computer more responsive, right? If it's an easy fix, sounds like I should do that as well. Any chance I can get you to send me youtube links for that and a couple stores for the processor? I read somewhere that I'd have to update Bios with a new processor. You have a link that could educate me on that as well?

    Again, thanks for the help.
  4. someone also suggested the Radeon HD4650. Is that in the same neighborhood as far as functionality and power usage as the 240 and 5670?
  5. COL,

    Thanks for the links. Somehow I added this question twice to the forum, so I have two different threads going for the same problem.

    I just updated the drivers and the original problem of the lines and choppy video in full screen has gone away. THANKS!!

    Still thinking of upgrading the video card and it was recommended that a processor upgrade might help my system with overall performance.
  6. This next topics has been merged by Mousemonkey
    Dell Dimension video card problem/upgrade
  7. Malmental,

    You make it sound do easy! :pt1cable:

    Somehow I ended up asking this same question in two different forum threads. Someone else sent me a link to upgrade the drivers and it fixed the fullscreen problem I was having.

    Still thinking of upgrading though. I'm guessing that going with the 2.9 over the current 1.9, I should see a lot better performance, right?

    Will changing OS affect any of these upgrades? I'm not fond of Vista and saw an upgrade offer for $65 to Windows 7 Professional. Thinking of doing that, but wondering if it will mess up any of the driver updates I just did or change the recommendations you've made for video and processors.
  8. Thanks Mousemonkey
  9. I'm going to go with the GT240.

    Will this processor work?

    Will look for a cheaper price on 7. If changing to 7, should I do it pre or post these upgrades?

    I see in some of your links you reference a C521 and specifically mention things not working on the E521. I have the E521. Will everything you've recommended in this thread work on the E521?
  10. jeffysno said:
    Thanks Mousemonkey

    You're welcome.
  11. Thanks for the info!
  12. I searched for the 3.0, but the sites I find all say they're either not in stock or deactivated. Any idea where I might find one?
  13. Quote:
    here is my E521 (modified), I made it my daily driver unit for the web and crap..:

    Athlon 64x2 6000+ (3.1GHZ) Brisbane
    E521 (modified) / Foxconn / Dell UW457
    Noctua NH-U9B cpu cooler
    AS5 - thermal compound
    4GB (2x2GB) Elpida DDR2 800mhz CL5
    2 - Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm HDDs= 240GB
    PNY nVidia GT240 - 512mb DDR5/HDMI
    Asus DVD+/-RW 24B1ST
    5.25in twin fan case cooler / 3.5in card reader
    2 (set) - Dell 1905FP moniotrs
    Windows 7 Ult. x32 OEM - (daily driver..)

    my lowest WEI score in win7 if you're into that is 5.9 for my HDD.
    the GT240 scores a 6.7
    my RAM in 4GB 800MHZ dual channel mode is 6.6
    and the processor, mine is a 6.2
    your recommended 2.9GHZ processor will get a 5.9 or possible 6.0 WEI score.
    dude, that's not bad..

    What terrible hard drives, yuck! :s A single WD Blue/SE320gb would do you well and save a bit of power.
  14. ct1615 said:
    amazon has a bunch of older CPUs. i tossed a Windsor 125w athlon x2 6000 3ghz in my e521. it ran fine with no issues. just make sure you update your BIOS before any CPU upgrades

    I would never use that cpu even with a 1.5kw or 2kw dual phase psu when 89w samples are floating around that use less power than that cpu with very similar clocks. That 5600+ isn't a bad idea.
  15. Quote:

    I got a 8250e that uses less even with my 42% overclock still uses less power.
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