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Looking for advice - Graphics Card Upgrade - $100-125 budget

  • Graphics Cards
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
December 29, 2010 2:49:30 PM

Seeking advice on a graphics upgrade. The card I currently have is starting to show its age in newer games.

My budget is about $100 - $125. Intend to buy this weekend or early next week.

Games I play with highest graphics demand:
Starcraft II
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

ATI Radeon HD 3450
Unsure about PSU, assume 400w. Dell - built system.
(How can I find this out without opening the case?)

CPU - Pentium Dual-Core E5200 @ 2.50 GHz
Memory - 2 x 1 GB DDR2 @ 800 MHz
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit


PARTS PREFERENCES: Prefer ATI due to typically better onboard cooling.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No - not supported by motherboard


Running with a single-monitor setup. I play all games fullscreen at monitor's native resolution of 1440x900
Would like to be able to push game graphic settings to High or even Ultra if possible.

More about : advice graphics card upgrade 100 125 budget

December 29, 2010 3:25:51 PM

After searching through the Dell support forums, it appears the stock PSU for my model is 350w
a c 130 U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 3:26:46 PM

You can't tell the PSU without opening the case. The good thing about Dells is that their PSU's happen to be of better quality. A 400W PSU would probably drive an HD5750, maybe an HD5770. We'd need to know how many amps (A) is on the +12v rail (EG: +12v @ 22a)

Also, you'd see a major increase in FPS from WoW from OC'ing your CPU (if possible).
a c 130 U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 4:02:44 PM

That's a terrible PSU..
a b U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 4:03:41 PM

129.95 with a 20 dollar rebate a 5770 would ba all you need to match your system and it should run well on your existing psu

if you cna fit it throwing another 2 gigs in there would be helpful as well

if you are willing to go there nvidia cards do better in blizzard titles, and a gts450 might be a better option and would work fine with your psu as well

120 and 100 after rebate with free shipping

both these cards should overclock pretty well both good quality boards

^^ lawl.. i wouldn't trust that psu to power my toothbrush >_< its logic sys so its probably actually a 250-300 watt psu max with some stickers on it
look at those specs

+3.3V@38A, +5V@40A, +12V@25A, -12V@0.8A, +5VSB@2.0A

its a joke 38 amps on the 3.3
a c 376 U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 4:19:42 PM

A Dell 350w can easily handle an HD5750 and probably a GTS 450 or HD5770 as well.
December 29, 2010 4:52:59 PM

Thanks everyone for the info.

I will crack open the case in the next day or two to figure out the exact specs of my PSU.

A couple of you suggested more RAM, that is another planned upgrade in a few months. Since I'm running a 32-bit OS 4 gig is the max, which is the rated max the mobo supports anyway.
a c 205 U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 5:11:42 PM

I think the newer Dells are now using 80+ bronze PSUs, so they'd be decent.
Compared to your current HD3450, even a HD5670 would be a howling difference; you could get that even if you have one of the older PSUs. For a stronger GPU, the trouble is that even if your Dell PSU is strong enough, you may or may not have a PCIE power connector, and may or may not have a spare Molex to attach an adapter. In that case, get a $45 380W Antec Earthwatts. It will handle a HD5770 or HD5750 without difficulty. On a $100 budget though, I'd just get the HD5670 and be done with it.

a c 376 U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 5:16:48 PM

At the very least the HD5750 should work and it is within the stated budget so there's no need to scale back to a significantly weaker card like the HD5670. I've seen multiple people on here use one on even the Dell 305w PSUs.
a c 205 U Graphics card
December 29, 2010 5:24:01 PM

If his PSU is strong enough AND has the required connector(s), a HD5750 for $120 ($110 if you win the rebate game) would work. If not, the HD5670 is still much better than what he has.