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Updated graphics card for Inspiron 530s

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March 27, 2011 10:05:56 PM

Hey guys,

I've done some looking around on here and have noticed a lot of posts about graphic card updates for the Dell Inspiron 530s, but given the age of the computer, most of the posts are understandably old.At the moment I currently have the
256MB ATI RADEON HD 2400 Pro Graphics,Low Profile graphics card and it has served me well, but I'm needing to upgrade to another card which will at least let me meet the requirements for the latest round of RPGs coming out this year (Skyrim and Witcher 2). In doing so I'm hoping to eek another year out of this computer before I get it replaced. My computer itself meets all their other requirements, it's just the video card holding me back.

The Witcher 2 requires "Nvidia GF 8800 512 VR or similar ATI" and Skyrim is unlisted yet, but I'm assuming it will probably require something similar since Dragon Age II (the other big name this year) which just came out required "NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256 MB / Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256 MB or greater."

I don't care about playing at the best graphics, I just want to be able to run the games. The card would need to have Pixel Shader version 3.0 and be compatible with DX10 I believe. In all honesty I know very little about vid cards, but know that I would like to stick with ATI if possible since I've had some pretty bad luck with NVidia in the past.

I have a limited budget and would like to pay no more then $100 if possible. Even less would be better. Like I said, I not looking for the most powerful card out there, I just need recommendations for something that will help me meet minimum requirements and hopefully eek another year or so out of my comp before it gives up the ghost and I can buy a new one with the specs I want.

Current Specs (I don't know what you need here so let me know):
- Dell Inspiron 530s (slim case)
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional - Service Pack 3
- Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E4600 @ 2.40GHz
- 3GB RAM Available

Edited to add: Myy PSU is apparently 250w
a b U Graphics card
March 27, 2011 11:56:52 PM

Can you add PSU specs to that list? I assume its the dell 300w, but we should check.

The ATI 5570 is probably your best low-profile bet. Newegg link below. (the open-box one is a good deal)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

On the Nvidia side, you could get either a GT 220 or the GT 430.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
The GT 220 is not nearly as good as the 5570 above. The GT 430 will be better than the 220, but offhand I dont know where it falls in relation to the 5570.

EDIT:

Additional --

March listing of 5570 as best card for $65
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-graphic...

Toms 5570 review -
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5550-rade...

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a c 235 U Graphics card
March 28, 2011 8:19:03 PM

the dell inspiron 530s (S for slim line) comes with a 250w PSU, the mini-towers 530/531 came with the 300w PSU.

look into an ATI 5570 PCI-2.0 (avoid the 2.1) low profile card, may be hard to find since most are 2.1

otherwise you can pick up the ATI 4650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

slim line PCs are just not made for gaming because of their underpowered PSU, lack of room for video cards and lack of upgrade options.

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March 28, 2011 11:38:03 PM

ct1615 said:
the dell inspiron 530s (S for slim line) comes with a 250w PSU, the mini-towers 530/531 came with the 300w PSU.

slim line PCs are just not made for gaming because of their underpowered PSU, lack of room for video cards and lack of upgrade options.


Trust me. I have discovered this the hard way. I was forced into the 530s b/c i needed a computer in a rush since my old one died unexpectedly and finances were tight. The downside of that, of course, is that I've been stuck with it for like three years and can't wait to get rid of it.

I appreciate the information.
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a b U Graphics card
March 29, 2011 12:52:55 AM

Too bad about the 250w. Considering this I would err on the side of a more power efficient card and not go with the 5670 suggested earlier.

So the 5570 remains the most powerful choice for your PC and has DX 11 for newer software. Make certain to get one with the faster DDR3 memory and not DDR2. (CT may know something I don't specific to Dell Slimlines, but 2.1 is a backward compatible standard. Either way -- newegg lists both 2.0 and 2.1 versions.)

p.s. If you get really adventurous you can always get a cheap full size case for like $20 and a inexpensive (but name brand!) PSU for another ~$20. This would totally circumvent your problem (but would cost more). It would be relatively simple to do.
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March 29, 2011 12:59:52 AM

I will keep your suggestion in mind since I honestly hadn't thought of that.

CT - I too would be interested in knowing why you say that I should get 2.0 over 2.1 for the Dell slimline.

The more you know ...
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a c 235 U Graphics card
March 29, 2011 1:46:11 AM

deadlockedworld said:
Too bad about the 250w. Considering this I would err on the side of a more power efficient card and not go with the 5670 suggested earlier.

So the 5570 remains the most powerful choice for your PC and has DX 11 for newer software. Make certain to get one with the faster DDR3 memory and not DDR2. (CT may know something I don't specific to Dell Slimlines, but 2.1 is a backward compatible standard. Either way -- newegg lists both 2.0 and 2.1 versions.)

p.s. If you get really adventurous you can always get a cheap full size case for like $20 and a inexpensive (but name brand!) PSU for another ~$20. This would totally circumvent your problem (but would cost more). It would be relatively simple to do.


her mobo has a PCI-E 1.0 slot rather then a 2.0.
Expansion Bus

Bus type


PCI 2.3
PCI Express 1.0A
SATA 1.0 and 2.0
USB 2.0


while some BIOS updates for 1.0 mobos can support 2.1 cards, DELL (as well as many other mass PC sellers) are notorious for not supporting that. you can't sell more PCs if people can update their old ones to hold out for another year or so. :cry: 
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March 29, 2011 1:53:25 AM

Thanks for the reply. I've taken a look at the second card you you posted ct, and it really looks like it will fit my needs. I'm always open to more suggestions, but the one you put forward will certainly fit my budget, and from my limited knowledge of vid cards also looks like it will take care of at least this year's gen of games. There is nothing projected for next year that I'm desperate to play (and I have a massive backlog to catch up on amidst all the work on my masters, employment, and life in general) so as long as it supports this gen then I should be set until my current computer gives up the ghost.
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a b U Graphics card
March 29, 2011 11:42:10 PM

I hear you on grad school -- I played on integrated graphics for a long time before I finally finished, got a good job, and have spent like $1.5k+ upgrading over the past year :-)

I think you might be able to manage on the 4650 if you are truly tight on budget, but It will provide more of a constraint on games. You listed a game that suggested a Nvidia GT 8800 -- a card that is still a bit more powerful than the 4650. (it would fall near the GT 240 on the below chart) I do think that the 4650 is a good choice for the money and should let you play most games at some level, but I just want you to recognize that you are making a performance sacrifice for the better price.

Comparison of lower end cards for the record: (from the Toms 5570 DDR5 review)


Power use (this metric is for an entire PC--not just the card)
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April 6, 2011 3:43:58 PM

deadlockedworld said:
I do think that the 4650 is a good choice for the money and should let you play most games at some level, but I just want you to recognize that you are making a performance sacrifice for the better price.


Sorry to respond so late to this. Papers and presentations were coming due all at once.

I just want to make sure I'm understanding your comment. Are you saying that b/c of the power restriction it won't work or that it will work but it will not be optimum performance? I appreciate the comparison chart (visuals always make more sense to me) and I can see that you are talking about. As long as the card should work, however, I'm willing to take a drop in performance since this is only a temporary fix. It were a more permanent solution I would be looking into something with more power.

Thank you again to everyone who has been so helpful.
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a b U Graphics card
April 7, 2011 12:39:23 AM

Either the 4650 or 5570 should work fine with your system with regard to electrical power.

I was just saying that the $80 card is twice as good as the $40 one in terms of performance. So one isn't really a better "value" than the other.
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August 23, 2011 11:41:45 PM

I have the same computer (Inspiron 530S, intel G33/G31 chipset, 250w PSU) and this one worked perfectly for me: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121397

It's easy to install and got rid of the bad lag I was getting when trying to edit video (I also installed another 4 gigs of ram). It comes with the low profile brackets.
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October 27, 2011 4:38:52 PM

I don't know if you're monitoring this thread any more but I'm going through 530s growth recently and thought I'd share my setup.

Dell Inspiron 530s (G33M02, RY007)
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 32bit, English
Core™ 2 Duo E8400 processor(6MB Cache, 3.00 GHz, 1333MHz FSB)
4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 3 DIMMs
1TB WD Caviar Black - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 32MB Cache (OS)
2TB WD Caviar Green - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 32MB Cache (Data)
1TB Seagate Spinpoint M8 Notebook Drive- 5400RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 8MB Cache (DVR)
LG Electronics GGC-H20LK LightScribe Blu-Ray/HD DVD Combo Drive
HIS Silence H557HR1G Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16
Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad CableCard TV Tuner
PointTek TFX 400W Power Supply
Intel PWLA8391GTL Desktop Network Adapter Pro/1000 GT Low Profile

I'm right now looking through all the posts to look for case cooling suggestions since I have a new Ceton card and it doesn't like to get above 70c. But I went through the same upgrade choices you have to make. I went with the HD5570 and of particular note, I found a great 400W PSU from PointTek that works beautifully. Even gives me more options like more sata power connectors for a laptop drive I just threw in (foam mounted under the DVD drive lol). I think I'm going to go grab some 800MHz RAM to squeeze some more power out of my rig, but I hope this is it.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
October 27, 2011 6:39:04 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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