Dell XPS 400 gpu upgrade

Hi and a pre-thanks for any help offered. I have a Dell XPS 400 desk top I purchased for my wife years ago. Being her computer I have payed little attention to it. That being said have today sat down to clean it up (she has way to much useless crap on this thing) and realized her gpu is crap. This machine is still running a pci-expressx16 Nvidia Gforce 7300LE and its super boggy. She plays Lord of the rings online and is running at around 5-10 fps.

System specs
Intel Pentium D 2.8ghz cpu
Nvidia Geforce 7300LE gpu
XP 32 home professional
3gb ram


My question is Being as this is a Dell machine and I didn't build it (Mine is 100% owner built by me) I'm not sure what I can put into this rig and I'm also not sure if its worth it. The processor and Graphics card are non-on board and can be changed out if needed.

Lotro for example recommends a Pentium 4 2.8 ghz cpu, 1gb ram, 128mb Nvidia Geforce FX6800

I don't keep up on the latest technology so I am not even aware of where her card and cpu stand in comparison to the latest technology out there.

In conclusion if anyone has advice to offer. I am not sure if the cpu, gpu or both are to blame for her slow system performance, and seeing as my only slot for upgrade on the gpu is a pci-expressx16 I feel like i'm fairly limited on what I can do for her machine.

Thanks again for any help :)
Roger Funk III
9 answers Last reply
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  1. The slow in game performance is no doubt caused by the extremely low end graphics card. The CPU isn't stellar, but it shouldn't be a bottleneck for Lord of the Rings Online. As far as upgrades for the GPU go, you are going to be limited by the power supply, but there are some decent cards that can run on weaker PSUs. Also does your computer have a slimline case? If so, you are going to be restricted to low profile cards, which aren't very powerful. Assuming you don't have a slimline case, the Radeon HD 5670 can be run on a 300-350 watt power supply and can handle most games fairly well, provided you don't push the resolution above 1280x1024.

    Given the age of your machine you probably have a PCI Express 1.0 slot. When you look for video cards make sure it is PCI Express 2.0 and not 2.1. PCI-E 2.1 cards tend not to be compatible with the 1.0 slots for some reason.
  2. I would look at the Ati HD5670 or a Nvidia GT240 for that computer
    Either one would be a major major improvement for that tower
    they are about 5 generations newer than what you have and would make a drastic difference
    If you are in US I will look up on Newegg and TigerDirect for good deals for you
    Let me know if you need the help.
    The Pentium D is fine for what she is doing
    It is a poor performer compared to todays technology
    BUT it is a dual core and can easily handle your wifes computer needs
    Personally I would go for the HD5670 ( it is the next card I plan to buy)
    It is highly recommended by Toms Video Card as best deal under a $100 usd

    The Pci-Express x 16 slot is perfect for the card

    Also installing a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium if your up to it is a good idea
    and with the video card and Win 7 it would be like a brand new machine to her

    You can find Windows 7 System Builder versions fairly cheap on Newegg
    They can only be used on one computer but the savings are significant

    Also Win7 as anybody willl tell you is the best windows ever to date

    I loved XP Pro but I am a Win 7 fanatic now

    With the video card you will easily exceed the Lotro recommended specs

    The HD 5670 is a low powered card (doesnt need external power connector)
    and costs about $75 in USA
    There are much more powerful cards but that one will easily play most games at decent settings and blow away Lotro
    No need to spend more than you have to for an older system

    If you do want to go a notch better than a HD5770 is a good choice and I pretty sure the XPS 400 power supply ( i think 375watt?) is fine to run that card though you want to make sure it has an external connector to use for that card

    BUT i would still go with the HD5670 personally
  3. Supernova1138 said:
    The slow in game performance is no doubt caused by the extremely low end graphics card. The CPU isn't stellar, but it shouldn't be a bottleneck for Lord of the Rings Online. As far as upgrades for the GPU go, you are going to be limited by the power supply, but there are some decent cards that can run on weaker PSUs. Also does your computer have a slimline case? If so, you are going to be restricted to low profile cards, which aren't very powerful. Assuming you don't have a slimline case, the Radeon HD 5670 can be run on a 300-350 watt power supply and can handle most games fairly well, provided you don't push the resolution above 1280x1024.

    Given the age of your machine you probably have a PCI Express 1.0 slot. When you look for video cards make sure it is PCI Express 2.0 and not 2.1. PCI-E 2.1 cards tend not to be compatible with the 1.0 slots for some reason.


    Dont uderestimate the HD 5670
    It can play at 1920 x 1080p just at medium settings

    Good advice about low profile case though I think most XPS 400 are full sized cases
    No big deal there is two nice low profile HD5670s on Newegg USA
  4. HD5670 is better card from what I understand for reviews than GT240
    but GT240 is still solid performer and if it is much cheaper than HD5670
    than it will work fine.
  5. I actually have a GTS 250 in my personal right right now... I've been looking to upgrade it hehe.... Question is will it run on her board. I built my machine right before AMD purchased ATI and everything went CF. My MB died a few years later (bad capacitors) and I had a shop drop a new board into it. Its an amd board so no sli which I had before but I upped the gpu to the gts 250 at the time. Thing is i'm not sure if my 250 is pcix 2.0 or not.

    I am debating with myself whether her machine is even worth putting these parts in. Its a Dell to start with :pfff: And between the gpu and cpu and the mb only being capable of handling 4gb of ram I wonder if It might be better to retire hers to an office (document) machine and building new during the summer if I can swing the funds. Any thoughts?
  6. thanks for all the answers :)

    my personal rig has a single plane power phase so I can only run a 95w cpu on it. That is making me want to start all over with a new dual plane power phase mb so I can drop a 125w x6 phenom into it. I think I might test my gts250 gpu in her rig and if it works upgrade mt gpu to a top end card that I can sli later on if I choose. On that note I've always used Nvidia for graphics. How is AMD with the ATI?? They used to be real buggy and I wouldn't have considered them. Like I said earlier I don't keep track of technology until I need to upgrade and then I have to play catch up hehe.
  7. Ati is still a little buggy with their drivers especially with a Cross FIre setup
    though are getting better.

    Good idea to put the GTS250 in her tower for now though watch the temps since I have read they can get a little hot.
  8. ct1615 said:
    for gaming purposes and most apps, the phenom II x4 will perform just like the x6. frankly i find the x6 gimmicky.


    Thanks for the heads up. I purchased a x4 955 at first but this biostar board wouldn't run it past 800mhz :cry: Looked up the board online and came to find they don't support it because my board is a single plane power phase and I need duals. That being said the 925 was the best I could find at the egg in a 95w compatibility. I just wanted a black edition x4 and I can't so I've set my mind to getting a new mb that doesn't restrict me. I'm new to overclocking to so I'm trying to figure that out as well.. This 925 has excellent oc reviews. I've got it at 3.05 ghz now and I'm running stable but I can't go any higher without locking up the system. I'm hoping someone in the amd oc forums can help me out with it hehe. I was looking at one guys cpu-z and he had this 925 oc'd at 4.1 ghz!!!! was running warm but he was cooling with air and running xp.
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