Graphics card for Dell Inspiron 531

Hello,

We have just purchased the Windows Flight Simulator X pack Gold edition. We have a Dell Inspiron 531 PC with 2GB RAM. We have read that we would need to upgrade, but to what? and would we need to upgrade the RAM as well? Please help as we are new to all of this. Thanks in anticipation
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  1. You may need a dedicated graphics card to run that game. I'm not sure. Did you try it?

    A dedicated graphics card is a piece of hardware that you install in your computer. If you get a graphics card, you will need to make sure your power supply can support it. I think you have a 300W power supply which is kind of limited. You may be able to call dell and ask them to recommend a graphics card that will work with your system.

    Do you know whether or not you have a 64-bit version of Windows Vista?
  2. We have Windows Vista
  3. and the power supply is 300w
  4. eightdrunkengods said:
    You may need a dedicated graphics card to run that game. I'm not sure. Did you try it?

    A dedicated graphics card is a piece of hardware that you install in your computer. If you get a graphics card, you will need to make sure your power supply can support it. I think you have a 300W power supply which is kind of limited. You may be able to call dell and ask them to recommend a graphics card that will work with your system.

    Do you know whether or not you have a 64-bit version of Windows Vista?


    We have Windows Vista and the power supply is 300w, the graphics card, that is in the dell is a NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nforce 430.

    We have not tried any other Graphic Cards as it seems an expensive mistake to make if you get it wrong!

    Thanks
  5. That graphics card is integrated onto the motherboard which is pretty common. Typically integrated graphics are adquate for most applications (light gaming, watching movies, etc). However, dedicated cards are much more powerful. I think Flight Sim X will run with your onbaord graphics processor but you will probably have to turn most graphics settings way down (it won't look as nice as it might if you had a really good graphics card). You should just try it since you have the game already. If it does not work, just uninstall it. No harm done.

    If you buy a dedicated card from Best Buy or Newegg, you can simply return it if it does not work with your system. However, if you do this you will be out the cost of shipping. Plus it's inconvenient for you, so it's best to do everything you can to figure out whether the card will work before you purchase it. The closest thing to a guarantee that you will get that one will work would be to call Dell and ask them.

    There are two compatibility factors to consider. One is the graphics card's compatibility with your motherboard. The second is its compatibility with your power supply. Dell should be able to point you in the right direction. Might as well use that customer service since you paid for it! :) If Dell can't help you out, these forums can. However, we can't guarantee anything. Call Dell first and tell us what they say. :) Just ask them "is there a dedicated graphics card that I can install in my system so that I can play some 3D games like Flight Sim X?"

    As far as RAM goes: 32-bit operating systems can only utilize about 3GB of RAM. 64-bit operating systems can use much more. There are both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Your upgrade strategy for RAM will depend on which you have. *If* you have a 32-bit operating system, upgrading from 2GB will only be a minor upgrade. If you have a 64-bit, then upgrading your RAM will help with games like Flight Sim, although not as much as a dedicated graphics card would. To find out if you have 32 or 64-bit:

    1) Click Start (or press the "windows button), find "Computer".
    2) *Right click* on "Computer".
    3) Click "properties"
    4) Under "System" find "system type". This indicate either 32 or 64-bit.
  6. A small, energy efficient dedicated (one that isn't fused to the motherboard) graphics card that could run flight simulator X (though probably not on the ultra setting) would be the Radeon HD 5570. 2gb of ram should be enough, it doesn't hurt to upgrade to 4gb, but getting a dedicated graphics card is the most important. Not sure if your power supply can handle even a small dedicated graphics card though (you can buy and install a new power supply, but let someone with more experience do it for you).
  7. eightdrunkengods said:
    That graphics card is integrated onto the motherboard which is pretty common. Typically integrated graphics are adquate for most applications (light gaming, watching movies, etc). However, dedicated cards are much more powerful. I think Flight Sim X will run with your onbaord graphics processor but you will probably have to turn most graphics settings way down (it won't look as nice as it might if you had a really good graphics card). You should just try it since you have the game already. If it does not work, just uninstall it. No harm done.

    If you buy a dedicated card from Best Buy or Newegg, you can simply return it if it does not work with your system. However, if you do this you will be out the cost of shipping. Plus it's inconvenient for you, so it's best to do everything you can to figure out whether the card will work before you purchase it. The closest thing to a guarantee that you will get that one will work would be to call Dell and ask them.

    There are two compatibility factors to consider. One is the graphics card's compatibility with your motherboard. The second is its compatibility with your power supply. Dell should be able to point you in the right direction. Might as well use that customer service since you paid for it! :) If Dell can't help you out, these forums can. However, we can't guarantee anything. Call Dell first and tell us what they say. :) Just ask them "is there a dedicated graphics card that I can install in my system so that I can play some 3D games like Flight Sim X?"

    As far as RAM goes: 32-bit operating systems can only utilize about 3GB of RAM. 64-bit operating systems can use much more. There are both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Your upgrade strategy for RAM will depend on which you have. *If* you have a 32-bit operating system, upgrading from 2GB will only be a minor upgrade. If you have a 64-bit, then upgrading your RAM will help with games like Flight Sim, although not as much as a dedicated graphics card would. To find out if you have 32 or 64-bit:

    1) Click Start (or press the "windows button), find "Computer".
    2) *Right click* on "Computer".
    3) Click "properties"
    4) Under "System" find "system type". This indicate either 32 or 64-bit.



    Thanks again for such an informative response
    The operating system is 32 Bit, We tried Dell and they couldnt or wouldnt commit to what would or wouldnt work! So here is the the system specification

    Specifications
    Processor

    Processor type
    AMD™ Athlon™ 64 X2 dual-core processor
    AMD Athlon 64 processor
    AMD Sempron™ processor

    Level 2 (L2) cache
    Up to 2 MB for Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor
    Up to 512 KB for Athlon 64 processor
    Up to 256 KB for Sempron processors



    Memory

    Type
    667-MHz, 800-MHz DDR2 SDRAM

    Memory connectors
    four

    Memory capacities
    512 MB or 1 GB

    Maximum memory
    4 GB



    Computer Information

    Chipset
    Nvidia® MCP 61

    RAID Support
    RAID 1 (Mirroring)(For Windows Vista® only)

    DMA channels
    seven

    Interrupt levels
    24

    BIOS chip (NVRAM)
    4 Mb

    NIC
    Integrated network interface capable of 10/100 communication



    Video

    Type
    Nvidia integrated video (DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 Graphics Processing Unit) or optional PCI Express x16 graphics card



    Audio

    Type
    Realtec ALC888 (7.1 Channel audio)



    Expansion Bus

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

    Bus speed
    PCI: 133 MB/s

    PCI Express:

    x1 slot bidirectional speed - 500 MB/s

    x16 slot bidirectional speed - 8GB/s

    SATA: 1.5 Gbps and 3.0 Gbps
    USB: 480 Mbps high speed, 12 Mbps full speed, 1.2 Mbps low speed

    PCI


    connectors
    two

    connector size
    124 pins

    connector data width (maximum)
    32 bits

    PCI Express


    connector
    one x1

    connector size
    36 pins

    connector data width (maximum)
    1 PCI Express lane

    PCI Express


    connector
    one x16

    connector size
    164 pins

    connector data width (maximum)
    16 PCI Express lanes



    Drives

    Externally accessible:

    Bays
    one 3.5-inch drive bay (FlexBay)

    two 5.25-inch drive bays

    Available devices
    Serial ATA drives (4), floppy drive, USB memory devices, CD or DVD drive, and Media Card Reader

    Internally accessible:
    two bays for 1-inch high serial ATA hard drives



    Connectors

    External connectors:

    Video
    15-hole connector

    Network adapter
    RJ-45 connector

    USB
    four front-panel and four back-panel USB 2.0-compliant connectors

    Audio
    six connectors for 7.1 support

    System board connectors:

    Serial ATA
    four 7-pin connectors

    Internal USB device
    one 10-pin connector (supports two USB ports)

    Floppy drive
    one 34-pin connector

    Processor fan
    one 4-pin connector

    Chassis fan
    one 3-pin connector

    PCI 2.3
    two 124-pin connectors

    PCI Express x1
    one 36-pin connector

    PCI Express x16
    one 164-pin connector

    Front panel control
    one 10-pin connector

    Front panel USB
    two 10-pin connectors

    Front panel audio HDA header
    one 10-pin connector

    Processor
    one 940-pin connector

    Memory
    four 240-pin connectors

    Power 12V
    one 4-pin connector

    Power
    one 24-pin connector



    Power

    DC power supply:

    Wattage
    300 W

    Maximum heat dissipation
    162 W

    NOTE: Heat dissipation is calculated by using the power supply wattage rating.

    Voltage (see the safety instructions located in the Product Information Guide for important voltage setting information)
    115/230 Vac, 50/60 Hz, 7 A/4 A

    Coin cell battery
    3-V CR2032 lithium coin cell



    Physical

    Height
    36.2 cm (14.2 inches)

    Width
    17.0 cm (6.7 inches)

    Depth
    43.5 cm (17.1 inches)

    Weight
    12.7 kg (28.0 lb)


    We appreciate that it's not guaranteed what you or the people on here recommend but it has to be better than what we have and where we are now.

    Thanks again
  8. Gulli said:
    A small, energy efficient dedicated (one that isn't fused to the motherboard) graphics card that could run flight simulator X (though probably not on the ultra setting) would be the Radeon HD 5570. 2gb of ram should be enough, it doesn't hurt to upgrade to 4gb, but getting a dedicated graphics card is the most important. Not sure if your power supply can handle even a small dedicated graphics card though (you can buy and install a new power supply, but let someone with more experience do it for you).


    Thanks for the reply

    If we installed a new power supply and we have a spare external 5.25 slot (i understand that you can do this?) what would be the Graphics card to go for?

    Thanks
  9. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130619&cm_re=gt_240-_-14-130-619-_-Product

    This is my pick. It says "300W PSU or greater".

    Can you open your case and figure out exactly what model of power supply you have? What we need to know is how many amps your powersupply can supply on the 12 volt rail. There should/may be a number of amps (18A or something) under +12V. Or we can look it up if you give us the model of the PSU.
  10. andersonsheffield said:
    Thanks for the reply

    If we installed a new power supply and we have a spare external 5.25 slot (i understand that you can do this?) what would be the Graphics card to go for?

    Thanks


    Well, a 350W power supply, like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371003 could easily power an HD 6670 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102935&cm_re=hd_6670-_-14-102-935-_-Product which is probably the most powerful card that will run without problems on your PC. It's actually a pretty decent gaming card as well.
  11. eightdrunkengods said:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187114

    This is my pick. It says "300W PSU or greater".

    Can you open your case and figure out exactly what model of power supply you have?


    That might work with the 300W power supply but it's not worth the $40 in my opinion.
  12. Gulli said:
    That might work with the 300W power supply but it's not worth the $40 in my opinion.


    I found a geforce 240 that would work for $55. :D Changed the link on my earlier post. But, yeah, they could probably find a better deal if they weren't restricted by the PSU... but then they would have to spend the $$ on a new PSU. Dilemma.
  13. eightdrunkengods said:
    I found a geforce 240 that would work for $55. :D Changed the link on my earlier post. But, yeah, they could probably find a better deal if they weren't restricted by the PSU... but then they would have to spend the $$ on a new PSU. Dilemma.


    No, the GT 240 draws too much power (69W TDP), even more than the more powerful HD 6670, so they'd still need a new 350W power supply, the GT 240 is comparable to the HD 6570 which uses much less power. $55 is a usually a good deal, but not in this case.
  14. How can you tell 69W is too much without knowing the specs of their PSU? Just curious.
  15. eightdrunkengods said:
    How can you tell 69W is too much without knowing the specs of their PSU? Just curious.


    I can't, not without seeing the side sticker of the PSU, but it's an educated guess for a 300W OEM PSU.
  16. I see. Yeah, it's best if we have that info.

    I agree that it's maybe pushing it. I made the suggestion after finding the following in the reviews section of a Palit version (same bitrate, memory, and has a fan) of the 240 GT:

    "Purchased as a gift to be refit into a Dell Inspiron 531 tower with a 300W PSU, 2.1 dual-core AMD X2, and 3GB DDR2 (4 banks). No problems with compatibility as others have noted here and the PSU ran everything just fine with CPU and GPU..."

    This is not a guarantee that it will work as it will depend on other hardware connected to their system.

    Obviously, as you said, a good aftermarket PSU with more overhead would be better.
  17. eightdrunkengods said:
    I see. Yeah, it's best if we have that info.

    I agree that it's maybe pushing it. I made the suggestion after finding the following in the reviews section of a Palit version (same bitrate, memory, and has a fan) of the 240 GT:

    "Purchased as a gift to be refit into a Dell Inspiron 531 tower with a 300W PSU, 2.1 dual-core AMD X2, and 3GB DDR2 (4 banks). No problems with compatibility as others have noted here and the PSU ran everything just fine with CPU and GPU..."

    This is not a guarantee that it will work as it will depend on other hardware connected to their system.

    Obviously, as you said, a good aftermarket PSU with more overhead would be better.


    Well, to be on the safe side we could recommend the HD 6570 which uses less power.
  18. Hi Guys,

    1st of all thank you for your responses and help, this site has amazed me!

    The reason we have the PC and are attempting to get the game to work properly is for my partners father to enjoy and to get the best from the software. It seems the best option is to replace the PSU with a higher power one and then choose the best graphics card to suite.

    So could we have your recommendations for both the PSU and the Graphics card and if we set the budget at say £200 - £300 ($300 - $450)

    Look forward to what you suggest

    Thanks again in advance
  19. eightdrunkengods said:
    I see. Yeah, it's best if we have that info.

    I agree that it's maybe pushing it. I made the suggestion after finding the following in the reviews section of a Palit version (same bitrate, memory, and has a fan) of the 240 GT:

    "Purchased as a gift to be refit into a Dell Inspiron 531 tower with a 300W PSU, 2.1 dual-core AMD X2, and 3GB DDR2 (4 banks). No problems with compatibility as others have noted here and the PSU ran everything just fine with CPU and GPU..."

    This is not a guarantee that it will work as it will depend on other hardware connected to their system.

    Obviously, as you said, a good aftermarket PSU with more overhead would be better.


    Hi Guys,

    1st of all thank you for your responses and help, this site has amazed me!

    The reason we have the PC and are attempting to get the game to work properly is for my partners father to enjoy and to get the best from the software. It seems the best option is to replace the PSU with a higher power one and then choose the best graphics card to suite.

    So could we have your recommendations for both the PSU and the Graphics card and if we set the budget at say £200 - £300 ($300 - $450)

    Look forward to what you suggest

    Thanks again in advance
  20. Gulli said:
    Well, to be on the safe side we could recommend the HD 6570 which uses less power.



    Hi Guys,

    1st of all thank you for your responses and help, this site has amazed me!

    The reason we have the PC and are attempting to get the game to work properly is for my partners father to enjoy and to get the best from the software. It seems the best option is to replace the PSU with a higher power one and then choose the best graphics card to suite.

    So could we have your recommendations for both the PSU and the Graphics card and if we set the budget at say £200 - £300 ($300 - $450)

    Look forward to what you suggest

    Thanks again in advance
  21. andersonsheffield said:
    Hi Guys,

    1st of all thank you for your responses and help, this site has amazed me!

    The reason we have the PC and are attempting to get the game to work properly is for my partners father to enjoy and to get the best from the software. It seems the best option is to replace the PSU with a higher power one and then choose the best graphics card to suite.

    So could we have your recommendations for both the PSU and the Graphics card and if we set the budget at say £200 - £300 ($300 - $450)

    Look forward to what you suggest

    Thanks again in advance


    Ah, let's see, this power supply: http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/49138/Corsair-PSU-430W-430CX for £36 and this graphics card: http://www.microdirect.co.uk/home/product/48893/gigabyte-ati-radeon-hd-5770-1gb £117, totalling £153. Those components will max out your PC, no need to look for something more expensive.
  22. The PSU has 18A on the 12V+ rail, so a GT 240 would work fine.
  23. yummerzzz said:
    The PSU has 18A on the 12V+ rail, so a GT 240 would work fine.


    That's 216W. They have a 90W CPU, so CPU + GT 240 + hard drive consume up to 170W, that's 80% of what the power supply supposedly can supply, and remember the DVD drive might spin up during a game as well, adding up to 20W. I'd say this is pushing it, even for a certified brand power supply, let alone for a cheap OEM power supply. Yes, it might run for a while but don't be surprised when components start dying after a few months. The HD 6570, which is just as powerful as the GT 240 uses less power and would thus be safer, but the best thing to do would be buying a new power supply which would give a lot more headroom.
  24. Gulli said:
    That's 216W. They have a 90W CPU, so CPU + GT 240 + hard drive consume up to 170W, that's 80% of what the power supply supposedly can supply, and remember the DVD drive might spin up during a game as well, adding up to 20W. I'd say this is pushing it, even for a certified brand power supply, let alone for a cheap OEM power supply. Yes, it might run for a while but don't be surprised when components start dying after a few months. The HD 6570, which is just as powerful as the GT 240 uses less power and would thus be safer, but the best thing to do would be buying a new power supply which would give a lot more headroom.


    For what it's worth, I agree with this. For trouble-free operation and a degree of future-proofing, more power overhead is a good idea.
  25. Erm, Dell's PSU's are high (Enough) quality, and will live up to their standards, they have a max output of 22A, this is listed on the PSU, also, the HD 6570 does not come in PCI-E 2.0 IIRC, only PCI-E 2.1, his board is an old 0RY-206, Dell made Mobo, which hasn't had a BIOS update since 2008(?) and that was "Newer CPU Support", so there is a high chance it will have issues.. The Dell 300W is not a "Cheap OEM" PSU.
  26. yummerzzz said:
    Erm, Dell's PSU's are high (Enough) quality, and will live up to their standards, they have a max output of 22A, this is listed on the PSU, also, the HD 6570 does not come in PCI-E 2.0 IIRC, only PCI-E 2.1, his board is an old 0RY-206, Dell made Mobo, which hasn't had a BIOS update since 2008(?) and that was "Newer CPU Support", so there is a high chance it will have issues.. The Dell 300W is not a "Cheap OEM" PSU.


    You said it was 18A before, so which is it? Also, in the unlikely event PCI-E 2.1 would cause trouble, Sapphire makes PCI-E 2.0 HD 6570s.
  27. It is 18A, but has a combined output of 22A, search it up, it's kind of hard to explain, also my bad on the HD 6570 PCI-E 1.0 thing.
  28. yummerzzz said:
    It is 18A, but has a combined output of 22A, search it up, it's kind of hard to explain, also my bad on the HD 6570 PCI-E 1.0 thing.


    Right, 216W on the 12V rail, that means 80% of this capacity is utilized under heavy gaming with the 70W GT 240 (the CPU has a 90W TDP, hard drive adds 10W), even without the DVD drive spinning. I think that's pushing it, even with a gold certified power supply from Corsair or Seasonic and I would always advise against it. The 60W HD 6570 is doable, by *this* much, the 70W GT 240 pushes it just to far.
  29. Actually, it has a 65W TDP, it is the later model of "Windsor" architecture.
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