Upgrading my Dell XPS 420 Graphics Card - Please Help

Hello all!

I'm new to the forum as of today, so a quick Hello! My name's Alex and i'm from the UK. I'm also relatively new to PC gaming, i've always been a console man, but i've always had a huge interest in PC's, so hopefully i have enough knowledge to give you so you can all share some answers :)

Basically, i've had a Dell XPS 420 system sat in my room for a fair few months just not being used. The reason being that i only really browsed the web and used iTunes, which i could do on my laptop.

I was looking to upgrade the Graphics Card from the stock ATI Radeon HD 3870, so i would be able to play new games on very high settings. Titles such as Crysis 2, RAGE and Battlefield 3.

I had a look inside my PC yesterday to have a look at everything, and the graphics card was hard to remove. I didn't want to break anything, so i left it be, but there is what appears to be a small blue bit of plastic hooked over a notch on the card itself. Will this move with just a push and then i can remove the card? I've looked everywhere on the internet for help with this, because obvioously, i can't upgrade my card if i can't remove the old one, but i can't find anything about it! :lol:

The specifications of my system are as follows:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 @ 2.33GHz
500GB Hard Drive
ATI Radeon HD 3870
375w Stock Dell PSU

I also have a 22" Acer LED monitor, with my desktop resoultion at 1280 x 800 (i think) and play games mostly at the same or a bit higher.

I know i will need to upgrade the PSU also to compensate for having a more powerful card.

What i want to know is, what card and PSU do you all recommend to be able to run games like Battlefield 3 on the highest spec? Because i feel the rest of my computer is fine, as at the moment i can run Battlefield 2: Bad Company on High at 1280x900 and Crysis on high at 1280x900, however, with crysis, very high settings decrease performance dramatically.

I've been looking at these two products so far, but i am welcome to any other recommendations. I would say my budget is around £200-£300 for a card and PSU.

Any help would be amazing.

Thanks in advance,

Alex Burton.
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  1. Hi greghome, thanks for the quick reply! :)

    The native resolution is 1920x1080, should i use this resolution instead of what i have now?

    The PSU i have at the moment is only a 375watt which won't power newer cards sufficiently, am i right in thinking that?

    Also, i did say i'd been looking at 2 products, but didn't post links, so here they are! :)

    Graphics Card:

    Power Supply Unit:

    Thanks again,

  2. I also forgot to mention, my OS is Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit.

    Would an upgrade to 7 increase performance or is it necessary, and is it cheap?


  3. I am also what the dimensions are of my current card. I can't find them anywhere on line, i guess i'll just have to measure them when i'm home and let you all know. I would love to be able to run Battlefield 3 smoothly on high/highest settings so any advice would help :)


  4. I've got an XPS 420 with Q6600 and the 425W PSU. I've upgraded it to an ASUS Radeon 6850 with the stock PSU. Here are my experiences:

    1) The service manual here (http://support.ap.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xps420/en/OM/HTML/parts.htm) describes the process of installing new PCI Express cards.
    2) The little blue tab can be pushed to one side, to free the card.
    3) There is also a card retention mechanism that comes with the XPS 420 - its the L-shaped blue plastic thing that swivels up from the floor of the case to the card.
    4) My new card did not let this retention mechanism close, so I removed it.
    5) My new card - despite being plugged in correctly - did not sit well with the card retention door that is present on the bottom rear right of the case, I had to use some force to close that, so I could put the lid back on.
    6) I chose the 6850 because my research indicated that anything more would result in games being CPU bound, and the fact that I didn't want to replace my PSU.
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