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Graphics card upgrade for my computer? Or new computer?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 26, 2012 9:12:43 PM

Hello everyone. I have a dell XPS 420 computer and I am looking to upgrade my graphics card so that I can play Diablo 3 and Guild wars 2 on high graphics when they come out. My question is - can I upgrade my graphics card? And if so - what would be my best option in terms of compatability and power? I have roughly a 1000 dollar budget and these are my some of my computer specs, feel free to ask for any information I lack. :( 

1. Through diagnostics it says my computer has a typical power of 130 W / Max 160. However, the power supply in my computer says it can go 375 max W.
2. ATi Radeon XT 2600 PCI-E graphics card
3. Intel Core 2 Quad CPU @ 2.4 Ghz
4. 3 GB of ram
5. 32 bit operating system

Information about system slots:

Slot 1:

Slot Designation PEG
Type PCI-E x1
Usage In Use
Data Bus Width x16
Length Long

Slot 2:

Slot Designation SLOT1
Type PCI
Usage Empty
Data Bus Width 32-bit
Length Long

Slot 3:

Slot Designation SLOT3
Type PCI-E x1
Usage Empty
Data Bus Width x4
Length Long

Slot 4:

Slot Designation SLOT4
Type PCI-E x1
Usage In Use
Data Bus Width x1
Length Long

Slot 5:

Slot Designation SLOT5
Type PCI
Usage In Use
Data Bus Width 32-bit
Length Long

Slot 6:

Slot Designation SLOT6
Type PCI
Usage Empty
Data Bus Width 32-bit
Length Long

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 9:33:02 PM

If it's in a prebuilt case... I'd say definitely to build a new one. Send me a PM if you need help with the build.
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 9:41:15 PM

If you have 1k to spend you should just build a computer. Get a nice HD7970 and you would be good to go. Any questions or concerns feel free to ask.
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April 26, 2012 9:43:08 PM

Haha! Sweet, you guys reply pretty quickly. I appreciate that - so then let me ask two new questions:

If I could get a new graphics card with under 400 dollars, which would you recommend for my current cpu?

And...if I were to go about building my own computer - what base do I start with? o.o

Thank you for your replies guys! :) 
a b U Graphics card
April 26, 2012 10:05:52 PM

Need 9 things total. Intel is a good platform to work with.

intel 2500k
z77 mobo
good corsair/seasonic/antec Power supply 600ish
copy of windows
8gb RAM
DVD/RW drive
Computer case

For graphics card under 400$ the HD7870 is the best in the price bracket. A 7950 will do as well if you can pick up one when it's price fluctuates below 400.

Lastly you would need a Hard drive.

I would suggest a SSD 64-90gb as a boot drive and a regular 7200rpm 500gb-1tb HDD for storage/other programs. You can get by with one or the other but price per GB is much higher for an SSD.

April 27, 2012 6:51:13 AM

Would the HD 7870 / 7950 work with the computer I currently have?
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 27, 2012 8:59:04 AM

Yes on the 7870, not totally sure on the 7950. Either would be overkill considering your CPU.

Usually for a stock Q6600 its suggested to stay around the 5770/GTX550. Should be good enough for those games. You won't be able to max them out but they will be more then playable.
April 27, 2012 6:09:02 PM

So which graphics card would you recommend for my current computer?
And whatever graphics card is recommended, could you also recommend a site that sells the graphics card most compatible with my current computer? I'm eager to upgrade! :) 
Thank you all for all of this helpful advice. I'm really amazed with the community here. :) 
a c 164 U Graphics card
April 28, 2012 1:05:29 AM

stay around the 5770/GTX550.

Best solution

April 28, 2012 4:21:25 AM

Build a PC!

You can def do it if you reused some of the parts from your current PC.

Re-use the: CD/DVD $30-39.99, Hard-Drive (as storage) $79.99, Monitor ~$100.00, Mouse + Keyboard $45-60, could probably re-use the OS but since you'll be pushing 8GB ram you'll want to run 64Bit OS.

There you go you've saved minimum $250

If you have a microcenter in your area I would shop there for your motherboard + CPU combo as they have really good deals on them (usually $40-50 bucks on a bundle deal, sometimes more, up to $69.99)

Do you want to SLI in the future? If not you can go with a Micro ATX board which will be significantly less than a standard ATX board and save you about $30-$45 bucks depending on what bells and whistles you want in a MOBO (don't care to use the USB 3.0 in front of the case? Then get a board that doesn't support it, bam instant savings lol). <---- seriously though!


CPU - AMD Phenom II X6 (series 1000 area) / 1045 cost $99.99 @ Microcenter (it'll perform well enough for your needs and save you $ rather than going with a Intel chip. Nothing against Intel I'm just recommending savings). If you want you can go down to a Phenom II X4 BE (Black Edition) and save a little more on only 4 cores over 6. You can always up the speed by overclocking it. I would stay away from the FX series of AMD chips - performance is not there
MOTHERBOARD ASRock 970 EXTREME3 - $89.99 (both do not have front USB 3.0 support)
MOTHERBOARD *If wanting to SLI with @2x16* ASRock 990 EXTREME3 - 129.99 (both do not have front USB 3.0 support)
RAM - get @ least 8gb with $60 budget & make sure you choose something on the manufacturer qualified list to save yourself from future headaches. 1333 speed for 1st board / up to 1866 for 2nd board
SSD (BOOT DRIVE) - 32GB Kingstone - $59.99 / 44.99 after rebate (use this to install your OS and watch it boot up and shut down fast as lightning!)
STORAGE DRIVE = re-use your previous HD. Everything other than installing the OS goes here
CASE = Budget it between $80.00-$100.00 Antec NineHundred or Carbide 400R are good choices (there are a lot of other options just look for something with lots of holes in the tray for wire management) = Antec 900 (OVER 5k 5 EGG REVIEWS) - Corsair Carbide 400

POWAAA SUPPLY - $69.99 - $120.00 This can be tricky (not really) but depending if you want to SLI in the future or not you may not need a top end power supply. Also do you want full modular support (do you want to be able to only connect the necessary plugs needed? This is especially nice for wire management and case cleanliness). Full modular supplies are more costly than none full modular.
OS -Windows Home Prem 64 Bit $99.99

Now you have aprox $391.00 where you can ask the people on these boards for help and recommendations on a video card. You can get a good GPU for $260-$$310 that'll suit your needs easily. You can also get an aftermarket CPU cooler to keep your CPU cooler which will open more opportunities for overclocking.

Also the reason why I suggested and AMD Phenom chip over Intel is once again price. You can spring for a 2500k but it'll cut $80 into your savings and may increase the price on your motherboard (not likely but could). You said you wanted to play Diablo 3 and that is GPU intensive. I'm not sure what type of hog Guild Wars is.
a b U Graphics card
April 28, 2012 4:30:53 AM

canabalize your current parts as phisyfeet says if you want to get the most out of your money and create a good gaming rig with WIN 7. But if you follow my suggestion stated earlier and you have $1000 to spend, it is imperative that you build your computer. DO IT! lol

If you really just want to upgrade you'd just need a good brand 600w PSU(possibility of lower wattage depending on quality). And the gfx card. If anything goes haywire in the process just look at it as a great opportunity to build a computer.

P.S. Build it! Cheers.
May 8, 2012 1:37:10 AM

Best answer selected by takatogg.