Inspiron 545 upgrade - help appreciated



Dell Inspiron 545 Minitower
Memory 4096MB Dual Channel DDR2 800MHz [4x1024] Memory
Monitor 21.5in S2209W Full HD Widescreen Black UK/Irish (1920 x 1080)
Video Card 512MB ATI® Radeon™ HD 4350 graphics card
Hard Drive 640GB (7200rpm) SATA Hard Drive
Microsoft Operating System Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium with Service Pack 1, 32-bit - English
Processor Intel® Core™ 2 Quad-Core Q8200 Processor (2.33GHz, 4MB cache, 1333MHz FSB)

PSU: unsure, research seems to suggest that 300W is standard with the 545.

I'm looking to upgrade my graphics card and, if I'm forced to, my PSU.

I've researched as much as I can and I've narrowed it down to the Radeon HD 6670, 7750 or 7770 (thanks to the budget guides on this site). I could afford any, though I'd rather not spend extra unnecessarily (bearing in mind the game I want to run, see below).

My questions are:

1. Could ANY of those cards run on my current PSU? Since not having to spend £50 on a new good quality PSU would be a huge advantage in favour of the card(s) that could manage without. I understand that officially they all need 400W+, but I've also read many accounts saying that some/all can be run with 300W. How much of a risk am I making if I just try it out without upgrading the PSU? Will it do irreparable damage or would it be a case of "Oh, that doesn't work, guess I'd better buy a new PSU after all"?

2. Besides the PSU, are there any factors I am forgetting that might prevent me from using any of these cards in my current rig. My biggest fear is spending over £100 and then finding out I can't use it. Do I need to worry about the size of the cards fitting in my case? Do I need to worry if they'll work with any other components, motherboard etc? If so can you tell from my specs if they'd work?

3. If I must buy a new PSU, which would you recommend for those cards? I understand these aren't the sort of things you should buy poor, cheap versions of.

4. I'm really upgrading to play the new WoW expansion, Mists of Panderia (requ system settings here: I'd happily pay extra to play it on max settings, would any of the cards here distinguish themselves playing this game on max, or would they all do so fine (or, alternatively, all fail to run it on max) in which case I'd just stick with the cheapest.

Finally, you are all awesome people for helping!


3 answers Last reply
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  1. 1. Both HD 7750 and HD 6670 can run on your power supply without any problems. HD 7770, however, requires a 6-pin power connector, so it really depends whether your power supply has it or not (open up the case to confirm).

    2. Everything should be fine.

    3. If you want to go with HD 7770 (which is significantly more powerful than the other two), I'd recommend this one, it's cheap for its quality and is a solid unit with efficiency certifications (and comes from a good brand):

    4. They should run WoW on pretty high settings, but I doubt you will be able to max it out due to your CPU, since WoW is known to be CPU bound.
  2. Thanks Sun, really helpful response. Would it be completely safe getting the 7750 then? Or would you recommend getting a new PSU nonetheless (in which case I may as well get the 7770).

    Also, if i do upgrade the PSU, are these pretty much still the top cards available to me with the rest of my system?
  3. No way they that top cards at all. It all depends on how much you want to spent. But for up to £110, HD 7770 is the best card you can get.

    If you can afford HD 7770 and a new power supply, you should really go for it - not only you'll get significantly better performance than with HD 7750, but also getting a quality power supply unit will mean that you do not have to worry about generic non branded unit in your PC starting a fire :).
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