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Upgrading the GPU of a Dell Dimension 9150 bought in 2006

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November 26, 2012 12:45:56 PM

Hello everyone!
I'm slightly stuck with the issue of making the best of what I have with my wife's 6 year old computer. I would like to make it run a little better. The system's specs are as follows:

Model: Dell Dimension 9150
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.4Ghz
Mobo: Dell 0FJ030
Memory: currently 2048MB (but has two more slots available, which I also plan to upgrade, making that 4GB)
Current GPU: NVidia Geforce 6800 256-bit
Power supply: was changed through the years to a 550W
OS: Win XP
Usage: my wife's a hardcore Sims 3 fan :) ) ; also the regular internet browsing
Budget: 80-100$
I'm not interested in a certain website, since I don't live in the US. I would just like some advice on a good card that answers my biggest problem: the compatibility with my (quite old) system.

I did find an interesting card, a Radeon HD6670, but I'm not sure about the compatibility...
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2012 1:42:40 PM

when shopping for a card you have to be concerned with the port to make sure it will be compatible with your older system. its gonna be pci, agp, or pci express
November 26, 2012 1:53:01 PM

Thank for the answer!
I'm not really concerned with the port, but with the version of the port. My current card is connected via a PCIexpress v1 port, but I have noticed that newer cards use PCIexpress v2 ports, or even v3.
I'm afraid that even if the card proves to be compatible with my system, the port might bottleneck its performance and the card wouldn't be able to reach its full potential.
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2012 1:59:51 PM

^^ the 6800 is pci-e (first gen),

That CPU is not good.

get a core series that will fit in... it's a 1066 you can go as high as a q6700 maybe). this list tells you that it supports 1066:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim9150/e...

As for the GPU make sure it is no later than PCI-E v2.0 otherwise there are known issues....

If you can find a cheap 4850 or 4870 it is probably the best you can handle and will give you a significant improvement on what you have there...
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2012 2:01:58 PM

Tell me what country and I will try to find you a deal.... Ebay will be your friend.
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2012 2:33:38 PM

Yeah a Pentium-4 is a very old CPU it could become a bottleneck in certain applications. But if you use the PC just for web browsing and the only game she plays is the SIMS 3 I guess it will still get the job done for a while and changing the video card will definitely help boosting the performance for her gaming. Yes the Radeon 6670 would probably be the best choice for your system. I wouldn't recommend anything above it because of the potential CPU bottleneck so it's probably the best card you can get for this system. Don't worry about the fact that the card is PCI-Express 3.0 it's backward compatible so it will work in a PCI-E 1.0 slot. Your power supply also have enough power, the 6670 doesn't draw a lot of power so you're ok.
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2012 3:04:19 PM

I heard people having problems with some 2.0 and 2.1 cards in 1.0 slots, but I thought they'd solve that by now with 3.0 cards. By the way, 4850 and 4870 are 2.0 so I am wondering if he doesn't risk having more problems with those than a 3.0 (never heard of anyone having issues with 3.0 cards in older generation slots). Keep in mind that the 4850 requires 1 x 6-pin PCI-E power connector and the 4870 requires 2. But since he already replaced his power supply I guess he should be ok, but still something to check before buying the card.
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2012 5:26:53 PM

^^ This man knows his stuff. I believe it was from 2.1 that they were no longer backwards compatible to 1.0...

see this link:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/349738-15-will-pcie...

I think 2.0 to 1.0 has not had reported problems...That is why I suggested that particular range of cards.
November 27, 2012 9:20:15 AM

Thank you very much for the advice!

I know Pent 4 is quite obsolete, but I wouldn't really go as far as replacing that as well, because one thing leads to another and I would most probably end up rebuilding the system from scratch! I just want to give the old guy a boost.

I realize I haven't shared enough info about the GPU I had my eye on: it's a Gigabyte Radeon HD6670 1GB DDR3 128-bit GPU that uses a PCI Express x16 2.1 port.

Should I go ahead and purchase it or should I find a better option (mostly in terms of compatibility and maximum performance on this particular system)?

Thanks a lot, again!
a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 10:00:22 AM

The 4850 is 2 tiers better in terms of performance and you can pick them up for cheap on ebay.

Also due to the pci-e v2.0 it should be more likely to work without issue...
November 27, 2012 10:20:50 AM

I've poked around some more and came up with another option:a Sapphire Radeon HD6570 2GB DDR3 128-bit which also connects via a PCIe v2.0 port.
Wouldn't this be better than the 4850?
a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 10:42:52 AM

No, it is worse than the 6670.

I linked to the hierarchy chart already in my previous post. The closer to the top it is the better it is....

The 6570 is 4 tiers below the 4850.
November 27, 2012 11:17:45 AM

The reason I don't particularly like the idea of getting the 4850 is that I'll be buying from local shops, not ebay (since the shipping and import charges sum up to approximately 55$, more than the card itself). The 4850 is currently unavailable in the shop I'd like to buy my card from.

Another reason why I am slightly against the 4850 is because, like I said before, I am upgrading the computer for my wife who plays the sims 3, so I take into account the card that best supports this particular game.

http://simswiki.info/wiki.php?title=Game_Help:TS3_Syste...

According to the table in this link the 4850 is inferior to both the 6670 and 6570 (i'm only talking about its performance in this game).

Not trying to step on any toes here...


a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 11:25:45 AM

The "4800" in the table has 1 maybe. and all the rest says YES. Not a very useful looking table to me. The 4770 has a full YES and it is based on exactly the same instruction sets but with less power.

It is in no way inferior to those cards in ANY game. period.

As to availability do you have a local craigslist/gumtree equivalent. Does your country not have an ebay or similar?
November 27, 2012 11:33:28 AM

I did find 2 versions for this 4850: the 512 mb and 1gb
Would the 1gb have an edge over the 512mb, taking the rest of the system into consideration?
a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 12:27:57 PM

512 realistically is fine. 1Gb if it is no more expensive, but do not pay extra.

Sorry about earlier, I was getting hungry and grumpy.
November 28, 2012 11:01:34 AM

Ok, thanks for the good advice! I shall go for the 512 since it is much cheaper.
And no problem about earlier, hipoglycemia can strike quite hard :) )
!