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Opinions/Help: Upgrading 2 Dell Inspiron 620S

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January 31, 2013 1:19:27 AM

Hi, all. Lurking Tom'sHW for 10,000 years now and have been able to get any questions answered simply by searching; I finally have to post since I have a question with a few angles.

I am bringing home TWO Dell Inspiron 620S from the office to use at home. Yeah, they're old, but they were almost never used and are just about pristine. These are slim-tower units with small, 250w PSUs. My intent is to use them for general purposes including browsing, vid watching, very light photo editing, etc. I don't play any "hot", current, graphics-intensive games, but do play some light-on-graphics strategy games such as Crusader Kings II, Hearts of Iron III, and some old, lower-end single-person games such as ES-Oblivion. But that's about it. No heavy hitters like CoD, DeadSpace 3, Diablo III, etc. These two PCs are identical and critical specs are shown below:

OS: Win7 64-bit (SP1)
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 @ 3.10Ghz (SB 32nm)
RAM: 4GB dual-chan DDR3 @ 665MGz
Graphics: onboard Intel HD Graphics Family
HD: 500GB Seagate ST3500413AS (SATA-III)
PSU: 250 Watt TFX12V

Now I totally realize that spending nearly any amount of money on upgrades to these units will likely be money best thrown at a new PC. But (!!) I also have access to the following parts available from my office:
  • NVIDIA GeForce 210 GPU 1 GB 64-Bit DDR3 SDRAM Memory Low profile Graphic Card (Model: 01G-P3-1312-LR)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS GPU 1 GB 64-Bit DDR3 Memory Low Profile Ready Video Card (Model: 01G-P3-1302-LR)
  • Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB SATA 3.0 (3 Gb/s) - Internal Hard Drive (WDBAAY0010HNC)
  • Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB SATA 3.0 (3 Gb/s) IntelliPower 3.5" Desktop Internal Hard Drive (WDBAAY0020HNC)
  • Western Digital® Caviar® Black™ 1TB SATA Desktop Hard Drive (WDBAAZ0010HNC)
  • More compatible RAM to make 8GB on each PC (I'd have to buy this, though)
    The basis for my question essentially revolves around the PSU. I already know that vid cards require a certain amount of juice to function, but I'm unaware whether or not the same is true for more RAM, larger HD, etc. Assuming I'm NOT going to upgrade the PSU, here are my questions:

    1. Will any of the aforementioned vidcards work with the the limited, 250w onboard PSUs? If so, which one would be best (i.e., the 210 or the 8400)?
    2. Can I upgrade the RAM to 8GB without affecting the power requirements for #1?
    3. Can I upgrade to any of the Hard Drives mentioned without affecting the power requirements for #1 and #2?


    If anyone can answer these questions, I'd be much obliged! Again, the only thing I'd be shelling out for is extra memory and that wouldn't be too much of an outlay for these two almost completely-unused machines. Thanks for reading.

    Regards,

    T.J.
    February 1, 2013 4:30:54 PM

    Let me try to answer, your questions a bit complicated. First of all Dell PSUs are generally underrated!

    GeForce 210. Similar Inno3D GeForce 210 512 MB maximum power consumption is 13 watt http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Inno3D/GeForce_210/2...
    Also, take a look here for an extra confirmation http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120204103...

    GeForce 8400 GS. According to WIKI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_8_Series#GeForce_8...
    Go to the Technical Summary chart max power consumption is 25-38 watt depending on the chip.

    If comparing those 2 cards - they are almost the same http://www.hwcompare.com/882/geforce-8400-gs-512mb-vs-g...
    However, the G210 is newer so may be supported longer with driver updates, etc.

    RAM upgrade would not affect your PSU that much, because it is within recommended limits.

    HDDs generally do not draw much power - under 10 watts.

    I just used Power Supply Calculator http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine with 210 it is around 201 watt maximum, so you passing.

    I hope I understood your questions properly.

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    February 2, 2013 12:53:03 AM

    Much obliged kisianik. Thanks for the clear explanations for all aspects of my question. A similar post I made in the graphics cards forum supported yours as well regarding the G210 being a better choice. Thanks again for all your help!
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