Std PCI video card for Dell Dimension e310
Hello. I recently got a Dell e310 that is 2.8Ghz P4 HT. It was free, and I would like to get it topped-off to give to my brother to play older games, i.e Half-Life, NFS series, Etc. Dell only gave you the option of getting a std pci video card for some odd reason, and was wondering what would be the best one available. Zotac made several that are DirectX 11, open GL 4 in the GeForce GT 430 , 520, and 610. There are others, but these were some I saw recently. Does anyone know which of the 3, (all 512mb cards), is the better overall card for gaming. I have checked, and cannot get a straight answer. This would have been easier if Dell have either a pci-e, or even an agp slot, but alas, no. I realize it is an older computer, but I already have a HD, and extra ram that I got quite reasonably, so if I can get a decent card at a decent price than he can have a little fun with it. Thanks in advance for your input.
You would be better off with of of these in that computer. According to Dell, the e310 has a PCIe x1 slot and it would perform better than a PCI GPU.
There are different variants of many older Dell products. On Newegg, there are several PCI GPUs as well. Any of the ones they have (or you asked about originally) would vastly outperform the on-board video in that Dell now.
I recommend you keep you costs to a minimum. It just isn't worth much (the Dell) when it comes down to it.
I agree with COLGeek you should keep the costs to a minimum with such an old outdated PC. But if your willing to read this whole post and do a little surgery on your computer I have a good trick to open up a lot more options to you.
I have an e310 which was collecting dust on a shelf until just recently. I also have an e510 that I recently upgraded and that left me with a bunch of hand me downs for my e310 including the Pentium 4 3.0Ghz CPU with hyper-threading a Maxtor 160 GB HDD and the OEM 305w PSU along with the OEM Radeon x600 PCIe card... problem is... no PCIe x16 slot on the e310 mobo as you know.
I did a lot of looking around on the net to see if there were any real good PCIe x1 GPU's out there and found about the same thing COLGeeks link suggested and absolutely nothing on ebay. It really bummed me out I couldn't put the left over Radeon into it so I did some looking for a pcie x1 to pcie x16 bus adapter... which there are a ton of for around 20 bucks or so from the various pc parts vendors online. Looking at that option I noticed that I would have to do some serious cutting or rearranging of the rear card slot mount of the e310 to make it work as it would add a bit of height to my card which is never good. I didn't want to spend $24 to find out it wouldn't even work.
A little more searching turned up a few people who had success cutting things to make PCIe x16 cards work in PCIe x1 slots... not very many mind you (2 to be exact). This kind of thing is really not recommended if this is your only PC, if you have no experience hardware hacking things or if you have a couple of hundred bucks to throw into the thing for parts anyways as you could just get a whole new PC with better specs and prospects for cheap.
But I am an adventurous spirit and wanted to know if my garbage could be put to some use... if I burned it up in the process it was trash anyways.
So here is the meat of this post.
I recommend you update the bios to the newest A04 rev from Dell before you do any of this. And you should probably also remove the mother board from the case for this operation. But if your a crazy nut-job like me you could just move what you need to out of the way. Oh and UNPLUG THE POWER!!! LOL
I cut the back of my PCIe x1 slot with a dremel. all I had to do was slice it following the slot so it left the back open and my x600 card could slip into it completely. Be sure to clean any debris out of the PCIe bus and anywhere else from the PC case completely of course. Theoretically this operation could be done with anything that will be able to cut through the back of the card slot but the dremel made this a real quick and painless operation... just be extra careful and sure you are not cutting into any pins from the card slot bus... that could be bad.
With this being done I had already put in and tested the P4 3.0Ghz CPU and the upgraded 305w PSU (the original was only a 230w!!!). So I shut her up and powered on and it worked! O_O
I installed all drivers and it worked perfectly. As good as it used to be in the old e510 even though the back like 40 pins or whatever were hanging over open space a few centimeters from the Mother Board.
That's one thing that I am extra careful with because there is not a full slot and of course no locking tab to provide extra support for the card. I haven't had any probs with it being jarred loose yet... I suppose the locking system on the back for the peripheral cards is sufficient under normal use.
Anyways that was the beginning... of the story. LOL
I did a lot of testing with stuff to make sure things were good and then I went to stage 2.
I have since installed a super cheap Radeon HD 4670 512 Mb PCIex16 2.0 card I scored off ebay. You could probably go with a higher spec card but I'm not too sure with the bandwidth of the x1 bus so I didn't.
Then installed Win7 x64. The difference is unbelievable... it runs as good as I think it can without any kind of OC'ing. The original Win XPx32 package with the same set up was nowhere even close in performance as what it is able to do now.
As I tend to go wacky with perfecting the absurd I installed the MSI Afterburner 3.0.0 Beta9 program and tweaked the GPU's core clock to 765Mhz and the memory clock to 1166Mhz. Not much... but better.
I am playing Fallout3, Race driver Grid, Battlefield 2, and COD4 Modern Warfare (all old games I know... but on an e310?!?) on medium to high settings some of them at the full 1280x1024@75hz on my Dell E196FP Monitor. Even with a few toned down settings I am getting tons better performance than the gray haired x600 could ever provide and playing games I never thought I could on this thing. So I brought this old box back from the dead for $22.00 and the cost of my upgrades to the e510 as most of the parts came from it anyways. This things been stored for about 2 yrs.
I wish I had saved my Passmark Benchmark rating when I took it then I could just post the link here... the baseline is #76253. If you download Passmark performance test 8.0 you can see the exact info from the test. you could even test your box and compare scores. I achieved a 460.7 overall passmark rating which is way above the standard Passmark rating of 363 for a 3.0GHz P4. The only other 2 Dell Dimension e310's listed did a 54.3 and a 150.0.
My basic Stats right now are:
Dell Dimension E310 0JC474 i915P/i915G mainboard Rev. B1 and 82801FB (ICH6) Southbridge Rev. 04
Win7 HomePremium x64
Pentium 4 630 3.0GHz Hyperthreading Processor
2GB RAM running at PC-2 3200@200MHz
Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670 512GB GDDR3 PCIe x16 2.0 running @ PCIe x1 link width
160GB Maxtor Hard Drive
My Win7 Windows Experience Index rating is 4.2 Processor, 6.8 for both graphics ratings, 4.9 RAM and 5.6 Hard Disk.
None of this is WOW in general for modern PC's. In fact it sux... but for what it is I'd say it's great. Been running Win7 about a week now no probs. Way faster then it ever was before.
Think I wrote a long enough book.
Hope this can help. And if your cutting apart stuff because of this... good luck!