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Dell E521 - Questions about video card upgrades for this machine.

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December 31, 2010 8:46:50 PM

I have a Dell Dimension E521 here are my specs:

O.S. - XP Profession 32-bit SP3, came with Vista (but we all know Vista sucks!)

CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+

Ram - 4.0GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 350 MHz 5-5-5-18

Mobo - Dell Inc 0UW457 (Socket M2)

Graphics - 512MB Geforce 8400 GS (nVidia)

Hard Drives - 500GB (Master), and 1TB (Slave) (1 TB was on sale and couldn't
pass it up back then)

Network - D-Link AirPlus G DWL-G510 Wireless PCI Adapter(rev.B)

**************************

Now my question is what can I upgrade, with my specs as is, that would make my PC better with what's out there that isn't going to break the bank??? I know more than your average user, and work on PC's on the side in my hometown. I would greatly appreciate the help/tips/advice that anyone would be willing to give me.
January 1, 2011 8:27:22 PM

This topic has been moved from the section Opinions and Experiences to section Computer Brands by Buwish
January 10, 2011 6:28:51 PM

Darth Sugo said:
(but we all know Vista sucks!)

No we don't. You are wrong. Vista works very well and a lot of reviews have confirmed that.
Related resources
February 6, 2011 7:53:49 AM

also looking for build recommendations on a E521 upgrade, getting freezes and blue screens from streaming netflix video

2GB ram, 80GB 7200 (option when i bought it) are only changes from stock

CPU upgrade and video card upgrade seem to be standard path, would prefer not to alter power supply

running XP pro, have read it utilizes 3GB RAM max, should i just add one more stick?

would love to have a two hard drive (RAID?) system, looks like there's plenty of room in the machine. don't know if power supply needs to be factored in with adding drives

any suggestions on the specific components to add?

February 19, 2011 9:07:56 AM

so far have gotten the gt240 and a hard drive

can't find the brisbane chips through searches, what are some vendors that carry them? ive found some for about 90 bucks but they don't seem to mention whether brisbane or windsor

with windows 7 student discount (professional upgrade version 78 dollars w/disc), will the upgrade disc be enough for me to install on the new hard drive? - i searched and seems answer is Yes
-was planning on sticking with XP, but my disc is cracked and won't load on boot, but i can access it within windows explorer. any way to format the new drive like this?

how's this: http://bargainsherpas.com/AMD-Athlon-64-X2-5800-Brisban...
or should i be matching the 6000+ with the 240 gt?
February 19, 2011 1:09:35 PM

ok, went with the 5800+

windows 7 32 bit not 64 bit? i see 32 on your build (motherboard determines this?)

harddrive i got: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
was thinking about this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $10 more, reviews say it's faster and louder
was leaning toward no RAID now, maybe adding it in the future. don't have much must-save data

what about this for memory upgrade: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
any better/cheaper options?
February 19, 2011 2:54:39 PM

scrap current RAM and get two new sticks to make it 4gb total. did a check on current and it read 233 mhz or something (too low?)

already received the hitachi, should i return? have to return a stick of memory anyway. have never had a drive fail personally

what are the advantages of a velociraptor? i could do the 150gb/$100 + return hitachi if it's worth it. would 300gb recert 106 be a better play? only 90 day warrantee compared to 5 year

& just to be sure i should get the 32 bit win 7 or 64? same price microsoft site makes me select one of the two, which should i take?
February 20, 2011 3:09:12 PM

i could but i do like the price at $35 post-rebate, what are the downsides of palit?
February 20, 2011 5:23:20 PM

i was glad the card fit - though i had to remove the bracket - cause i bought i think an 8600 two years ago that i couldn't put in cause of the casing/dell box

ok just pulled trigger on 4gb memory and recert 300gb velociraptor

thanks for all guidance, will keep you posted, was reading your cpu swap guide: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/291533-28-swap-dell-c... will i be needing that thermal compound? i didn't order any

you have any experience with dell inspiron 9100 notebook? cpu was always going crazy/overheating and monitor died on me in under two years
February 20, 2011 6:04:43 PM

updated to 1.1.11 last week after reading that thread, may have used the flash, the .exe was very small, bios seems updated though

9100 tag is 6MT7R51. my emails say i sent it to dell for repair once when still under warranty but i can't remember for what

March 11, 2011 1:58:32 AM

update: got harddrive, new memory, windows 7 a while ago, installed all, work fine (cannot run 1080p files though, might need the new cpu?)

bought the cpu three weeks ago but tek-micro hasnt sent it. instead they raised the price on it after i bought it, and now are refusing to send it at the price i bought it. have been in contact with customer service, unfortunately they seem to be outsourced to india
March 12, 2011 8:48:26 PM

If you already accepted their offer at the lower price you have a contract and they cannot legally force you to pay the higher amount.

I suggest that you report their actions to the Better Business Burea, Attorney General's Office in your state, and Nextag (since the advertise they are a 5 star seller there). Also point out the delay in order fullfilment.

Also - do any of your local media have an ombusdsman or shopping helper?
March 13, 2011 5:48:28 AM

thanks for the help, just filled out a BBB complaint online. after submitting a vociferous rant after their response to my polite inquiry, i finally received an email friday claiming the product had been processed and sent to shipping, and that i'd receive a specific update in 24hr. it's 36hr now and i've gotten no update and order status on the site hasnt changed
March 16, 2011 5:09:39 PM

Desmond? You there? Come back.
Has order status been updated?
March 19, 2011 8:31:08 AM

no order status update, no info update via email or site message. called them again thursday, got through, one line the guy dropped on the phone, verbatim or almost verbatim: "you don't actually still want us to fulfill the order do you?" i said yes, he said he'd call me back with an update. haven't heard back, of course.

got email from better business bureau earlier in the week saying they had submitted the claim

considering calling cc company and having the charge canceled, but id still rather just receive the product i bought
March 21, 2011 4:19:21 PM

No, don't give in to their abusive sales practices.

Since you have already laid out the facts in the email to the BBB, copy it and update to latest facts - including a copy of the email from them saying your order had been processed - and put into emails to your state Attorney Generals office, the FTC, and AMD, with copies of all to Tek-Micro.

April 5, 2011 10:42:36 AM

yesterday, a week after calling the card company to cancel the charge and several weeks after filing the BBB claim (got an email response from BBB saying tek-micro didn't respond to it), i finally received cpu. i was rather surprised (was also surprised that it was shipped from some random dude in massachusetts, zero mention of the company on the package). 7 weeks total since i ordered, i believe, easily the longest i've ever had to wait.

have a question (malmetal), cpu came with a syringe of thermal substance called 'thermal grease' and branded 'www.halnziye.com'. is it advisable or ok to use this syringe, or should i go ahead and by the arctic silver stuff suggested earlier?
April 6, 2011 1:35:08 PM

photos in this thread:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/234174-29-application...

just a line of thermal compound on cpu, then screw on the heatsink? is this satisfactory? in the cpu swap thread there's rumor of a 'spread' method

also should leave the computer off post-thermal application for a certain duration for it to 'bind' or may i use the computer normally
May 19, 2011 9:11:19 PM

my computer seems not to recognize my dvd drive, so ive gone to the dell site to download driver/firmware:

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.a...

do you know which one i need to download? on my order invoice this is all it says on the dvd category:
16X DVD-Rom Drive

and there seem to be multiple 16x dvd's on that dell list
May 20, 2011 4:31:20 AM

everything is good - new cpu occasionally runs a bit loud compared to old one, but definite performance increase in video playback, no choppyness now. almost ripped out a tiny heat sink on my mobo when installing it, didn't realize the cpu heatsink was so big.

i think dvdr drive may have been a false alarm, though it doesn't appear on my branch tree in windows explorer, only on the right side in 'my computer.' maybe a windows 7 thing
May 20, 2011 4:55:40 AM

OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600
System Model Dimension E521
System Type x64-based PC
Processor AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5800+, 3000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 4.00 GB
Available Physical Memory 2.54 GB
Total Virtual Memory 8.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 6.28 GB


unfortunately i can't register my windows 7 on microsoft's site, a conflict between 'upgrade version' i got and clean install i installed it with. windows xp dvd was cracked, so i couldn't have upgrade-installed if i tried, though i wouldn't have bothered anyway
May 20, 2011 5:46:03 AM

how do i calculate those scores?

good to know that activation is an option, but i'd rather not reinstall again as i've already gotten comfortable on this computer the last couple of months. i probably should have said something about it when i installed, but for the first month or so i didn't notice anything wrong, and in fact i had thought i had registered it online. nowadays i have a perpetual 'this copy of windows is pirated' or whatever it says popup window coming up despite it not being pirated
September 3, 2011 8:20:59 PM

You put 2x2GB of memory in an e521? I thought it only supported 1gb sticks. Wow, wish I would have know that it would support 2x2gb.
September 4, 2011 7:29:39 PM

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