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Which graphics card can I put in my dell inspiron 5100

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 1, 2009 9:15:19 PM

I am trying to update my dell inspiron 5100. It has a pentium4 2.8 chip in it and a radeon 7500c card with it. I need to know which type of card and what size I need so I dont burn out my mother board or my power supply.
a b D Laptop
December 1, 2009 10:18:30 PM

To put this in short:
You can't upgrade it.
December 2, 2009 1:53:00 AM

Thanks frozenlead, but I am slightly confused. The card that is in it is an upgrade, so the card can be changed. Are you telling me the radeon 7500 is the biggest that will go in it? Is there anything else I can do? Change the motherboard?
BTW, I like the tutorial on dismantling the laptops....
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a b D Laptop
December 2, 2009 4:20:04 AM

It's a bit complex.

The 7500 is a really, really old card. Any card you get which may fit in it won't be worth the cost and time in trying to actually find it and pay for it. The 7500 is AGP, and AFAIK, the last AGP notebook card ATI made was the mobility 9700. That's a pretty massive jump - and I'm pretty sure the two won't be compatible; the 9700 was only available in Dell's XPS series (back when XPS was only badged on the 3" thick performance models).

The 9700 is a performance card, whereas the 7500 was not. That really perturbs my thoughts on the two being compatible.

Even if you did upgrade it...the 9700 isn't good for..well..anything nowadays. You can play the sims on it, perhaps some older games if you want, but that's about it.

Changing the motherboard is a massively difficult task that I wouldn't try on with any notebook. There's absolutely nothing that guarantees the board will fit in your chassis, at all. Period.

IMO, you're better off saving money to get a new machine than trying to upgrade the old girl. It's better spent time and money, and you'll get much better performance out of it. If you had the desktop equivalent of this notebook, I'd probably recommend the same thing.
a b D Laptop
December 2, 2009 2:19:34 PM

I agree with Rodney and Frozen. You are going to spend a lot of time and money trying to upgrade a machine that will still be out performed by some of the cheaper laptops on the market. Save your money and just replace it.
December 7, 2009 12:14:49 PM

In a nutshell, unemployed and back to college in Jan. I only have about 400 to spend on something. I can get a dell lattitude 620 with the 2.0 duo core and a Intel 945gm video card, is this a big improvement? Is that something I can update even further at a later date? Sorry, but trying to do this and keep my family of four fed.....
December 7, 2009 1:28:27 PM

I've worked on these beasts. Your upgrade path is ATI 7500 with 64 or NV34 (FX5200) with 64. Somewhere around $70 or less for these things.

Not worth it.

For $400 you could grab a T42 or T43 (p preferably). Which is definitely an upgrade to the bulky, heavy hot 5100 / 5150.

Then again, wouldn't it be better to save the $400 for something else more pressing? If the laptop still works, it still works. I would pay off a credit card or put it in my emergency fund or something like that.
November 1, 2012 8:53:08 PM

FWIW: I salvaged one of these from a local recycle center and it's a decent machine.

RAM:
I installed 1 gig of ram (2x512) for free with salvaged parts. I have read that if you do a bios update you can go to gigs (2x1gb). I didn't go this route because this machine doesn't see much use.

Hard Drive:
I ordered a hard drive caddy for $3 on ebay, and installed a salvaged 60 gig drive.

VIDEO:
I got a 64mb ATI radeon on ebay for $15 with free shipping and it works marvelously. I get better resolutions and less skipping with this upgrade than before with the 16mb card.

Network:
Haven't upgraded the wireless yet, though it is definitely the weak link on this machine. It is only A&B bands... so it's pretty slow. Might take out the installed card and just run a 54mb/sec PC card. You can get one for $15 these days.

Processor:
Thought about it... can get a used one on ebay for $10-$20 with free shipping... just not sure if it's worth it. Thsi would be the last thing I'd upgrade on this machine.


I don't play games with this machine, so I can't tell you what it will/won't run... mostly it is used as a tertiary machine in my house for watching netflix, or movies off the NAS when I'm in the kitchen. If I spill something on it, I'm out a total of $30 (the power cable I ordered was $10 on ebay) anjd a few hours of my life... so for what it is I am very happy with it.

If you can come up with another $200 in your budget, look at the ACER 7750-6669g. It was $650 when I bought one new last year and it is an amazing machine for the money (a comparable dell or lenovo would have run me over $1000... I got mine for $600 plus shipping). I used to be a namebrand guy when it came to computers... not anymore... I've had 2 HP's crap out on me in the last 2 years, but that ACER is still going strong after 20 months. If it doesn't die, it will be a machine I can use for anything (even gaming) for the next 3-5 years (i5, lots ram headroom, 1 gig dedicated radeon video, dual hard drive bays, dvd burner, blue ray optional, etc etc etc). There are probably newer versions out this year for the same price... go take a peek.

If you're just looking to extend the life of the Dell you have, the video upgrade is possible for less than $20, then I'd upgrade the ram (2 gigs with the bios update), and the wireless (with a PC card).

One last parting thought... have you gone to the local recycle center that takes "e-waste" and asked if they'll let you pick through their bins. You could probably piece together a decent dual-core system for free. I have salvaged 4 systems with monitors, and keyboards. I had to buy ram, and a hard drive ... but I was only out $100 total and had a working machine that would run win7-64 bit like a champ. You may have to go back a few times to get lucky. My current desktop is a junk-yard special that I invested $300 into and it gets a 6.9 (sata II hard drives are "slow") on the win 7 experience scale and I run games on it all day long.

Well, I guess you got $1.25 instead of just 2 cents... hope it was helpful.
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