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Dell Dimension 8300 Graphics Card Upgrade

By jmohsin
Sep 4, 2007
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi all -- I have a Dell Dimension 8300:

    Intel Pentium 4
    CPU 2.6 GHz
    2.00 GB of RAM
    80GB Harddrive

    Currently I have an nVidia GeForce FX 5200 graphics card but I want to upgrade. I do a fair amount of gaming, not a great deal but I do enjoy a higher performance, I also recently got BioShock which I was looking forward too but requires a higher performance card.

    Does anyone have any idea on what cards would be compatible with my system and any recommendations on what would be the best fit. I do tend to prefer nVidia cards but am in no way constrained by that. I'm happy to spend a little more for that added performance, I would rather get something better now and not have to upgrade again for a while.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Your psu (power supply unit) will undoubtedly be the limiting factor. Dell psu's are NOT among the best by far. They also use their own wiring so you cant just buy any old psu and throw it in.
     
  3. jmohsin

    jmohsin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's what I was afraid of. Do you have any recommendations? Is there any additional information that I can provide that might help?
     
  4. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    You could have a look at the label on the psu to see if it lists how many amps it supplies on the +12v rail.

    I have wiring diagrams for both dell and standard psu's. it looks to be possible to re-wire a standard one to work on a dell. I have never tried it tho. I wouldn't recommend you try it unless you are 100% sure of what you are doing as getting it wrong will undoubtedly cause damage.
     
  5. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    You have no idea what your talking about.
     
  6. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Making a statement like that and not explaining what you mean is of no help to anyone whatsoever.
     
  7. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    Your power supply is either 250w or 305w, can't help you there you have to look at the label on your psu.
    You have an AGP 8x slot
    I would suggest a 7600GT, either psu could handle this. If you have the 305w you could do better. I have the 305w (22amps) in my system and run a 8600GT at the moment. You could go as high as a 8600GT or 7950GT with the 305w. 250w stick with a 7600GT if you go that way. Here's a link for your manual:
    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim8300/sm/index.htm
     
  8. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    I was looking up the info to help someone out instead of making a useless post.
     
  9. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    That's not the brightest idea either.
    If you were interested in upgrading your psu you would find a compatable one, don't you think?

    http://www.pcpower.com/products/power_supplies/selector/dell.htm
     
  10. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

  11. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    Granted, I never questioned his knowledge. I sometimes get annoyed when people say that Dell psu's are crap. For example: how many 305w psu's are out there that have 22amps, or 375w psu's that have 30amps? So Codex Computing, what exactly is Rik correct about?
    This is all water under the bridge anyway since the OP has options for a gpu upgrade that do not require a psu upgrade also.
     
     
  12. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

  13. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I never said dell psu's are crap. I said they are not the best.
    I have tested and examined several in the past and found them to be of reasonable quality with good reliability.

    The problem is that a few of the higher end graphics cards don't work too reliably with psu's of only reasonable quality.

    I was just warning the original poster so that he didn't waste money on a card that would play up on him.
     
  14. skomand

    skomand TS Rookie

    I was in the EXACT same situation at the original poster and I got a geforce 7600GS 512MB. It's awesome -- Bioshock runs smoothly at 800x600 on high detail settings.

    Here's the card I got: http://www2.pny.com/7600-GS-512MB-AGP--P1897C14.aspx

    I got it for ~$130
     
  15. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    To clear the air so to speak, no offense meant to be given and none taken. If I may here's a few bullet-points on Dell psu's:
    -some are propriety, some are not (model specific)
    -some are ATX, some are BTX (depending on product line)
    -psu's are under-rated by Dell (warranty issues)

    Blanket reccomendations are hard to do with-out product-specific info
    This statement I dis-agree with:

    "The problem is that a few of the higher end graphics cards don't work too reliably with psu's of only reasonable quality."

    Point I am making here is XPS models come configured from the factory with 8800GTS and GTX's with their 375w psu with 30amps
    Older Dimensions do have issues with the Ati X1000 series (1600-1900) not due to quality but with compatability since chipsets are mainly Nvidia and Intel.
     
  16. tkusanagi1974

    tkusanagi1974 TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Awesome! This is exactly what I was searching for!

    I have a dell dimension 8300 with 1GHz Ram. I am thinking of upgrading my video card as well. My PSU is the default factory one that came with dell. I opened the box, but unable to identify whether it is 250 or 305w. How can I tell? I currently have ASUS N7600GS Silent 256mb video card. I am thinking of upgrading to a XFX 7950GT 512mb. Is there any significant performance gains with 7950gt over 7600gs? Would the Power and Cooling 410w PSU as kpo6969 have suggested be adequate for the 7950GT?

    Last but not least, or would even a 7600GT give me any performance boost? I don't know if I would need a PSU upgrade with 7600GT, but according to kpo6969 the original Dell PSU is sufficient for 7600GT???

    I know I really should be upgrading to a PCIe system. I can afford it, but I just can't do it discreetly without my boss (wife) knowing. So buying new video cards and psu is something that she will not find out :)

    Thank you for your time!
     
  17. tkusanagi1974

    tkusanagi1974 TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Forgot to mention, I have a Pentium 4 3GHz with my dell 8300.
     
  18. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    It should say on the label of the psu itself.
    If you have the 305w psu- 22amps
    If you have the 250w psu- 18amps?
    Silencer410-23amps

    You can run the 7950gt if you have the 305w
    You can run the 7950gt if you have the 250w if you upgrade psu

    7950gt = 22amp minimum required

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2918356&CatId=1560

    Minimum System Requirements

    CPU with processor speed of 1GHz or higher

    256MB of RAM

    Microsoft Windows XP

    CD or DVD-ROM drive

    35MB available hard disk space
    (50MB for full installation)

    A 350W PCI Express compliant system power supply (with 12V current rating of 22A or more)

    A PCI Express compliant motherboard

    A vacant X16 PCI Express slot

    Two available hard disk drive power dongles (smaller floppy disk drive connector is not sufficient)
    or-

    A PCI Express supplementary power connector
     
  19. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The Dell 8300 uses only AGP, but the power supply is simply standard. Nothing special or different. Just be sure your power needs calculator says what ever you choose will not destroy the Dell power supply.
    For what you have described as your needs, there are still a few good AGP cards that will work fine.
    Dont get thrown off by the people who report bad things about Dell power supplies and power supplies. They are generally not true, promolgated by people who have not worked on many machine. The 8300 is a good machine, easily reconfigured as long as you use a power supply calculator.
    Most "techs" on this forum are reflecting on the basic home desktops ranging from the 2100, 2200, 2250, 2300, 2350, 2400, and 3000 which are budget machines not built for any video graphics card at all.
    Your only disadvantage is that the AGP is not of the same performance as the PCI-Express which the Dimension 8300 cannot use. The motherboard came out before PCI Express.
    A google search for power supply calculator will help you decide what your limits might be... not totally accurate, but conservative enough to be useful.
    The 8300 is definitely not a gaming machine, but you can play a lot of games on it if all your memory is updated.
     
  20. tkusanagi1974

    tkusanagi1974 TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Wow! Thanks for the swift responses! I checked out the power supply calculator and kpo6969 is dead on. With 250w I can run 7600GT without any problem. And if I happened to have the 305w I can go as high as 7950gt. That is great news! Now I just have to be able to identify my psu. I didn't see any labels when I opened up my box? Do I need to take out the power supply to see it?

    If I choose the 7950GT, I will probably just get a Silencer 410 from power and cooling just to be safe. So now the question is 7600GT will set me back $150, and 7950GT with new psu will set me back $300+. Will I see any difference from my current 7600GS with any of the two cards mentioned? I don't mind paying the money if I the performance is noticeable, if not, then I don't want to go through the hassle.

    I am playing dynasty warriors 4 hyper right now. I can only run the game at 1024x768 with dynamic shadows switched off, antialiasing 4 samples, anisotropic 16x, and framed base. I would ultimately like to play at 1280x1024 with everything the same except would love to have dynamic shadows turned on for all characters and object. I am not sure if any of you are familiar with the game?? But if you were to guess, do you think 7950GT and/or 7600GT can do the job?

    I just ordered an imported version of Dynasty Warriors 5 Empire, and I can't wait to play that! And hopefully with a beefier video card so I can set everything at the highest setting possible.

    Thanks again for you valuable responses!!
     
  21. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

  22. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    In response:
    I know the 8300 is AGP only. I happen to have the 7950GT book-marked for myself and I have pcie. My bad.
    I really resent this comment:
    "Most "techs" on this forum are reflecting on the basic home desktops ranging from the 2100, 2200, 2250, 2300, 2350, 2400, and 3000 which are budget machines not built for any video graphics card at all."
    1.Because it was probably directed at me
    2.I have an E521, can't afford an XPS
    3.I do have some knowledge on various Dell's (dell community forum member with like 1400 posts)
    4.so Raybay the tourch has been past to you, it's all yours
    hope you bone-up on your vast Dell knowledge
     
  23. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 875

    The 7900GS is $150.00 after rebate 256bit
    If you get this and the psu your good to go for under $300.00
    Any other questions raybay will answer for you Good luck
     
  24. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    By law there is a label and a UL number on every power supply. You may need to remove the power supply to see the label, which is probably facing a case wall. You can also get the specs by entering your service tag number on the Technical support section of the Dell site.
    I cast no aspersions about those who use the basic and budget Dell Dimensions. But they are the only ones (and only in a few cases) where the power supply is proprietary. I do not understand where the stories begin, and why they spread. Most Dell power supplies are exactly the same, or better than, the power supplies found in most machines.
    All you need to do is compare the UL numbers to know which manufacturer made them, and their specs.
     
  25. tkusanagi1974

    tkusanagi1974 TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Thanks again for the responses from both kpo6969 and raybay. I don't really know how to decode my specs from Dell site. I don't know where it list my power supply?

    ------------Specs -------------------
    1 G0101 PROCESSOR, 80532, 3.0G, 512, 800FSB, SOCKET N
    0 N2194 INFORMATION, DEVIATE TO PWA G0728, LADDER WITH 5R/2R CIRCUITS
    1 2R400 KEYBOARD, 104, 6P, UNITED STATES, MULTI-MEDIA, NMB
    1 D1161 KIT, MOUSE, UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS, 2BTN, WHEEL, OPTICAL, PRIMAX ELECTRONICS LTD
    2 J0202 DUAL IN-LINE MEMORY MODULE, 512, 400M, 64X64, 8K, 184
    1 4Y463 KIT, SPEAKER, 12V, AS500, NMB
    1 0R533 CARD (CIRCUIT), MULTI-MEDIA, AUDIO, SB0203
    1 K2265 COMPACT DISK READ WRITE/DIGITAL VIDEO DISK DRIVE COMBO, 48X, I, 5.25" FORM FACTOR, SAMSUNG, CHASSIS 2001, V2
    1 6D906 CARD (CIRCUIT), CONTROLLER, 1394A, PC INTERFACE, LOOP, TI/SCI
    1 9Y452 CARD (CIRCUIT), GRAPHICS, 128MB, NV34, DIMENSION
    1 T0732 HARD DRIVE, 120GB, Serial ATA, 8MEG, Maxtor Calypso
    1 1Y379 ASSEMBLY, CABLE, Serial ATA, TRANSFORMER SKY DIVE MINITOWER, 1.0
    1 P0253 CABLE, POWER, 6P, AUXILIARY, Serial ATA, TRANSFORMER SKY DIVE MINITOWER
    1 T1614 KIT, SOFTWARE, OFCSB-2K3, ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MFGR., ENGLAND/ENGLISH
    1 R2527 KIT, SOFTWARE, OVERPACK, WXPPSP1A, COMPACT DISKETTE W/DOCUMENTATION, ENGLAND/ENGLISH
    1 G2876 KIT, DOCUMENTATON ON FLOPPY DISK, SOFTWARE, CYBERLINK, 4.14, DIMENSION
     
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