Need advice on what card to buy to upgrade a Dell Dimension 4700

By greener2
Aug 13, 2008
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  1. Hey all,

    My first post, and a total newbie, so be nice! :)

    I know this question has been asked before, but it was about 5 months ago and I know there have been a few cards that have come out since.

    I'm running a Dell Dimension 4700 with the following information from CPU-Z:

    Processor: Intel Pentium 4 540 3.20 GHz
    Clock Core Speed: 3192.3 MHz
    Mainboard Manufacturer/Model: Dell Inc. OM3918
    Memory Type: DDR2
    Memory Size: 512MB (but soon to be upgraded to 2 or 3 gigs i hope!)
    Memory Channels #: Dual
    Graphic Interface: PCI-Express x16

    I don't know the make of the power supply right now, I'm not actually near it at the mo, and can't get at the power supply box inside. But it's the one that came with it when I bought it, so I don't know if that helps.

    Anyway, I was looking at the Geforce 8600gt, but as I say, total newbie! Has anyone any suggestions? I would like to play all the newest games, nothing hugely spectacular but decent enough!

    Hoping to spend around €150, maybe €170 including shipping (so that's about $220-$250 in the US, or around £120 -£135 in the UK). I'm in Ireland btw!

    Any help or advice would be very much appreciated! :)
  2. greener2

    greener2 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Ok update, I just looked inside the computer and the sticker on my power supply has this to say:

    Output: +12VA 18.0A
    +12VB 18.0A
    -12V 0.5A

    Then it says:

    "Max combined output current on +12VA & +12VB outputs is 22A".

    So, any ideas?
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,279   +181

    I'm not sure if the Dell 4700 has enough room to accommodate the Radeon 4850, but that card would be a good for the amount you have budgeted. The card is about 9 inches long.

    I'm not sure if your power supply is sufficient. It might be but I would feel better if was a bit better. For reference the minimum recommended system requirements for a single Radeon 4850 are:

    ATI Radeon HD 4850 System Requirements

    * PCI Express® based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard
    * 450 Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express® power connector recommended (550 Watt and two 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)
    * Certified power supplies are recommended. Refer to http://ati.amd.com/certifiedPSU for a list of Certified products
    * Minimum 1GB of system memory
    * Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
  4. greener2

    greener2 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    That's great, thanks for that! I had a look, the card might just squeeze in, but as you say, the power supply could be a problem! I suppose that's another thing I'll have to shell out for! :(

    So, in the interest of learning, what about this card makes it good for gaming? What specs should I be looking for?

    Any more suggestions would be delightfully received! :)
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,277   +22

    Be advised that your current CPU will bottleneck the HD 4850, as well as any 8800 series card you choose to use. A bottleneck is basically means that there is a lag in information delivery between the GPU and the CPU, with the former being faster than the latter. This means that you will not be able to use the card to its full potential, so it would basically give you the performance of a lesser part until your CPU is fast enough to keep up with the GPU, so you'd have to upgrade the CPU if you want the full performance out of the card. I'd advise sticking with an 8600GTS. It's quite fast and will not need a PSU upgrade.

    Just to be clear, you will see a performance jump with an 8800GT or an HD 4850, but it will limit your frame rates upto a certain point and not allow you to unleash the card's full potential. IMO buy one only if you are looking to build a new PC at some time in the near future or are going to upgrade your current machine.
  6. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The 4700 has an unusually small case... not as tiny as the 2300, 3000, 5100 series... so it could use extra cooling.
    Upgrade the power supply, and CPU fan, and perhaps add a case fan.

    Upgrading the memory changes power requirements a slot, so you will be best served with a 500 watt power Quality power supply,

    The 4700 is a good computer for a basic model. I use it along with a Dell 8400, and it keeps up with the 8400 and 9100 very well... Just watch the air space and air movement along with the power supply, or it will become crippled by a bout from which it may never recover.
  7. greener2

    greener2 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Cool, thanks guys! I think I might go with the 8600GTS, as Rage_3K_Moiz suggested, but I have one more question.

    My current graphics card (some crappy radeon x300 or something) is mounted to the motherboard right beside what appears to be my sound card (it says "Creative" on it, so I think I'm right :) ) and underneath that again, what appears to be my 56k modem.

    The picture of the 8600gts (and all other cards I've looked at) on komplett.ie, which is my local supplier of all things graphics, seem to have the fan on what would be the bottom side of the card when it's placed in the computer, meaning that it would be venting heat right onto my sound card. Is there anything I can do to avoid this? Or does it mean getting a different card?
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,277   +22

    Hmm, if you want, you can remove the modem card if you aren't using it and move the sound card down to leave a free slot. Then you can just fill the free slot with a PCI fan like one of these. It will help cool the card and prevent overheating.
  9. greener2

    greener2 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Wow...I can do that? Good stuff! I have broadband, so I don't need the old rickety 56k, I'll take that out and do what you suggested.

    I can safely just switch the sound card from one slot to another, without any jiggery-pokery?
  10. Darth_Terra1

    Darth_Terra1 Newcomer, in training Posts: 234

    Yep you can move the sound card with out having to do anything special, when you boot up windows it will most likely say it's found new hardware and re-configure the driver etc for the sound card as it will be in a different PCi slot to the one it was in, other than that nothing else would be required.
  11. greener2

    greener2 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Grand! Thank you so much to everyone who helped! I'll get on ordering that 2moro!

    Thanks guys! Much appreciated! :)
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