TechSpot

Upgrade Dell XPS 420 video card and power supply

By gchfamily
Dec 12, 2012
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  1. Have the Dell XPS 420 computer and wanted to finally upgrade the Video card and figured I need to upgrade the low Power Supply too.

    Computer right now has:
    You Have: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz
    You Have: GeForce 9800 GT
    Think Power Supply is 375 watt
    Windows 7
    4gigs of Ram.

    Heard from others that my CPU will be a bottleneck for newer Video Cards so I honestly dont know where to start. Not sure how to figure if 1 video card is better than another one.

    And likely need a bigger powersupply to run whatever new video card I get too. And need to get something that will fit in my dell case.

    Just started playing Metro 2033 and playing it on High but course want to play it on Very High with any screen tear and slow down and of course other games as well.
     
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,406   +1,595

    Maybe so but that shouldn't stop you from getting a better GPU than the one you currently have. Depending on the game you play (non-CPU dependent) there will be plenty of GPU upgrade room with a Q6600.

    From what I can tell Metro 2033 is not a CPU dependent game.
     
  3. Stoli89

    Stoli89 TS Rookie

    I too recently upgraded my DELL XPS 420 from: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz, 4GB RAM, Vista Home Premium 32 Bit, 425 Watt Power Supply and GeForce 9800GT 1 GB Ram

    To: Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit ($40 upgrade special but with clean install on new SSD), Crucial 128 GB V4 SSD and GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1 GB Ram.

    The SSD made the biggest difference. I also downloaded a couple of apps that turn the Windows 8 metro into a Windows 7 desktop and start menu look alike. The GPU was also relatively inexpensive ($130), though I would look into a GTX 460 at about the same price. I never had power issues with the 8800GT/9800 GT GPU's, so I stayed with the less power hungry 550 Ti...which delivers twice the performance at roughly the same power demands.

    Note, if your computer came with the 9800GT predecessor (8800 GT), then it most likely has the 425 Watt Dell power supply, like mine. This PS is rated at steady state, not peak...so it's actually more powerful than the "425" moniker suggests.

    Based on my experience, the SSD made the greatest impact. The Windows 8 Pro deal at $40 ends this month...great deal that I could not pass up. The XPS 420 is somewhat limited by virtue of the proprietary DELL BTX motherboard and older A07 Bios, which hasn't been updated in at least a few years. Nevertheless, with some relatively inexpensive investments ($70 for a 64 GB SSD and $40 for the 64 Bit OS upgrade), you will see a measurable difference.

    If you're into gaming and wish to eek out another year or two on this older machine...then you might also consider a larger PS, a beefier GPU, maybe another case fan, more RAM. Personally, I wouldn't invest more than $300 total in an upgrade on this DELL machine, so I wouldn't do more unless you have the spare parts lying around.
     


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