TechSpot

What to do?: Dell Dim 3000

By PSO Gamer
Apr 8, 2007
  1. Ok there's only one game I really play and with my current setup I can run it on max settings on an 800x600 screen with no problem whatsoever on frame skip 1.

    However, I cannot get it to run the way I would like it to on frame skip 0. The game looks soo much better on frame skip 0 and I just have to have it like that...

    Only way I can make it run on frmae skip 0 is if I turn everything to low setting basically, and turn post effects off which in the end makes it look way worse than max settings on frame skip 1. Well here is some of my computer's info:

    Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2 (2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.061219-0316)
    Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
    System Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corporation
    System Model: Dimension 3000
    BIOS: Phoenix ROM BIOS PLUS Version 1.10 A02
    Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz (2 CPUs)
    Memory: 502MB RAM
    Page File: 671MB used, 568MB available
    Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
    DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
    DX Setup Parameters: Not found
    DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.2180 32bit Unicode
    ---------------
    Display Devices
    ---------------
    Card name: Diamond S9250PCI256 DDR
    Manufacturer: ATI Technologies Inc.
    Chip type: RADEON 9250 (0x5960)
    DAC type: Internal DAC(400MHz)
    Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_5960&SUBSYS_01601092&REV_01
    Display Memory: 256.0 MB
    Current Mode: 1024 x 768 (32 bit) (75Hz)
    Monitor: Plug and Play Monitor
    Monitor Max Res: 1600,1200
    Driver Name: ati2dvag.dll
    Driver Version: 6.14.0010.6614 (English)
    DDI Version: 9 (or higher)
    Driver Attributes: Final Retail
    Driver Date/Size: 5/3/2006 12:51:00, 258048 bytes
    WHQL Logo'd: Yes
    WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
    VDD: n/a
    Mini VDD: ati2mtag.sys
    Mini VDD Date: 5/3/2006 12:50:42, 1540608 bytes
    Device Identifier: {D7B71EE2-1A20-11CF-F46A-6A21A0C2CB35}
    Vendor ID: 0x1002
    Device ID: 0x5960
    SubSys ID: 0x01601092
    Revision ID: 0x0001
    Revision ID: 0x0001
    Video Accel:
    Deinterlace Caps: n/a
    Registry: OK
    DDraw Status: Enabled
    D3D Status: Enabled
    AGP Status: Not Available
    DDraw Test Result: Not run
    D3D7 Test Result: Not run
    D3D8 Test Result: Not run
    D3D9 Test Result: Not run

    I may have put a lil too much...but anyway anything I can do to further better my computer so that it may be able to handle this game in frame skip 0?
     
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +25

    Which game are you trying to play in the first place? I've only seen frame skip options in emulators.
     
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The Dell Dimension 3000 is a basic level budget grade low level computer that will require quite an investment to get it up to snuff. Better to invest in something a bit more substantial.
     
  4. PSO Gamer

    PSO Gamer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 59

    Well the Game I'm playing is Phantasy Star Universe. It's an online RPG, and basically the only game I play on my PC, so bascially I just need my computer optimized enough to play this game only in the highest settings. I may not need to go out and get a totally brand new PC, but I may have to consider it... but here's what is required for the game:
    Required
    Windows 2000 (SP4 or later)
    Pentium4 1.6Ghz
    256MB
    VRAM 64MB,
    NVIDIA GeForce4 series,
    ATI Radeon 8500 series

    Recommended
    Windows XP (SP2 or later)
    Pentium4 2.6GHz or better
    512MB or more
    VRAM 128MB,
    NVIDIA GeForce4 series or better,
    ATI Radeon 8500 series or better

    My main is at max setting its supposed to run at 60FPS regardless of how tweaked the PC is, its just the frame rate when its at Frame skip 0. I've run fraps and when I get to certain areas it slows down drastically in certain areas/spots.

    I'm not sure what is at fault here, my video card, my cpu, my ram, vram, hard disk space? I have no clue, all I need to do is fix this issue and I'll be set to go for quite sometime to come.

    Note: Once again on frame skip 1, I can do everything at max with absoultely no issues at all but I want to be able to do this with no frame skip as well.
     
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,520   +9

    Well, you meet the recommended system requirements....one thing I would suggest is new memory. If you go to Crucial's website, you can find out what memory your system has, and go from there (although I don't recommend you buy from Crucial....very expensive). If you live in the US, you can go to Newegg.

    Second thing that you could do would be to get a better video card....follow the guide in my signature and post everything including the power supply and the wattage on it as well as the amperage on the +12V Rail. Good Luck :wave: !
     
  6. PSO Gamer

    PSO Gamer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 59

    Motherboard
    Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corp.
    Model 0k8980

    graphical interface- not listed, but I know its PCI

    Memory
    type: DDR
    channels: dual
    size: 512mb

    CPU:
    Intel Pentium 4

    CPU speed:
    2992.2MHz

    I need to find a screwdriver to check my power supply, but the voltage I can see at the back at the moment says 15V.

    I live in the US and I don't really have a price budget.
     
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +25

    Your video card is probably not powerful enough for the game to run at frameskip set to 0 then. And having a Dell Dimension 3000, you're limited to buying only PCI video cards. The only ones better than your card are the 6200 PCI (128-bit only), the ATi Radeon X1300 and the Radeon X1550. They are also powerful in the same order, with the 6200 being the lowest powered of them all and the X1300 and X1550 being somewhat similar in performance.
     
  8. PSO Gamer

    PSO Gamer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 59

    So if I were able to buy a new mobo that is compatible with my PC that supports PCI-e or AGP video cards, would that help? If so, any suggestions?

    And those cards you suggested that are better than my current, would they be able to handle the 0 frame skip, or will it react in the same manner as my current?

    When I ran the system req lab, I noitced it failed in some games for recommened for my video card because it has Vertex Shader Ver 1.1 and Pixel Shader Ver. 1.4

    could this be the real reason why myvideo card is underperforming under 0 frame skip.

    On another note I checked out this site:
    http://www.diamondmm.com/X1550PRO256P.php
    its a Radeon X1550 by the same manufacturer of my current video card and I noticed it says shader model 3.0

    Would it be worth a buy and try to see if my game will work better with this one? Is this card that much better than my current? I have the money for it so its no problem, just need a second opinion.

    And to compare it to my other one I found it on their site as well:

    http://www.diamondmm.com/S9250PCI256.php
     
  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +25

    Yes the X1550 is far, far better than your 9250.
     
  10. robin_bga

    robin_bga TS Rookie Posts: 258

    its nothing else but your video card,its very weak,just upgrade it to anything like ATI RADEON X1xxx, eg like X13xx or X15xx,u also need to upgrade your ram.R
     
  11. PSO Gamer

    PSO Gamer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 59

    Alright thanks guys, I'm going to order the card soon I think.

    It should be more than enough for the particular game I'm talking about going by how much better you say it is than my current(which runs the game decently for the most part).

    Yeah I was thinking about upgrading my ram already before, I was thinking of going to 1gb memory, but then I thought about going for 2gb too(though that may be a bit excessive.)
    Would 2 gb be worth it, or is it just a waste of money?

    One more quick question, where can I find benchmarks for the X1550?
     
     
  12. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,605   +9

    Look HERE, HERE, and HERE :)

    Regards :wave:
     
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +25

    2GB of RAM won't be needed unless you're looking to run BF2/2142 on ur rig. 1GB is just fine otherwise.
     
  14. PSO Gamer

    PSO Gamer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 59

    Alright, now that I've bought the videocard, I'm going to buy my RAM as well. I've been told 2GB isn't needed and that 1GB is suggested. I understand that I'm supposed to buy two of them(not one) so i wont run across complications. Which bring mye to beleive that I'm in fact supposed to buy two 512mb rams instead of two 1GBmb rams since inside my current PC there are two 256MB ram cards in it and it has a total of 512mb.

    Now with that out of the way, do I have to get it from Dell or are there others that will work with my computer? Is performance differed between manufacturer, or are they all the same in theory?

    Next thing I want to upgrade my 80GB harddrive to something bigger or get an external harddrive like the one listed here.

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=A0944830

    The PSOGamer once again asking all you Tech Guru's out there once again for your help. Thanks in advance.

    Also, not as important but do you think I would need a new monitor? This is the standard CRT that came with my Dell Dim 3000 years agao when I purchased it. I heard that a better monitor will also help make my games look better.
     
  15. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 TS Rookie Posts: 351

    EDIT:! I just checked on the Dimension 3000 and it only has TWO memory slots, so you won't be able to put in 512 mb more, you will have to buy a full 1gb kit!


    Actually you will have to buy a full 1gb kit because your mobo doesn't have enough slots to reuse you old memory.

    Don't buy it from Dell, they are WAY over priced. Go to Newegg or Tiger Direct. Tiger direct has a feature that shows you the compatible RAM for your system Here. Also, performance doesn't differ too much by manufacturer, it's mostly in the speed of the memory (DDR5400, DDR4200 etc...)

    About the monitor, I wouldn't upgrade that yet, because what you really need is a whole new home built computer, I really think you would save money in the long run, rather than limping along with your Dell. If you did upgrade the monitor, your video card probly couldn't handle the higher resolution.
     
  16. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Not so fast. Price matters.
    You can get two 1 GB modules of PC3200 DDR 400 which the Dell Dimension 3000 will love, in OCZ, Crucial, or Kingston Memory for as low as $72.50 each with free shipping at www.zipzoomfly.com and nearly as low at www.directron.com with shipping.
    You can also buy the memory in kits of 2 Gb in matched pairs for $169.90.
    It is wise to get all the memory you can for that model.
    If you receive a "Memory available limited to 256 MB" message after installing more than 256 MB, enter BIOS and turn OAS Install to OFF. Exit saving changes.
    At either Zipzoomfly or directron, you can get a Seagate 250
    GB drive for $72.38, or the Seagate 500 Gb for $159.99... FIVE YEAR WARANTY... you will have to download the drive install software from www.seagate.com for this OEM version.
    You will not find a better drive.
    Now tell us how much you have priced these choices elsewhere.
    My guess is you will find the graphics card similarly low priced compared to New Egg.
     
  17. PSO Gamer

    PSO Gamer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 59

    I thought the kit was two 512 mb cards to give the 1gb total, whenever I got to order it it says to order in item quantity two. Like I said before my computer when I bought it came with 512 RAM I loooke dinside of my computer and I see a 256MB card in two diff slots so 256+256 = my 512 MB ram, right? So wouldn't for the 1GB upgrade I'd have to get a 512MB +512MB card to have my 1 gig RAM? I heard the max ran I can have on my PC is 2GB and the ighest single card Dell sells on their website for the RAM upgrade is a single 1GB card and it says to order in quantity two(making me figure its 1GB+1GB = 2GB RAM memory.) Just need this clarified.

    Yes I am aware that price matters, which is why I'm asking you all for advice to begin with. =)
     
  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +25

    Get any cheap, good-quality 512MBx2 dual-channel kit like this. That RAM is made for gaming and with the heavy rebate the price is just in the sweetest spot imaginable.
     
  19. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    But it IS a REBATE price, and you have to be certain to avoid "value ram" which is slower and troublesome.
    The wise move is two modules of 1 GB each... the cost isn't that much more than the two 512 modules... for a lifetime of trouble-free computing.
    The Dimension 3000 is a basic, budget unit with motherboards more prone to early failure. Give it every reason not to fail. "Just fine" is not good enough if you are doing any gaming or design work with it.
    ATI Radeon X1550, Seagate 250 GB with 16 mb buffer, and two 1 GB Kingston, OCZ, or Crucial modules of DDR400 PC3200... all from ZipZoomFly with free shipping.
    Add to that the Diamond Radion X1300 PCI 256 for $105 with free shipping from New Egg.
    Not bad for a budget computer.
    Just be sure, as you shop, to not let them slip in a PCI-Express video card because your computer will only accept a PCI card.
     
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +25

    @raybay, are rebates bad or good? I don't personally know coz I don't live in the US. Also, why would he need two video cards?
     
  21. sruli

    sruli TS Rookie

    What about sound?

    Just a thought, but you do not mention that you are using a sound card, so I figure you are using the onboard sound. Sound processing can use up to %15 of your CPU's resources. I know that after I installed my graphics card, the need to install a sound card became apparent immediately. Not only would the sound skip, as the onboard processing could not keep up with my graphics, but sometimes the video would be affected (as if therer were safeties to prevent video from getting to far ahead of sound in some cases). And the sound issues, often from seemingly benign programs that would never otherwise tax my processer, could cause complete freezes and crashes. In any event, the extra CPU power that you might realize from a dedicated audio board might fix the problem all by itself. If you do not have one already.
     
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