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dell 4500 graphics upgrade

By swen · 23 replies
Aug 4, 2007
  1. i would like advice on upgrading my computers video card to get new RPG's to work such as Never Winter Nights 2 and ELder scrolls Oblivion. i have AGP 4x and ddr ram.

    thx for your comments, Wyatt
  2. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    i just read a thread that asks to include specifics so i downloaded cpu-z, hope this will help.
    Motherboard- dell 0m0321, chipset intel, smsc sensor
    graphics interface - AGP 2.0 4x max side band not supported
    memory - DDR 1024MBytes
    CPU - intel pentium 4 core speed 2525MHz
    power supply - whatever brand dell uses, 170w total output, +12 line is 14A. (assuming this needs to be upgraded)
    i live in michigan USA. if i need to do a series of upgrades thats fine, i would like to do so anyhow to make sure my computer does not become obsolete in 6 months. but for now i would like to get newer RPG's to run such as oblivion and NWN 2 (need direct x 9.0c or higher), and in the near future make more upgrades to keep my hardware up to date. i dont want to spend more than $200-250 on a graphics card, but i am not limited to that budget. any advice on upgrades to my entire setup or just enough to get these games to work would be appreciated. the error i get when trying to play NwN2 says cannot find compatible direct 3d or directx device, does this mean i actually hafve to upgrade my video card or maybe i dont have the right drivers?
  3. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

  4. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27


    thank you for the links. so anything that says it compatible with directx 9 is also compatible with 9.0c? i know when i looked thru video cards some specifically said 9.0c while others didnt. just want to make sure. and my computer is actually a 4550 not a 4500. not sure if this is a problem but i believe the previous specs on my power supply is correct 170w +12= 14.0A. will i need to upgrade this for my new card to perform correctly? and another problem is that my video card slot only has the outlets for a S-video and one monitor hookup, some of the cards have 2 monitor slots. will i be able to take off the metal piece to allow for the extra monitor hookup or do i need to find a card with only an Svideo and one monitor connection? i did not see anything with direct x10 compatible, is direct x9 going to be good enough for an extended peroid of time or is it going to become out of date sooner rather than later ( is it worth updating knowing that directx9 is the best i can get, or is it a better bet to overhaul my system to make it compatible when new technology comes out?). my current video card is a nvidia geforce4 64mb if i didnt mention it previously.
    thanks again for the reply, wyatt
  5. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    Where did you get the info your psu is 170w? Are you sure this time of your system model #?
    The 4550 has a 250w psu if this is what you have. 14amps is correct.


    If you get a 5000 series card the new Nvidia driver 162.18 WHQL adds these cards to this Forceware support and also 9.0c
    The only thing is you need at least 1.5GB of system ram or you will suffer a performance decrease (162.18 driver release notes).

    It comes down to this, if you plan on keeping this system you need more ram, and for good gaming a better psu.
  6. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27


    yea its a 4550, i opened it up and looked at the psu and it said 170w. i guess i could be wrong, either way it needs an upgrade so i will do so with my agp card, just want to make sure i get one thats compatible. i hope it didnt change things too much. i just put a gig stick in it less than a year ago so if i need to get another stick i can do so. another question about graphics cards i had is does the type of ram it runs matter, for example my comp only runs ddr sd, if my new graphics card says it uses ddr2 ram will this matter? so i guess now that we got it figured out its a 4550. agp 4x that needs to be compatible with directx 9.0c. i need to upgrade my SPU, AGP card, and get another gig stick of DDR SD RAM, what would you reccommend? i figure about 100 for the ram, 150 for the card and 125 for a PSU so lets so i am willing to spend $400 for these upgrades. in your personal oppinion would you go ahead with these upgrades or wait a little longer and basically build a new computer from scratch (minus the harddrive/dvd drive/and probly soundcard)?
  7. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

  8. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

  9. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    thx for all the help. after using the crucial memory website to find my computer it said that my system could only support 1gb of ram which i already have. at this point it looks like building a new computer would be my best option given the restraints of my current system. just unfortunate that i bought my computer about 4 months before hyperthreading chips came out. thx again for all the help and sorry for the trouble. now i just need to decide what chipset to start with. crucial memory finder (dell : dimension/dimension xps: 4550 533FSB).
  10. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    Good luck to you. If your going new here's an idea some people are doing.
    Check out the Dell Outlet, you can pick-up a XPS 410 for like $400-500. Intel cpu's, just get the best you can when your ready to buy. The good one's go fast. Then you can get the best video card you can afford. 375w psu which has 28-30amps so you could even drop an 8800GTX in if you want. I would do this myself but I just bought my system within the last 6 months.

  11. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    awsome thx for the advice ill check that out today! i am not familiar with which processors are supposed to be better than the others, any chance u can give me a rough list of some of the stronger and weaker processors on the market? (i checked out the intel website and couldnt really tell much). they have xps's and dimensions. are xps's better and should i stick to them or does it not make a big difference?
  12. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

  13. Sakamura

    Sakamura TS Rookie

    Dell 4500 range Graphics Cards

    Hi folks, I am in a similar position to swen. Looking to squeeze the last life out of a my 4500 with a graphics card upgrade with over optimistic hopes of running Vista. It sores 1 graphics wise with its on board ATI 128 Rage pro on the Vista readiness score. But it does actually run.

    I have a Dell Dimension 4500 system (supports AGP x4) a Vanilla 250W PSU (Dells stated average value), 2.3 GHz P4, with 1GB of Ram (maximum supported), two optical drives, two hard drives, some cheepo sound card a modem an ethernet card and a few USB peripherals which are always on (Bluetooth Hub etc). I say all this because they must use some power and I have now run out of Molex connectors on my PSU. Great eh?

    Some graphics cards will need that missing Molex others will happily feed of the Mobo. But which? they often don't tell you. Also with all this stuff plugged in is the Mobo's power up to nourishing even a most abstemious card? Which cards actually fit? Some cards apparently hit the IDE connector.

    A further power consideration is that if I can find a cheap P4 2.66 GHZ I will be temped (useless I know) but its the only thing left to be maxed out (its a Dell so I can't overclock it. Arghh).

    Oh I have heard that Molex splitters will not cut the ice. Is this rubish? and if not what would it be best to split e.g. a DVD-RW rather than a HDD ?

    Finally please could some tell me what card is the 'Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy' that will work on my geriatric system.

    Sorry for the long post

  14. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +423

    Besides your goal of running Vista, what else is the PC for? Is this a non-gaming PC (as it pretty much is now) or do you have delusions of turning this into a gamer? :)
  15. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710


    if you had molex

    Forget about Vista also
  16. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    honestly, after many many hours of research i realized (part of this of my own dicision) that even the best video card for my current dell system was just not worth it! i spent 1100 on a new comptuer which i will be building soon and its top of the line, i am just recycling my own drives into the new comp so save money, but honestly. i would recommend just building a new computer! the next post is my current specs, why i chose them, and what i would recommend u do if u want to run vista but dont want to spend a lot of money because i dont think its worth it for you to uprade your card.
  17. Sakamura

    Sakamura TS Rookie

    Graphics card for a Dell 4500 with 250W PSU

    Thank you very much kpo6969 I really appreciate it. The XFX PVT73AUDF3 GeForce 7600GT looks like a very nice small and power frugal card. Its comforting to know it can be run on at least some 250W systems. Even though Nvida says 350W and other people 300W. I will sacrifice a CD/RW drive to get the molex I need, the thought of replacing the PSU is not appealing. I am amazed you found some one selling the correct CPU new. I thought these were second hand only and getting rare. But why forget about Vista (apart from it its not that great and we need SP1 ASAP)? It runs now without any upgrades, are you saying whatever I do there will be no Aero? Anyway thanks again.

    mailpup I have no delusions about turning it into a gamer its a general use PC. I don't really play games and if I feel the urge I have a PS2. No its primarily the challenge of getting every ounce out of an old box. Its sheer bloody mindedness on my part trying to get Vista to run with Aero, I really don't need Vista at all. Secondly my Father wants this PC because it 'looks nicer' than his which is true and his is even older (a Pentium Prehistoric or something). He cannot cope with Windows GUI and needs a semi OSX style interface with the minimum amount of very large, obviously labeled and animated icons on a dock -Internet -Email -Write a letter -Turn off. Thats it, any more and he gets confused. As an experiment I set up windows blinds to make it do this and 'look even nicer'. He loves it but its very graphics intensive. Unfortunately if something did not appear to load or at least do something instantly like a bounce effect he clicks it again and again. More delays result in more clicking followed by calling me to come round and close down the 38 copies of firefox he has opened. Hence the graphics card. Its cheaper than buying him a Mac.

    Regards Sakamura
  18. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    ok so here is what i decided to do when i realized that it wasnt worth it to upgrade my dell.
    -motherboard: gigabyte p35c-ds3r (compatible with DDR2 and DDR3 ram) $180
    -Ram: 2x1BG dual channel DDR2 (i hear DDR3 is not yet running to its potention and DDR2 ram is inexpensive) $130, but go as low as $80.
    -Processor: core 2 quad q6600 (paid $50 for the upgrade from a dual core to a quad core) $280
    after that i paid $50 for a case and $100 for a suitable PSU.
    -video card: havent bought it yet, but nvidia 8800gts 640mb will last me along time for $350-400. i was in the market for a gaming PC and didnt want to have to upgrade it for several years. i kept my drives and hardrive. this setup will run the newest programs at the highest levels for a long long time.

    if your short on money however, this is what i would recommend.

    -motherboard: Intel® Desktop Board DG965WH (dd2 and core 2 duo compatible. cant run a quad core, but doubtful that u will be needing one anyway since the duo's are excellent choices and fast enough for any game.)
    this board is about $100, the linked one only runs ddr2-800. that isnt a problem, but if u want one that can run any ddr2 u can find slightly modified versions of the same board for $10-15 more.
    - processor : the one in your current dell system (intel says the board will run any P-4), so u dont have to buy a new processor untill your ready! and there are 3 newer models of processors to choose from that will work with this board.
    -memory: u only need 1gb memory as it is, however i would recommend getting 2 1gig sticks of dual channel ddr2 (2 gigs is enough to run even the most damanding video cards, and other hardware). this will run u anywhere from $60-150, u can spend as much as a grand if u really wanted to tho :p
    -video card: http://www.nvidia.com/object/graphics_cards_buy_now.html take a look here at nvidia site, the 7100 gs is only $55, has directx9.0c (it can run any game on the market currently).
    -from here u can recycle yoru hard drive,disk drives and probly even your old case and PSU(these specs are fine with a generic PSU, but if u were to upgrade your processor or put a top end video card in u would want to buy a reliable PSU, i put an enermax in mine). http://www.extreme.outervision.com/index.jsp
    the link is for a power supply calculator to figure out how much u need

    so total here u would be more than $250 and your computer should be able to run vista. it might be slow as it is, but you have a lot of options for upgrades and could turn it into a very compitent gaming PC if u want to later on and certainly beats trying to upgrade your current build.

    i hope this helps you make a decision

  19. swen

    swen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    well now that i know what u want it for my previous post is now worthless, but atlast i will have access to it for later posts lol. on another note kpo6969's video card link is a very good card for the agp 4x slot :)
  20. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +423

    Okay, I understand your objective. Keep in mind that it isn't just locating a free molex connector that will satisfy the power demands of a new graphics card. You still have to consider the capabilities of your power supply. There is nothing wrong with using splitters provided that the power supply can supply enough current to the extra device. Sometimes it cannot.

    Replacing the power supply is not as difficult as you imagine but that's your call. Also, I believe the 4500 requires a special power supply because of the proprietary wiring of the motherboard connector. PC Power and Cooling is one maker that has proper Dell replacements. I bought one to upgrade my older Dell Dimension 8250 and it works fine.

    That said, see if your old power supply will work if you wish. If not, well, you'll know what you'll have to do.
  21. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    I didn't tell you not to run Vista but it would not run well and aero probably not. Your system's limitations:
    1.cpu (should have dual-core) but more critical is
    2.ram, 1GB your maxed out. Vista minimum is 1GB, should have 2GB

    Comparison: Running Vista with 1GB = Running XP with 256mb
  22. Sakamura

    Sakamura TS Rookie

    Thanks everyone. Problem solved (I hope). I popped the case again today to try to find the exact make and model of the PSU. While I was becoming very disillusioned looking at a load of incomprehensible Chinese letters and factory stamps and cursing clam cases I found a molex floating about underneath. Hooray.

    Digging on Dell forums I also found 'Your 250 watt power supply is actually the mean average and the peak is around 345 watts.' No one there had any problems running 7600GT cards with either power or heat and some guys were even over clocking them.

    So I'll get one of those. I if does not work and I hope it does. I found that any standard ATX P4 compatible PSU will work on a 4500 so long as it 1) physically fits 2) has the power lead on the top left hand corner (looking from the back) and 3) no power switch. If it has a power switch you have to remove it or cut a hole in the case. :( I am in the UK and we don't have wonderful shops like 'newegg' or 'PC Power and Cooling' we have 'Lite versions' with limited stock so in two hours of looking I have not found one! I am sure they must be some.

    Thanks again for all your help!
  23. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    Good luck!!
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    It's in stock here. Your current PSU should be fine for the card. Good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
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