Dell Dimension 4600 Upgrading for Photo Editing

By TedB ยท 62 replies
Dec 25, 2008
  1. and last time, ignore pls - to post links I have to make 5 posts first, so this is #5.
  2. Seems 300W is recommended minimum.. check out this link which provides system requirements for the card.. says 300W or greater. Same recommended here. Several forums via Google advise 350-400W or better.

    I imagine these are minimum requirements though, so greater won't hurt, but I already had the Antec 350W sitting in a box here. I'll post results when I get the card. My AGP slot can handle up to 8X apparently, so that's ok.
  3. Oldtimer39

    Oldtimer39 TS Rookie

    Be very careful in choosing a power supply. A large number of the OEMs/'Brands' use a power supply with one wire missing from the large plug that attaches to the motherboard. Universal or OTC supplies have all twenty wires. A few firms sell power supplies directed to Dell computers such as shown on
  4. Thanks for the warning! I've heard about older model Dells having proprietary PSU's as well, however it seems many ATX PSU's of similar dimensions are ok with the Dell Dimension 4600, fortunately. I checked every connector against the stock PSU as I installed the new one, and the 350W Antec SL350 had it all covered (and then some) if anyone reads this in the future.
  5. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Nereus..thanks for climbing aboard. Really. Our units seems to be close (mine at) 2.60 with Ht vs yours @ 2.66 with FSB 533 or so.

    After reading your comment re WP OS fresh installing I found that what I had thought (ie that the Dept Computer folks had installed XP Pro over Home..well I have XP Home and that's that, I think.) I want to come back to the fresh install question/steps in a day or so. Please hang on.

    In any case the PSU issue seems to be mooted (250 will cover) with the (new) ATI Radeon X1300 PRO 256MB AGP w/DVI/TV-OUT --yours is 512MB but that should make no difference re the PSU....but I'm not clear which GC you've bought/or will buy.

    UPS tracking has the delivery dates for my RAM/VC late this coming week. More then.
  6. Hey :) I've ordered a VisionTek (Xtasy) Radeon X1300 512MB DDR AGP (VGA, DVI-I, TV-Out, HDTV).. which is AGP 8x, and according to the Dimension4600 manual, the motherboard supports it 4X and 8X, although I've read widely varying opinions about it - some also mentioning compatibility problems and issues with WindowsXP, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. Mine hasn't been shipped yet - hopefully Monday it will be on the way, so maybe I'll have it by the end of the week too.

    The GC model number is VTKX1300512AGP if that's of any use.

    Fresh o/s install is a bit of a mission - make sure you have all your driver CDs first (all the Dell CDs if you purchased the PC new). It's the masses of Windows updates that can take forever. If you have a second drive (and it's not set up as RAID 0 or anything), then back up onto that first, or an external drive. Might be a good time to do a fresh install actually, to avoid any driver conflicts... if you have a lot of time to spare, heh.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Based on the posts here, how do you get this: "In any case the PSU issue seems to be mooted (250 will cover) with the (new) ATI Radeon X1300 PRO 256MB AGP w/DVI/TV-OUT..."

    I don't see any solid information to back you up, and certainly no professional technicians I know will agree with you. Even simple logic argues against it.

    Anyone who follows that advice will likely have a lot of problems, or have a failed video card, or have performance issues.
  8. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    memory/Cicero...bite marks are they sweeter/more enduring yet? Raybay I stand corrected on the PSU issue.

    I've gone back (not to each/every PSU related post) I read the term "probably" as "ok/doable" especially when probably was used with language (+~) granted the 250w rating as a low (safe) ball rating...that the existing D4600 PSU would work with occasional w pulls (even) up to 350w perhaps beyond. Safe/100% trouble-free: no.

    You wattage/unit advice for the X1300 Pro..please.
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    A very high quality power supply could work at 250 watts... because it is not the wattage that matters. But without knowing the power supply, I would set a minimum of 400 watts... since ther is no significant difference in price of good power supplies in the 300 to 400 range. Certainly 350 watts or larger... Seasonic, OCZ, Sparkle, Corsair, FSP Group (very good in Dells, and not high priced) some Antecs but not all, and so many others you can find described on the TechSpot forums. There was a series of very good posts on power supplies that rates the good ones and the so so.

    You have to be very sure that the new power supply has the power switch and power plug in the right location because of the Dell hard ware that prevents installs of many brands and designs. So buy one with a photographs online to show the positions. I use for this purpose.
  10. Recommended minimum is 350W for the X1300pro 256MB AGP from what I can see online from various sites (not forums).. which is kind of weird as the 512MB version I'm getting recommends minimum only 300W... would have thought my GC would require more rather than less than your one. *shrugs*

    Here's a 400W PSU for $30.00 that's supposedly compatible with Dimesion4600 case if price is an issue.
    Quite a few others on Google, but that was about cheapest new.
  11. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think the PSU concern will sort itself out. For me I'll go to the Dell site/double check with one of their tech people on the phone..go from there.

    While I continue to worry a bit over getting the upgrade hardware straight..I'd like to cover myself with perhaps another unit.

    What follows (briefly) is not a new thread pe se (if it is I appologize going in), ie it is directly related to my D4600 for better performance re photo editing. My thoughts/plan are to purchase a lighter 14"-15" notebook that I can take to the field/travel overseas with. My Inspiron 8200 weighs close to 9# and is getting a bit much to tug along.

    My thinking is that a new notebook unit (eg a ThinkPad t400/t500 or a Dell m2400/4400) with a 24-26 inch external can/could be used as the main unit for photo editing in the event that the D4600: becomes troublesome; or I screw things up beyond repair; or the new unit is heads and tails superior to D4600's performance.

    I know (Cicero's school) by long experience that in the end when you buy farm machinery/equipment you buy service more than the equipment. Ergo I've had fair to reasonably good experience with Dell over the past 10 years--reading the rants on Dell service perhaps my experience has been an exception that proves the rule?

    What I don't have is experience with (units/service) is IMB-Lenovo. While I've worked with some pretty solid Big Blue technicians some 20-30 years back I'm not at all sure that any part of that experience translates out as relevant re ThinkPad hardware/service.

    Three +~ short Qs (when you have the time):

    1. Any serious drawbacks to either units (Dell m series/Lenovo TP t series)?
    2. Ditto on service especially what you've heard/personally experienced re Lenovo.
    3. Processor speed. Fred Hees (OJT'd into the Schools lead computer tech starting in the 80s with Apple 2s/Mac 512s+home built PCs) made a believer out of me that my eyes weren't good enough to tell the difference in text/modest googling betwee a 2.26, 2.4, 2.53, 2.8...but I could see/experience a marked difference between 512 or 1gig of ram and say 3 or 4.

    (My) lesson learned here is that: invest the money saved with a 2.26 or 2.4ghz processor in 3 or 4 gigs of ram and (maybe) a 7200 rpm hd.
  12. Can't help with the laptops, but if you're contacting Dell re the PSU, be prepared for them to tell you that you have to purchase a proprietary PSU from Dell.. for about 3 times the cost of anywhere else.
  13. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's not nice.
  14. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well close to a couple of hours of wait time with Dell...all I got for my effort was "whom ever told you that the Radeon X1300 card was compatible with your Dimension4600 desktop was wrong...Dell doesn't recommend or stock a PSU unit (Raybay's point/warning!) for the card." Full stop.

    I was waiting to hear a PSU recommendation along the lines Nereus suspected. Nada from 2 different Dell Asian lady tecs. The one Sales fellow I had 15 seconds with couldn't get rid of me quick enough.

    I'll chase Dell for another day...not much longer/left a phone number...meowed a bit. Dell notebooks may be in the same league as Lenovo/MBP...but my current experience is a WARNING re doing new business with Dell re a new notebook/external monitor. What a sorry state Dell has/is devolving into.

    I'll speak to the people at Directron as Raybay suggested re a compatible 400w+ power outlet/switch that will (hopefully) seamlessly service the Radeon X1300 card I just bought from them...UPS has stashed someplace. I'll keep you posted.
  15. Kind of what I expected from Dell. They're usually very good supporting their own components, but they seem to do everything they can to talk customers out of buying anything they can't sell to you directly themselves, even if it is compatible. I can tell you that the SL350 Antec 350W PSU definitely is compatible because I would not be typing this if it weren't.

    Now I am about to prove my point above regarding Dell.

    I have an account with Dell which has the Dimesion 4600 on it as the default system, as well as my g/f's PC which was purchased last year (both PC's purchased through the website). When I login and select the 4600 and then select "Find More Parts for Your Dimension 4600", I get a dropdown box to select Dimension4600 with AGP graphics card or with integrated graphics. I select AGP (as would you, since we both currently have the NVidia FX5200 AGP card installed).

    I am then sent to a new screen to select which category, such as power, memory, graphics cards, software etc. So I select graphics cards. Guess what appears on the list of compatible graphics cards? Here, I'll cut and paste it for you:

    Interesting huh? That is the 3rd card on the list, and more than double what I paid for my one.

    Believe me now?

    Try calling back and say you want to buy a replacement graphics card *from them*, and say that you want the best one you can get that is compatible with the Dimension 4600, and see what they say then. Try not to choke when they quote the X1300, or when they quote their prices either.

    FYI they didn't have any PSUs listed, just the 3V Lithium Coin System Battery. Maybe they meant the X1300 is not compatible with the stock 250W PSU.. but they sure have a funny way of saying it don't they....

    Hope that helps. :)
  16. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm getting "what can I help you with emails from Dell...hopefully from a monkey or at least a beast.

    Found an Antec Solution Series SL350 Power supply - 350 Watt from an supplier named Code Micro for about forty dollars/no shipping/ Make sense?
  17. Sounds good - 12V ATX

    If you search for " Antec SL350 350W 12V ATX Power Supply " they have them.. says $77.99, but click on 'new and used' and there's a dealer there selling them new for $34.95 which is a good deal.. oh wait.. + $13.55 shipping. Of course.

    Not a lot of room to spare in the 4600 case, but it gets in there, and switch/fan/plug are unobstructed. If you want to be safer, go for a 400W.. I already had the 350W one so that's what I used.. but it's the recommended minimum, so if you have the choice to go slightly higher wattage, might as well go for it..

    here's one that's supposedly compatibe:
    brand new, $44.95, free shipping. Sure there's plenty of others - I think Antec have a 430W one..

    Oh look! So much for Dell saying there's only the 250W for the Dimension4600.. here's a 400W one on their own website that fits 4600.. check it out ..$69.99 of course. LOL.
  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    If you're looking for a good inexpensive ATX PSU, Antec's Earthwatts series and Corsair's CX400W are great choices.
  19. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Because of the Antec steady and rapid output, it will be a good choice, despite its lower power rating.
  20. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks to both of you...PSU purchase leads.

    Continuing Dell sage. After wasting a good couple of hours will Dell yesterday on the phone I wrote a not to their univ sales division with a 'polite' rant about wasting time and conflicting technical advice re upgrading.

    My in box this am contained a one liner from a division rep bozo that must have a worse time reading than I have writing:

    "So you have a Dim. 4600 and you want to upgrade the ram correct?"

    So I reply:

    If you are having a problem reading/understanding my text I'll
    one line it for you/Dell:

    #1. I wasted a bunch of time both yesterday and today because of
    Dell. Complaint.

    #2. Dell technicians either provided me conflicting advice at
    best or bogus advice at the worst re upgrading my Dimension 4600
    desktop (BIGGER COMPLAINT):

    a) either the D4600's 250w PSU can or cannot run the Dell advised
    X1300 GC upgrade (to run a high res monitor such as the 2407)
    which is it? And,

    b) either my D4600 can be upgraded to run a hi res monitor(Dell
    tech 10 days back) or cannot be upgraded to support a high res
    monitor (as the Dell yesterday tech told me yesterday.) Which is it?

    Joey I don't have a clue as to how you surmised that I was only asking
    about RAM ("So you have a Dim. 4600 and you want to upgrade the
    ram correct?")

    Respectfully, Ted

    Again, what a waste of time for a guy headed for the boneyard at this rate.
  21. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    By default, Dell support, and most support for most computer manufacturers cannot comment on the use of other devices than those supplied by their company. It is a mandate of their legal departments.
  22. Received the new X1300 card. Removed the NVidia drivers first, then removed the old FX5200 and installed the new X1300, used the supplied CD to add the new drivers and the ATI Catalyst Control Center, then updated drivers and control center from the website, and everything is running fine. Installed last night and nothing has fried since. It's not a huge difference visually, but certainly some software I could not use previously is now working. YAY!

    Only thing was the refresh rate defaulted to 60Hz, which lead to a few random thin lines on my display.. bumped it up to 75Hz and the display is clean and crisp.

    When I first ran it, there was a very occasional stutter while running a graphic-intensive game, but that seems to have ironed itself out since. Not sure if was the CPU being underpowered as opposed to a GC issue, or whether the GC has self-adjusted or what, but it's moot now since the issue is gone.
  23. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Generally, you do not see immediate failures and errors... or a crash that devastates.
    But sometime over the year, when you have forgotten you are living on the power margin, you may be running the video graphics, while burning a DVD, or multitasking in some other way that puts too great a tax on the power supply...
    Then, if you see fluctuations or smell hot metal and plastic, shut down immediately.
    Most users cannot predict or remember the failure point.
    We have high hopes you experience no such troubles... but do not understand why you would want to live on the edge... risking the video graphics card and other components...
    Good luck.
  24. TedB

    TedB TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hopefully you are still close by..I have a couple of windows open right now re the

    1. Anetc SL 350 350W 12v ATX power supply ($50 bucks give or take a bit with shipping, etc) and the

    2. Star Tech 400W ATX12V 201 Dell Replacement unit ($60 +~)

    I'm guessing that I'd best go with a 400W or the decision not a Watt issue but a Anetc vs Star Tech issue?
  25. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    @Nereus, the Antec you have is an old SmartPower 350W model that uses Fuhjyyu capacitors. Be sure to keep the PSU cool, otherwise it will fail very fast. The Fuhjyyu caps don't take very kindly to high temps.

    @TedB, yes that is the issue. I have never heard of Star Tech, so that PSU is guaranteed to be of rubbish quality. The SL350 needs to be kept cool, otherwise the caps in it will fail. I'd recommend buying an Earthwatts 380W, a Fortron ATX-300 series PSU or a Corsair 400CX instead of either of those two you've chosen.
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