Upgrading Graphics card in a Dimension  E310

By GeekieNick101 ยท 24 replies
Aug 8, 2006
  1. Hi, this is my first time ever posting in this forum, I hope i get some answers to my problem.

    Ok, I have an Dell Dimension E310 desktop and I wanted to upgrade the graphics card in it so I used the Dell online tech support chat and they recommended the GeForce 5500 PCI 256 MB Graphics card. They said I could get any card I wanted as long as it said it would work with a minimum of a 250W system power supply. So i did order the GeForce 5500 PCI 256 MB Graphics card from tigerdirect.com and I did cancel the order because I did open up the computer case and it had a tag on it stating that it was a 230W power supply. So like the next day or so i called Dell tech support and they told me my system does not use the full 230W of the power supply so the card would work fine. So i did reorder the card from tigerdirect.com. So I decided to call the manufacturer of the graphics card and they told me no it would not work so then I got off the phone with them and called Dell and informed them what the manufacturer of the graphics card said and Dell told me that It would work and the guy even talked to a senior tech there at Dell and they agreed on what he said. But they told me to call the manufacturer and tell them what they said because I didnt believe what the Dell tech said. So i did call the manufacturer back and they told me "Dont listen to them, they dont know what they are talking about." So i called Dell back and the tech i got told me no it wouldnt work with a 230W power supply, so i asked if i could jsu upgrade the power supply too so I could use the card. And they told me if i use a 250W power supply it will ruin the motherboard because it will overpower it. Also they said "If you install a 250W power supply and when it ruins your motherboard dont call Dell and blame us." So basicly they told me if i want to use this graphics card that I purchased i would have to buy also a new power supply and a new motherboard. So he told me that I myswell buy a new system he said in particular an XPS system because it is "high end" and has a graphics card not intergrated graphics. So the bottom line I want to know if I could use a graphics card that needs a 250W power supply with a 230W power supply and also if I would upgrade the power supply with it really ruin the motherboard? It is sorta sad when 4 Dell Techs tell me the card will work with the current power supply and the other Dell tech didnt tell me it would work until I told him that the graphics card manufacturer said "Dont listen to them, they dont know what they are talking about."

    Please reply and help me I dont know what to do if I return the graphics card I loose shipping both ways plus a 15% restocking fee.

    I know this forum message is rather long but please help me if you would be so kind.
  2. es84

    es84 TS Rookie Posts: 48

    First , upgrading the power supply will not spoil u r mother board, there is nothing to worry about, the last person was not sure of he was sayingm the mother board will not over draw power ,
    the geforce 5500 cards works on a 310 system , u can try with the old power supply ,as they say it will , incase it does not send another 40 bucks and install a bigger power supply , the system will not have a cooling issue , it should work fine
    , u need to turn off the integrated vidoe, thats all
  3. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    Thanks you so much for replying es84,

    I would like to try it on the current power supply I have but if the power supply cant support it will it cause any damage to the computer or the graphics card?
  4. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    No. You just won't be able to play games or anything on it, since when it tries, it'll try to draw power which isn't there. Which shoudl just make the computer restart, or freeze, or something that won't permanently kill a component.
  5. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    Thanks so much for your help everyone,

    the reason I wanted to upgrade to a normal 256 mb graphics card was because I love playing the sims 2 and this computer only has a 128mb intergrated graphics
  6. es84

    es84 TS Rookie Posts: 48

    CMH is right, the grahics card moight no work propery whn u play games and thats when u might feel the need for a bigger power supply , just make sure that when u get the power suply it fits perfectly in the space in the system s chassis and supports SATA
  7. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    I know its and BTX power supply not an ATX and Dell did tell me that it will fry my motherboard if i get a 350W power supply sp today i am going to call local computer shops rather than do it myself since dell metione frying thr motherboard
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

  9. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    Thanks so much for the helo, Dell had me so confused so I just took it to a local shop and they told me I can just use my stock power supply until it burns out because of the video card so thats nice I was planing on getting a new one but oh well. Anyways yeah they told me it would work and put it in and they only charged me $20 even though I could do it myself but im not really sure they were very nice they said it noramly cost $40 but I really dont know why they sold it to me cheaper but oh well at least it works.
    But I do have a uestion since I have the graphics card in it (has a hetsink and fan) my computer seems A LOT more noisy, this is a huge difference
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Yup if you've been using an Integrated or fanless solution then it will be new for u. But u'll forget as soon as ur engrossed in a game. Buy a pair of headphones and turn up the volume! :D
  11. Darth_Terra1

    Darth_Terra1 TS Rookie Posts: 212

    Adding a more powerful power supply will do nothing to the Motherbaord i have put a 500 watt power supply in a dell with no problems, you have to see if the power supply has a switch on the back as they tend not to fit the dell cases to well so try and get one with no switch on the back.
  12. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    Ok Thank you very much for clearing this up for me I was very confused thanks to Dell's Tech Support

    Thank so much everyone
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9


    Btw, if huge PSU's burn up mobos.... what are the 1kW PSU's gonne be used for :D
  14. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    Well the Dell tech told me if I put a 250w power supply in as soon as I turn it on it will start to fry the motherboad becuase it will put more pressure on it so I went to a local shop going to get a PSU becuase they said Dell was wrong and then I didnt need it because they said the Video card would work and they isntalld it but they were going to put in a 500W powersupply but now the comptuer freezes for 5-10 secs and comes back and I hear a loud noise and I know now the power supply cant handle it so i'm going to call today and take it in to the shop and get a 500w powersupply
  15. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    What type?

    What brand is the 500W they'll put in? You definately don't need 500W, especially if it's some generic. I suggest instead of a generic 500W, a good and stable 350W one from ThermalTake, Enermax, Antec, and the other good ones.
  16. GeekieNick101

    GeekieNick101 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 373

    They didnt tell me what kind it was but i remmeber them telling me it either costs 35 or 45 dollars which I tihnk is way tooooo cheap I want a good well made one they said it came with a 1 year warrtney but I'm going to call in here soon and ask about what brand I think I want an Antec since someone else in another post of mine said they had an Antec for 4 years and still works and they said there one of the best so I tihnk thats what I want
  17. LBChico

    LBChico TS Rookie

    I have a Dimension E310 too but my Device Manager says I have two PCI Express Root Ports. How do I know whether they are PCI Express x1 or x16, I'm fairly sure that they are x16 from a vague recollection of mine of actually finding that info about a year ago when I was looking for a graphics card. I'm just wondering whether to look for PCIex1 or x16. Thanks.
  18. godson

    godson TS Rookie Posts: 40

    The e310 has 3 pci slots I think and 1 pcie x1 slot..No pcie x16 slot..
  19. LBChico

    LBChico TS Rookie

    Yeah I checked with Dell (that didnt help) and then I finally just searched the specs online where i found what you told me. I guess I'll just buy the necessary power supply and video card and then recycle some parts from my PC to build a new one in a month or so
  20. electromagnetic

    electromagnetic TS Booster Posts: 208

    hi all, I got a Dell dimension 3100 same as E310, I got a Pny 6200 256MB pci card in my PC, and theres no problems with it. You don't need to upgrade power supply. Just do this.

    Disable the onboard/integrated video card in the device manager
    * Right click the My Computer icon
    * Click Properties
    * Click the Hardware tab and/or the Device Manager button
    * Open the Display Adaptors. You should see the Intel video card
    * Double click the listing for Intel whatever
    * At the bottom under "Device Usage", click the down arrow and change this to "Do not use this device, disable"
    * Click OK- Apply- OK
    * Close all boxes when done
    * Open the case cover and add the video card
    * Connect the monitor to the added video card
    * Power on your computer
    * Let the computer boot up and load the drivers off of the CD provided with the card
  21. LBChico

    LBChico TS Rookie


    Well I'm getting the Visiontek Radeon X1550 256MB PCI and Crucial 1024MB PC4200 DDR2 from TigerDirect, so hopefully I won't need a power upgrade because that was the only graphics card that Dell recommended with my system specs (pretty sure they were saying the others didnt work based on PSU capacity). What I'm still not sure about is whether the video card supports DirectX 9.0c, or just 9.0. I'm not sure how large the difference is and whether it will keep me from being able to play a game that says it requires DirectX 9.0c compatible video card.

    PS TigerDirect held my two-day-shipping order for five days because they needed more information. They already had all the shipping info, but they didnt send the email until around 12 at night and I didnt check my email for most of the week. Turns out now it wont get here til around Wednesday, which means i paid extra for shipping that took longer than the regular $7 shipping. Thanks TigerDirect! =D
  22. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    I am almost positive that card will support DirectX 9.0c.
  23. blackwolf5150

    blackwolf5150 TS Rookie

    @ GeekieNick

    I also got a Dell E310, a Optiplex 320 i upgrade both video cards with ATI Radeon video cards. the video card that goes with the Dell E310 is the VisionTek x1550 256 PCI card. I do believe u can buy a 512MB also..i will double check on that. on my optiplex it has a512 HD2600 Pro (dual Monitor connection) it is pretty bad ***. I upgraded to 64-bit vista Ultimate and it has 4GB of memory. i put a extra fan just in case..they both run fine. Upgrade too a 500 watt. I am sure Dell has bigger Powersupplies..if not read up in the INTEL website and make sure you write down what kinda of motherboard it is..it should tell u waht is compatiable with your MB. i would go with a 400 watt just in case.
  24. electromagnetic

    electromagnetic TS Booster Posts: 208

    One question for you Dell 3100/E310 owners. How good is the fan on the graphics card does it stay secure. The card I got it a heatsink only. Stays cool. Between 40c to 60c.

    If you get a new DVDRW optical drive IDE only. Do you need a new driver or are they already installed in your PC ?

    How good is the games like L4D with the new card. ?
  25. blackwolf5150

    blackwolf5150 TS Rookie

    @ Electromagnetic. hahaha!! you said one Question, but I go ahead and answer both. if you also upgrade to a better DVD/DVD-r drive, well if the hardware comes with a CD..i would go ahead and use that...if you use vista make sure it says "Vista Compatible" if not, go the the hardware's website and find the driver..they should have that in the website...or contact their customer service.

    Well i play Crysis warhead on mine...and it plays pretty good..kinda jumpy and i know it says Core2 Duo preferred but HT technology i think is good enough. i got 2 GB of ram in mine with the x1550 256MB video cards..it runs great also with HalfLife2 also. during online multiplayer death matches..sometimes jumpy but it refreshes pretty fast. you can also upgrade to a "Pentium D" processor too..I "might" go that far with my PC..i just want to make sure the power supply will be strong enough..and will talk to Dell techs in case. i read off the serial numbers of the MB and it goes from P42.8Gb to Pentium D. should be in your device manager and the name says it all. :)

    MY Dimension C521 is almost maxed out to the Dell XPS 210 and it is faster than my E310. it took the corsair XMS2 DDR2 (2GB for now) pretty good..i recommend also to upgrade to 64-Bit if go any higher..XP or vista, but remember Windows7 is coming out and make sure u make a wise decision...i will buy the Widows 7 a month or so after it is recognized more. I do believe it will come out with the 64-bit version too. enjoy and happy gaming.
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