Want to play Blu-ray on my old comp -- can it be done?

By dspgandalf · 27 replies
Apr 22, 2011
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  1. I have an old Dell, Dimension 4500 and I wan't to put a AGP vid card that can handle Blu-Ray playback, I have a 250 watt power supply--can it be done? I love my old CPU and I don't want to send it to CPU heaven...
    System Model DIM4500
    System Type X86-based PC
    Processor x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 7 GenuineIntel ~2392 Mhz
    BIOS Version/Date Intel Corp. A04, 9/10/2002
    SMBIOS Version 2.3
    Total Physical Memory 1,024.00 MB
    Available Physical Memory 115.42 MB
    Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
    Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
    Page File Space 2.40 GB
  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I think that's a P4 2.4 - and it's very unlikely you'll ever be able to get that thing to properly play back a bluray disc. ALL the video processing would have to be offloaded to another card.
  3. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Yes, it's P4 2.4...

    OK, I have a slot left--is there something I can do? I found that I can upgrade the P4 to a 2.8 GHz but a 3.2 might mess up my motherboard--I realy love this old thing, I've got it set up sooo cool over the past years and she has never let me down, I don't have the heart to send it to CPU heaven... I see that you have the dream system "LNCPapa", I looked at an i7 from Dell--$999.99 but I'm afraid of mounting my old HDD (not SATA) to the system and keeping XP Pro as my op sys and using Win 7 as an alt--I love my current set up! If I have to go to a new :( sys will it work with my old IDE HDD with a IDE to SATA adapter?
  4. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    Slow Down A Little Big Guy!

    Hello there dspgandalf, let's just slow things down for a minute and look this situation over a bit. I understand your desire and or wants when it comes to trying to use a Blu-Ray playing on your old machine. Trust me, I get it, I know what you want to do or are asking if can be done, but I'm stepping in to tell you, in my professional opinion as a computer/network engineer, you will be wasting your time!

    I currently have a older Dell Dimension 3000 and a Dell Dimension 5100c, now I don't have your Dell Dimension 4500, but I have a system a couple ladder rungs below yours and one above yours. And with both of my older Dell's I wouldn't think about installing a Blu-Ray player! Heck even with my more advanced Dell 5100c compared to your Dell 4500, I wouldn't try it. You and I are sharing some dinosaur technology when it come to our processors, we got the old Intel Pentium 4's, yours at 2.4 gigs and mine at 3.0 Gig's with (H/T) technology, we just don't have the kick that today's more modern processors have, not by a long shot.

    Next you state that your interested or at least researching a new video card for your system. That is good, but even with a powerful video card that is compatible with your older system, the computers processor is still going to hold it back.

    Also lets just not look at our old processors that could hold up the Blu-Ray show, lets look at your specs on how much RAM you have. I'm sorry there buddy, but 1000MB's of system RAM isn't going to get the job done either. Now with my Dell 5100c I upgraded it from the stock 256MB's it came with and I now have 4 Gig's of DDR2 Patriot RAM, even with that awesome amount of system RAM, my dinosaur Pentium 4 will hold up the show. Plus I would think it would be a loosing cause seeing that your specs only show that you have 115MB's of total system RAM that is free.

    I just hate to step into any situation and be the voice of "doom and gloom" and or "reason" but I think you should hold off trying to install any type of Blu-Ray player in that older system of yours. Wait until one day you have a system that is worthy of that type of technology. Heck in both my Dell 3000 and Dell 5100c I don't have Blu-Ray, I only have x16 DVD/CD-ROM drives in both of my systems and I occasionally play DVD's on them and they work just fine with regular DVD technology. Just install or keep the DVD player inside your old system, the Blu-Ray stuff can wait for a while.

    Good luck..............:)
  5. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thanx for your input....

    OK, now the other problem :( (hate to lose the old beast), will my old HDD IDE drive work with a new i7 from Dell with a IDE to SATA adapter continuing to use my XP Pro SP3 (fully updated) op sys as a alt op sys? Not only do I hate to lose my old PC--it's been soooo good--but I hate even more to lose my setup, it is years in the making and a lot of the stuff I have is no longer available or licence expired--am sooo not willing to pay for more!

    Oh! PS., My system burns at about 7.25MB/s with my my new BD rewriter on this old thing on the HDD--and does a damn good job! but can't play BD with DVD9(updated)--it says that I need a better vid card, it recomends a 3.2GHz processer but says a better vid card could work, OK----?????
  6. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    All I'm really going to say here my friend is back that stuff up!

    If you do indeed have things like programs that are no longer available to buy or download, than by all means please back your stuff up! I would suggest maybe backing up you old stuff on an external hard drive, for going that route, all your data should fit. Or if you don't have that much, but want to back it up all the same, if you got one maybe you could back things up on a USB flash drive, the bigger the flash drive the better.

    Or if you have not a USB flash drive or an external hard drive at your disposal, than we can go "old school" about this and copy or burn all the data you wish to save on either CD-R's and or DVD-R's!

    Just be careful here, keep things simple and take your time, not just with the upgrading or software makeover of your system, but with proper research as well.

    (Exit Note) - If you love your current set up so much, why all this mumbo jumbo about changing things?
  7. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Mumbo Jumbo...

    Yes, I know what your saying but if you read the post you would understand that I have an old Dell, Dimension 4500 w/ an old Intel P4 2.4GHs chip and I can't play Blu-Ray w/ the current vid card--my first question is: Can you you put in a graphics card good enough to compansate--or, if I have no choice, can I put my old IDE HDD w/ a IDE to SATA adapter and run the new CPU with my old op system already installed on my old HDD?--w/out backing up???? OK, great, can't do none of the above, how do I back up my old XP programs and make them work on the new "Windows 7"???? Look, I've been playing with comps since Apple II, and I still don't know a lot, but if you tell me--I know I'll make it work! I'm self taught--30 years! I just don't want to lose sooo much gained...
  8. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50


    Well if you don't have an external hard drive or access to a large sized USB flash drive, than "old school" is going to be in full effect here. How I would back up some of my stuff with my Windows XP Professional (64bit) is allow the CD burner to take the brunt of all the work. Sometimes when I am in a jam and don't have the external or USB drive in hand, sometimes I will drag and drop the whole file folder of a program or file I desire to save, to the CD-ROM drive and burn the file folder itself. Just make sure your properly labeling your CD-R's or DVD-R's when burning the file folders to them. Let's say after all is said and done and you run with Windows 7 and you do indeed figure on how your going to configure your hard drive situation, just re-insert the desired CD-R or DVD-R back into the CD-ROM drive and drag and drop the file back to a hard drive. One nice thing about a whole file folder copy, it normally saves all your preferred settings and or scores off a video game, so you loose nothing, the file folder saves it all.

    In regards to your graphics card situation, run with what you like. Even my older Dell Dimension 3000 that took a PCI slot only video card ran like a champ after it was upgraded from the on-board graphics adapter. You might using your words "find a graphics card good enough to compensate", maybe. If the new video card is mega powerful and has a decent sized GPU and has enough on-board RAM, than maybe your whole Blu-Ray thing would work. Also I don't know if it was already stated, but what type of video card does your motherboard accept? Does it take a PCI slot only card, or is it a AGP slot only card, or maybe even a PCI-e slot styled card, which does your board take? If it's real "old school" and your board only takes a PCI slot card, than Blu-Ray is out! If it's a nice AGP styled card that your board takes, than we might be getting close to your system having at least decent play back off a Blu-Ray player. I doubt it, for I don't think the 4500 came stock with the option of using a PCI-e card, but if it does, than that's what you want to run with, for that truly will give you decent Blu-Ray play back.

    Also when it come to purchasing yourself another CPU for your computer, run with what the system already knows, keep it in the Pentium family. The following chip may do you good, you might want to take a look at it by clicking on the provided hyperlink.....


    You were saying something about your card or system saying it requires a Pentium 4 3.2 Gig chip, there you go, there's a 3.2 chip!

    And in regards to that hard drive situation, as far as what configuration would do you better, I will have to give that some thought and maybe a little re-search as well.

    Keep us here at TechSpot in the loop, let us know how it is going! :)
  9. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Thanx for your help!

    OK, I want to thank you for your good reply, let me make things a little clearer: Yes, I have an AGP slot but I only have a 250 Watt power supply--is that a problem with newer cards, I know a lot of them have fans now? And I talked to Dell ( They really freak me out, know next to nothing about older systems ) but they said a 3.2GHz chip might burn out my board, but a 2.8 would be OK--I realy wish I knew for sure. I have a 478N socket--takes a C1 chip @ 533FSB--max. Thanx again, Scotty
  10. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    They best AGP video card would still be so out of date Blu-Ray would still bring that system to a stand still.
  11. SneekyGeaky

    SneekyGeaky TS Rookie

    Mission Impossible... NOT!

    Hello there little fella dspgandalf! Well, other than Mr. Zen everything else wasn't helpful at all...

    So, I just had to post because I'm here to tell you that what you want to accomplish it's doable and very easy. I went through all that myself not too long ago when I had a Dimension 8300. I used that PC as my main rig from 2003 to 2009 and it was on that last year that I decided to turn it into a Media Center ''box'', and boy it really was worth it...

    It's original components were as follows:

    -Dell stock PSU [350w]
    -P4HT 3Ghz [Northwood]
    -GeForce FX5200 [AGP]
    -512MB DDR400 [Single Channel]
    -80GB 2MB HDD [IDE]

    Well, that wasn't bad at all considering it had XP Home... but, if I wanted to playback Blu-Ray movies and store a bunch of 1080p videos and expect it all went smooth and not lag or anything, I knew I had to really upgrade my baby. Well this is what it ended up with when the project was done;

    -Radeon HD 4650 [1GB]
    -2 x 1GB PC3200 RAM [Dual Channel]
    -250GB 8MB HDD [SATA]
    -and of course, the Blu-Ray drive [Lite-On iHOS104-06]

    Everything else apart from those was left stock (cpu, psu). I knew my Northwood would be enough at 3Ghz and I knew I would probably need a beefier PSU but I wanted to try with 350w first and it worked really well always. I installed W7HP32 and PowerDVD 10 on top of all that and I had a pretty cool Dell PC (it was no longer a lame 8300 lol).

    Yes I know, you always have to spend some bucks if you want new features and/or better functionality but, don't think I did all that in a day - it took me around 3 months to pull it off (I'm not rich you know ;).

    The only problem I can foresee in your particular situation is that a 250w PSU may be to little juice for the whole thing, and you WILL need to upgrade to W7 because at least when I was dealing with that at that time, Blu-Ray players didn't work with XP, only Vista and W7 recognize them. AND if you can, find a P4 of at least 2.8Ghz but it's not that crucial, more important it's the VGA which would be a Radeon HD 4650 or 4350 - those are your salvation. Also, get at least 1GB of RAM (333Mhz or 400Mhz) and try to make a "dual-channel" setup [2 x 512MB].

    ...Wow, I never thought I'd write that much, seems like I really wanted to help lol. Oh well, I hope I have somehow helped you my net-bud. Reply if you want, I'll be on touch. And thanks also to Mr. Zen for his also extensive contribution to yet another thread... OK, bye byes!
  12. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22


    I've got just a little over a gig of ram (dual) running at 533MHz--I think? Ya, that's it! I've got fully updated XP Pro SP3 and it sees my BD rewriter--can do data and burn--just can't play BD w/vid card now. PowerDVD9 says I could probibly pull it off with a better vid card and you say a Radeon HD 4650--4350 could pull it off--I'll check it out!
    One last thing, I've been talking to Dell about a new system (I'm really thinking it's time...) What's up with the new i7-2600K? Is it the badest chip out there? Is it worth the investment? Dell is talking around $1,550: Aurora Desktop, i7-2600K 4.1 GHz Alienware™ High-Performance Liquid Cooling (overclocked), 1TB HDD, 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460, Win 7 Home Premium, DVD DL burner, and 1 year of service. Can I do better???? Price/system?
  13. If all you are looking for is to play Blu-ray and some minor PC stuff then it's overkill,if you want to play games it will fine for that.
    If you want a very good HTPC all you would need is an I3 with a 6570\6670 for the occasional games.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    Yeah, buying a $1500.00 Dell "Alien Ware" to take the place of a $100.00 stand alone Blu-Ray player is the best possible cost vs performance investment you could make. Don't mind me. I'm never any fun.
  15. SneekyGeaky

    SneekyGeaky TS Rookie

    Very good...

    Hello there dspgandalf, glad to see you back!

    Just so you know if you decide to buy either of those VGAs, please notice that the 4650 has double the video memory [512>1024] and also it has four times the stream processing units [80>320] and all that for just $15 more than the 4350 so, the 4650 it's a no brainer. (but take into account that you'll need a single 4-pin molex power connector too, whereas the 4350 does not need an external auxiliary power connection)

    You can check them out at Newegg, right now they got three HIS branded and one from Gigabyte too...

    Well, now on to your prospecting new rig... OK, buying a pre-built PC (especially an Alienware) feels really tempting but, truth is you are spending more money than necessary. It's funny because back around 2003 I wanted Dell too to make me a custom Pentium 4 Extreme computer but, I'm glad I didn't gave my money for that...

    With years of experience (less than a decade mind you) I can tell you with confidence that building your own computer is the best route to go because:

    1) You can save a couple of hundred bucks against a pre-assembled rig
    2) Your parts will be of high quality [retail] and not OEM mass production [cheap]
    3) You'll gain invaluable experience as you build your PC and in the end, you will feel very proud of your creation

    Now, it seems your budget can go a little above $1000 right? Well, for less than $1550 you can make an even better PC overall than what Dell is offering you...

    First, forget about the 2600K, yeah it's a great CPU that may perform very close to the 980X costing around $600 less but is over the top (money wise). You go with the 2500K. The only difference between them is the lack of Hyper-Threading on the 2500K, and I honestly doubt you'll feel the difference unless you use HT optimized applications. It is $100 less than the 2600K and also it overclocks beautifully to 5Ghz using from 1.320 volts to 1.430 volts based on my previous experiences with four of them [2500K].

    Now, for the rest of the main components, I will list them here so you have an idea of what to get. These parts are ones I use for the computers I build based on the Intel Core i5-2500K I just recommended to you:

    PSU - SeaSonic M12II 620
    Mobo - ASUS P8P67
    CPU - you know already lol
    GPU - GeForce GTX 560 Ti
    RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2 x 2GB PC3-12800 CAS-8
    HDD - WD Caviar Black 1TB 64MB 7200rpm

    You've got around $850 here, now just add a Blu-Ray drive (nice touch) or DVD-Burner, a keyboard and mouse, the speakers, an HD LCD LED monitor and you're ready!

    There's no case because that's up to you. Cases vary a lot by user tastes and what features it has and it's airflow and whatnot... If you want to know I use Cooler Master cases, lately the Storm Scout and the fourth 2500K computer I made I used a Storm Enforcer. Also, remember the overclocking part about the 2500K? I use the Megahalems from Prolimatech because of their ability to repel load temperatures, that's where the true value lies.

    You see? You can make an all-around great performing PC for less money than those offered by Dell, HP and others... But remember, this is all about the above mainstream sector, if you want a cheap but good computer then go with a pre-built PC and avoid all the hassle of doing it yourself. But as I told you, you'll gain so much knowledge by doing it yourself, and you will feel very proud too!

    Well, once again I wrote more than I expected... but I hope you understood most of it and if not just keep replying, we are here to help!

    As for captaincranky above me, please read more carefully before trying to help someone...
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,023   +2,556

    I'm sorry, I must have missed the memo putting you in charge.

    I don't mean to sass you further, but that was you building a better "PC for a grand the the $1500.00 store bought" wasn't it?

    I'll give you a tip, stay here for the long, and don't try put everything you know into the first post you come to.

    Besides, a stand alone Blu-ray player is a good investment. you can use the computer for something else while somebody is watching a movie.

    Much in the same way it's silly to fire up a $500.00 computer burning a hundred watts or so to play a DVD, when you can pop a disc into a DVD player costing 30 bucks, and drawing 10 Watts.

    So, I would suggest that you follow the advice that you gave me, and consider what I said.
  17. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    WOW, my head is spinning....

    :rolleyes: OK, Captain! I have twin BD DL reburners from LG they do a good job of data and burning (as long as I don't compress from 50GB to 25GB, the old CPU can't do the number crunching :( takes 25 hours) I also have a nice BD player for the home unit--plays my burns well. Mr. Sneeky, I would really like to build my own sys, I kinda knew that from the start (cheaper), but I have my heart set on a i7 2nd gen--don't want to buy anouther unit for the next twenty years..! 10 month old in the house and I think this is the last time I will be able to spend money on myself for a while--if ever! :) . I'm old school, is the Mobo the motherboard? (remember I have a P4, work with me here) and what's a PSU? I know the others--one last thing Mr. Sneeky, know of a good place to start looking for parts? Or any posts on the subject? Power supply, cables needed--will my old ethernet card work? Damn, this is mind bogling! :)
  18. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22


    This is what I got so far: Mobo: ASRock P67 Extreme6 (B3) $210; CPU: i7-2600K $315; and I'll update as the day goes along--what kinda cooling should I get--do I need it? Next is the tower!:grinthumb. Tower: DYNAPOWER USA Hachiman CS-HM41602. ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450W ATX12V 2.01 including LGA775 Power Supply $90 (need to add x2 88mm fans); Vid Card: EVGA 01G-P3-N959-TR GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support $60. Mem: G.SKILL Ripjaws X + Turbulence II Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9Q-16GBXLD--works well with the mobo! $370. And that's it! Total: $1045--$500 less then Dell w/10x more mem! I'm not ever going to update the vid card so 450 Watts should do the trick--give me input! This is too much fun...! :)
  19. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    I hate to say it, for I love a good PC upgrade or new build, but the captain here has a very sound, wise and logical grasp on things here!

    The only thing I see wrong with the captains take on things, is if a person only owns a computer, that's it, no DVD player, no Blu-Ray player, no television, no nothing! So a computer would have to come into play and take on the total brunt of ones multimedia needs.

    Other than that, the captain has a good point!
  20. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

  21. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Nice AGP...!

    That is a great AGP card, but how do I find a 400 Watt Supply that will fit in this old Dell Dimension case that is set up for IDE? I have a 250 Watt now. Also, any thoughts on my build?
  22. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Update--New Vid & Power

    Just ordered a 450 Watt PSU & Vid card--let you know if it works on this old Dimension 4500! And what happened to you guys? No more comments? Nothing on my build? Wanted some input on my pics--what's up?
  23. SneekyGeaky

    SneekyGeaky TS Rookie

    Don't go crazy...

    Hello dspgandalf! Sorry pal, I was a bit busy... now let's get into business!

    Alright, I saw the components your planning on buying but, the case it's awful, sure it looks cool but the airflow inside simply sucks and the power supply [PSU] included you might want to use it as paperweight too. The motherboard [Mobo] it's good but not great. The processor [CPU] well, read my second reply where I tell you about the 2600K and 2500K. The videocard [GPU] does it's job well but it's aging (feature-wise). And last but definitely not least, the memory [RAM]... why do you want so much memory and at such fast frequencies I don't want to know but, it's overkill buddy.

    Now, basing on your input allow me to guide you on this... the following components, when end up as a PC, will give you an awesome computing experience that will last until your 10-month toddler reaches he's teens :D

    Computer Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer = $89.99

    Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 520 = $85.99

    Motherboard: ASUStek P8P67 EVO = $194.99

    Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K = $224.99

    Videocard: AMD Radeon HD 6450 512MB = $54.99

    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X PC3-12800 CL8 DDR3-1600 = $119.99 x 2

    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 64MB

    Oh yes... that up there, is a beautiful beast. Also, I just saved $65 if you compare my list above with the components you had in mind. A total of $980! Now, I would have chosen an Nvidia Geforce GT 520 instead of the Radeon but it seems they're not in stock yet (Newegg).

    Alright I'm going to stop here so you can digest this first and then, tell me what you think or ask me about something... OK, cya!
  24. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Too Late...

    OK my friend Sneeky, I've ordered all the stuff on my list but changed the vid card to a HIS H545H1G, Item # NB2E16814161322, Newegg,--I should have went with a Nvidia card but I've herd a lot of good stuff about HIS and wanted to give it a try--if I don't like it I can always send it back, and I also got an external HDD to transfer my old stuff to the new one. The tower got some good revues--I know the power supply is probibly not going to do the job, I don't know, and I got a CPU cooler and an extra 80mm fan, it's got 2 fan ports in the front, one in the back and one on the side--might have to get one more fan--we'll see. As far as the speed of the system, I do a lot of multi-tasking and with programs getting more and more hungry...well lets just say this is my "dream baby", and if it can't keep up with stuff 20 years from now--I've failed in my mission! I don't want slow, my 10 year old Dell creeps slower and slower the more stuff I do and put on it--it takes 15 min. to boot! When I got it it flew! So my friend, I will keep you posted on my progress, I'm sure I will have issues while building it and I will need your exprtise! I will also let you know how the Dell upgrade went--I'm going to give it to an old friend who's disabled--he's never had one. So long for now--Scotty
  25. dspgandalf

    dspgandalf TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Sneeky--hate red!

    Hi Sneeky! I really liked the tower, but I hate red--would have to change all the fans! lol! The stuff should be here at the end of the week, then I'll realy take a good look at the tower and all the stuff I got--the specs you get on everything are so, well, you realy don't know until it's in your hands, but I do have some questions for you...I got a USB drive to transfer all my currant programs to the new op system--will they work? And if so, what to do to to make them? Some of the stuff you just can't get anymore. And 2nd: I'm going to partition my new HDD, I have a copy of XP 64 bit, I fig I'll get going with that and sometime down the road I'll get 7--what's your take? I know, I don't listen to you--I'm sorry... But some things in life go beyond reason--but I will listen to you on this one--I promise! Until the next time, Scotty

    PS, My baby's name is Victoria Ann (6/25/10), and the the stuff I got came to about $1257.00--including the upgrade for the Dell--I'm dying to see if it works! It's funny, I must of got the last tower from Newegg, it's no longer available!

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