Video card

huey

Dalayan Elder
Idk if this is the right spot to post this question, but I'm looking to get a new graphics card for the machine I got a couple months ago. It's a Dell Inspiron 530 with a 300W power source, core 2 duo 2.4g processors...currently running 2gigs of ram, but will have 4 total in a couple days.... Running the on-board graphics it comes with right now, and running Vista 32bit (which is brutal), but I plan on upgrading to win 7 or 8.1 64bit(I think it was) in the next week or so. Back in the early 2000s I knew what to look for and what ran with what, but seeing as this is my first box that even has a pci-e slot (i think it has a pci-e 1.0 and a pci-e x16, but honestly I don't know a ton about that) I'm kinda out of the loop as far as what is even gonna work with this computer/motherboard....or what would be wasted on it even if it was compatible... Any suggestions? any additional info needed? (if this goes somewhere else, feel free to punt it...)
 

darksabbath

Dalayan Master
Ok, since you are opening your case anyways, a few suggestions.

1) First things first, check the mother board for a manufacture name, and the model of the board. Google the company, and goto their website. Find the specs/manual for your machine. Verify the OS it is compatible for, the max memory and speed it can handle, and the type of vid card slot (s) it has.
2) Your ram should be labeled, if you are just adding 2 gig to your 2 gig, check what speed it says on the label, and match it. Or better yet, if it can handle 2gig per slot, just buy a matched set of 2gig sticks. Generally, performance suffers when installing new ram with ram that old.
3) Find a vid card upgrade that works in the slot you have, with a machine that old (vista! yuck), you will likely have very limited options, sadly. Verify what power requirements it has. Many newer cards require a direct power connection from your power supply.. which means upgrading your power supply also (300w is pretty small, anyways.)

So, taking that into account, and your desire for a better OS, you might just be better off starting over with a newer motherboard also. Good luck, hope this helps.
 

lynnettell

Dalayan Elder
One other thing to keep in mind, you can't just upgrade 32 bit Vista to a 64 bit Win 7/8. You'll have to do a clean install, so make sure you have backups!

To make life easy to find your motherboard, RAM info, etc., just download & install the free version of Speccy. (https://www.piriform.com/speccy). It will tell you RAM slots, what is in them, Mobo info, what actual PCI slots you have, etc., without having to take stuff off/try to find the info.
 

lynnettell

Dalayan Elder
You still have to Google to find the mobo info, etc., but that way he doesn't have to try to read the freaking labels. Plus it makes sure that he knows exactly the speed of RAM to make sure he gets compatible so it pairs correctly, what PCI slots he has without guessing... It's actually a super neat little tool! That & CPUID... Now, quit lurking on the forums & log on so I can pick on you. :D

Your 32-bit will only handle 4 GB RAM, so that's all you can put in for now, if you upgrade to the 64-bit, then you might want to look at upping the RAM even more. But Moo was completely correct to make sure you get matched pairs. :p
 

huey

Dalayan Elder
Yeah, I got relatively that far so far....it's a stock Inspiron 530, but there were a couple versions. The 530s had a 250w psu and has trouble fitting larger cards. I know mine doesn't have the direct power connection that you mentioned, so I'm aware of that as a limiting factor. As far as the ram, I'm fairly confident in what I ordered, as I researched the hell out of that, and knew about the whole mixing rules from back in the day, so I said I'd have a total of 4 soon, but I actually ordered 4 gigs, and will just keep the 2 that are currently in there somewhere as a back up. As far as the 32-bit thing limiting me to 4gigs, I think this motherboard also limits it, as, as far as I can tell, everyone that went up to 8 also had to upgrade the motherboard, etc. I'm not looking to do a complete overhaul, but I did want to at least max out the ram since that's pretty cheap and easy to do, and I definitely want to be the hell away from Vista. I just figured I'd get something better than the on-board stock video (and maybe even look at an SSD...), but that seems to have gotten a bit more complex since the late 90s, early 2000s when I built my last deal.

That whole upgrade vs. clean install thing, I wasn't completely aware of, but that's good to know (and potentially a pretty big bummer). I was aware of the 300w psu and lack of a direct connection being limiting factors, but sadly I'm new to different types of pci-e slots, so I'm next to lost on that end of it. I'm not really looking to get something amazing right now, as I'll probably just be playing SoD and nothing that much more intense game-wise, and watching shows/movies, but I get the impression that there are tons of stuff that would "work", but that I'd get the same effect after factoring in the limits out of something much much lighter. In the meantime though, I'll follow the suggestions so far. Thanks you two. (feel free to point out if anything I say is full of shit here)...
 

darksabbath

Dalayan Master
Yeah, there is base pci-e, then there is x1, x2, x16 slots also (last I checked). So it isn't quite enough to just know that. Hence the suggestion for the exact mobo model and looking it up. Mobo manuals are usually quite good on giving you the exacts.
Also, you can go to dell's site, make an account, and put in the dell serial number. You should be able to pull the exact specs of it, and what slots it has that way. I have had good luck with that in the past, their support has lagged in recent years, but that part has remained stellar.

Now, quit lurking on the forums & log on so I can pick on you. :D
I'm at work, no internet that allows gaming, so stuck on forum lurk mode. :(
 

lynnettell

Dalayan Elder
That's why I recommended using Speccy. It will show you *exactly* what you have... even on this thing I have the following (snipped from Speccy). There's actually PCI-E (which is the x1), PCI-E x4, x8, x16.

Speccy PCI.JPG

It really will break down pretty much everything you have on your system, and let you know *exactly* without having to RTFM.

I'm at work, no internet that allows gaming, so stuck on forum lurk mode. :(

All good, text me if you're gonna be on!
 
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