Question Dell Dimension 5150 Graphics Card Upgrade

Deeman777

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Sep 24, 2014
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So, before you say, "why are you upgrading such an old system? Just buy a new PC." I already have a main PC that is fantastic. However, this is just a project build that I don't have very high expectations. This PC was handed to me by an old co-worker who was moving and I wanted to make it a something so I decided to make it into a Linux machine. That said, the specs of it are:

Pre-built Dell Dimension 5150
Pentium D Dual Core CPU (not sure exactly which model, I suspect, 820)
A Dell branded Intel 775 Motherboard
ATI Radeon X300 SE 128 MB GPU
About 300 Watt PSU
4 GBs of DDR2 533 MHz RAM

So, I'm having trouble looking for a compatible, low powered GPU (Under 75 watts) because after getting a 1GB GT 635 for it and it not sending out a signal. I question how I'm gonna upgrade the GPU. I know the GPU works because I put it in my main build, it worked fine, displays on the monitor, all that. The weird thing is, after changing the Operating System (from XP to Linux Zorin 12) it didn't have the same issue I experienced at first, which was it kept booting and shutting down by itself when the 635 was installed. Now it boots and even Posts (I only know because the PC won't shut down unless I hold the button in). The BIOS doesn't have a whole lot of settings relating to the PCI slot and its unknown to me what version the PCI slot is. I'm assuming 2.0 but could be different. And really, when considering a GPU, the thing I'm honestly hoping is that it can at least run a YouTube video at 480p at a stable pace. Like I said, expectations are not high lol. Because it can barely do that with the current GPU. If anyone has a solution or at least knowledge as to why I'm experiencing the issues I am experiencing, let me know. And thanks in advance.
 
Assuming the Dell power supply is a standard size and uses standard connectors, I would consider upgrading the power supply. Why?

You X300 card maxes out at 30W. The GT 635 at 35W. If you are getting crashes related to power (it kinda sounds like you are), then your current power supply is right at the edge of what it can do.

That said ... I use the GT 710 (fanless) in all my "work" systems (no 3D required). It draws a max of 19W. You can also get a GT 1030 (available in fanless) which maxes out at 30W.

That said ... I'm surprised your youtube stuttering is the result of your video card. I'm not a big youtube person, but AFAIK youtube does not use any hardware acceleration and thus the reliance of the video card is minimal. Now, there could be a driver issue and perhaps a newer card with newer drivers might help, but that is just speculation.
 

Deeman777

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I almost got something like a 710 but the 635 was a better deal overall and figured it would of worked just fine which yeah, nope. In future builds, I'm sure the 635 will come in handy but its just gonna be sitting around till then. I was figuring that if I stuck with under 75 watts, the power draw from the PCI slot would be enough, but oh well.

I had another build a while ago with a SFF PC that had a Xeon X3430 (that I upgraded to) and a Radeon HD 7570 and that card draws more power and it works fine with the 240 Watt PSU. I'm just ready to chalk it up to incompatible with the Motherboard. I am gonna try either the 710 you mentioned or something just as powerful as it. I'm not going for real high performance just due to the CPU and how much of a bottleneck it would be to something like a 1030.

I've run into issues a lot as well where it displays but it wouldn't get pass the startup screen. That was my friend's HP PC at the time (He's upgraded since then). Which was super inconsistent cause I let him barrow a spare card of mine and it worked fine but just didn't after a while. It would just do that same issue I mentioned. Computers are weird sometimes.
 
You have to remember that power supply rating is the sum of the power it can provide on the different rails (kinda). Since the distribution is not the same in all units, you may get one unit that works while another doesn't as you get closer to maximum output. Also, not all power supply are made the same (quality wise) and thus some don't perform as well as advertised. I think for these reasons, DIY builders are use to getting way more power supply than needed.

I say this because the concept of a video card being incompatible with a motherboard (when everything follows the standards) is just whacky to me. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I will say it shouldn't happen. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a perfect world.
 

Deeman777

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Its only just a guess at this point. I know there's more to a power supply than just, hey this uses this much power out of this much power supply and so on. I am just feeling that some motherboards just plain don't support certain aspects. Like I almost feel like some just plain don't deliver power from the PCI slot and rely solely on a connector being there to get adequate power. I should also note that this power supply is weird since it has the minimum amount it needs to power things and I just took it out to look at it more and I don't even think its a full sized PSU.

So it could be the PSU.
 

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