Looking for upgrades on my dell optiplex 990 small form factor for gaming on latest games

Ezio47

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Jul 26, 2014
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I recently got a refurbished dell optiplex 990 (small form factor) and I wanna make changes in it in order to play latest games can you suggest what changes and parts should I upgrade...Iam quite on a budget of rs10000 to rs15000 and Iam not necessarily looking for high graphics...I just want game to work with good fps even if the graphic settings is needed to be lowered

Optiplex 990 specs

Intel Core i5 (2nd Gen) 2400 / 3.1 GHz

Ram 4GB

Hard drive 500GB

Integrated graphics Intel HD 2000

Thankyou for your cooperation

 
This thread over at Dell's forums suggest that the PCIe slot will only accommodate a video card up to 25W TDP. That seems VERY unusual (I thought all PCIe x16 slots were supposed to meet the 75W spec), but that's what they say.

https://www.dell.com/community/Desktops-General/Dell-OptiPlex-990-SFF-upgrade-Graphics-Card/td-p/3826257

I would suggest more RAM, and you can get a pair of 2GB sticks starting as low as around rs4400, or a pair of 8GB sticks as low as approximately rs7500 - see: https://in.pcpartpicker.com/products/memory/#Z=4096002,8192002&sort=price&s=301333

The video card would be a problem, as if that forum is correct, that low power limit severely limits any video upgrade to the point of almost uselessness. Even the GTX 1030 maxes at 30W. It may work, it may not, when pushed to the limit.

A GT 730 (get the GDDR5 version, do NOT get either of the DDR3 variants - the DDR3 ones are much slower and depending on which version, consume more power - see https://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gt-730/specifications) should just fit within the power limit, and should be an improvement over the integrated graphics.

 
https://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/optiplex-990-spec-sheet.pdf

http://clascsg.uconn.edu/download/specs/O990.pdf

Best CPU you can use in that is the i7-2700 (non-K). It's not a bad chip, you'd get a slight speed boost & double the threads, & unless a newer game specifically asks for a newer generation you'd get decent performance in it.

Storage-wise, you've got the space to put a 2.5" 250+GB SSD inside there. Make that your OS, & turn your 500GB HDD into extra storage. If you have the money, you could also just get a 1-2TB HDD to go with the SSD.

RAM is a bit trickier. If you're using 32-bit Windows, you've already maxed it out. If you're running 64-bit Windows, you can go up to 16GB of RAM (only DDR3-1333 in speed, but as long as you can get to 8 or 16GB that won't matter as much).

The GPU is where it's going to suck the most. First, you're limited to half-height cards in the x16 slot (but at least you do have a full x16 slot, in addition to the x4). Second, that particular slot is limited to 35W. That's pretty much going to limit you to a GT 730 or 1030, as even a basic GTX 750 (sans PCIe connectors) needs twice the power. Unfortunately, they took all of the Intel HD iGPUs off of the hierarchy chart (https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gpus,4380.html), but even a GT 730 is going to be much better than your current Intel HD 2000. Neither the 730 nor 1030 will be great for games, but they'll do in a pinch for at least low/medium at 720p.
 



Oh, good catch finding that PDF and official spec sheet! While still not great, that 35W limit is still better than 25W and thus allows for the GT 1030 to be used safely.

Ezio: Still, make CERTAIN you get the GDDR5 version, and NOT the DDR4 version, if you opt for this. And, as spdragoo mentioned, you need low-profile. Fortunately, the Zotac which shows up first on this list is the least expensive and is low profile:
https://in.pcpartpicker.com/products/video-card/#c=396&sort=price&page=1


(unless you have the ultra-small-form-factor, in which case there's simply no PCIe x16 slot for a GPU at all)
 

Ezio47

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thankyou for your answer...unfortunately my pcs PCIE x16 is 25 watts due which my only option is to buy a gt 1030 or a gt 730 but will these cards atleast give me goods fps in latest games for eg upcoming battlefield 5...again iam not interested in graphic quality and 4k i just want a good fps
 

hang-the-9

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Sell the system get a newer tower one with a 300 watt power supply and normal PCIex 16 slot. You shot yourself in the foot getting a small form factor. It may be cheap but will cost you more in the long run with what you want it for. Trying to save money often costs twice as much :) Buying an old system that will only run a low end video card is not the way to go for running latest or future games. You don't buy a chicken because it's cheap then ask how you will get milk from it, you buy a cow to begin with. You don't need a new cow or a fancy cow, but a chicken for milk is just wasted money.
 

Ezio47

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unfortunately it is 25 watts......what graphic card option do i have now...thankyou for reply
 

Ezio47

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i saw alot of videos saying that installling gtx 1050ti is save and psu is not an issue.....is it true or its just bullshit.....also please explain what would happen if someone tries to install a gtx 1050ti in my version of dell optiplex 990...thankyou for ur replies
 
Many people report success running 75W GPU in those. But the risk is on you. It's hard for us to publicly recommend it even if many of us supect it would work. Dell Optiplex sff MB can be under $20. I would have a spare on hand before I tried this. The PSU is Ok for it due to almost no expansion slots or bays to power, and the 95W Optiplex CPU limit. It's risky but the odds of success are actually very good.
I personally don't use the DT and SFF sizes due to this issue so my opinion isn't based on first hand experience.
 


I've heard this for the tower version, but not for the small form factor version.... so, I can't say for sure.
 

Ezio47

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Jul 26, 2014
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so i have finally decided to buy either gt 1030 or a gt 730 but still this whole 250 psu and 25 w pcie slot power thing is making me nervous to buy anything as it might damage my whole pc so should i buy a gt 730 or gt 1030...thankyou for replies
 
See from mine and @spdragoo 's previous comments:





Oh, good catch finding that PDF and official spec sheet! While still not great, that 35W limit is still better than 25W and thus allows for the GT 1030 to be used safely.

Ezio: Still, make CERTAIN you get the GDDR5 version, and NOT the DDR4 version, if you opt for this. And, as spdragoo mentioned, you need low-profile. Fortunately, the Zotac which shows up first on this list is the least expensive and is low profile:
https://in.pcpartpicker.com/products/video-card/#c=396&sort=price&page=1
Therefore, since the GT 1030 is a 30W card, which is under the 35W limit, you will be safe.
 

Ezio47

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Jul 26, 2014
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See from mine and @spdragoo 's previous comments:




Therefore, since the GT 1030 is a 30W card, which is under the 35W limit, you will be safe.
so just to be clear pcie slot delivers 35w and not 25w but will the 250w psu cause any problem coz both gt 1030 and gt 730 requires 300w power supply
 
There won't be any problems. When the manufacturers of video cards put estimates, they have to account for someone maybe having a system with a high-end CPU that is overclocked, maybe several hard drives, etc.

Your system is running a non-overclocked i5, and only a single hard drive. You'll be safe.
 

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