NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256Mb with 300w PSU crashing


Oct 30, 2011
Hello Everyone! I have been having a problem with my computer(specs posed below) ever since I upgraded my computer with 2x1024Mb ram that I got from crucial.com. The problem didn't start right away, and still continues after I took the memory out, so I am not sure if its related or unrelated to the upgrade or me taking the case apart. But basically, my graphics card or my power supply is crashing/dying but only when my computer is under high performance load. I have gotten a blue screen of death twice but mostly the screen will freeze and turn different colors, red/yellow/green swirl before locking up. Sometimes it fixes itself but it usually happens when I am playing the World of Warcraft/Star Craft 2. I downloaded FurMark and it crashed 30seconds into it. I downloaded EVGA Precision and cranked the fan speed to 100% and it still crashes. Graphics Card Temperature is at 51C at idle and goes up into the 70Cs when gaming (temp obtained from CPUID Hardware Monitor). The PSU I have is a stock dell 300W PSU. My Graphics card is a NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256Mb. I read somewhere that this graphics card needs 350W PSU, could that just be my problem did the RAM push it over the edge? I was going to upgrade with a new graphics card, but any new card will need a more powerful PSU. So I would basically need a new PSU and Graphics card unless you guys have any other ideas. Any recommendations on new PSU/Graphics cards that fit my case/system would be appreciated, I am willing to spend some cash to make it work well or do you think I should just get a whole new system?

Also the bios is out of date, should I update it to version 1.0.13? I read on the Dell site that the new Bios upgrade has fried the motherboard and is not 64bit compatible, so I never did it.

Computer Model Inspiron 531
BIOS Vendor Dell Inc.
BIOS Version 1.0.3
BIOS Date 06-15-07 ----> Windows Version Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate

Manufacturer AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+
Clock Speed 2.9GHz
L2 Cache Size 2048

Clock Speed 2.9GHz

Available Memory 62.36 %
Page File Size 8190.1Mb
Available Page File 100.0 %
Virtual Memory 12284.Mb
Available Virtual Memory 86.06 %
Memory Slot 1 [DIMM_1] 1024Mb
Memory Slot 2 [DIMM_2] 1024Mb
Memory Slot 3 [DIMM_3] 1024Mb
Memory Slot 4 [DIMM_4] 1024Mb

Network Card
Adapters NVIDIA nForce 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
Broadcom 802.11g Network Adapter

Drive Type Drive Size Total Available Space Used Space
C: NTFS 288.0Gb 87.25Gb 200.7Gb
D: NTFS 9.999Gb 6.179Gb 3.820Gb

Type Description
Disk Drives SAMSUNG HD321KJ SCSI Disk Device 298.0Gb
Display Adapters NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256Mb
IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
ATA Channel 0
ATA Channel 1
Keyboards USB Input Device
Mice and Other Pointing Devices USB Input Device
Monitors Dell E228WFP - Dell Inc.
Sound Devices High Definition Audio Device
USB Controllers Standard OpenHCD USB Host Controller
Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller
Well from the looks of things you could use a whole new computer. If you wanted to upgrade just the psu and gpu then you still have old parts with the cpu and MB. The question would be are you going to build it yourself or are you going to get another Dell. If you were to build it yourself what would your budget be. Don't forget Black Friday is coming up and I am sure Dell will be having some good sales if you plan on going that way.