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Upgrading a Dell Inpsiron

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
Hi all, I have a Dell Inspiron 531. Its about 8 year old and I would like to upgrade it a bit. I would prefer to do this as cheap as possible. I am really looking for a new gfx card and I dont know where to start.
System at the moment are:

Windows Vista
Processor AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor 4000+ 2.11ghz
Memory (RAM) 2.00 gb
System type 32 bit
GFX Card 256mb ATI radeon x1300PRO

If you guys need any more info let me know.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
With such an old machine the issue is that the latest bits of technology it supports are themselves often five or six years old.

Are you upgrading for something specific?

The first place to start with a new graphics card is to determine whether your system uses AGP cards or PCI-E cards.
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
I will post what kind of slots I've got when I install my new ram. I've ordered 2 x 1 GB ram. I'm not going to be a huge gamer, but I would love a better gfx card. Something that can cope with Shader Model 3. Something that isn't going to need major work as in new motherboard. I like games from steam that are simulators/ construction games.
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
Could I install a GTX 750 TI into my dell? I've seen in other forums that this card will do the job. Also for around £100 it seems to be a decent bit of kit for an old machine.
 

Mystogan

Standard Member
Wow that's old. You might be better off just starting from scratch, Black Friday is right around the corner and there should be some good deals. Since any GPU upgrade in your current system could be bottled-necked by the CPU. That is if the motherboard can support the latest GPUs.

First off we need to know which motherboard it is and also the current PSU in the system.
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
I am thinking bout starting from scratch. I am looking at this setup, let me know what you think.

Intel i5 4460 Quad Core CPU (3.20GHz, 6MB Cache, 84W, Graphics, Turbo Boost Technology, Socket 1150)
Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5 Intel LGA1150 Z97 ATX Motherboard (4x DDR3, 6x USB3.0, 8x USB2.0, HDMI, DVI-I, DSUB)
HyperX FURY Series 8GB (2x 4GB) DDR3 1866MHz CL10 DIMM Memory Module Kit - Red
Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive
EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti Superclocked 2Gb PCI-E Graphics Card (DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort)
Corsair Builder Series CX 500 Watt ATX/EPS 80 PLUS Bronze Power Supply Unit
 

Mystogan

Standard Member
You build sounds good.

Here's the build I'd recommend, or something similar: Intel Core i5-4690K, Asus GeForce GTX 750 Ti, NZXT S340 (Black) - System Build - PCPartPicker United Kingdom
Use uk.pcpartpicker.com to build it and to scope out the prices, also check www.hotukdeals.com for any good sales on any of your parts.

CPU: £170 for the i5 4690k, it will be sufficient for all you gaming needs and everyday tasks. Downgrade to the i5 4460 if you do not plan to overclock anytime in the future. This will save you around ~£35 by doing so.

Cooler: Stock cooler will do, if you plan to overclock choose the H80i GT £80 / H100I GTX £90 for water-cooling, for a high end quiet air cooler choose the Noctua DH-D15 £70, or everyone favourite budget cooler the Hyper 212 EVO £25.

Motherboard: Any Z97 motherboard will do. If you're not overclocking choose any H81 or H97 board, whichever is cheapest and suit your needs the most. £50-£70

Memory: Any (2x8GB) 16GB DDR3 for around £60. Save ~£20 if you choose only 8GB.

Storage:
Definitely buy an SSD. Wait for around Black Friday as 240GB SSDs usually go for sub £50, and 480GB ~£90. Pair it off with a 1TB hard drive for £40, if you want to save on this just use your old one, that is if it uses a SATA connection.

GPU:
Any 750ti you want £90. Might be cheaper by about £10-£15 around Black Friday.

PSU:
Do not skimp on this. Choose a gold efficiency one. You want about 650W to give yourself some breathing room if you plan to upgrade to a high end GPU down the line. If you don't plan on upgrading 550W would be fine. Scan have a great deal on the Cooler Master VS 550W Gold PSU right now which costs about £44, definitely won't be able to get any better even on Black Friday. The Cooler Master VS650W is priced respectively at £54.

Case:
Choose any you want depending on size. Obviously, choose the other parts compatibly if choosing MATX or ITX rather than ATX. Prices usually the same for an MATX build, a bit more expensive if ITX. £50-£80

OS: I'm sure you'll be able to find a decent deal for this somewhere. If you know any university student you can ask them to get a copy of Windows 10 for free. £0

If you buy all according to that should end up with a build that is £500-£650.

For a Skylake equivalent build i5 6600k £200 or i5 6600 £160, Z170 motherboard £80, DDR4 16GB £70. Though all probably going to be cheaper on Black Friday. All in all, probably around ~£50 more than Broadwell, if you decide to go down that route.
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
Thank you for your feedback. So i can pick any case I want?
Also does this setup have an ethernet connection on it?
Also can it take a canon printer?
Also what monitor and speakers would you recommend?
I dont want a massive screen.
 

Mystogan

Standard Member
"So i can pick any case I want?"
Any ATX case you want will be able to fit any component. A few recommended ones are the Corsair 200R, Corsair 300R, NZXT Source 210, NZXT S340, NZXT H440, Fractal Define R4 or R5.

"Also does this setup have an ethernet connection on it?"
Yes all consumer motherboards should have at least one ethernet port on them. You can also get it to connect via Wi-Fi by either purchasing a separate wireless dongle or a wireless dual band PCI-E adapter to fit inside you case, or you can just buy a motherboard with Wi-Fi capabilities already installed.

"Also can it take a canon printer?"
Yes it should be able to connect to the computer via one of the many USB ports available on the motherboard.

"Also what monitor and speakers would you recommend?"
Any 1080p IPS monitor will do, an example would be the LG 23MP67VQ. Generally any ~23" IPS monitors usually retail around £100. If you want a high end monitor I recommend the Dell U2515H, which is about £250, one of the best monitors around that's not too big or too small and has 1440p resolution. Definitely go for the U2515H if you can afford it - using it right now and it's perfect.

For speakers, anything you want here. Whatever you can get you hands on that doesn't sound like a tin can. If you want high end audio just get a pair of nice headphones, or invest in some bookshelf speakers and an amp.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
CPU: £170 for the i5 4690k, it will be sufficient for all you gaming needs and everyday tasks. Downgrade to the i5 4460 if you do not plan to overclock anytime in the future. This will save you around ~£35 by doing so.

I would disagree, go for the i5-6400/6500/6600 if you're not overclocking these days. Now the difference in price is so small there's no reason to go for the older chips. Normally I'd comment that it's a bit of an expensive CPU to pair with a GTX 750ti but I guess simulation/construction games are heavy on the CPU and light on the graphics.

Cooler: Stock cooler will do, if you plan to overclock choose the H80i GT £80 / H100I GTX £90 for water-cooling, for a high end quiet air cooler choose the Noctua DH-D15 £70, or everyone favourite budget cooler the Hyper 212 EVO £25.

I'd have called a £25 cooler mid-range and wouldn't spend much more than that (up to £35 maybe). The budget ones are the £5-10 coolers like the one included with the CPU. Even those are perfectly acceptable and you only need to buy a separate cooler if you want to the system to be quieter.

Motherboard: Any Z97 motherboard will do. If you're not overclocking choose any H81 or H97 board, whichever is cheapest and suit your needs the most. £50-£70

I'd disagree again. B85 tends to offer the best value, H81 sacrifices a lot (PCI-E 3.0, two memory slots) and H97 is rather close to Z97 in price. The corresponding Skylake boards being H110, B150 and H/Z170.

If you don't plan on upgrading 550W would be fine.

If you don't plan on upgrading 250W would be fine, it's a 75W graphics card and an 80W processor. I wouldn't bother with the marginal efficiency improvements from a Gold rated PSU on such a low power system. I'd spend £30 on a low capacity model from a decent brand - Scan have a Seasonic 430W for £30 that's a decent deal right now (although I think Avforums free delivery is currently £50): Seasonic ECO-430 430W Power Supply - SS-430ST - Scan.co.uk

Thank you for your feedback. So i can pick any case I want?

It needs to fit the motherboard and CPU cooler and the majority of graphics cards require two non-low profile expansion slots* but other than that go for whatever floats your boat.

*So of the GTX 750tis are available as double slot low profile or single slot full height cards.

Also does this setup have an ethernet connection on it?

All motherboards have Ethernet connections these days.

Also can it take a canon printer?

How does it connect? If you need a parallel port then that's fairly rare but everything has USB ports.

Also what monitor and speakers would you recommend?
I dont want a massive screen.

How big is massive? What are you used to currently?

If you're buying a new monitor then I'd ditch the nVidia card and go for an R7 360 (GTX 750ti equivalent) or R9 380 4GB to get Adaptive Sync ('freesync') support and go for a monitor that also supports it, an entry level model being AOC's G2460VQ6.
 

Mystogan

Standard Member
I would disagree, go for the i5-6400/6500/6600 if you're not overclocking these days. Now the difference in price is so small there's no reason to go for the older chips. Normally I'd comment that it's a bit of an expensive CPU to pair with a GTX 750ti but I guess simulation/construction games are heavy on the CPU and light on the graphics.

Yh, if not overclocking go for the i5 6400/6500/6600 for the future upgradability. For non overclocking build there's not much between Skylake and Broadwell, but for an overclocking build Broadwell is still cheaper - Intel's current pricing on the k-edition Skylake processors is a joke.

I'd disagree again. B85 tends to offer the best value, H81 sacrifices a lot (PCI-E 3.0, two memory slots) and H97 is rather close to Z97 in price. The corresponding Skylake boards being H110, B150 and H/Z170.

Ah, I totally forgot about that. If the price is good, a B85 mobo will also do. Though H81 will still suffice as most modern GPUs cannot even saturate PCI-E 2.0 16x, let alone PCI-E 3.0 16x, unless SLI or Crossfire - and it will probably be a few years until mid tier single GPUs will be able to do that. Also, 2 slots won't be a problem since 16GB will fit most people's need, I mean if you're needing 32GB you aren't going to be using a H81 board in the first place.

If you don't plan on upgrading 250W would be fine, it's a 75W graphics card and an 80W processor. I wouldn't bother with the marginal efficiency improvements from a Gold rated PSU on such a low power system. I'd spend £30 on a low capacity model from a decent brand - Scan have a Seasonic 430W for £30 that's a decent deal right now (although I think Avforums free delivery is currently £50): Seasonic ECO-430 430W Power Supply - SS-430ST - Scan.co.uk

True, if not upgrading or overclocking, any known named brand < 500W will do. But it's nice to have 550W/650W gold if you plan on any upgrades or overclocking. Plus you can easily just rip it out for any new builds a few years down the line.

If you're buying a new monitor then I'd ditch the nVidia card and go for an R7 360 (GTX 750ti equivalent) or R9 380 4GB to get Adaptive Sync ('freesync') support and go for a monitor that also supports it, an entry level model being AOC's G2460VQ6.
Only do that if it's solely going to be a gaming PC. The benefits of general IPS panels far outweighs the use of TN panels from FreeSync and G-Sync monitors - though there are some gaming monitors with IPS displays but they are quite costly, you can have 2 top IPS monitors for that amount of money.
 

yokozuma

Established Member
I had a similar Dell Inspiron that was due an upgrade. I was away for a while so it was left unused for 7-8 months, upon powering it back on it would boot for about 20 seconds then shut down.

Taking a look inside the thermal paste on the processor/heat sink had dried up so it was overheating too fast, so I replaced that, then realised the battery was dead so I replaced that. Then the PSU blew and fried the motherboard so I replaced both of those.

While I was at it I thought I'd get an SSD so put that in and upgrade the graphics card...before I knew it it was a completely new PC in an old Dell case.

So, moral of the story is, an odd upgrade can suddenly become a new build before you know it so best just to start from scratch!

I since bought a new Fractal R5 case as I felt bad for all the new gear stuck in a cramped little old thing. :)
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
For the case ive noticed there are mini, midi and full cases. does it matter which one of these i pick? I have taken all your comments on board and I think I will stick to my current setup. Maybe having a look at the few cheaper options you guys have mentioned.
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
Would this case be sufficiant?
Thermaltake Versa H15 M-ATX Gaming Case with Side Window USB 3 and Black Interior
 
Last edited by a moderator:

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
For the case ive noticed there are mini, midi and full cases. does it matter which one of these i pick?

No, they're just marketing descriptions roughly corresponding to the size of the case but definitions vary according to company. Ignore them and look at the dimensions or photos if you want to get an idea of size.

Would this case be sufficiant?
Thermaltake Versa H15 M-ATX Gaming Case with Side Window USB 3 and Black Interior

Don't use PCPartpicker to select a case, their listing is pretty patchy even from stores they say they list.

The H15 looks like a decent tower case. A windowed tower wouldn't be my choice of case style, but that's entirely up to you.
 

ArcticFox77

Standard Member
What about this case
CiT Vanquish Gaming Toolless Case with USB3 Port, Side Window, Card Reader Fans2 x 12CM Red Led Fans
Would this also hold my specs above?
 

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