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Older dell desktop - is a new GPU even possible?


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#1 Penta2

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 11:20 AM

So, OK.

 

I have a Dell Inspiron 3847 desktop from 2014. Haswell chipset and everything.

 

It has an Intel HD Graphics 4600 video card - an integrated card, which is making me swear right about now.

 

Reason? It only has 128 MB of video memory. Newer software seems to want 512 MB minimum.

 

As you answer my questions, please keep in mind that: A. I'm disabled IRL, and B. I can't really get help (say to open the case) until I actually get a new video card. At that point I can beg for help, but not really beforehand.

 

Questions I have:

 

1. Is it even possible to add in a second video card to a machine like this? I know I need a maximum card length of 8.4 inches or less (which is frustrating when searching on newegg, for example, because the interface doesn't seem to do "max card length means the option should include shorter cards"), but would I need to switch out the motherboard/etc? This computer is also used for a work-from-home job, so I can't be down too long, and budget is a definite concern.

 

2. Will I need to upgrade the PSU?

 

3. I've looked over what Dell lists as compatible GPUs and...yeah, OK, I'm lost....Heeeellp? Anybody able to point the way to a good buyer's guide on graphics cards nowadays?



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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 12:47 PM

Hi Penta2.

 

I've referrred to the manual and spec sheet here

http://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_inspiron_desktop/inspiron-3847-desktop_owner%27s%20manual_en-us.pdf

http://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_inspiron_desktop/inspiron-3847-desktop_reference%20guide_en-us.pdf

 

The HD4600 graphics (integrated onto the CPU) actually has no memory of it's own.  It shares system RAM.  Generally these have a certain amount of memory permanently allocated (sounds like it's 128 Mb in this case) and can dynamically use more as needed.  You might be able to alter the amount of graphics memory permanently allocated to the GPU in the BIOS.

 

On to your specific questions

 

1) Yes it is.  Lower end cards are generally not physically large so assuming you are not looking for the latest and greatest gaming card (seems unlikely from your question) then finding ones that fit should not be a problem.

 

2) Depends on the card. It's a 230w PSU as standard, according to what I can find. The computer had an option of a NVIDIA GeForce GT 625, GeForce GT 635 or GeForce GT 705 when new.  Something in a similar class and power consumption to those should work OK.  A more powerful video card, and certainly anything requiring external power (over 75w draw) will need the PSU upgrading.

 

3) The Tom's Hardware "best graphics card" GPU guide is a good starting point for gaming GPU's.  It's a bit out of date but mostly valid now.  My question to you would be what software you are using with it?  What software is causing problems with the integrated GPU?

 

Pending confirmation of what your usage is, I'd perhaps be looking at cards like the GT1030, which can be found for about $70.  It's low power (30w), small, but offers a significant performance upgrade over integrated graphics, or the optional cards mentioned above - https://pcpartpicker.com/products/video-card/#c=396&sort=price&page=1  Something to bear in mind with these particular cards is they don't support VGA - they are digital connection only (HDMI, DVI-D), and so if you are using a VGA only monitor, they won't be suitable.


Edited by jonuk76, 19 November 2017 - 12:51 PM.

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#3 Penta2

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 01:10 PM

The software in particular? Europa Universalis IV, which with the newest expansion pack wants at least 512 MB of video memory. It's not problems, but the error message popping up before it launches every time now is convincing me that if I can find a GPU within my budget, upgrading is a good idea.



#4 Penta2

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:00 PM

Followup: Upon talking to my dad (who's help I would physically need to do this), probably messing with the BIOS is a better bet - he's not going to be able, physically, to help me open up the PC for a few months. Now to figure out how to do that.



#5 jonuk76

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:08 PM

OK well their recommendation is for a GTS8800 or Radeon X1900 w/ 1024 Mb VRAM or better.  These are old cards, so quite a cheap card will do the trick.

 

The GT1030 mentioned already will be suitable if VGA not needed.  It has 2 Gb video memory.  I think that's my top recommendation of the cards with sub 35w power draw (I'm being conservative by not choosing anything more power hungry than the cards the system originally offered with, given the low wattage rating of the PSU).  Sample review here - http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/nvidia-geforce-gt-1030-2gb,review-33949-11.html

 

If VGA is needed, then this is one of the best options I can find - https://pcpartpicker.com/product/XyJwrH/asus-video-card-r72402gd3l - The Radeon R7-240 also has 30w power draw, but is rather older and slower than the GT1030.  It still meets the requirements for Europa Universalis IV easily though.

 

If you want to replace the PSU and go with higher performance cards, then that opens up more options, but costs are going to go up too.


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#6 jonuk76

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 02:15 PM

Followup: Upon talking to my dad (who's help I would physically need to do this), probably messing with the BIOS is a better bet - he's not going to be able, physically, to help me open up the PC for a few months. Now to figure out how to do that.

 

Missed this - this link may be helpful.  http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19608329

 

I can't assist with where the option may be in BIOS (if it's there) as they vary quite a lot.  In my current system I think it's in "Peripherals" and you have the option to enable or disable integrated graphics, and alter the amount of allocated memory within a range.


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#7 MadmanRB

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:24 PM

Well it looks possible.

It seems to be a standard desktop size so no mini chassis issues.

I would up the power supply though, just in case.

I mean dell power supplies these days are okay but would not do for adding in a GPU, even a low powered GPU may benefit from the extra power.


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