PC Hardware forum

General discussion

Improving a basic Dell desktop

by interactbiz / March 27, 2007 3:53 PM PDT

Because money is short, I acquired a Dell E521 AMD Semperon 3400+ (1.8 GHz) mini tower, 1x512MB DDR2 533MHz, 80 GB drive, on board graphics and sound, Windows Vista Premium.
I am on Internet fairly continuously and like to have an accounting program and MS Office 2003 open as I work. For SOHO business, this machine works OK but I have large photo collection and use Adobe Photoshop Elements for editing.
Obviously, more memory and a good graphics card would be helpful. I'm thinking of adding 512MB memory first, then a graphics card, then bump memory to 2 GB by filling memory slots with 2 additional 512MB modules. I'll do this over a few months.
Questions for people smarter than me:
Have I prioritized additions correctly? What choices in graphics cards should I consider? Any other suggestions?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Improving a basic Dell desktop
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Improving a basic Dell desktop
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Looks good to me. . .
by Coryphaeus / March 27, 2007 10:58 PM PDT

Adding RAM will increase performance up front. I would recommend two 1 Gig RAM sticks instead of four 512. Just my opinion on this. But in reality, more than one Gig for general "stuff" is over-kill. Get two 1 Gig sticks if you can afford it.

I used to have a 64 Meg graphics card and for grins I upgraded to a 256 Meg card. I've seen no difference. It might make a difference in hard core graphics intensive games, but just regular surfing and "stuff" I don't see a difference.

For photo storage you might consider an external USB-2 Hard Drive.

Wayne

There are 10 types of people who understand binary; those that do and those that don't.
Click here to see the CNet faces, learn a little about analog and
digital data, internet connections, spyware removal, and download free software.

Collapse -
add ram first, then add cpu
by ramarc / March 27, 2007 11:52 PM PDT

if money's tight, get 1gb (2x512) first and add a 2gb usb flash stick for readyboost.
$70, 1gb ddr2-533: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145526
$25, 2gb CF card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211046

a new video card will only enable aero glass... if its already enabled there's probably no need to upgrade.

a dual core cpu should also be high on your list since it will speed up photo editting greatly.
$98, athlon x2 3800+ (2x2.0ghz): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103735

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

CNET FORUMS TOP DISCUSSION

Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?