General discussion

Upgrading Dell Studio 540 Desktop

Hi all

I have had my Dell Studio 540 desktop for nearly two years and all I do on it is word processing, watching movies and playing Civilization 4. I have recently bought Civilization 5 and am only able to play it on the lowest of settings. Considering I don't play any other games on my machine I have little interest in buying a new computer. I am, however, willing to buy some hardware to to upgrade my system.

My current specs are:

Motherboard / Processor:
Mainboard Model 0M017G
Intel E7400 2.80 gigahertz Intel Core2 Duo
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
3072 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Not hyper-threaded

Graphics:
ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series

Memory:
3Gb

The only thing I have changed is that I have clean installed Windows 7 - thereby removing Vista and other software "additions".

Civilization specs are:
Minimum

* Windows XP SP3
* Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.0Ghz Processor
* 2 GB RAM
* 8 GB free disk space
* DVD Drive for disc-based installation
* 256 MB ATI 2600 XT/nVidia 7900 GS video card, or Core i3 integrated graphics
* DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
* Internet connection for authentication

Recommended

* Windows Vista SP2/Windows 7
* 1.8 GHz Quad Core Processor
* 4 GB RAM
* 8 GB free disk space
* DVD Drive
* 512 MB ATI 4800/nVidia 9800 or better video card


When I use http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/cyri/ it states that my processor doesn't meet minimum requirements - which I don't quiet understand.

I have, in the past, upgraded systems and installed new graphic card, etc. I am will to upgrade my processor, graphic card etc.

My question is:
What will give me the biggest improvement (processor, Graphics, etc) ?
What processor, graphics, etc do people recommend? Has anyone upgraded a 540?
I have heard there are issues with upgrading power supplies and fans due to components being "welded" in place - is this true and does it affect processors in dells?


Thanks to everyone who spent the time reading my post, I hope someone can give me advice.

JD

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Comments
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That CPU is fine.

To avoid upgrading the power supply I'll share my HP d4999t with a ZOTAC GT240 1GB FANLESS (GOOGLE THAT) tops out at 120 Watts for the entire machine and it was under 100 at the time I bought that.

That's all I would do.

Bob

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PSU upgrade

Thanks for the reply. I negated to say that my current PSU is 350W (i think) so I will probably be getting a bigger one (650 or so), so therefore I can handle getting a more poser hungery GPU. I was thinking a 5670.

I would be interested to know your opinion on the matter. Or for that matter from anyone who has done similar.

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Is 650 enough?

I find many don't research the cards or base the PSU rating on Watts then discover that not only Watts is a requirement but sometimes the Amperes on a supply rail. To avoid this trouble I suggest SINGLE RAIL PSUs.

As to what card, I use this list:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gts-450-radeon-hd-4850-gpu,2732.html

You can set your price point for the card, then see what power is needed.
No I have not updated a machine with a 5670 but in my view one upgrade is much like the next. Folk pick a different card every day.
Bob

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Thanks for the advice

I think I'll be looking at a Radeon HD 5830 1 GB.
I have been looking at PSU's and can see that there are a number of Single rail 600-700W PSU's out there. This is just one I found http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

I'm very new to PSU's so I would hope that this has the power and Amp (I did note what you said and am trying to figure it all out but a lot of websites don't list the Amp output clearly).

Thanks for you help

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