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Squall88uk
6 Indium

Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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I've been upgrading a Dell Dimension C521, that i use as a general computer and playing games.

I know that it's never going to be able to play any recent games, although with the x1300 pro that was in it when I got it I have successfully played games from 2 or 3 years ago and older. Runs Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Darksiders without any issues (all on lowish settings and 800x600 resolution).

Since I got it I've upgraded the CPU to a AMD Athlon 64 x2 5600+ (Windsor) and the RAM from 2GB to 4GB all of which only cost me about £25.

I would really like to upgrade the graphics card to something better than the Radeon x1300 Pro that I have atm. I am aware that the PSU is only 280W and that I will need a low profile card for this machine, although I read that Dell usually under-rate their PSUs anyway. All the posts that I can find here and elsewhere online seem to be quite old and I wanted to ensure that what I had found out so far had not become outdated.

So far I have found that the recommended card is the Radeon HD 6570.

Can anyone suggest anything better? If not can anyone suggest which specific version of the 6570 to get (Sapphire, Asus etc) and how much memory to get with it?

Many thanks in advance.

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8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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Can anyone suggest anything better?

XFX R7 240 Low Profile Ready

30 watts TDP, versus 54 watts TDP for the 6570. Faster, too.

A GDDR5 version of the R7 240 will be even faster, but more money, as well.

8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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PCI-E 3.0 is backwards compatible.  The issue with Old cards is PCI-E 1.0 cards like tv tuners etc that basically are not seen at all when plugged into the bus due to  UEFI certificate not being there and the 3.0 bus doesn't downclock to 1.0 speed resulting in a card being in the bus and not showing up in the device manager as even existing.  UEFI Secure boot will not allow Drivers or Hardware or Option Roms to work with old cards that existed BEFORE UEFI Certificates came out.

For those cards you must use LEGACY CSM.  This however does not fix the 3.0 downclock to 1.0 speed issue.


 



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8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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UEFI is windows 8 machines.  Your machine uses CLASS 1 BIOS.

PCI-E 3.0 works fine in PCI-E 1.0 bus.

PCI-E 1.0 does not work at all in PCI-E 3.0 bus due to timing issues.PCI-E 3.0 is marketing.

Just like AGP 2X 4X 8X.

2X was not 2 times faster than 1X

4X was not 4 times faster than 1X

8X was not 8 times faster than 1X

But if they called it AGP then AGP 1.2 then AGP 1.5 then AGP 2.0 instead of 2X 4X 8X you wouldnt think its faster.

Same for Ethernet.  100 meg or 1000 meg ethernet is not 10X or 100 times faster than 10 meg Ethernet.


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10 Replies
8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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The C521 is too old and too slow and too little power unless you have the TOWER.



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Squall88uk
6 Indium

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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The C521 is too old and too slow and too little power unless you have the TOWER.


If by "the tower" you mean the E521 (on the left in the image you put up), then no that's not the system I have. The C521 is the slimmer model that you pictured above. The PSU in the C521 is rated at 280W however I have seen posts both here and elsewhere online that say that Dell always under-rate their PSUs.

I know that what I need is a low profile card that isn't too heavy on the power usage. I'm just not too sure which card would be best that would be low profile and low energy and would be compatible with the C521.

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8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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Can anyone suggest anything better?

XFX R7 240 Low Profile Ready

30 watts TDP, versus 54 watts TDP for the 6570. Faster, too.

A GDDR5 version of the R7 240 will be even faster, but more money, as well.

8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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The very best upgrade is to buy a new computer. They are cheaper now with much more efficient hardware and operating systems. It would cost half the cost of a new computer to upgrade such an obsolete model.

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8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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The C521 has a lot of life left in it, and new models aren't always so quick, especially if they're equipped with spindle drivers instead of SSDs. A low-end Celeron is definitely not going to have the graphics performance of an R7 240!

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Squall88uk
6 Indium

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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Squall88uk
Can anyone suggest anything better?

XFX R7 240 Low Profile Ready

30 watts TDP, versus 54 watts TDP for the 6570. Faster, too.

A GDDR5 version of the R7 240 will be even faster, but more money, as well.

Many thanks for the help.

Can i confirm with you that this will work with the Dimension C521 as the spec for the card says that while it has a pcie x16 3.0 interface it only uses half the lanes so is in effect a pcie x8 3.0, however as far as i am aware the Dimension C521 only has a pcie x16 1.0. I don't mean whether it will fit into the actual slot (I know that it will) only that it will be compatible as my slot is 1.0.

The C521 has a lot of life left in it, and new models aren't always so quick, especially if they're equipped with spindle drivers instead of SSDs. A low-end Celeron is definitely not going to have the graphics performance of an R7 240!

What exactly did you mean by this post? Slightly confused as to what you meant, i don't have a celeron in my machine as far as i'm aware. Are was that directed at someone else?

Thanks again

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8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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PCI-E 3.0 is backwards compatible.  The issue with Old cards is PCI-E 1.0 cards like tv tuners etc that basically are not seen at all when plugged into the bus due to  UEFI certificate not being there and the 3.0 bus doesn't downclock to 1.0 speed resulting in a card being in the bus and not showing up in the device manager as even existing.  UEFI Secure boot will not allow Drivers or Hardware or Option Roms to work with old cards that existed BEFORE UEFI Certificates came out.

For those cards you must use LEGACY CSM.  This however does not fix the 3.0 downclock to 1.0 speed issue.


 



Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues
here

I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.

The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating
Contact USA Technical Support






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Squall88uk
6 Indium

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

Jump to solution

PCI-E 3.0 is backwards compatible.  The issue with Old cards is PCI-E 1.0 cards like tv tuners etc that basically are not seen at all when plugged into the bus due to  UEFI certificate not being there and the 3.0 bus doesn't downclock to 1.0 speed resulting in a card being in the bus and not showing up in the device manager as even existing.  UEFI Secure boot will not allow Drivers or Hardware or Option Roms to work with old cards that existed BEFORE UEFI Certificates came out.

For those cards you must use LEGACY CSM.  This however does not fix the 3.0 downclock to 1.0 speed issue.

Thanks for the reply.

My machine doesn't use a UEFI bios, or at least i don't think it does. Just a standard BIOS (keyboard only, no mouse). Also I don't use Windows 8, I use Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

So would the PCI-E 3.0 card work ok (even if it's at a reduced bus speed) in a PCI-E 1.0 slot? If it will, would the fact that the R7 240 runs as a PCI-E x8 3.0 (even though the connector is the size of an x16) make any difference to whether it can be used in a PCI-E x16 1.0 slot?

Thanks

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8 Krypton

RE: Absolutely best possible Graphics Card upgrade for a Dell Dimension C521?

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UEFI is windows 8 machines.  Your machine uses CLASS 1 BIOS.

PCI-E 3.0 works fine in PCI-E 1.0 bus.

PCI-E 1.0 does not work at all in PCI-E 3.0 bus due to timing issues.PCI-E 3.0 is marketing.

Just like AGP 2X 4X 8X.

2X was not 2 times faster than 1X

4X was not 4 times faster than 1X

8X was not 8 times faster than 1X

But if they called it AGP then AGP 1.2 then AGP 1.5 then AGP 2.0 instead of 2X 4X 8X you wouldnt think its faster.

Same for Ethernet.  100 meg or 1000 meg ethernet is not 10X or 100 times faster than 10 meg Ethernet.


Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues
here

I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.

The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating
Contact USA Technical Support






Get Support on Twitter @DellCaresPro