PaulDL
1 Copper

Re: Help with Dimension 4600 graphics card upgrade

I recently installed two Sapphire Radeon HD 4650 AGP cards - each in a Dell 4600. They have 1GB DDR2 RAM, come with DVI-to-VGA converter, DVI-to-HDMI converter, S-Video cable,  and a power cable converter if you don't have a 6-pin (i.e., PCI-E) power source, and were just $80 when I bought them.    I upgrade the RAM to a full 4 GB ($120) and the PSUs to 550 watts ($50 each) and the new video cards work great (Sapphire recommends 1 GB RAM minimum, but what the heck). The only problem I had was with the drivers.  I downloaded and installed the newest ones on-line that were supposed to be XP compatible, but I could not get them to work.  I finally tried the older ones that came on CD with the cards and it worked instantly.  Below are my detailed notes I wrote up after the fact (I also posted them here on Dell somewhere).  Anyway, I still think it was worth it even though PC kits are getting pretty cheap now.

 

I want to share that I got 2 Radeon HD 4650 AGP 1 GB DDR2 cards working in 4600i Dells running Win XP.

 

I wanted new AGP video/graphics cards for my kids’ Dell 4600i P4 computers running XP SP3.  For every person that reports a problem, there are far less that reports success, and it’s even harder to find ‘why’ some were successful.  So I did my research.  I was prepared for any complications I might run into…. or so I thought. It began with picking what I hoped would be the right card.

 

System: Dell Dimension 4600i, P4 2.67 GHz, MOBO 0F4491, processor F29, chipset 865, Bus 533 MHz, BIOS A12.

Upgraded the PSU to an Ultra 550 Watt ATX model (tight fit, but it has PCI-E and SATA connectors in addition to all the legacy ones), and I maxed out the memory to 4 GB DDR that runs at 333 MHz.  In the end, the only thing different in my BIOS is now the Primary Video Controller is AGP (vice Auto), and AGP Aperture is now set to 256 Mb (vice 128).  I was replacing the stock NVidea 5200 128 MB AGP card.

 

I initially bought 2 VisionTek Radeon HD 3650 AGP cards.  Install one card, power up, click click, beep beep, all stop.  Multiple times.  Sometimes the computer would boot, but no matter what I tried, I could not get a signal to the monitor – just black.  I tinkered with BIOS and did other things, but no luck. Then while trying to troubleshoot the problem, I saw on VisionTek’s website a forum where others were having the same problem as me, and the SysAdmin said that apparently that card just won’t work in an older Dell.  That post was in late January, and I bought those cards in early February.  I just missed it.  But other older Dell owners had said they got it to work!  I could not determine what made the difference, so I returned the cards and started my search again.  I then saw two posts where people said HIS techs told them older AGP computers could not use newer AGP cards that used DDR2 and DDR3 memory because the Dell 865 chipset system/MOBO could not understand them.  But other posts indicated otherwise.  So I looked on….

 

Another card that Dell 4600 owners had success with was the Radeon HD 4650.  So I bought 2 Sapphire 4650s from NewEgg. Downloaded the latest HotFix dated 15Feb11.  Removed all the old drivers, installed the card, power up, no clicks or beeps, but no signal. Swap out the card with the old one, checked some things, saw nothing wrong, tried again, and this time I had a screen.  Can’t say why it didn’t work the first time, but I’m happy now!  Installed the latest HotFix with no problem, restart, BSOD! "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL".  If it wasn’t that one, it was a BSOD STOP on "ati2mtag.sys" – a file installed with the HotFix.  I tried everything I could read on-line or come up with myself.  No luck.  Deleted all ATI products manually, used DriverSweeper, and CCleaner before each attempt using different version, installing just the display drivers (and many different ways), but always BSOD.  But one person  (system unknown) did state he could not get anything to work except the accompanying CD.  So I tried it and IT WORKED!  It even has the ati2mtag.sys file also.  It’s Catalyst 9.8, and Sapphire’s website lists it at the bottom with a date of Aug 2009.  But even though the display adapter is showing a date of July 2009, some files within the CD package appear to be as recent as November 2010, and several are July 2010.  So even though the Catalyst Control Center and the adapter driver are older, the other stuff is not so old.  As such, I don’t feel so bad that I’m not using a ‘current’ driver.  I have peace-of-mind finally after 2 days this time around.

 

The CD included with the card is “Driver Ver: 13-008, P/N 0400F-71507.”   And the card comes with DVI-to-VGA and DVI-to-HDMI converters and S-Video cable.  The card requires a 6-pin (PCI-E) power source, but it comes with a 4-pin to 6-pin cable converter (i.e., tap onto a HDD power connector).  Sapphire still recommends a 400 PSU with 75 watts for the PCI-E source.  Some have said the card is ‘light’ on power needs and are using their old PSU, but I wanted less complications and the Ultra 550s I bought were less than $50 each when I got them.  And we already had DVI/Digital capable monitors.

 

If you have a Dell 4600i like me, I recommend this card and using the CD.  Just uninstall all files related to your old video card, Safe Boot (F8) and use ‘DriverSweeper’ to be sure, restart and go with the CD installation.  I used the ‘Custom’ install option and only chose Display Driver, DirectX, and the Catalyst Control Center (I had .NET >2.0 already so didn’t select it, and it appears ATI AVIVO is installed regardless with CCC).  And just ignore the ‘Logo’ warning and continue.  It installs OpenGL instead of OpenCL, but I don’t know of anything using OpenCL yet anyway.  And this took only minutes compared to the 2 days I spent failing to get the 11-2 HotFix installed and working.  And now my daughter says W.O.W. is now totally WOW.

 

Total costs for upgrading Dell Dimension 4600i P4 2.67 gHz / 865 chipset / 533 MHz Bus / BIOS A12:

$    79.99 Sapphire Radeon HD 4650 1 GB DDR2 AGP card

$ 119.96 for 4 x 1 GB DDR SDRAM (4 GB total – didn’t want to mix old and new)

$    44.99 for Ultra 550 Watt PSU

$  244.94 for total upgrade cost (x 2 for two systems = $490)

 

Some would argue $250 is right up there enough to justify a whole new MOBO & Quad Core CPU w/ DDR3 memory, or bundled kit like TigerDirect offers.  And I considered it, but most respectable bargain MOBOs with a future don’t support IDE (or just 1 device only) nor support USB 3.0 yet…. PCI-E and SATA only.  So then it would be replacing other devices and pricing just kept creeping up.  So I think this upgrade was reasonable and has value for a few more years to come.

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rdunnill
5 Osmium

Re: Help with Dimension 4600 graphics card upgrade

Some would argue $250 is right up there enough to justify a whole new MOBO & Quad Core CPU w/ DDR3 memory, or bundled kit like TigerDirect offers.  And I considered it, but most respectable bargain MOBOs with a future don’t support IDE (or just 1 device only) nor support USB 3.0 yet…. PCI-E and SATA only.  So then it would be replacing other devices and pricing just kept creeping up.  So I think this upgrade was reasonable and has value for a few more years to come.
$244 replaces everything, including CPU, mainboard, RAM, video card, hard drive, and optical drive. Dispense with the old IDE CD-ROM drive in favor of a new SATA DVD burner and one IDE socket is no longer an issue.

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sidewinder45
1 Copper

Re: Help with Dimension 4600 graphics card upgrade

I have the Dell 4600, I have upgrade the ram to 4Gb, I now will soon have e-Geforce 7600GT AGP ddr2 Video card. I know it is a older card but I was unsure of the DDR3 vs DDR2 I know it with the broadband speed with the DDR3 I was unsure if I was going to have problems with my Motherboard and and power supply for the DDR3. However I am been reading up on this 7600 GT and was woundering about the Driver I may need to run it with. Where will I get this drive to install for I don't think it was sold with the card off ebay??

The other question I have with the 4600 and this card is the Heat. will I have to look at keeping my Ram cool and will the card stay cool with the fan it comes with for I have a frinend who is run a water cooling system and has installed fans all over the sides and top of his system, He is a gamer for the water system has 60 feet of line and with it being winter now heruns this outside to be cool..... I mean his system. will I have to deal with heat?

Also I see in your post about a power conection on the card is this a wire that goes to ?? is it a wire that is inside the 4600 and not being use?

Thank you for a reply.

sidewinder45 

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rdunnill
5 Osmium

Re: Help with Dimension 4600 graphics card upgrade

It doesn't matter whether the video memory is DDR2, DDR3, or DDR5. Without knowing the card, I can only speculate about its cooling, but I'd think it would be adequate.

nVidia should have the driver in their legacy section.

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newmanjamesf
1 Copper

Re: Help with Dimension 4600 graphics card upgrade

I just upgraded the vidieo card in my demension 4700.i whent from a nvidia geforce 6200 PCI ,256 MB.to a nvidia geforce 210 PCI express 2.0 1GB DDR 3 with no problems at all.It was a very low cost upgrade at only 50 bucks.and what a huge difference.I dont know if somthing like that would be in your interest but if so than i would check it out.

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