I am trying to build a moderately decent gaming computer for my son and have a few questions if someone wouldn't mind helping out.
1. What is the strongest CPU it can handle? It currently has the Core 2 Duo E7200 (2.53GHz) and I've been told that my particular board will only support dual-core processors. I've been told the Intel Core2 Duo E8600 SLB9L (3.33GHz) 6MB-FSU with 1333MHz L2 Cache will work just fine.
2. Regarding the PSU: Are there any specifications I need to be aware of regarding the form factor? Will the Inspiron 530 allow for an ATX Power supply WITH a I/O button? What wattage and voltage would be best for this endeavor (accounting for a good budget GPU)? This leads to my next question.
3. What's the best PCI GPU can I get for the system that won't be severely hampered by the obvious bottlenecking I'll experience?
4. I have the latest available bios upgrade and know my system can handle 8GB of ram running at 800MHz. Best brand for the buy?
I am aware that this system has limitations, but I've seen far older systems with less capabilities be quite capable of playing recently developed games.
Idealistically, I'd like for my son to be able to play games where he can average 60-70+ FPS (I know how important this is for first-person-shooter games).
I appreciate any help and feedback! Please be mindful I am on a budget but that I also understand that the RAM and the graphics card will be the most expensive purchases. I do have a reasonable budget to work with, I just don't want to overkill a system with hardware it cannot fully utilize.
I had an Inspiron 530 WinXP Home with a Core2Duo 2.2 for over 8 years until the mother board died in Oct. 2015. As WinXP was not being supported anymore by Microsoft by then, I was not that concerned as long as I kept my security up. It was bought new for my small business and some moderate gaming in 2007. I live in a rural desert area and have nothing but praise for this model for surviving our heat and inclement weather with nothing but evaporative cooler in the office.. It was a very stable "workhorse".
First, the Intel Core2Duo E8600 would work just fine. Mine came with an E4500 and I had planned to update to the faster processor.
Before replacing its OEM Nvidia 210 card, I first replaced the OEM 300 PSU with an Antec Earthwatts 500. I could have used a more powerful PSU but the 500 served my needs.
Word of advice.....Always replace the PSU... First..... before the graphics card. Most gamers forget this. As I only used one tray, there was plenty of room to store the additional cords out of the way.
After that, I replaced my OEM Nvidia 210 with a 450 GTX. I could have gone to a 600 but my gaming requirements were modest. Also where I live, Summer Heat with only a 'swamper" could cause problems. But like I said, mine lasted eight years.
Yes, the Inspiron 530 can play several recently developed games and older. There are soooo many FPS games you can buy and download through places like GoG.com. Older games that should be kept "alive" and rediscovered by new players.
As a gamer myself, I cut my gaming "teeth" on early FPS games like DOOM, Castle Wolfenstein, Quake and Descent when these first came out to play on a 386 and later pentiums. With my Inspiron setup, I could play Skyrim on moderate/high settings. Fallout 3 and similar games. I could even play "Witcher" which had very stringent requirements. There are plenty of online tweak guides and forums you an go to help you and and your son.
Since I have a satellite connection, playing MP or MMO games were problematic as my Ping would be sometimes prevented me to play well. However, that didn't prevent me from trying.
I hope this helped you.
I agree with you completely. To me, this is Dell during its height in terms of building solid, fully scalable systems. This one was bought in 2009 new and its one owner took very good care of it, however, they opted to stick with the internal chipset VGA slot as opposed to getting the PCI card with the HDMI support (only drawback to the system). That said, your post was very insightful.
Regarding the PSU, will a standard ATX one suffice (i.e. one that has the I/O switch?) and at which point will wattage and voltage become overkill? Don't want to spend money on something that will certainly not be needed.
BTW, we live in Eastern Kentucky and have very seasonable weather. In the winter, cooling will never be an issue... but our summers can get pretty brutal lol.
Lastly, if cost weren't a factor, which PCIE3 GPU would you go for? I notice you said you could have gone for the 600... Can one go higher than that without severe bottlenecking due to the Core 2's bottlenecking issues?
Thanks so much for your feedback! You seem like my kinda guy; a buddy having a conversation with another. That's appreciated and is becoming a lost art nowadays in these exchanges.
Yeah, why I made sure my Inspiron came with a replaceable PCI card rather than an Intel chipset when going through the "Options". I've had internal chipsets in past CPUs and never again. Too limiting even if the processor was more than enough to handle the game.
By the way, the Core 2 Duo motherboard will only recognize 4 gig RAM, not 8 gig. The Quad Cores would. www.tomshardware.com/.../282876-30-g33m02
Any standard ATX 12v PSU would work fine with or without the I/O switch. Seasonic, XFX, Enermax, Corsair are the best (and more expensive) ones, Antec and Thermaltake are OK. I opted for the Antec 500 Earthwatts "Green" after reading some reviews on its efficiency and affordability at the time (I think it was on sale with a rebate). Here is the Newegg website showing the Antec Earthwatts 500 www.newegg.com/.../Product.aspx
650 is probably the highest I would go. Being a mid tower (some would call it a "mini") Inspiron "insides" can be cramped. Although there was enough space to stick its cords away, my new card replacement "just" fit with its dual fans.
I looked around to find a good answer to your "bottlenecking" question. Most forum threads were written by gamers who had a regular card rather than a chipset. But did find one: www.tomshardware.com/.../upgrading-graphics-card-inspiron-530.html
This person has a regular card but it may still help you: www.tomshardware.com/.../dell-inspiron-530-maximum-upgrade.html
Actually, the dual core boards in the 530 (not the 530s) WILL hold 8gb of ram with the latest bios update (which I have; currently running 6GB (2GBx3 slots) but want to max out at 8gb running at 800mhz), This particular board, however, cannot run anything above the E8600 (it will run the E8700, though this CPU was never released to the public).
Regarding the rest of the information, though, thank you so much! I'm thinking that for the GPU, I'm going to go for--at minimum--the GTX 650 as I've heard you can get great performance out of these cards and they will fit nicely into my mid-tower with minimal to no need to tamper with the fan housing inside the case.
Will definitely do more research on the PSU and the best brand (by review) of memory to max this beast out with... lol.