Topic Title: Upgrading My Terrible Computer. Oh dear God, I need help.
Topic Summary: Clueless in regards to compatibility.
Created On: 03/13/2013 05:59 PM
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 03/13/2013 05:59 PM
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Hello, everyone. To be honest, I'm not sure if this is the proper subforum, so it it isn't, I apologize. I understand how to use a computer, but when it comes to actual hardware, I am completely clueless. 

Alright, last night, I finished playing The Witcher on my PC, and I would now like to move onto The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I have a bit of an older PC, however, and therefore am going to need to upgrade my video card if I want to play it, as it won't run right now. My problem is that I am completely ignorant as to what will be compatible with my current tower, and what will not. Here are my specs:


Graphics Card:

ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series


Driver Version:




64-Bit Windows 7



Dell Studio 540




Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600



Dell Inc. 1.0.4


System Memory:

DDR2, 4.96GB


Graphics Interface:


Link Width: x16

Max Supported: x16







Now, I have been up since 8 AM this morning researching all this, and from what little information I have been able to retain, I have figured out the following: 


1. The fact that my PSu is only 350w means I'm probably going to have to upgrade my power supply. 


2. The fact that my Graphics Interface Version is "PCI-Express" is somehow crucial to understanding what I can and can't use with my PC. 


Looking around Newegg, I found the following AMD video card:


Glancing over its specs, it seems to be more than enough for what I would need. I'll also need to upgrade the power unit, but there's some reccomendations on the page there on newegg, so I figure I'll just get one of those along with it. But I don't want to order them if they're not going to be compatible with the tower I have. Would any of you happen to have any ability to tell me whether that particular video card would be compatible with my hardware, and, if not, have any suggestions for what I should look at? 


Thank you very much for answering. I'm so totally lost on this, and I'm all stressed out.


Oh god help me I have no idea what I am doing.

 03/13/2013 06:18 PM
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80 Column Mind

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Yea, a 350w Dell power supply means a definite upgrade to a quality power supply of at least 500w, 2.4ghz quad core processor is a bit slow for that game. Unless you are playing it at 1280x720 I would not suggest trying to play The Witcher 2 on that system.

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 03/13/2013 06:18 PM
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It has also just come to my attention, looking over my computer's user manual, that the technical specifications list the following:

"Expansion Bus- Bus Types:

PCI 2.3, PCI Express 1.0A (x1), PCI Express 2.0 (x16)"


Not sure if this means anything.  Just adding it on.  


Oh god help me I have no idea what I am doing.

 03/13/2013 06:22 PM
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Oh! Thank you for replying. I figure I'm not going to be playing this game on anything more than the minimal settings. I'm not too concerned about it looking fantastic. 

I'll look into upgrading the processor, though. As for the video card- any idea on whether it'll fit? 


Oh god help me I have no idea what I am doing.

 03/13/2013 06:27 PM
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Being compatible with the tower might be the sticky part.  If you've got an odd-ball sized PSU, as pre-built systems sometimes do, then it might be difficult to replace the PSU and keep the tower.

About PCI Express... I don't think you'll have any problems there.  All of the video cards released recently use PCI Express version 3, but version 3 is backwards compatible, so they'll still work in a version 2 slot.


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 03/14/2013 05:32 AM
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First, you deserve credit for recognizing the fact that you don't know what you're doing and need assistance.

You do need a new power supply.  According to what I've found, a Studio 540 has a standard ATX power supply, so the only question is whether a particular replacement candidate will physically fit.  I could not find a schematic, so you'll need to open the case up and measure the available space where the existing PSU is.  The width and height will be standard, but depth (i.e. how far it goes in from the outside of the case) will vary.  This is a replacement candidate that would transfer well to a new PC, should you ever decide to dig in and build one for yourself.

The 7850 you linked to would be a huge step up over your 36?? card, even though your processor is a touch on the slow side. 

Regarding that processor, I wouldn't recommend getting a new one for use in that Dell.  If you're going to go that far, I'd build a new system from scratch.  Think of it as a learning experience.  Another viable option is to buy a respectable heat sink for that Q6600 and overclock it.  Virtually all after market coolers will be better than the stock one you probably have, but look for reviews (LGA 775), and try to find one that does well.

The bare minimum, however, would be the new PSU and new graphics card.  You can start there and proceed to bigger and better things if you want.


 03/14/2013 07:07 PM
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If that Q6600 is G0, overclock to 3,4 - 3,6ghz (if its not G0, try to get 3,2), cool it using a fine and cheap Coolermaster Hyper 212 and.. new power supplies and graphics cards have already been recommended on previous posts.

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