Graphics card upgrade for a Dell dimension 8300

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Graphics card upgrade for a Dell dimension 8300

Hello, I am looking to replace a faulty graphics card on my Dell - unfortunately I can't get any image to appear so I can't extract the specifications of my current graphics card. I do know that my PSU is 250 watt, and that according to an online Dell manual for dimension 8300's that my PC uses an 8 AGP card.

 I would be extremely grateful for help - before I lost the ability to generate images on my computer altogether I had two or three blue-screen crashes and the error code seemed to refer to an nvidia component, this led me to think that it is the graphics card that is faulty.

 When I try to turn on my computer now, all I get is the monitor's power light turning to from green for 'on' to orange to  'standby' when the tower/base unit is turned on.

I hope I have diagnosed the problem correctly, but if you think I haven't I'd grateful for your opinions.

 Best wishes,


Peter Redmer
This is a tough one, because

This is a tough one, because it could be a variety of things. I've seen a lot of computer issues in my time and sometimes, they can vary widely.

If you think it's your graphics card, I would think you would be able to pick up an 8x AGP based card for pretty cheap, given that it's very old technology. Usually, the integrated computers like the Dell's use on-board graphics, so I would crack open the PC and make sure that there's an 8X AGP graphics card in there. If not, you may still have the ability to use one, if the slot is available, and you can adjust the settings in BIOS. You can usually get to BIOS to adjust these settings by pressing the Del key upon booting, but every PC is different. (Again, if you already have a card in there, you shouldn't need to change any settings.)

Now, if you install a new graphics card, and the box is still dead, you may have a power supply issue. I have experienced all sorts of strange things from faulty power supplies, including blue screens of death, the computer shutting down or locking up randomly, visual artifacts, etc. One of the PC's I built most recently (a few years ago) had this problem - my power supply didn't give enough juice to power my graphics card. A new PSU fixed the problem.

If you try both a new card and a new PSU and you still have the same problem, you may want to investigate the motherboard next.

Hopefully, these suggestions will give you a good place to start! We'd like to hear how it goes for you.


This is great information

This is great information thank you and such a fast reponse, I'm really impressed.
I did crack open the PC and had a peek, there was a circuit component with the nvidia logo on it - I think this is the graphics card. As to how I remove this card, I may have to search for an instructional video on Google as it looks fairly well screwed-in, i.e. I can't see a little catch to press like when removing the ram stick (I tried replacing the ram a few months ago, but it seems the components were faulty (many blue SODs) so I switched them back - there could be a link here with my current problem).

Anyway - I will try to identify if it's a graphics card for definite then try to replace it. I will certianly keep you posted on progress and no doubt return with more confusion anon.

Thank you for the speedy and expert advice - top notch!


Peter Redmer
Hmm... if it's a separate

Hmm... if it's a separate graphics card in the AGP slot, you should be able to remove it. Usually they are screwed in to the case, and sometimes there's a small catch you have to trip, but otherwise you should be in great shape.

Let us know how it goes, and good luck!


K. Schulz
Short Story: The Dell

Short Story: The Dell Dimension 8300 requires a power supply exchange at the time the graphics card is upgraded in the system. I installed the ATI HD 4650 and replaced the 305 Watt power supply with a Thermaltake TR2 470 Watt power supply. The Dell motherboard supports the ATI HD 4650, and the graphics card requires . The end result with the Hi-Def monitor connected to the graphics card has brought new life to the aging Dell PC!

A few more details: My Dell Dimension 8300 and the ATI Radeon graphics card upgrade installed with the unit developed heat problems and the display would "blank out" with no error message. The massive fan was not rotating on the graphics card and the card would shutdown to prevent further heat damage to the motherboard.

I had a new ATI Radeon HD7550 box in my hand while I was at the computer store and decided to google this subject before the final purchase of the card. The point that caught my immediate attention is that the Dimension 305 Watt power supply will not support most ATI HD cards. Further web reviews suggested that the Dimension motherboard would support up to the ATI HD 46xx card. The same store had the ATI HD4650 card. The card also had the special power connector the old PS (power supply).

Fortunately the same computer store had new power supplies available next to the graphic cards. I chose a PS that appeared to offer the most power Watts, satisfy the industry standards to fit in the Dell case, and had ALL the cable connections required to connect and supply power to all the PC components: Thermaltake TR2 470 Watt.

The ATI HD4650 came with all the cable adapters for the PS and the monitor cables. No problems with the installation to the Dell.

The PS installed to the mini-tower with minor modifications to the case, and allow for the switch to be exposed to the external side of the case. All the cable connections fit the PC components. The graphics card 6 pin connector was connected to the new PS (the card came with a standard PS 4-pin to 6-pin adapter). The power-up of the PC including the new graphics card was successful.

In review I am very satisfied with the result of the graphics card and PS upgrades to the Dimension 8300. The new PS definitely produces far less noise compared to the old PS. All the graphic card drivers installed to the WinXP without problems. I upgraded the RAM to 2GB. I have a PC system ready for the Win7 upgrade. The ATI HD4650 has produced great results with games and flight simulation on the HDTV monitors.

Dimension 8300 - no need to

Dimension 8300 - no need to worry about conflicts with onboard graphics - NONE.
Video cards - can still buy new Nvidia 7900-7950 AGP, similar power requirements, inferior HD video.

Even upgrading to a Dell 305W PSU is a very good start. This has two 'rails' for extended 12v power. Each supplies 18A with 22A total maximum.
I used a site that helps calculate the PSU requirement, but for video cards with their own power connection, must go by amps at 12v.

A bonus is the 305W is still a 20-pin plug with Dell wiring.
Other ATX 24-pin PSUs can plugin with a simple adapter, BUT a special adapter is needed for a Dell that reroutes one wire.

See wikipedia - Power supplies.


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