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Windows 7: Need help with PCI video card upgrade on and old Dell 4500S

15 Nov 2012   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 
Need help with PCI video card upgrade on and old Dell 4500S

I've got a problem, and I'd like to get some help suggestions.

In the upgrade of an old Dell 4500S for a friend (whose monitor died, so we started from there) I upgraded the 256MB of memory with 2GB, and upgraded the 20GB hard drive with a 60GB version.

The old dead monitor was replaced by a Samsung S20B300B 20" 16x9 LCD whose native resolution is 1600x900.

However the old onboard Intel i845g GPU graphics chip in the 4500S (82845G) is supported by old drivers that do not have a 1600x900 resolution option. There is one pretty close rectangular resolution available, 1280x768 but it's a bit cartoonish.

Anyway, I decided to install an external discrete PCI graphics card (replacing the PCI FAX-modem card which is in the "spare" full-size PCI slot in the full-size PCI expansion cage. I discovered that my favorite "low-end upgrade" video cards (the 1GB fanless low-profile ATI HD5450) for friends also comes in a PCI version from HIS. So I bought one.

Well, it didn't work. No output from either VGA or DVI connectors nor from the onboard VGA connector. Remove the card, and normal VGA output returns to the onboard VGA connector.

I thought the card might have been DOA and requested a replacement which arrived today. But the replacement also does not work in the 4500S. I tried swapping it to the other PCI slot in the expansion cage, but it still doesn't work.

So I'm thinking maybe there is something incompatible with this fairly new video card and the old BIOS on the 4500S. Perhaps it's too fast, and there's a memory timing problem even though it theoretically runs on the PCI bus (as does the Intel i845g chip). I don't think that the 64bit memory interface on the card itself is at all relevant for the BIOS of the motherboard, but there's obviously something apparently unacceptable about using this card.


Which brings me to this thread, and my request for a suggestion about some other discrete video upgrade card for this 4500S which will almost certainly work successfully.

The criteria: (a) must be PCI, not PCI-e or AGP, (b) must preferably be fanless, (c) must have at least 512MB of memory and be faster than the i845g, and must support 1600x900 resolution.

I know there's no guarantee it will work in the 4500S, since I thought this PCI version HD5450 from HIS would work and it didn't. But I'm

Anybody have any suggestions for me to consider?

TIA.


NOTE: a bit more research has uncovered this Nvidia version of a similar PCI video card upgrade. Looks similar to the HD5450 except it's only got 256MB of memory and therefore has a 32-bit memory interface. This might really have been the problem with the 1GB HD5450 on the old Dell 4500S BIOS... too much video memory.

It's not ATI, but it looks good.

I'm going to RMA the HD5450 and order this one as a replacement.

If anybody has another suggestion, I'm still all ears.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Nov 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

Have you changed the bios setting from onboard to PCI? The first thing to look at on any board with integrated is the VGA setting in the bios setup to change over from onboard to PCI.

On newer boards that would PCI/AGP generally seen when an AGP slot is present. Some later boards saw AGP/PCIe where some were combo boards when PCIe was first out.

I tend to doubt you got in two bad cards in a row and not changing the setting would explain why never will work!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

That was the first thing I did, was to check in the BIOS (which is old, of course) to disable the onboard video and enable the PCI video.

But the only two options are (a) AUTO, and (b) onboard.

In other words, AUTO apparently self-detects whether there is a discrete PCI video card installed (there is no AGP support on this board) and if so flips over to it.

The "onboard" setting forces the use of onboard video I suppose, preventing the use of an external video card. I don't know why they would actually need that, but that's what the flyout help says.

There is no DISABLE for onboard video.

And besides, the BIOS obviously detects that PCI video card, as the onboard video VGA output port is also disabled by virtue of the presence of the HD5450 being inserted. It's just that the PCI video card itself appears not to be working.

It's clearly not two defective cards... it's obviously an incompatibility with the BIOS. And I think it's the 1GB of memory, with a 64-bit memory interface. This much video memory is simply not supported by the BIOS.

I'm now almost positively certain that the other GeForce 8400 card I'm now going to get instead which has only 256MB of memory and thus has a 32-bit memory interface, well that's got to be the answer.

It's still got DDR3 video memory, is also fanless and low-profile although that's not critical with the full-size PCI expansion card cage inside the 4500S case, and it supports up to 2560x1600 resolution. Virtually the same card as the HD5450 but with less memory and a 32-bit memory interface.

It's GOT to work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


16 Nov 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

The PCI bus speed is only 33mhz according to the specs on that model! The onboard is Intel integrated AGP graphics. You can see all that and the other docs at Documentation

For direct link to specifications: Documentation

One to consider for a system now how old? would be a possible PCI bus fail. If the PCI is shot you won't get anywhere no matter what card you put in! This is what was found under Advanced Troubleshooting>Diagnostic Codes to review there.

Quote:
PCI bus failure has occurred.
  1. Determine if a conflict exists by removing a card and then restarting the computer.
  2. If the problem persists, reinstall the card that you removed, remove a different card, and then restart the computer.
  3. Repeat this process for each card. If the computer starts normally, troubleshoot the last card removed from the computer for resource conflicts (see "Resolving Software and Hardware Incompatibilities").
If the problem persists, see "Contacting Dell" in the Dell Owner's Manual for instructions on obtaining technical assistance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2012   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
The PCI bus speed is only 33mhz according to the specs on that model!
What can I say? It's a 2002 machine. Still satisfactory (but a bit slow, which is why I'm doing some minor upgrades) for the next-to-nothing use (solitaire, email, and some browsing) my friend makes of it.


Quote:
The onboard is Intel integrated AGP graphics. You can see all that and the other docs at Documentation
I know that's what it says. But GPU-Z says it's on the PCI bus.

Nevertheless, there is no AGP expansion slot. There are only two PCI expansion slots, both of which are currently occupied: (a) Ethernet NIC, and (b) FAX modem. I've removed the FAX modem PCI card and will put the new video card in this slot instead.


Quote:
For direct link to specifications: Documentation
I already have the documentation.


Quote:
One to consider for a system now how old? would be a possible PCI bus fail.
Not plausible at all. Both cards currently in the two PCI slots work perfectly.

I believe it's a memory size problem. Or, perhaps the DDR3 memory is too fast for the motherboard.

I have now looked at the Dell "upgrades and accessories" for the 4500S, and they show a VisionTek HD3450 card as what must be a compatible item for that machine. 512M of DDR2 memory. Still a 64-bit memory interface as with the failing HD5450, so my earlier hypothesis about 64-bit vs. 32-bit being the explanation appears to be wrong.

So maybe it's the slower DDR2 memory timings vs. faster DDR3 memory that determines the compatibility with the old 4500S.

Whatever the explanation, I think I will trade the failing HD5450 for this Dell-touted presumed-compatible HD3450 as the replacement. Hopefully this will work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
I believe it's a memory size problem. Or, perhaps the DDR3 memory is too fast for the motherboard.

I have now looked at the Dell "upgrades and accessories" for the 4500S, and they show a VisionTek HD3450 card as what must be a compatible item for that machine. 512M of DDR2 memory. Still a 64-bit memory interface as with the failing HD5450, so my earlier hypothesis about 64-bit vs. 32-bit being the explanation appears to be wrong.

So maybe it's the slower DDR2 memory timings vs. faster DDR3 memory that determines the compatibility with the old 4500S.

Whatever the explanation, I think I will trade the failing HD5450 for this Dell-touted presumed-compatible HD3450 as the replacement. Hopefully this will work.
The VRAM type on the discrete graphics card isn't supposed to matter. I doubt that is the source of your problem, but I can't suggest another, unless it's the 180W power supply. If that's the problem, the 3450 should be about as bad; I believe that it draws about the same amount of power as the newer 5450.

There are no Windows 7 drivers for the 845G graphics:

http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Deta...oller&lang=eng

You may be able to install the XP drivers and get Windows 7 running on the 845G, without Aero Glass effects.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2012   #7

Windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

You should probably upgrade the BIOS.

180W won't be enough for the card, according to HIS the HD5450 requires at least 400W


Quote:
a suggestion about some other discrete video upgrade card for this 4500S which will almost certainly work successfully.
http://www.zotac.com/index.php?page=...&Itemid=100257
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2012   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

The statement that the VisionTek HD3450 card is the one Dell would sell you if you wanted to upgrade your video has convinced me to go with it. Its specs only call for a 250W power supply minimum.

Since the specs on the 4500S state that it only has a 180W power supply, this would seem problematic. And yet Dell will sell you that VisionTek card.

Anyway, I'm about to drive off to City of Industry (about 45 minutes from my home) to pick up this HD3450 from Newegg's "will call" location. I should be back home in a few hours to try it out. Hopefully this one will work. Fingers crossed.

More later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobkn View Post
The VRAM type on the discrete graphics card isn't supposed to matter. I doubt that is the source of your problem, but I can't suggest another, unless it's the 180W power supply. If that's the problem, the 3450 should be about as bad; I believe that it draws about the same amount of power as the newer 5450.
And yet, Dell pushes the VisionTek card as their upgrade if you want to buy it.


Quote:
There are no Windows 7 drivers for the 845G graphics:
Not a problem or concern. The 4500S runs WinXP. And the video drivers are automatically installed (or rather, they're available from the Dell driver download site for this model and my service tag.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Nov 2012   #10

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

Well, the VisionTek HD3450 was another failure.

I think it's the 180W PSU in the 4500S which is the problem. The HD5450 claims to require a minimum PSU of 400W, and the HD3450 needs a minimum of 250W.

Research in this issue elsewhere (e.g. on the Dell Forums) suggests that ATI video cards won't work in the 4500S, whereas Nvidia cards will. I've posted some questions there to get confirmation from people who've had success in adding a video card to their 4500S as to what card they used.

Anyway, my next attempt will be to go with that Sparkle GeForce 8400 GS card I'd mentioned before. It purports to require a minimum 300W PSU but there seems to be mention of it working in the 4500S.

Certainly been frustrating, that I cannot solve this one so far.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Need help with PCI video card upgrade on and old Dell 4500S




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