Upgrading Dell Inspiron 3000 Desktop

So I know nothing about PCs but I'm starting to get into building my own.  I just inherited a Dell Insprion 3000 desktop.  I don't know much about it, it has a Intel Core i3 processor (4th gen?), 1 TB of memory, 6 gigs of ram perhaps, and other than that I don't know about the MB or power supply, and assuming the graphics card is crap.


I talked to a guy at Tiger Direct and he was saying obviously the graphics card will need to be replaced so that will be the first suggestions I'd like, price being in the ballpark of $150

The second thing would be he said to get an Intel Core i5 processor, but I've been seeing on YouTube people using an AMD Athlon X4 AD750 3.4Ghz processor.  I'm not sure if that would even work in my MB?  Or if so, would anyone like to recommend against or for that? 

Also, any other general feedback would be nice. 


This will be used for games like: Wildstar, FPS's (BF and the like),  Skyrim,

Also, I have no idea how much power I'd need for photo editing but I'd like to do that on here as well.

I would say upgrade your power supply and put a good gpu in there and you can run games and if your not happy about the performance you will get upgrade the cpu with it but the i3 should do ok for gaming

The first thing you need to do is use a program to pull you're full system specs. We need to know a bit more to be able to properly help you. Please download and run this program than post the full specs. http://www.piriform.com/speccy

As for a graphics card you best option is a GTX 750ti, its $150, surprisingly powerful and does not need any extra power so you can keep your power supply. 

You will not be able to switch to a AMD CPU without buying a new motherboard. Intel and AMD use different sockets and chip sets that are incompatible with one another. You need to determine exactly what CPU you currently have and what socket it uses before you can decide whether to upgrade. Generally the CPU does not need to be overly powerful just for gaming but if it is too old/weak you may run into problems especially in BF4. 

You may also want to think about upgrading to 8gb of ram and potentially getting a SSD for your OS. 

Please pull you're full system specs and post them and we can go from there. 

The power supplies in prebuilt PCs are pretty weak and also don't have a whole lot of extra wattage.

I don't know how much you want to spend, but a good graphics card which will get you a MASSIVE upgrade from the integrated graphics would be a GTX 750ti.


Low power consumption.  You should be able to drop this into the system without a power supply upgrade.

Awesome!  Thanks for the feedback, this is all very helpful information.  I'm off on a short trip so I won't be able to download the program for now but I'll do that when I get back home. 

If you have the i3 model, that means you have 8 gigs of ram. 4th generation i3's arent bad at all. I would recommend getting a graphics card like the GTX 750 ti or an amd r9-270.. Which ever fits your budget.

pcpartpicker.com is a good way of searching many online vendors at once, but you should check local shops for special sales.

+1. for the 750ti, you wont even need to worry about power cables and strength of the psu. Plus it fits your budget. & there are even low profile models available as well.

Crack open the case and see if you got a PCI express slot open. I talked to dell customer service and they said there wasn't... but I have a suspicion they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Intel Core i3 3220
Cores 2
Threads 4
Name Intel Core i3 3220
Code Name Ivy Bridge
Package Socket 1155 LGA
Technology 22nm
Specification Intel Core i3-3220 CPU @ 3.30GHz


Operating System
Windows 8.1 64-bit
Intel Core i3 3220 @ 3.30GHz 33 °C
Ivy Bridge 22nm Technology
6.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz (11-11-11-28)
Dell Inc. 0XR1GT (CPU 1) 28 °C
HP LP2065 ([email protected])
Intel HD Graphics (Dell)
931GB Western Digital WDC WD10EZEX-75ZF5A0 (SATA) 3



Is this sufficient?  I wasn't 100% what was essential to put up so the first is obviously the CPU and the second in the summary.  Let me know if I'm missing anything, thanks!

Haha honestly I have no idea what that means, here is the PCI data i pulled from Speccy


Slot PCI-E
Slot PCI-E
Slot Type PCI-E
Slot Usage In Use
Data lanes x1
Slot Designation PCIEX1
Characteristics 3.3V, Shared, PME
Slot Number 1
Slot PCI-E
Slot Type PCI-E
Slot Usage In Use
Data lanes x1
Slot Designation PCIEX1
Characteristics 3.3V, Shared, PME
Slot Number 2
Slot PCI-E
Slot Type PCI-E
Slot Usage In Use
Data lanes x1
Slot Designation PCIEX1
Characteristics 3.3V, Shared, PME
Slot Number 3
Slot PCI-E
Slot Type PCI-E
Slot Usage In Use
Data lanes x1
Slot Designation PCIEX1
Characteristics 3.3V, Shared, PME
Slot Number 4


Is this data anything of significance?

Open up the case.

Look for a slot that looks like the golden one in this picture[the long slot]


or one of the red ones in this picture(color doesn't matter)


Yeah I have one that looks like the long golden one, what do these do?

They're expansion slots.

Imagine something like a nintendo 64.  You have the console, and you have a game cartridge.  You put the game cartridge into the console.  Similarly, you can do this with your motherboard and whatever expansion card you need(in this case, a graphics card)

See those gold pins?


That part inserts into the slot.  Screw down the metal part to the case with a couple screws.  If there are any power connectors on the card, just hook up the power connectors from the power supply to the card.  That pretty much sums up the hardware installation.

Awesome!  That makes a lot of sense, love the n64 reference seeing as that's about as far as my hardware knowledge goes.  Thanks for the help friend!  

Have you checked to see how any watts you're power supply is? Usually PSU's from prebuilts are very low wattage and generally not good at all. Open up you're computer as look on the side of the power supply and i should say how many watts it can supply. You probably want 450-500 watts to leave a little room for upgrade.

That's why the majority of us picked up a 750ti.

Yup, in fact i believe i was the first to suggest a 750ti. Still worth checking because often prebuilts have just barely enough power for whatever it came with. I had a prebuilt that had a first gen I7 and that only had 350 watts. Just saying.

Indeed, it appears to be just a wee little 300W.  Looks like that's getting replaced as well!

I quickly slapped a build together to help emulate the amount of wattage you'll be using.


Estimated Wattage: 203W

I think you should be fine.

OP your 300w unit be more than fine for the addition of a 750.