Video Card Problems/Video Card Won't Fit


QUESTION: I bought a Radeon X1300 for my Dell Inspiron 545, but the card won't fit in the port correctly. Its a PCI-E port and the card would fit if it wasn't for the bracket. The bracket keeps it from being plugged in because its a short bracket and can't sit flush with the computer's outside.

How do I fix this? I'd prefer not buying a new graphics card because I've had so many issues with this and its frustrating. I am not computer savvy so please, explain and over-explain.

Thank you.

ANSWER: You'll have to help me a out a bit here - when you say the card doesn't fit because it's "short" do you mean that the physical connector on the card (the part with gold contacts - the "shoe") is the wrong size for the part it's meant to plug into on the computer's mainboard? Or do you mean the metal part that has the connectors for monitors/TVs does not fit into the case but the card can plug into the motherboard?

If the former - if the card's connector is shorter than the mainboard's PCIe connector, it will still work - PCIe is backwards compatible in that manner (for example you can plug an x1 card into an x4 slot). If the card's connector is longer than the mainboard's PCIe connector, it will NOT work however (for example you cannot plug an x4 card into an x1 slot).

If the later - if the card is 'taller' than the case, it will not work unless the extra height is only due to ribbon cables for additional outputs ( like on this card - the grey cable coming off the top edge could be removed and that port removed to make the board shorter; you would need a half-height I/O shield to install as well). If the board itself is physically full-height ( there is no way to make it fit. If the card is 'shorter' than the case ( and just won't line up with the expansion slot shield, you will need the correct I/O bracket for the card to connect it.

In the case of the card needing a new bracket - this may or may not actually be available for the card you have. It depends on the specific manufacturer/model of the board - many OEM boards (like those built by or for Dell, HP, etc) tend to not have variable bracket options because they're intended to go into a single computer model or platform range. Commercially released cards, however, tend to come with the appropriate brackets for installing them in both half-height and full-height cases, and you may be able to find the bracket pieces used (although at what price I cannot say; I would expect it to be borderline unreasonable for a small piece of stamped metal though).

Generally speaking it would likely be easier to purchase a new card versus tracking down a bracket, and it probably won't cost much more (an entirely new and complete retail packaged card will cost $30-$40). I'd also like to ask what's prompting the installation of the X1300 (or any graphics adapter for that matter) in the system in the first place. The X1300 is fairly old, and fairly limited in terms of capabilities. Given that your system has a PCIe x16 slot (I'm assuming it is available, but if it is not please do specify) you have a large number of options for low-cost cards, even brand new models, that will be more capable than the X1300 and come with the proper brackets and connectors (however I'm hesitant to steer you towards any specific model without knowing more about what you're trying to accomplish, and more about the specifications of the computer you have).

Feel free to post a follow-up for more clarification or information.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The reasoning is that I bought the Sims 4 and the integrated chip inside my computer was not strong enough. The game case had given 3 different cards that it was compatible with so I purchased the cheapest listed just to get me started. I thought it was a little strange that my card that came stock with a computer that had Windows 7 was less adapt to running the game as a card that was made during the Vista/XP era. This card is just a temporary set and I already have plans to buy a different card. Maybe you could give me your opinion on it. This is it:

I'm not really looking to spend a whole bunch on video cards, but I would like to have a decent one. One that is a little stronger than one made for Xp/Vista.

ANSWER: Generally I wouldn't worry about "XP/Vista era" vs "Windows 7 era" as there is no such thing. The game you're looking to run requires DirectX 9.0c support, and the Radeon X1300 is the oldest/lowest-tier Radeon (and video cards in general) to provide that support (which is why it was listed). Your Dell probably has an Intel IGP that does not meet these requirements (few Intel IGPs, especially those from more than a few years ago, do; IGPs are generally not power-house parts).

Can you provide some more information about the rest of your computer, before we continue with part suggestions? In Windows, click on the Start Menu, and then right click on Computer and select Properties. From that screen, what is listed for:

- Windows edition (I only need the first line and anything that says "Service Pack")
- Processor
- Installed memory
- System type

As far as the card you've found, the HD 5450 isn't a power-house either; it's another entry-level card, it just happens to be a few iterations newer than the X1300 (newer does not always mean faster). I also would *not* suggest TigerDirect as a retailer these days (and here's why: I would instead suggest Newegg, Amazon, or Best Buy as they have consistently better ratings for customer service and quality.

As far as how much to spend - what's your rough budget? Generally speaking, $50-$100 is what a decent mid-level graphics card will cost, but if that's out of your budget we should still be able to work around it.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for all your help! You have gone above and beyond and I really appreciate that. Here is my specs:
Edition: Windows 7 Home Premium; Service Pack 1
Processor: Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E5400 @ 2.70GHz
Installed Memory: 6.00 GB
System Type: 64-bit Operating System
I would also like to throw in that I have a 300 watt power supply, but I am suppose to be getting a new one because I currently have issues with the PS that I have now when initially booting up the computer.

Thanks for letting me know about TigerDirect.

As far as budget, I'm willing to get into the $50-$100 range. Being as the x1300 is sufficing enough for the time being, I can wait and get the extra funds to get a good card. I don't anything that's too huge or powerful because I don't run games that are hard on my computer. The Sims is about all that I play on it, so I hope to get a card that will be able to last me a little bit before it becomes outdated.

Once again, thanks for keeping up with me and my graphics card issue. This is my first time ever updating anything in a computer, so its all very new to me.

That Pentium is a respectable CPU in its own right, even being a few years old. Pairing it up with a a more modern graphics card, especially with 6GB of memory and 64-bit Windows 7, should keep you going for quite a while. The only "gotcha" I forsee is that some games are starting to want (or at least, strongly benefit from), having greater than two CPU cores (the newest Battlefield and Call of Duty games, for example). But for something like The Sims or even somewhat older RPG or FPS titles like the more recent Fallout or Mass Effect games you should have no troubles.

As far as what to buy, the highest performance option will still likely be the low-profile GTX 750:

Your system will have to support the card being two slots tall though.

On the less expensive side, the low-profile 600 series (610, 620, 630, 640 - they get faster and more expensive as the number goes up) GeForce cards will be a good consideration. They will all bring CUDA, PureVideo HD, and so forth, and offer DX11 support. Here's a low profile GT 630 as an example:

Or the GT 640: (note that the first result Amazon is showing you isn't sold by Amazon - click "33 New" and select "Free Shipping By Amazon" to see the item sold by Amazon (it's at $94 as of this writing); you want to go that route to get free shipping and have Amazon's customer support/returns department behind it).

One thing to note, and this isn't meant to instill fear: the newest nVidia Maxwell parts (the GTX 750 is such a part) sometimes have compatibility issues with certain motherboards - the system will just refuse to power-on or draw a display with the card installed. Unfortunately there's no widespread documentation of the issue, and it appears to be almost random in distribution; my advice would be if you want to try the GTX 750, do so knowing that it may be going back as a return if the computer won't start with it. As far as I'm aware the Fermi and Kepler based 600 series cards have no such problems. If you don't even want to bother with this as a concern, I'd just stick to Radeon or a 600-series GeForce.

If you want to go the AMD route, with a Radeon, there are low profile options there as well. Like the HD 6450:

And the newer Rx series, R7 240:

And for maximum performance, the R7 250:

For your purposes the ~$50 range, like the GT 630 or R7 240, should be perfectly acceptable. But if you want the top end, I figured I'd link to it (especially as the price isn't dramatically higher). Of course you don't have to purchase from Amazon - it's just easiest for finding things quickly online. For example if you'd rather go with Best Buy, they have the R7 240 from XFX:

And a GT 640 low profile on clearance: (this may actually be the best overall deal in terms of price-to-performance, but again note that it's a double-height card)

As far as "double height" if you're wondering what I mean, this picture from Zotac should explain: (it's from this page:

Notice how the fan "hangs off" to one side (to the right in the picture)? That may conflict with another expansion card or some other object inside the case, depending on what else is installed inside your computer. If you have no other expansion cards and there is space to that side of the PCIe slot, it won't be a problem (in a normal computer tower the fan will be "down" from the PCI slot, but if your system is flipped (expansion slots above the CPU) that space will be "up").

As far as the power supply, my initial advice would be to contact Dell and procure a replacement that way. Generally speaking you can go into a computer store (or online) and buy an ATX power supply, but Dell has a nasty habit of altering the wiring scheme for power supplies in their systems (why they do this I will never know), which makes conventional ATX power supplies incompatible. While an experienced technician should be able to visually ID if this is the case, many of them charge an arm and a leg for their time, so it's easier to just go with the Dell part if available. If Dell can't (or won't) help you with this, let me know - if that ends up being the case, pictures will likely be most helpful in figuring out what's installed.


Video Card Problems

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I can answer technical questions about installation, use, and maintinence of most 3D Graphics hardware, and software. I can offer assistance with overclocking (while I do not suggest overclocking while under warranty) and I can give assistance with more complicated problems to the full extent of my abilities.


I have been into computer hardware, especially 3D graphics and the hardware that drives them, for a number of years. I have knowledge in installation, use, troubleshooting, purchase suggestions and over clocking.

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