Suggestions for upgrading parts on a Dell Inspiron 530s
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Background and Identification
The Inspiron 530s was introduced in 2007 for the consumer PC market. It was meant to be a midranage PC for budget conscious buyers when it was released.
While this system could be purchased with Windows Vista (and was somewhat popular), it was released around the time Vista had stability and driver problems. As such, many systems run Windows XP and are licensed accordingly.
If you are wondering what your system shipped with, the COA or service tag parts list can be referenced.
Memory (and known limitations)
The main limitation with the 530s is technological. This system uses DDR2, which is limited in per module capacity and tends to be very expensive. If you find memory, you will need to make sure it is at least 667MHz or the system will not POST. 800MHz is recommended for cost and availability.
Dell officially rates this system with a maximum of 4GB. However, this is partially false.
- G33M03: 8GB (Latest BIOS)
- G33M02: 4GB (BIOS imposed, even on the latest BIOS. Modifications are required to remove this limitation.)
While the G33M03 systems can accept 8GB of RAM, the main deterrent these days is cost. DDR2 memory has become very expensive in the last few years, which makes this upgrade impractical and best avoided unless you have this memory on hand and it costs nothing to install (or it is VERY CHEAP). 4GB is the practical limit because of cost.
Both the G33M02 and G33M03 support 45nm processors.
Important: Celeron/Pentium/Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad systems use 2 different motherboards. This is important, since the G33M02 has missing VRM hardware (7/11 installed), which physically prevents these systems from accepting Core 2 Quad processors. This is a physical limitation of the G33M02 motherboard and cannot be corrected, as it is a hardware and firmware limitation.
While the G33M02 is physically crippled in terms of processor upgrades, the G33M03 VRM is fully populated and does not have this problem, and the BIOS is written to accept Core 2 Quad processors.
Maximum supported processors:
- G33M02: Core 2 Duo E8600
- G33M03: Core 2 Quad Q9650 Note: A heatsink upgrade is recommended for factory Core 2 Duo systems.
This system uses a PCIe 2.0 but and accepts any standard PCIe graphics card. The main issue with this system is SFF PCIe video card availability. Many of these cards are a terrible value proposition and cost too much.
The second problem is power related. In addition to being small form factor, many of these systems have inadequate power supplies from the factory. Generally speaking, M02 systems usually ship with 250W Bestec units, while M03 systems ship with a 305W Delta unit. This may not always the case, but is usually what they come with. 250W units MUST be replaced and 305W units may work with a low end card, but check the card power requirements before using the factory power supply.
Uograding the power supply on this system is only really beneficial when you are installing a Core 2 Quad processor or a dedicated graphics card.
If you are considering replacing the power supply, you will need a TFX unit. Good units tend to be hard to find, so plan on spending a good amount of money to replace the power supply. The system uses a standard 24-pin interface, so there are no proprietary power supplies to deal with. The 12V CPU power supply leads on the stock power supply are brown, but the voltage is standard.
Drivers and Support
For system support, go to the Dell Support page and enter your service tag. At this point, you should be able to pull up your drivers, warranty and system specs as it shipped from the factory.