Adding a 2nd monitor and graphics card to a Dimension E520

Posted on 2009-07-15
Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I'm trying to determine what is needed to add a 2nd monitor to a stock Dimension E520. It came with the integrated graphics card and monitor. It ahs not been changed.

Now I need to add a 2nd monitor to it. Can anyone assist by telling me hoe to do this properly so there is the least amount of problems? Here is the original config from Dell:

System Type: Dimension E520
Ship Date: 6/19/2007
Dell IBU: Americas
Quantity Parts # Part Description
1 PN309 Processor, 925, 3.0, 2X2M, PentiumD Presler, D0
1 GK119 Base, MATRIX,SMITH,MINI TOWER..., Pentium D Presler 925, E520
1 CJ033 Module, Mouse, Universal Serial Bus, 2BTN, Entry, Black, Dimension
1 DH925 Module, Software, Roxio, MYDVD NON-XPS, Low Encryption
1 F6405 Module, Information, No Raid, Dimension
1 F9117 Module, Dual In-line Memory Module, 1G, 2X512, 667, 2R, Non Error Correction Code
1 GJ979 Module, Compact Diskette Resource Compact Disk Dimension, E520
1 H7658 Module, Software, Win XP Pro Service Pack 2, COMPACT DISK DRIVE..., Eng DAO/BCC
1 HM226 Module, Dvd+/-rw, Serial Ata Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, 2, Black
1 JC663 Module, Label, MSLOGO, Windows Xp, Medium
1 MK625 Module, Panel, Filler, NO-FDD, Matrix, Smith, Mini Tower, Black
1 MY288 Module, Software, DSPRT3.2 Gteck0, Dimension, Inspiron
1 N6174 Module, Software, Image, Restore, Dimension
1 NH274 Module, Assembly, Cable, Serial ATA, Optical, Matrix, Smith, Mini Tower
1 P7511 Module, Software, Microsoft Win XP Pro SP2, Dimension, Eng
1 PH652 Module, Software, Internet Service Provider, Internet Search, PORTAL
1 RF255 Module, Modem, SON2, Internal
1 RJ609 Module, Label, Intel, Desktop PDPR, Pentium D Smithfield For Desktops
1 TH311 Module, Keyboard, 104, United States, Black, Dimension
1 UD288 Module, Hard Drive, 80GB, S2, #1 WD-UNIC
1 UH398 Ship Group, MATRIX,SMITH,MINI TOWER..., E520
1 UH898 Module, Digital Video Disk Drive, 16X, Philips, Dimension Serial Ata, Black
1 YW980 Module, Software, SNAPFIRE Server Enhanced, World Wide
1 9Y457 Module, Software, Soft ContractsQualxserve
Question by:Tony Giangreco
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Expert Comment

ID: 24862676
You'll need a PCI Express x16 video card, which can support dual monitors.

Expert Comment

ID: 24862702
All you would need to do is buy a PCI-Express graphics card that supports dual moinotors.  The E520 has an PCIe x16 (Graphics): 1 Slot. Here is an example at

Is this for gaming or general use?
LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 24862801
This is for accounting applications.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24862986
The Graphics card mentioned above should work fine them. It will handle accounting applications just fine.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 24863116
Agree the card suggested MAY work -- but it's really overkill for non-gaming needs. The "may" is because depending on the current configuration of your system, you may not be able to install a dual-slot card like that.

... but for your application I wouldn't use a dual slot card anyway. This will work just fine -- it's actually a remarkably good performer for the price (scores 5.2 on Vista's performance index -- I know you're not using Vista, but that gives you an indication of the performance level) -- and is only $40 with the rebate:

LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 24863204
Note that no matter what card you use, you need to confirm that you have the proper outputs for the monitors you plan to use.    The card I suggested has a VGA output, a DVI output, and an HDMI output.    If you need two VGA outputs, you can use the DVI output with an adapter [ ];    if you need two DVI outputs, you can use an HDMI -> DVI cable [ ]

You can use any two of the three outputs at once (i.e. it supports 2 displays, but not 3).

If you want a higher performance card, this is a superb value for $95.    Scores 5.9 on Vista's index, and comes with two DVI -> VGA adapters, so you can use any combination of monitors you want with no additional adapters needed:

I've used both of these cards in several systems ... they are both excellent choices.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 24863237
Just checked Dell's specifications -- your system's power supply does NOT have enough power to support either the nVidia 9800GT I noted above (the 2nd "higher performance" card) or the card that was suggested earlier (the dual-slot card I said you shouldn't use).

So I'd definitely go with the first card I suggested -- this one:
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 24863317
Out of the 3 cards suggested so far the 3870 and the 9800gt would require power supply upgrades as the E520 only has a 305 watt psu and those 2 cards require 400w or larger power supplies. You might be able to get away with running them on that psu but it will tax the psu and if it fails it can(and usually does) take other hardware it. The 4550 only has a requirement of 300w. What outputs do you need(dvi, vga, both)?
LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 24863467
We plan to run two standard VGA connections, nothing fancy. These are for tax returns... No games or high end graphics.

Will a lower end graphics card work that has the same specs as the embedded card? They won't know the difference.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 24863522
This will work just fine -- and comes with the necessary DVI -> VGA adapter so you can connect two VGA monitors.
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Author Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 24863548

Will this put any stress on the PS? I don't want to blow it and damage the MB.
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 24863601
No, not at all -- that's why I picked it :-)

There are many cards that will do what you want ... the one I suggested only requires a 250 watt power supply  ... you have 305 watts.
LVL 25

Author Closing Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 31603903
Great solution. Thanks for the help!

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