Dell E520 + ATI X1950XT = dual monitors don’t work

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11 Responses

  1. Brian says:

    Are you aware that the power down of the video card is possibly the result of too little power?

  2. Lewis says:

    Hi Brian, the thought did cross my mind but I was running everything on an Antec NeoHE 550W power supply inside the Dell case. The Dell power supply is only 350W or 305W and doesn’t have any PCI-E connectors anyway so I needed to use another power supply. One of my photos above shows the power cables inside the Dell case from the Antec Power Supply.

    That very same power supply is now providing power for the final system and I’m not having any further problems so it’s safe to say that too little power wasn’t the problem. 🙂

    – Lewis

  3. TheFatKing says:

    That’s a truly epic tale. Put paid to a similar scheme which I was cooking up. Instead I’ll just buy some decent components from scratch for a new system. You’ve saved me both time & money, and amused me enormously in the process 😉 – Thanks!!

  4. Brian2 says:

    Interesting and thanks for the tip on Windows XP Pro install. However, I’m currently viewing this on an e520 w/ 3 monitors. I used the NVIDIA Quaddro NVS 440 and had no problems whatsoever…
    This is the 3.0 GHz Dual Core model of e520. They may have different mainboards, IDK.
    Thanks for the article!

  5. Dave says:

    Re your comment about installing XP on E520. Your solution of turning off Raid in the bios does work but means that the drive is working in emulation mode. It is possible to leave the RAID setting in the bios (so you get native speed) and to install XP. You need a floppy on the system to do this. Download the latest drivers from the Dell site – currently R158601.exe file. Unpack to a directory and copy to a floppy – can be done on any system doesn’t need to be the E520.

    Now boot the E520, press F12 to get boot menu and select CD. When XP starts to initialize it prompts you to press F6 if you have additional drivers to install. Do this. Later in the process, after other drivers have loaded, it prompts you to type S if you have drivers to load. Type S and put the floppy in drive A. A number of drivers will appear with one highlighted, hit return to accept the highlighted driver then return to continue. Let the install finish, only remove the floppy when instructed before the final reboot.

    Interestingly the above will not work if you use the Intel matrix driver that is on the Dell drivers CD that comes with the machine. It throws an error when trying to load the driver. You need the latest version from the Dell site.

    Hope this is useful.


  6. khanh says:

    I can confirm that the Dell Dimension 9200 + Sapphire x1950xt + Dual monitor = doesn’t work.

    The Dell 9200 has a better power supply (375 watts) and can power the 8800GTS640 fine. This computer, however, does not work with the X1950XT in Dual monitor mode at all.

    I learned it the hard way and came out with $25 short in restocking fee (newegg). Stay away from DELL and X1950XT in dual mode.

    I would I read this article sooner, I would pick a diff video card for my Dell.

    E520 + X1950XT + Dual monitor mode = Dimension 9200 + X1950XT + Dual mode = DOES NOT WORK.

  7. jhopkins says:

    I can also confirm this happens in Dell 9200’s, but with any x1900 series card, not just 1950’s. Notice on Dell’s website they wont put in any ATI except the x1300. Also, when I first came across this issue, if you searched for “x1900 dual monitor” on ATI’s site, you would get this;

    Radeon X1xxx Series, FireGL V Series – Dual Display Not Working in Certain …
    …X1xxx Series, FireGL V Series – Dual Display Not Working in Certain Dell……
    Topic: 737-25340 Date Modified: 02/27/07

    When I found that, clicking the link went to a “page not found” filler. Now, I can no longer find any reference to this entry/problem. I am 100% sure ATI is aware of the issue but I have no idea what theyre doing to fix or if theyre even trying. Though I am led to believe they arent trying to fix it, since they took down that entry.

    I am not an Nvidia fan boy, and I work with many different models from both brands here. When the x1xxx series first came out, the possibilities of the new hardware tech excited me, and I thought for sure they would smoke Nvidia. Needless to say, that never happened. After working here for almost a year with primarily high-end cards from both brands, I can say that I would not ever buy an ATI, nor would I suggest it. Regardless of performance, ATI cant write software to save their God-forsaken lives (look at the Catalyst Control Center, which wont even open for 30% of the people who have it installed). Until you start reading about “ATI’s second coming” just stay away from them. They call it Nvidia for a reason (Nvidia is Latin, look up the definition), and they didnt choose green as their color scheme just because they like it.

  8. jhopkins says:

    Oh and I saved the web page for the ATI search entry, which I will send to the owner of this page if they would like proof (proof in as much as it can be, considering one can easily spoof a saved web page).

  9. Sam says:


    I can relate to your story as about a year and a half ago i purchased a dell e520 thinking that i could upgrade as i went.
    The 7300le card that came with it just held the whole system back. Last week i decided to order the 8600gts (which just fits in the pci express slot) however when i rebooted it said not enough power was being supplied to it so had to go out and buy a 500w power supply unit, luckily the e520 has a standard PSU so it was easy to swap (well for my friend) after that was done everything was working great, windows vista score jumped from 3.2 to 5 (overall) and the games i play (age of empires 3/command and conquer 3) work on full graphics setting which is a HUGE improvement from the 7300le which would only fun on low. Overall im happy with the machine now for what i use it for….if i could go back id of just tried to build my own or get a purpose bult games system but you live and learn. If anyone has a dell e520 then i can reccomend the 8600gts but you need a new PSU as the current one has no molex connectors and even if it did i wouldnt like to run it with only 305w
    Only thing i would say is that the card is now running at 64c idle and up to 93c full load so a fan is needed next.

    Hope this helps other people, as for the two screen problem i cant comment as i haven’t tried yet but if i do i will re-post on here

    Chow 4 now

  10. Mark says:

    Hi there,

    Very amusing and imformative article, have been searching for ages to find something like this! I bought a Dell Dimension E520 way back in 2007. It was on the cheap, and like you I couldn’t resist! I wanted to set up an Avid editing system, and having never used Dell before assumed it would be OK to fiddle around with the components post-purchase. I bought an Avid certified Nvidia Quadro FX 3400 with the intention of setting up dual monitors. Unfortunately, DVI1 output does not work correctly and only displays greeny-blue colours as opposed to the full spectrum. I contacted Dell who were absolutely no help at all, and after several phone calls finally told me ‘this card is not compatible with your motherboard’.

    Nice to know what the issue is, I might start looking to upgrade the machine now I know there is no fix! 🙁

    Thanks again for the article,


  11. ted kidd says:

    That’s a truly epic tale. Put paid to a similar scheme which I was cooking up. Instead I’ll just buy some decent components from scratch for a new system. You’ve saved me both time & money, and amused me enormously in the process – Thanks!!

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