Will The Dell Optiplex 990 I7-2600 Work for Gaming

Is the Dell Optiplex 990 good for Gaming?

The shot answer is, Oh Ya! or it can be, with some mods. So a few months ago I picked up a Dell OptiPlex 990 PC for around $200. This was originally going to be used for an office PC but did not end up needing it. When I looked into the specs and found it came with powerful i7-2600 I decided to look into making it into an inexpensive gaming rig.

SpecsNovabench Score

Processor: Intel i7-2600, 3.8Ghz Turbo Boost, 8MB L3 Cache, Hyper-Threaded Quad Core
System Type: 64-Bit
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Memory: 8GB PC3-1333
Graphics: Stock – Intel® HD Graphics 2000,  Upgraded to MSI R7 265 2GB DDR5 265-Bit Dual-X: http://amzn.to/2pm8XGv (Now upgraded to a AMD RX 580 8GB)
Stock PSW: 254W – Upgraded to Corsair CX650M 650W: http://amzn.to/2FQ9qYu

Get your Dell 990 here: eBay.

The first thing I checked was the power supply that it came with stock. To my dismay it was a very small wattage power supply at 240 W which would not be enough to push even a halfway decent video card. I did some research to see if I could swap this out with the standard ATX power supply. And I found the answer was yes. I purchased a corsair 650 W power supply and it installed very easily. This power supply had a modular cabling so you could configure what you wanted and what you did not want, i.e. six Penn power or eight Penn power or both…. this power supply ran me only $65, not a bad deal.


After doing the power supply upgrade I installed a AMD R9 265 with 2GB on board. Then set up AMD’s Eyefinity three monitor configuration. I’m a big fan of the AMD R series card, not supper high end, but you can’t beet it in terms of bang for your buck, at around a $120 price point.

The 990 came with 8 GB of memory which was plenty for the gaming I was looking at doing. I may upgrade the RAM to 16GB later, the more ram the merrier. My goal was to make a gaming rig that would have a good performance but at the lowest cost. Once I got it up and running and ran the nova bench bench marking software it came back with a 1572 score which I thought was pretty impressive for a gaming PC with around $400 into it. I am running FarCry 4 at the second highest level at about 27 FPS. I know 27 frame isn’t out of this world, but is certainty playable and pretty impressive for $400. I would definitely recommend the Dell Optiplex 990 for a budget gaming rig!!

Rig Update 2/2018

One and a half years in and this rig is still kicking, when I said kicking I mean stomping. Everything I have thrown at it the Optiplex 990 has not even blinked. I have been running three monitors in the vertical position using Eyefinity at 3150×1680 and most games I am running on high or a mixture of medium and high graphics settings and average 35-40 fps. Whit a nicer video card, the sky’s the limit.

Addition upgrades

250GB SSD with 1TB 7200 Storage Dive

RAM: Upgraded for 8GB to 16GB

NovaBench Score with Upgrades

Novabench Score

So as you can see not bad at all for a budget build. With a video card upgrade at some point I believe the Dell Optiplex 990 gaming rig will continue to service me well for years to come.

Rig Update 3/2018

Dropped in a Gigabyte GTX 660 Ti 2GB OC Version GV-N66TWF2-2GD (http://amzn.to/2FQpr0A), not a huge upgrade, but I got a smoking deal on the card and it did make a good difference on this PC’s NovaBench score. This card uses less power and runs quieter and 10°-15° C cooler then the AMD R7.

Novabench Score

Rig Update 6/2018

I upgraded the 660 TI 2GB video card with a AMD RX 580 8GB, what a difference! I have to move the hard drives and remove the hard drive mounting cage in order to fit the new card in the case. This card it awesome and did not brake the bank either. RX 580 8GB

Novabench Score

15 comments to Will The Dell Optiplex 990 I7-2600 Work for Gaming

  • LS2000  says:

    I want to upgrade the power supply in my Dell 990 so i can install a gtx 970 for gaming. Can i use any ATX supply? will i have to modify the replacement? Here is what i am looking at


  • MC-Stu2000  says:

    Yes that power supply will work with the Dell 990 and the gtx 970, witch uses two 6 pin power cables.

  • Eli  says:

    I have the 990 with the i5 quad core. I added 8 gigs of ram. A radeon 460 5gb DDR5 and a powersupply with more power. I also installed all the drivers but the games I run it on run very choppy with a lot of stuttering. Games that my older duo core was able to handle just fine. What am I missing?

  • MC-Stu2000  says:

    Your specs should allow you to run currant and most older game at higher graphics setting, not maxed, but almost with 25-35+ fps which is more than enough to enjoyably play. What games are you playing and what are your graphics setting set at? Use the worst one for your example. I’m assuming the video card (radeon 460) is not the same one you has in you duo rig?

  • MC-Stu2000  says:

    Quick update on this rig. I just upgraded to a 240GB SSD and holly molly! It boots in 10 – 15 seconds, and I mean ready to use not just at the desktop and still waiting for back ground stuff to load. It launches games two times as fast as it did before. Pretty easy, plunged in the new solid state hard drive internally and cloned it using EaseUS Todo Backup, the free edition. Great cloning software although I did run in to some issues using it at work cloning a smaller drive on to a larger one. Probable user error. In any case, SSD is a must for me in any PC for fun or work.

  • Tyler  says:

    Hi I hope you read this.

    I too am upgrading a 990 MT. I noticed the video card you used has that dual-slot thing. Sorry I don’t know exactly what it’s called. But it’s the two slots that fit into the back side of the computer as opposed to some older GPUs that just take up one slot.

    Was that a problem at all? I am looking to install a GTX 1050 into the 990 after upgrading the PSU. Do you think a 1050 would be possible in this mobo and case?

  • Nitin Verma  says:

    I am too using optiplex 990. I do not have any issue in playing games. After some upgrades it is working more smoothly I think 8 GB RAM is not enough for running GTA V.

  • MC-Stu2000  says:


    It wouldn’t hurt to go with 16 GB of RAM, but 4 GB is the min and 8 GB is what is recommended. What kind of GPU are you using?

    Minimum System Requirements
    OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2* (*NVIDIA video card recommended if running Vista OS)
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
    Memory: 4GB
    Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
    Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
    HDD Space: 65GB
    DVD Drive

    Recommended System Requirements
    OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
    Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs)
    Memory: 8GB
    Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
    Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
    HDD Space: 65GB
    DVD Drive

  • MC-Stu2000  says:


    There’s no issue with compatibility or size with the mobo or case when using a GTX 1050. The back panel has two slots/opening specifically for the PCI X16 plug (video card plug on the mobo) that will accommodate large “double wide” video card the take up two of the back panel slots.

  • Lisa Marie Adler  says:

    I bought a used Dell optiplex 990 i7-2600, got a 500w plu, installed 8gb of RAM so 12gb, put in a zotac 1060 amp 6gb, a cheap no name SSD, and a 2tb HDD. If anyone ever discovers a way to overclock this I would love to know. Also, I’m looking into a worth it upgrade, but that’s difficult as I can only upgrade slowly with used parts. Could someone please give me a good upgrade path.

  • MC-Stu2000  says:

    I’m not sure if you can over clock the CPU, I will look in to it. I’m sure you can over clock the GPU. Before that I would look into upgrading the case. I just build my wife a gaming PC using the Dell 990, which I am also using, but on her build I to everything out of the stock case and put in an aftermarket case. It has much better air flow which you will need if you’re going to do any over clocking. Hers is a lot quieter as well. I will post some info on how I did this as there is some proprietary motherboard connectors for the front panel that you have to salvage from the stock case to connect the new case’s power button. It wasn’t too hard to do once I figured out the wiring (not a lot of info on that online, so I will post pics as well). I also used a PCI USB card in order to utilize the USB plugs on the front panel on the new case. Let me know if you’re interested and I will get this info up sooner rather than later. At a minimum I would add a fan in the front of the current stock case that is sucking air in before doing any over clocking. Unlike my wife’s build, I am still using the stock case using a RX 580 GPU and when I’m gaming heavy it get hot, the fans are screaming and that’s with no over clocking.

    It looks like you have put together a very good gaming build for a GOOD price and you have covered all your bases. I would recommend making sure you have good air flow to keep thing cool before pushing performance any farther. This will make thing run better and the build last longer.

  • fred  says:

    i have a optiplex 990, i7 2600 500 gb ssd, 16 gb ram, gtx 1060 6gb super clocked and 550w power supply …and i just took the optical drive out and turned a external 4 tb hard drive into a internal…the gtx super clock is a 1 fan gpu, its very small and fits nicely.

  • Michael Quaintance  says:

    Did you end up getting a ‘power button cable failure’ message on boot? I’m currently trying to take an Optiplex 990 for an arcade machine build.

    I used a different power button from Amazon and plugged it into the right connectors on the motherboard, and used the existing ‘sense’ wire from the dell power button to its connector. The button works and lights up, but I get that meessage when I boot up.

  • Radu  says:

    Hi . I am using same computer with GTX1060 and it works flawlessly. But since my son has monitor with HDMi only o need Radeon graphics card. So I need to put RX 580 inside. I know a lot of people are having problems with power draw over PCIe . Could you tell me what model of Rx580 does fit inside and also works. It would be useful to me not to start testing and retuning various manufacturers. So. Few people managed to get it working . I mean Rx . With GTX it works without a problem . Thank you .

  • Toshi  says:

    Good day! I also have Optiplex 990 i7 – 2600 but right now im running in GTX 560 graphics which is i think way way outdated. Do you have any recommendations what should i get this time around? Also have you tried changing the stock CPU Cooler with a new one? Im seeing online that there is an issue with 4pins x 5pins something related to Dell standard. Im not actually getting those but i hope you can enlighten me. Lastly for the RAM, does any DDR3 1600Mhz will work with the system?

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