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New Graphics Card to "Refresh" Old System (400W PSU/Low Budget)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 27, 2013 7:33:41 PM

I have an old computer that has been running on motherboard graphics this whole time. It's pretty decent otherwise, so I figured I could add a graphics card in to do some light gaming.

Purchase Date: This week, hopefully
Budget Range: Less than $130, the cheaper the better.
Current GPU/PSU: No GPU, just Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics. The PSU is an Allied brand 400W 12V 20A.
System Specs:
AMD Athlon II X4 635
AMD boxed heatsink
MSI 785GM-P45 Motherboard
OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) C9 1333 MHz RAM
Windows 7 Pro OS
Samsung 500GB 7200rpm SATA II HDD

Preferred Website: newegg.com (I have a 20% off coupon), amazon.com (I have a $15 gift card), MicroCenter (I can do in-store pick up)

Parts Preferences: I prefer my cards to be quiet and cool, but I'm willing to sacrifice silence for performance

Overclocking: No
SLI/Crossfire: NO

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900, but I also have a 1080p HDTV

I'm interested in playing the following games, hopefully meeting the recommended requirements but I'd be okay with hitting medium settings. I've been playing my games at low for a while now and I'm ready for something better: Witcher II, Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3, Skyrim, Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham Origins, Assassin's Creed 4, The Secret World

I'm considering the PNY GTX 650 Ti 1 GB on sale for $105 at Newegg right now, but I don't know if it is compatible with the motherboard and PSU.

If anyone has any other ideas to "refresh" the system, please let me know. I've been thinking about getting a new cooler and trying to overclock the CPU, or getting a new PSU and moving beyond the 400W limit on graphics cards.
a c 134 V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
June 27, 2013 7:48:06 PM

If your PSU has a spare 6pin power cable then that PNY GTX650ti is fully compatible with your system.
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a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2013 3:14:27 PM



Yes.

Stick to playing on the 1440x900 monitor. You'll need low graphic settings to play @ 1080p with that system without a more expensive overhaul to the system considering all the game titles you listed.
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June 28, 2013 4:04:27 PM

Thanks for the info.

I think for the more demanding games I'll just get them for a console. The PC-exclusives seem like they can be played on this computer once I add the video card. I doubt I would be carrying my desktop around to the TV a lot anyways.

Just an aside, would you recommend any other quick/easy upgrades that would improve performance? Would adding another 4GB of RAM help much or could the CPU be overclocked?
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a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2013 4:22:43 PM

Your CPU is your largest limiting factor. A solid cooler for that and an OverClock would likely provide the most gain without rebuilding everything from scratch.

That said, 4GB of RAM for Windows 7 Pro is about a minimum if you play any games on it. I'm not sure I'd spend the money on doubling that though with your existing system. (There again, 4GB of RAM should be pretty cheap)
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June 28, 2013 4:29:51 PM

If you have two 6-pin power connectors available, you can get a 7850 around $150. If not, yeah the 650 Boost is your best bet.
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June 28, 2013 5:28:25 PM

Thanks, yeah, I guess the extra 4GB of RAM won't make much of a difference. I think the 400W PSU is also pretty limiting (as I don't think it would be able to handle a 7850 or even a 650 Ti Boost)
I worry that overclocking the CPU might push the PSU too much also...
I thought about getting a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo and then trying to OC the CPU, but using a Power Supply Calculator it looks like 400W wouldn't be enough.
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a b V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2013 7:06:43 PM

turtlefu said:
Thanks, yeah, I guess the extra 4GB of RAM won't make much of a difference. I think the 400W PSU is also pretty limiting (as I don't think it would be able to handle a 7850 or even a 650 Ti Boost)
I worry that overclocking the CPU might push the PSU too much also...
I thought about getting a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo and then trying to OC the CPU, but using a Power Supply Calculator it looks like 400W wouldn't be enough.

Look at your PSU sticker and see how many amps it can have on the +12V rail. If it can do 16A or more you should be fine with a 7850. But again, that's assuming you have the power connectors for it. If not, the 650 will be good for light gaming too.

OCing the CPU isn't a big deal right now since your lack of GPU is the bigger bottleneck.
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