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Graphics Card Compatibility

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January 9, 2014 5:55:59 PM

Hello, new here. I'm looking to upgrade our home desktop with a graphics card. I want to be able to run games such as BF4 on medium to high settings. I don't know what makes a card compatible with the parts already in the computer. It's not an old computer, and I will try to post as much info about it as I can to help. I hear the power supply has to be right and the motherboard. I'm looking into NVIDIA cards and my price range is somewhere from $300-$500 for the card and parts that need to be switched to make it compatible.

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU 540 @ 3.07 GHz
Ram: 4GBs (I will also upgrade this to 8GB if all goes well)
Power Supply: 350W Output. AC Input 115V/230V- 8/5A 60/60Hz.

If there is any more information I need to supply please ask.

a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:03:17 PM

with your cpu, its easy enough to know what your motherboard will support, and that is pretty much any current generation card. if you want the best you can get for $500, the nvidia 780 is the way to go, but it WILL be bottlenecked quite heavily by your old i3 cpu. Honestly, you'll see a bigger frame increase by upgrading cpu to an i5 or i7, though most people will suggest a newer model of cpu and processor.

basically, that $500 would be best spend on something like an i5-3570k (all you need and won't bottleneck any current card) for $200, or less on sale, and a compatable $100 motherboard, then spend 300 on a gpu. This combo will give you the best gaming experience for your money, as you can keep your power supply, keep your case, and keep your hard drives even.

the best cards in the $300 range are the nvidia gtx 760, or the amd 270x. The 760 is roughly $250 give or take $20 while the 270x is roughly $220, but also about 10% slower across the board.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:05:31 PM

Or, save yourself the money on a motherboard and find a cheap i7 that is compatible with that motherboard, which i will give you part names once i find them

Also you will need to spend at least $50 on a 500 watt bronze rated power supply at least for a gaming build...you can go cheaper, but it is not overly wise to cheap out on a power supply that is constantly having a 300+ watt total system load on it.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:06:30 PM

The newer cards do say pci 3.0, but are compatible with your motherboard's slot.
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January 9, 2014 6:07:14 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
with your cpu, its easy enough to know what your motherboard will support, and that is pretty much any current generation card. if you want the best you can get for $500, the nvidia 780 is the way to go, but it WILL be bottlenecked quite heavily by your old i3 cpu. Honestly, you'll see a bigger frame increase by upgrading cpu to an i5 or i7, though most people will suggest a newer model of cpu and processor.

basically, that $500 would be best spend on something like an i5-3570k (all you need and won't bottleneck any current card) for $200, or less on sale, and a compatable $100 motherboard, then spend 300 on a gpu. This combo will give you the best gaming experience for your money, as you can keep your power supply, keep your case, and keep your hard drives even.

the best cards in the $300 range are the nvidia gtx 760, or the amd 270x. The 760 is roughly $250 give or take $20 while the 270x is roughly $220, but also about 10% slower across the board.


Ok. So get a new CPU, power supply, motherboard, and then of course the card?
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:07:22 PM

Basically your processor and power supply are not overly suited for playing bf4 on medium or high as they will hold back what you can get for a graphics card
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:08:24 PM

Sadly yes, BUT like i said, if you can find an i7 of that generation for under $200, you don't need to get a new motherboard as the i7 from that generation is alright for gaming (the i5 from that gen is a little slow now)
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:10:53 PM

But best experience will be to upgrade other hardware first before splooging big on a graphics card
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January 9, 2014 6:11:40 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
Basically your processor and power supply are not overly suited for playing bf4 on medium or high as they will hold back what you can get for a graphics card


Ok. Any ideas on specific hardware to buy? Will a dual-core or quad-core be needed?
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:17:15 PM

Quad core is recommended for current gen gaming (don't worry about 8 or 6 core just yet, as bf4 does not quite make full use of the current i5's.

Basically google your specific processor, and find the socket type, (1155,1150 ect.) (googling your motherboard will also tell you this if you can find out the exact motherboard you have. Once you find the socket you have, try looking up the i7 that goes with that socket. I would do it myself but im still in class

other than that, a corsair cx or tx 500 watt power supply will be enough for any current gaming system with a single gpu.
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January 9, 2014 6:21:17 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
Quad core is recommended for current gen gaming (don't worry about 8 or 6 core just yet, as bf4 does not quite make full use of the current i5's.

Basically google your specific processor, and find the socket type, (1155,1150 ect.) (googling your motherboard will also tell you this if you can find out the exact motherboard you have. Once you find the socket you have, try looking up the i7 that goes with that socket. I would do it myself but im still in class

other than that, a corsair cx or tx 500 watt power supply will be enough for any current gaming system with a single gpu.


BF4 is not the only game I will play, I just chose it as an example of most likely the peak of graphics intense games I will run. So I should keep my motherboard? That is the shadiest area for me. I have some knowledge on RAM and CPU's, just not how it all connects. :na: 
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:27:03 PM

Well basically, your whole system ASIDE from your psu, is compatible with a more powerful card. You will run into power problems if you get anything over a 660ti, and even then, you will be on medium, and still might run into power limit problems.

The motherboard is a good quality one, so basically my suggestion would be to upgrade the cpu, but keep the motherboard

then upgrade psu, then upgrade gpu. your motherboard should have 1 24 pin power, 1 6 or 8 pin power, then your drives and disc drive should be using sata power. (not necessarily but likely).

the psu you would need would require a 24pin, 1 8 pin(assuming your motherboard takes an 8 pin and not a 6) And 2 pci 6 pin power cords to power everything you would need (they almost all come with molex and sata power) If you do decide to upgrade parts, feel free to post them back in this forum for further confirmation on compatibility.
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January 9, 2014 6:35:08 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
Well basically, your whole system ASIDE from your psu, is compatible with a more powerful card. You will run into power problems if you get anything over a 660ti, and even then, you will be on medium, and still might run into power limit problems.

The motherboard is a good quality one, so basically my suggestion would be to upgrade the cpu, but keep the motherboard

then upgrade psu, then upgrade gpu. your motherboard should have 1 24 pin power, 1 6 or 8 pin power, then your drives and disc drive should be using sata power. (not necessarily but likely).

the psu you would need would require a 24pin, 1 8 pin(assuming your motherboard takes an 8 pin and not a 6) And 2 pci 6 pin power cords to power everything you would need (they almost all come with molex and sata power) If you do decide to upgrade parts, feel free to post them back in this forum for further confirmation on compatibility.


So the parts I'm looking to upgrade are the PSU, CPU, and then add in the graphics card. I'm completely lost with the pin number thing, but hopefully I can get a friend to help me out that knows more about this or I can upload more pictures in more depth.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:43:11 PM

Yeah if you want put up more pictures and i can tell you what each thing is (but i mean, it's fairly straight forward, and like expensive lego with a few complications that can be easily learned and solved
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 6:45:11 PM

but yeah, i'd recommend cpu and psu upgrade before you go full out on a graphics card. Not only will your experience be better, but power consumption has improved as things have gotten newer (you will pay slightly less for your power bill...until you buy a decent gaming card lol, those use a fair bit of power in some cases) but things like idle power consumption and browsing power consumption has increased (completely irrelevant if you don't pay for your power :p )
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January 9, 2014 7:03:48 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
but yeah, i'd recommend cpu and psu upgrade before you go full out on a graphics card. Not only will your experience be better, but power consumption has improved as things have gotten newer (you will pay slightly less for your power bill...until you buy a decent gaming card lol, those use a fair bit of power in some cases) but things like idle power consumption and browsing power consumption has increased (completely irrelevant if you don't pay for your power :p )


Well I was thinking about just getting them all at the same time? Could I get everything I need for around $500? The power usage isn't really a big deal.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 7:08:44 PM

eh, you would have to do some deal shopping, but assuming you keep your harddrives, case and operating system, you could get a decent mobo,cpu and gpu combo for $500, but the kicker is that this combo will use more power than your psu will output under load....you are in a very tricky upgrade position my friend

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January 9, 2014 7:12:13 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
eh, you would have to do some deal shopping, but assuming you keep your harddrives, case and operating system, you could get a decent mobo,cpu and gpu combo for $500, but the kicker is that this combo will use more power than your psu will output under load....you are in a very tricky upgrade position my friend



What about a $600 limit?
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January 9, 2014 8:27:40 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
eh, you would have to do some deal shopping, but assuming you keep your harddrives, case and operating system, you could get a decent mobo,cpu and gpu combo for $500, but the kicker is that this combo will use more power than your psu will output under load....you are in a very tricky upgrade position my friend



I can do $600. I'm lookin' around on corsair and see a few with around 600 power. Would that be enough?
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 8:37:04 PM

600 is not only enough, it is a nice safe psu if you get a corsair one! :D  cx is the model im guessing?
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January 9, 2014 8:48:44 PM

Well which one would you recommend for the best price?

And doesn't it also have to be compatible with the GPU and CPU? Like the pin thing?
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 9, 2014 8:58:49 PM

ok first off, are you in canada or the U.S, as prices will vary
and yes
the model of your motherboard is p7h55-m lx from asus
this motherboard requires a 24 pin and a 4 pin for board and cpu power
any psu you look at is almost garunteed to have this unless it is more than 5 years old.
the only other thing you would need is pci power connectors for the gpu, which again, almost all 500+watt power supplies will come with at least 2 6 pin, which will power you basically any card (aside from high power draw variants of some cards)
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January 9, 2014 9:17:18 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
ok first off, are you in canada or the U.S, as prices will vary
and yes
the model of your motherboard is p7h55-m lx from asus
this motherboard requires a 24 pin and a 4 pin for board and cpu power
any psu you look at is almost garunteed to have this unless it is more than 5 years old.
the only other thing you would need is pci power connectors for the gpu, which again, almost all 500+watt power supplies will come with at least 2 6 pin, which will power you basically any card (aside from high power draw variants of some cards)


U.S, and so http://www.corsair.com/us/power-supply-units/hx-series-... would work? Would that fit into my computer or are they all the same size? I'm looking at anything in the GS HX TX or RM series.
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January 9, 2014 9:36:50 PM

Ok, here are the PSUs i've found and am considering.

http://www.corsair.com/us/power-supply-units/gs-series-... (Any of the GS series)
http://www.corsair.com/us/power-supply-units/rm-series-... (RM 750)
http://www.corsair.com/us/power-supply-units/hx-series-... (HX 650)
http://www.corsair.com/us/power-supply-units/tx-series-... (TX 650)

Which one do you think would suit me best. I like the RM 750 because it says its modular and silent until it's under a heavy load.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 10, 2014 9:20:52 AM

The RM is a wonderful powersupply, as being modular, you are able to even buy custom cables that can really make a system look sleek, as well as the power supply is just downright a good quality one. The rest are all good, and will work great. but if you are under budget, and would rather get a better gaming card than power supply (as all the ones you listed will work for any gaming card on the market, as long as you get minimum of 650, which is my personal recommendation).

BUT the tx will be better for you for the price, as it is semi modular, and the cables that attatched to the psu are pretty much all going to be used, while still coming with additional cables for additional uses you may have such as more sata power, more molex power, option to add more pci power cables n so on. And it's cheaper.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 10, 2014 9:21:06 AM

The tx is also pretty quiet
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January 10, 2014 3:05:48 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
The tx is also pretty quiet


The RM 750 is the same price as the TX 650.
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a c 98 U Graphics card
January 13, 2014 9:26:52 AM

Yep this build will bring happy gaming for at least a few years to come :) 
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