Why is everything so hard? I've been searching the web, asked Dell (no response back), and still don't know what I can do. I have a Dell XPS 8500, Intel i7, 3.4GHz A12 Bios and 24GB ram. Running Windows 8.1 64bit. The machine came with a AMD Radeon HD 7700 series video card and I'm running 3 Dell 2007FP monitors. I'm getting into Flight Simulator X, but the resolution sucks. I'm running Rex4 textures so things should look better. Have to slow down the frame rate below 20fps, otherwise the video freezes and large blocks of scenery turn into globs of color. I've been told that FSX is CPU intensive and not video card intensive. Don't know if I believe this. I'd like to stick with and AMD video card - I like eyefinity. What is the best video card (and PSU upgrade if required) that I can use with my machine? Thank you guys!!
You can really put any card on your Motherboard if you get the right power supply. What is you price range for both power supply and video card?
To be honest, I haven't thought about my budget - I just want something that works really nice and fixes my issues with FSX. I'm willing to pay whatever... As I said in my original write-up, fixing my resolution issues might include getting new monitors, new video card and PSU (if necessary). My only stipulation is that I'd prefer to get another AMD card, as I like the eyefinity setup process.
With that being said, I'm a bit worried about space and connection to mother board - kind of hard to spend fairly big money to buy something blindly. I was hoping that someone else with a XPS 8500 can share their own experiences on what fits, what is best, and what PSU they used.
I just checked my computer's configuration. You are correct, my current PSU is 460W... so a PSU upgrade will probably be necessary.
Another stupid question - does it matter who the manufacturer is? Looking at AMD's website and looking at the HD 7950's specs, there is a link to shop various prices. In doing so, there are several manufacturer models that come back. (HIS, PowerColor, Sapphire, VisionTek, XFX). Are there specific vendors to avoid, or is everyone essentially the same?
Also, what is the difference between a PCIe x16 Gen 2.1 vs a Gen 3.0? Are these two connections the same, but dictate speed of transfer? How can I tell what my motherboard will accomodate?
The brands have different cooler solutions. The 7950 is recommended stays very cool (Newegg link). I also posted a link for a very reliable 650w psu. If you buy those two parts you will be all set.
As for pci 2.1 vs 3.0, I would say the difference in preformance is very small between both types and I am sure pci 3.0 will mean more as video cards get better but every benchmark tells me that the difference isn't much with even the best cards.
For other owners of Dell XPS 8500 computers who want to get a better video card - THIS IS THE THREAD FOR YOU. Before coming here, I attempted to use the Dell website that supposedly provides suggested upgrades based on computer model, and the site absolutely stinks. Luckily I found Tom's Hardware.
My Dell XPS came with a 460W PSU and an AMD HD 7700 series video card as a stock setup. This was not powerful enough to do a good job running 3 monitors of Microsoft Flight Simulator X.
Besides what appears in this thread, I have also been working with ak47jar3d using private email messages. I wanted share ak47jar3d's knowledge publicly and to share my personal outcome with the rest of the XPS 8500 population. First of all ak47jar3d has been super-helpful. He is great and really knows what he is talking about.
Using his suggestion, I went ahead and purchased the Corsair TX650 power supply. It is very nice and you cannot go wrong. One word of caution - you will also need to purchase a separate conversion cable kit to convert the Corsair EPS 12V CPU (8-pin) cable into a ATX12V plug (4-pin) for the "PWR2" area of your XPS motherboard. There is the perfect conversion kit for this on Amazon for $3.75 by CableHero. Link below:
The TX650 is a really nice PSU and should have plenty of power to drive your new video card. I personally like AMD's eyefinity, so I wanted to stick with an AMD card for my video card upgrade. ak47jar3d suggested the HD 7950 card. Unfortunately, both models carried by newegg.com are currently out of stock. All 7950s on Amazon were all priced well over $400. Too expensive for my blood.
I eventually found an MSI Radeon HD 7970 card with twin Frozr III on newegg - this thing is a beast. It is still a 3GB PCI-e 3.0 card, but it also is the boost edition and overclock edition. For you non-technical people like myself, the overclock edition means the core/boost clock ratings are a bit faster than the typical HD 7970 specifications. I paid $350 with no shipping charges.
My TX650 PSU comes with two PCI-E cables. The MSI 7970 card is powered using one 6-pin and one 8-pin connections. Both ak47jar3d and Pinhedd confirmed I can use these two PCI-E cables to power my new card. For one connection, I'll use just the 6-pin connection. For the other 8-pin connection, I'll use the 6-pin and extra 2-pin as well.
I guess that summarizes my personal lessons-learned on getting a new video card and PSU. Wanted to make sure this forum was able to get the full details on my upgrade process. Tom's Hardware is a great resource and I'm very happy I found this site.
Thank you ak47jar3d!!!
keywords: Dell XPS 8500, video card upgrade, power supply upgrade