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What’s the maximum card my computer can take (stable)?

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December 4, 2006 12:54:41 PM

Before I publish the specs of my rig I want to declare that I don’t care if my rig is obsolete and that I am a moron that doesn’t run C2D or have two 8800GTX or similar. I have a weak computer and that’s it. I have to live with it, not you! (no offence to the vast majority that doesn’t think in that way:) )


Background: I bought a Powercolor radeon x800GTO and that card worked fine for two months then it crashed. I have warranty but I let the card stay in the wardrobe for a couple of months and bought a temporary radeon 9250SE (fanless) that works fine. Now I want to take care of the warranty and send the card to the company I bought it from but the thing is that they don´t have that particular card in the sortiment. That´s ok cause I can easily replace it with a similar one. Now the question. Which card can I buy instead without risking a crash(mostly due to a weak power supply). NOTE! The crash of x800GTO wasn´t instigated by the power supply. I tried to read vga charts but I didn´t get wiser.

http://www.powercolor.com/global/main_product_series.as...



Intel Pentium 4 2,8Ghz (533FSB) Northwood
Soltek with agpx4
768 MB pc2100 ram
one 60Gb WD (4 years old)
one 200Gb SB (8Mb cache)
350 W powersupply


Now, is gf 7600GT possible or should I stick with 7600GS. The thing is that I have a soundcard X-fi XtremeMusic that I don´t dare to install(in case it swallows power). Does someone know how much power Radeon 1650pro takes(or the mentioned cards)? Or do someone have a weak 350W powersupply and still can use a decent video card? I know that a possibility is to change the powersupply but cause my system is so out-of date it is not worth it(and the fact that I am not skilled enough for the mission). I will buy a completely new system in april or may 2007 but I would like something better than radeon 9250se until then(and not much worse than x800gto).

PS The poorly detailed "rig info" is due to that I am not at home when I write this. The important info is "350W" for my question.
December 4, 2006 3:03:31 PM

When you get home, can you post what brand and model 350 PSU you have? We don't know if you have a weak 350 or a strong 350. But you are in the right ball park I would say, with the X800, X1600, or 7600.

You could look for a silent (no fan) X1600 which should draw less power in general, not that fans suck a lot of juice. The X800/850 is faster but won't look quite as nice (SM2.0). If you watch a lot of movies, the X1600 would be my choice. The 7600GT is a bit faster and also a very nice card. If you plan on using your current pc in the future for other things and it will be around yet for a couple years (kids gaming, media pc, etc.), then you should only consider the 7600GT, or the X1600. In which case it may also be worth getting a quality 400W PSU.
December 4, 2006 3:43:49 PM

Which brand and model? It seems to be a easy question but not in my case. I bought the computer at a local store in Sweden, a store that had a speciality for low noise computers. They still have it but not so much. I can´t see the brand cause the PSU is modified by them. THe Stores name is GHdata and their name is on the PSU. It sure looks low-budget:

GHdata 350W Silent and below that it says:
300W ATX 2.03
AMD & P4 OK

It looks like it was a 300W PSU modified to 350W PSU and it sure isn´t a beauty. STILL i Haven´t got any what so ever problems with the PSU, very very stable. Your suggestion was helpful but I am still not sure if 350W is enough for 7600GT. For 1650pro it is and propably 7600GS. I could take the chance with 7600GT and if it doesn´t work I could sell it(with minimum loss of money)

and YES, I do like to watch movies on the computer:) 
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December 4, 2006 4:17:31 PM

I didnt quite get your "i'm not a moron with two 8800's" bit in the beginning, but no matter.

A 350W PSU, if it can actually provide that, and say 18A on the 12V line, can handle your system + virtually any midrange card without difficulties. I'd be surprised if your Xi-Fi card draws more than 30W at most as well.

I'm not sure if all of these can be had for AGP, but some 100-150$ cards that come to mind that are fairly good value/performance parts are :

*7600GT/GS (although the GS is much weaker, only worthwhile if you get a good deal on it)

*Anything in the x850-x850 line. There are some ok deals on x850Pro agp sometimes (used to see them <140$ on tigerdirect).

From what I've seen, the 7600GT is roughly equivalent in performance to the x850Pro (discount SM 3.0).

Stay away from the x1600pro/x1600xt, they are somewhat of a failed model for ATI relative to the Nvidia 7600 line. The 1650xt is much better, but I'm not sure if it has an AGP version and what is the AGP version price.

PS : The 7600 cards do not require an addiotional 12V connector (I believe the x850 cards do), thus it's safe to assume they draw somewhat less power.
December 4, 2006 4:20:36 PM

I have a 350w PSU and use a 7600GT with no problems. The card only draws 65W.

Use the PSU calculator (sticky in PSU section).
December 4, 2006 4:40:22 PM

Quote:
The 7600 cards do not require an addiotional 12V connector (I believe the x850 cards do), thus it's safe to assume they draw somewhat less power.


It may be so but I did have a additional 12V connector on the x800gto and before that card I also had a additional 12V connector on a fanless Geforce 6800(128Mb). That Gf card worked like a charm for 10 months but I replaced it cause it got too hot when playing some games too long. On the package for x800gto is says "300 watt or greater power supply recommended". My brother has a x850xt and the requirements is 350 watt or higher(he has 400W PSU).


Quote:
From what I've seen, the 7600GT is roughly equivalent in performance to the x850Pro (discount SM 3.0).


BUT the x850Pro has 256-bits bus width and 7600GT only the half. Does the extra 100% bit make any difference? It sure does between 128-bit and 64-bit (some SE and LE-card)
December 4, 2006 4:47:39 PM

[/quote]Use the PSU calculator (sticky in PSU section).[/quote]

Well I used this PSU calculator before I posted my question but it did not seem to be reliable. I tested 8800gtx and it only craved 400W on my system which is 100W below what one would suppose but the main thing is not if some card can run stable on some PSU in idle. What happens when you play Oblivion for example? You can´t see the load power in the PSU calculator.
December 4, 2006 4:50:48 PM

Quote:
I didnt quite get your "i'm not a moron with two 8800's" bit in the beginning, but no matter.



I´m glad you didn´t cause the only moron is me. I apologize for writing and assuming stuff about some THG-members. I was wrong.
December 4, 2006 4:56:48 PM

I'm afraid I don't see your point about PSU calc being unreliable. It doesn't assume everything is at idle. The bottom line remains that most 350w PSUs will run 7600GT just fine. It doesn't require an external power connector and just runs off power from mobo (70w max, card pulls 65w max).
December 4, 2006 5:00:56 PM

Quote:
I didnt quite get your "i'm not a moron with two 8800's" bit in the beginning, but no matter.



I´m glad you didn´t cause the only moron is me. I apologize for writing and assuming stuff about some THG-members. I was wrong.
No need to be so self-deprecating man! It's not that big of a deal. :D 
December 4, 2006 5:02:20 PM

The width of the bus is not the only consideration in all this.
First off, a bus half as wide but operating at twice the speed results in the same (theoretical) data transfer.
Also, memory to CPU data transfers are not the only things going on in a GPU ... it does processing as well :)  THe 7600GT is a more powerful card in that sense (some will argue).
For instance, take a radeon 9800Pro and a radeon 9600SE. Both have a 128bit bus, but one is obviously superior, and not just because of the clock rates.

The 7600GT is one generation ahead of the x800 series, thus it's quite normal that all things being equal, it's more efficient than the previous generation. THe 128bit data bus hampers it, but since it's a mid range card the difference is not really THAT significant.
I'm sure if you took a 7900GTX and put a 64-bit bus there instead of the 256bit, you will see a huge peformance hit, but in the case of the 7600 series it's not that extreme.

Cheers
December 4, 2006 5:05:08 PM

The 7600GT PCIe cards dont need a 12v connector, as they can draw up to 75W from the PCIe slot.

The 7600GT AGP cards DO as AGP supplies alot less power.

To the OP:

Its very hard to say, PSUs vary wildly, and its not the total wattage that matters but the max ampage of the 12v Rail.

Ad to that, "low end" manufacturers will quote peak/surge powers, as in 350W for less than 30 seconds, 250W sustained, or similar.

Basically its very hard to be sure without trying it :/ 

Maybe buy the card in some high street store (PC World in the UK or Frys in the US) test it, take it back and get a refund, and get it online cheap if it does work? :D 

I know PC World here will take an item back into stock for any reason you can imagine - "the green PCB doesnt match my blue carpet", hopefully its the same in the US.
December 4, 2006 5:07:52 PM

Quote:
take a radeon 9800Pro and a radeon 9600SE. Both have a 128bit bus, but one is obviously superior, and not just because of the clock rates.


I got your point but you are wrong here. The "SE" on 9600 series implies that it´s a 64bit card. I know cause I bought one three years ago to my fathers computer and I haven´t seen any model of 9600SE with 128bit. Besides this I understand you :) 
December 4, 2006 5:15:16 PM

Hehe, I dont want to make it look like I'm just arguying out of of stubborness, but I had a 9600SE SApphire Atlantis (which is why I used it in my example) in my old Athlon XP 2100+ rig (from which I upgraded fairly recently btw), and I'm almost 100% certain it was a 128bit bus.
I made sure when I was buying it, since the card I had before that was a 64bit Mx400 (or 440) and it was a total letdown - that's what I got for buying a card without reading reviews :) 
December 4, 2006 5:42:19 PM

[/quote]Hehe, I dont want to make it look like I'm just arguying out of of stubborness, but I had a 9600SE SApphire Atlantis (which is why I used it in my example) in my old Athlon XP 2100+ rig (from which I upgraded fairly recently btw), and I'm almost 100% certain it was a 128bit bus.
I made sure when I was buying it, since the card I had before that was a 64bit Mx400 (or 440) and it was a total letdown - that's what I got for buying a card without reading reviews
Quote:




http://www.sapphiretech.com/sn/products/products_overvi...

Well this did not make me any smarter? BUT the 9600SE I talked about wast also a Sapphire Atlantis and it certainly was 64-bit(it said so on the package and on the net then) and the funny thing is that I also had a Gf Mx440 and it was 128-bit. But maybe in US thing is opposite in this matter :wink:
December 4, 2006 5:43:09 PM

Quote:
The 7600GT PCIe cards dont need a 12v connector, as they can draw up to 75W from the PCIe slot.

The 7600GT AGP cards DO as AGP supplies alot less power.

Oh... good call... I didn't even think about that.
December 4, 2006 5:46:05 PM

I guess redwing is a genius after all. Weird that Sapphire disagrees with ATI's specs though. I wonder if their model # says "SE" but it's not really an ATI SE?
December 4, 2006 5:59:14 PM

I had a 350 watt dell psu running a 3.2 p4, 1.5 gig ram, 2 dvds, floppy, soundcard, and a 7800 GT, PCIe.

Upgraded to a 430 TT truepower when I got a x1900xtx.

That dell 350 is a quality unit, and could handle the load.

The 12v rail is what kills most cheap psu, along with crappy voltage regulation.

BTW, my e6600 rig with the above stuff and a 8800 GTX never gets over 250 watts at full load. I have a 550W TT truepower TWV (total watts viewer) that displays the wattage pulled on a led readout panel.
December 4, 2006 6:26:03 PM

If you're really sure its your PSU, why don't you buy a stronger PSU?

That would be both a cheaper and better option than buying another outdated video card.

It seems to me you're trying to buy a $100 padded sterring wheel because you have a $50 flat tyre.
a b U Graphics card
December 4, 2006 6:35:22 PM

If you upgrade your psu now,theres no reason not to use it in your new computer later as well.
December 4, 2006 6:46:08 PM

Quote:
That dell 350 is a quality unit, and could handle the load.



it is nice that someone can use the words "Dell" and "quality" in the same sentence :wink:


Seriously, that was impressive and by the way, I too have two dvd-players that consume power.
December 4, 2006 6:48:33 PM

Quote:
If you upgrade your psu now,theres no reason not to use it in your new computer later as well.



Well as I wrote before: I haven´t changed PSU´s before. I am afraid that it is more difficult than it seems with all the wires and potential headache I get from it.
December 4, 2006 9:21:45 PM

Quote:

http://www.sapphiretech.com/sn/products/products_overvi...

Well this did not make me any smarter? BUT the 9600SE I talked about wast also a Sapphire Atlantis and it certainly was 64-bit(it said so on the package and on the net then) and the funny thing is that I also had a Gf Mx440 and it was 128-bit. But maybe in US thing is opposite in this matter :wink:


Thats so weird ... I was so sure it said 128bit on the box. Damn it ... I got duped :)  Mine did have a fan on it, so maybe it was some ... Special special edition ... :) 

Or maybe there was some small print that read something like
"there is 16 bytes in a 128bit bus but our bus is actually 64bit

In any case, I dont know if DELL power supplies are the pinnacle of quality, but I remember reading an article where the reviewer said they can actually provide as much power as they are rated for, even more .... on a consistent basis with a decent efficiency (read 75%). So I hope it goes well in your case.

Cheers
December 5, 2006 10:18:05 AM

Quote:
So I hope it goes well in your case.

Cheers



thanks and cheers to you too.

I consider this post finished. THG:s forum is amazing. I knew before I posted that it can be extremely comprehensive but I am still surprised of the warmth and assistance you can get here :) 

Thanks everyone for contributing to my problem :D 
!