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Uncertainty regarding power requirements - Radeon x1950 PRO

Last response: in Components
May 15, 2007 6:09:55 PM

Hi there!

I am currently trying to find a suitable upgrade for my brother's graphics card. The fact that my family's computer is an old factory pre-built case, tends to complicate matters, though. Also, it has been five years since I ordered my own computer, and power requirements have shot through the roof in that time, if I understand correctly. In short, I feel like I am severely out of the loop in terms of pc development, and I would be grateful if some of you could help me out with this.

Now, my brother's old card is an ancient Radeon 9200 256 megs. This card folded, of course, when asked to run Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. It was high time for a change, anyway. As the old computer only supports the AGP interface, I decided the Radeon x1950 PRO would be a good upgrade, as has decent performance and comes at an affordable price.

It turns out, however, that the built-in power supply was a bit on the low side. It is an FSP Group 280 watt PSU. The model no. is FSP280 - 60PNA - I (PF). According to the label, the 12V rail (which I gather is important) is charged with 16A. Now, my question is whether this PSU will be enough to power the X1950 PRO. I gathered from Tom's Hardware that it was less power consuming than earlier versions of the 19xx line. The other components it powers are as follows:

Intel Pentium 4 3,2 ghz, Northwood model.
1024 mb RAM - 2x 512 DDR.
1 hard drive of around 300 gb.
2 optical drives - 1 DVD ROM and 1 DVD RW.
1 card reader thingy.
4 USB drives.

It would be really nice to hear some opinions on this, as I frankly have very little compentence on this area myself. If more information is needed, feel free to ask. Thanks in advance!
May 15, 2007 7:00:03 PM

That psu doesnt have nearly enough power for a 1950pro.
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May 15, 2007 7:43:21 PM

My Diamond version of that card- ATI Radeon X1950 PRO 512 AGP -required 38 amps on the 12V rail. Make sure to get a PSU with plenty to spare.

Also, my old agp motheboard/cpu had to be replaced as well, since it was a SERIOUS bottleneck to the system with its meager 400 FSB. Make sure your motherboard has a wider bus than that, or a great deal of gaming performance will be lost.

If it isn't any higher that 400FSB - trash the motherboard/cpu and go for newer motherboard/cpu combo setup with PCI express. It'll actually save you money in the long run. :wink:
May 15, 2007 8:09:10 PM

Try a 7600GS, it will be a far cry from the 9200 and should work with your power supply, I reckon +12v@13A post-upgrade.

Since your PSU is a FSP it should be properly rated and able to pull the load despite it's age. We have similar wattage FSP/SPI units that are running close to 10 years on our network of linux appliances...

Also, since you probably have a Packard Bell it may be a proprietary FSP unit and may not be able to swap it out w/o some hacking... found a pic on ebay:

Looks like the fan has a recessed slot... hard to tell and can't find much info aside the fact it's from a packard bell in the UK :?
May 15, 2007 8:14:40 PM

double post :?
May 15, 2007 8:21:30 PM

I'm doing a lot of research on this topic as well since I'm in your same position. I've found that people have run the 1950pro on 380watts, and even a case where someone ran it on a 2XX watt system. However, the min I've seen someone run the 1950pro is with 18amps.

I'm not sure how the amps work because I have a 16amp 12v psu too..
Does unplugging useless usb, cd/rom, and hds take some load off the amperage and leave more for the video card?
May 15, 2007 8:24:55 PM

triple post :x
May 16, 2007 3:24:26 AM

Actually, it's on the side of the box. Here's precisely what it says since I'm staring at it right now.

"550 Watt power supply or greater, 38 Amps on 12 volt rail recommended PCI-E compliant pwer supply with 6 pin PCI-E power connector required, (ATX 2.0 or higher)"

Perhaps this is a requirement specific only to the Diamond version. It requires 2 connectors to run stable.

I was originally pretty miffed about having to find a decent PSU to meet these requirements, but I figure it'll last through the next upgrade at least. (I hope)
May 16, 2007 3:31:58 AM

Ah, makes good sense. I thought it odd that a DX9 card would be such a bloated power hog. I guess I'm really really ready for a decent upgrade, then. :lol: 
a c 158 ) Power supply
May 16, 2007 11:51:05 AM

Getting a lesser GPU would possibly save money from another perspective. IIRC, the 1950Pro would be CPU bound by the 3.2 Northwood.
May 16, 2007 12:12:04 PM

Don't even try it you'll burn the PSU out and worst it will burn everything else connected to it. Try 500-600 watts PSU replace and that should cover your future upgrades as well.
May 16, 2007 7:42:54 PM

Thanks to everyone that has replied. I will dismiss the x1950, as you guys recommended, but as I am working with my younger brother's computer here, on his budget, a PSU upgrade will not be an option. He simply cannot afford upgrading both the graphics card and the PSU, although that would probably be the most long-lived solution. Would you say there are any decent cards that would actually work on the FSP280? I see Doolittle (thanks for the tip!) is recommending the 7600 GS. Are there any other opinions on this card? Mpilchfamily's first post seems to contradict the idea that this card would work, so are there any second or third opinions on this card and others that would actually work with this PSU?
May 16, 2007 8:23:09 PM

Just for the information of anyone viewing, the x1950Pro uses about 66watts which is roughly 6 amps under full load. So add that 6 to the total of all other components and that'll give you and idea of how far you WILL be pushing that PSU.

Check the link in my sig.
May 16, 2007 9:29:03 PM

I didn't think to compare the power consumption of the Radeon 9200 and 7600gs...

The Truth About Graphics Power Requirements V2, mark84@atomicmpc forums"]9000-9200________}}}}}}}}|' 35W
7600 GS _________}}}}}}|' 27W ² (underclocked GT)

So you will actually be using less watts for a tenfold increase in GPU processing power...
I sure miss those days :cry: 
May 16, 2007 11:48:11 PM

I know, right. I think the 7600GS or even a GT would work good here.
May 18, 2007 9:16:37 PM

Thank you, guys! Should I go for the 7600 GT, then? Or should I go for the GS variant? According to the link provided by Doolittle, the wattage requirements of the cards are as follows:

(Current card) 9000-9200________}}}}}}}}|' 35W
7600 GS _________}}}}}}|' 27W ²
7600 GT _________}}}}}}}}} 36W

Seems like the GT is sailing up as the best alternative? Or would the 1W difference cause the proverbial camel's back to break?
May 18, 2007 10:28:27 PM

Find the cheapest x1950 pro. It will own a gs even with your system. Get a new psu.
May 18, 2007 10:33:12 PM

Yeah, well, as explained earlier, a new PSU for the system in question is not an option.

So, GT or GS?:)  Also, any ideas what the GT would require in terms of 12V rail amperage? 13A was indicated for the GS version, so how about GT?
May 18, 2007 11:35:06 PM

The GT is much more powerful than the GS (~30+%) according to the vga charts on tomshardware. And if we use the old divide the wattage by 12 rule, the GT would consume 3A by itself, and the GS 2.25A by itself. So if you needed 13A for the GS, then you probably need 14A on the 12v for the GT.

PS: I'm sick of ATi's and Nvidia's habit of naming their cards GT, GTS, GTX, GS, XT, XTX, pro, GX2, XL, etc. Why can't they just name their cards based on the number, high is better performance? like 8600, 8650, 8800, 8825, etc.

On another note, it'll be interesting for Nvidia to name their next GPU the 9700.
May 19, 2007 12:12:15 AM

Yea I would go with the GT since it is just 1W over your current 9200 GPU, although it is a bit pricey at $150 w/ $10 MIR @ ZZF it is a better match power-wise over the x1650xt@55w.

The 7600gs can be had for $85 / under $100 shipped @ xpcgear so if budget is an issue this option may be appealing.