Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Video card upgrade ? for Dell XPS 400 - limited by PSU

Tags:
  • Graphics Cards
  • Dell Studio Xps
  • Graphics
  • Product
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
November 26, 2007 9:23:52 PM

Hi,

I'm looking to upgrade the video card in my old Dell XPS 400. The problem is it has a 375 watt PSU w/ 18amps on the 12v rail. According to Dell, there is no upgrade available for the PSU.

My question is....what's the best video card I could run with the current PSU? Dell told me I could run a 7900 series nvidia or a 1900 series ati card, but i'm doubtful of that. I was thinking of maybe getting a 7600GT 256mb, or a x850XT Pro...but i'm not even sure how stable those would be w/ this weak PSU.

Does anybody have any idea what sort've card I could run? I have no preference ATi or nVidia, I just want something which I can play some newer games like BioShock, COD4, and UT3 with reasonable specs on a 1024x768 res.


Currently running a x600....so just about any card I choose will be a big jump I suppose.

thanks for the help.

~Mike

More about : video card upgrade dell xps 400 limited psu

November 26, 2007 9:30:05 PM

You can probably run a 7900GS or an x1900 card...I ran an x850xt on a 300 watt psu and it ran very good. You can always get a cheap PSU. Newegg has a very good one for around $35, plus if your case doesn't fit it, you can always get a solid $30-40 case to replace it.

Here's the PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
November 26, 2007 9:40:57 PM

the 375w dell PSU isnt really that bad, i heard people put 8800GT's in em.
Related resources
November 26, 2007 10:00:12 PM

I have an 8800GTS 320mb running on a Dell Precision 390. The P390 has the same the 375W PSU. On the Dell forum there are lots of people that have various Dell computers with the 375w PSU running 8800 cards.


Not wanting to sell like a Dell Ad, but the Dell ratings are MINIMUM ratings rather than typical or peak ratings like stand alone PSU manufacturers.

Think of the PSU rating this way: If Dell is going to stuff a highend nVidia Quadro card into a Precision 390, and that card is suppose to be installed into a computer with at least 400w PSU, then Dell must be pretty confident about their little 375w PSU.
a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2007 10:00:42 PM

The 375 watt Dell psu has a combined +12 volt output of 30 amps, unless you're upgrading your video to an 8800 GTX you don't have to worry.
November 26, 2007 10:07:44 PM

Ok, that makes me feel better.

Just a follow-up question....

So if most of my gaming is going to be done at 1024x768, what range of card should I be looking at to run most newer games w/ decent specs? There's a 7600GT 256mb on newegg right now for $75 which seems like a really good deal. The jump to a 7900gs is almost another $100.

I'm running a Pentium 4 @ 3.0ghz, w/ 2gb RAM.


~mike
November 26, 2007 10:12:24 PM

I have learned to stop skimping on the GPU. I will let others help you pickout the perfect card for you.


But if you can wait a few weeks you will find the 7900 cards coming down in price as newest cards on the market force down the price of the 8800's and in turn force down the prices of the 7series.
November 26, 2007 10:32:04 PM

So long as your MB is not some weird Dell proprietary thing, you could alway upgrade your PS. My Dell 530 uses a standard MB and PS so upgrading was easy for me. I'm not sure about your situation however.

OK now about the video card....

Some of the newer/faster cards actually draw less power than many of the older cards because the newer cards use a smaller fabrication process. You need not steer away from the newest fastest cards.

For example the nVidia 8800GT uses a lot less power (61 watts) than the 8800GTS (over 100 watts) and the GT is faster to boot.

The ATI 3850 might be a good spot to start looking as well.

Check out power consumption here:

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=7&t=9354

The 3850 uses only 38 watts!! No problem with your PS for sure!!

The 3870 is also not too much of a power hog at 66 watts!

If you are worried about power you need one of the latest gen vid cards IMHO.

Um are you running PCIe or AGP BTW?? and what is the budget?
November 26, 2007 10:40:24 PM

The XPS 400 should be PCI-E (too new to have AGP). Dell under-rates the wattage on their units, so keep that in mind as well. An 8800GT wouldn't be bad, but the 512 might be overkill at that res. The 3850 would probably be the sweet spot for your system, atm. Maybe an X1950, but if you can get a DX10 card, there's no point.
November 26, 2007 10:42:16 PM

Emergency alert!! You do NOT want a 7900GS for ~ $180!!!!!

Researching, back in a minute.
November 26, 2007 10:46:51 PM


I have an xps410 with a 8800gtx.

I have all the same results ,benchmarks and gaming performance as anyone else. (god i love crysis, looks awesome, pretty smooth too[16x12 and 19x14...mostly play in 1600x1200). i can also view a few games at once in windowed mode with several other things running( EI: CD drive,DVD drive and games in tandem), although i really dont do that often I just goofed around to see what this comp can do when i got it.

Love it.

was nice and cheap too...too bad the price of the card just about doubled the total cost of the pc;)

Love it.

all running with a 375w PSU.


/shrug


November 26, 2007 10:47:52 PM

At the $180 price point one these cards have no competition:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

They are the fastest for the money, have the latest dx10, and use the least power. If your budget can handle it, the 3850 is the card to get.

I'm guessing the 8800s are out of your budget. If not the 8800GT would be another great choice if you can find one. Do NOT get a old technology 8800GTS like mine! The 8800GT blows it out of the water.
November 26, 2007 10:48:09 PM

Also, it doesn't look like the 400 has a backplate over the PSU, which means that an upgrade of the unit should be possible. You shouldn't need to go that far though yet.
November 26, 2007 11:02:52 PM


awesome post^^^




November 26, 2007 11:10:14 PM

Wow in just the last few minutes Newegg has sold out of 3/6 brands of 3850. I had almost talked myself into upgrading the "old" hd2600xt to the 3850.

I might have a hd2600xt-pcie-ddr3 for sale....what would be a fair price for a couple month old card?
November 27, 2007 12:27:10 AM

Wow, thanks for all the replies.

I am looking for a pci-e card, and my budget is somewhat flexible. I don't really do enough gaming to warrant buying an 8800 series card.

The 3850 looks pretty good, if a bit expensive. My roommate and I were talking about my system, and he thinks that w/ my old processor it would be too much of a bottleneck to get a high end card like a 3850, or a x1950 pro. I don't really understand the logic though....

I suppose if there was enough of a performance jump between the ~$100 cards and the ~$175 cards, I would consider spending the extra money. Especially with some games like Spore coming out which I know i'll play.

So would you recommend jumping on the 3850 cards right now? Are they worthwhile DX10 cards, and do they outperform the x1950 or other similarly priced cards?

thanks again for the help...

~mike
November 27, 2007 1:06:45 AM

This computer will NOT run an 8800 GTX from my personal experience. However, Dell was very kind in upgrading to the 720 at no charge due to the power supply not being adequate.
November 27, 2007 9:25:30 AM

Ok I'm drunk so my advice might change by Tuesday afternoon....

Your roommate has a bit of a point in that a computer is like a team or perhaps like a chain. Meaning it is only as strong as the weakest link (or player). This is true to a degree, there is no point in your spending $600 on a video card to go with your current CPU. That said it doesn't generally hurt to go a little heavy on the GPU (EDIT: It never hurts to have Michael Jordan on your team). Most all games are still GPU limited meaning the biggest bottleneck is the GPU. Of course the best is to have both a great CPU and a great GPU but if you need to pick, go GPU heavy (within reason).

I'd say you don't need to look at video cards better than the 3870 (EDIT: Due to your budget and your system). Anything less is fair game, depending on what you want to spend. Tom's does a great job suggesting cards each month. Their advice is only ever really off if something new comes out since their last roundup.

Unfortunately this very thing has happened so Tom's advice is a bit dated as of this minute. Tom's November roundup is still ok in the sub 3850 range. The 3850, 3870 and 8800GT own their respective places. Nothing else compares. Anyhow it is still worth a look if you are thinking of a cheaper card.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/06/best_graphics_ca...




November 27, 2007 1:34:09 PM

Nope, for being drunk, that was surprisingly coherent. Well, at least I think so.
November 27, 2007 2:42:57 PM

Newegg has a Foxconn 7900GS OC available about a hundred after a rebate. I own it, and it is easily 3x faster than my old 6800...I can play AoE3 at 1600x1200 with all settings HIGH at 28-30 FPS...I could check what it can do at 1280x1024...I'm sure it will ROLL!
November 27, 2007 8:09:35 PM

singingigo said:
Newegg has a Foxconn 7900GS OC available about a hundred after a rebate. I own it, and it is easily 3x faster than my old 6800...I can play AoE3 at 1600x1200 with all settings HIGH at 28-30 FPS...I could check what it can do at 1280x1024...I'm sure it will ROLL!
That is a good price for that card. I've seen em near $180. I didn't mean to blackball the 7900, it is a great card at ~$100.

When I saw the 7900gs at $180 I freaked out cause at the $180 price point the 3850 is the card to have.

EDIT:

I can't seem to find that card at Newegg for that price. Have you got a link?
November 27, 2007 8:53:03 PM

OK, I think i'll look at the 3850 for now. Also maybe will check out that 7900gs....StevieD mentioned earlier that there will probably be a price drop for the 7900series cards soon due to all the newer cards flooding the market. Is this true? How much of a price drop can be expected?

~mike
November 27, 2007 9:22:22 PM

^Yup, good choices for the price.
November 27, 2007 9:59:20 PM

I'll second the hd2600xt but not the 1950pro. I had a 1950xt and it was very noisy. Looks like the pro in the link is called a "vacuum cleaner" by one reviewer so I suspect it is one loud beast as well. I know Newegg reviews are not the final word but 2 out of 4 people who actually have those cards don't like em. Of course the other 2 love the 1950pro and give it 5 stars. Still, not good odds in my book.


As far as the 7900gs vs the hd2600xt goes it really depends on the game/benchmark, doesn't it?

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

Or am I crazy and linked to a review that used old ATI drivers? If you have a better link please post it, I'd hate to give bad advice.
November 27, 2007 10:02:58 PM

Notice the one thing a bunch of us agree on is the 3850...........

"The ATI 3850 might be a good spot to start looking as well."

"The 3850 would probably be the sweet spot for your system"

"The HD3850 gets my vote though"
a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2007 10:17:45 PM

lakedude said:
I'll second the hd2600xt but not the 1950pro. I had a 1950xt and it was very noisy. Looks like the pro in the link is called a "vacuum cleaner" by one reviewer so I suspect it is one loud beast as well. I know Newegg reviews are not the final word but 2 out of 4 people who actually have those cards don't like em. Of course the other 2 love the 1950pro and give it 5 stars. Still, not good odds in my book.

The X1950 pro would get my vote for FSAA. But yeah, the cooler could be an issue. My X1950XT was very silent. (His iceQ Turbo) This one would be quiet, but $25 more. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Notice the one thing a bunch of us agree on is the 3850...........
That's what matters. :D 
November 27, 2007 10:32:47 PM

Im running a xfx geforce 8600gt xxx 620 core, 1600 memory. witch is the oced version. plus i have oced mine to 721 core, 1902 memory.
November 29, 2007 10:47:34 PM

OK I think i've decided im going to spend the extra money and get the 3850.

Just one more question....is it still worthwhile if I am using XP? I don't have any plans for getting vista in the near future so I won't be taking advantage of the DX10.
November 30, 2007 12:06:33 AM

pilibeen said:
OK I think i've decided im going to spend the extra money and get the 3850.

Just one more question....is it still worthwhile if I am using XP?

Yes absolutely. DX10 will be important in the future but the present belongs to DX9. There are only a few DX10 titles out there and they look pretty much just as good with a DX9 render path, plus they run faster on XP and faster with DX9.

December 19, 2007 8:10:27 PM

What ever happened with this? Did you buy your 3850 and did it fit and work OK for you?

I believe I am in the same boat, only not by choice. Last night I was playing Neverwinter Nights 2 and left it paused for a couple hours. When I came back I noticed weird graphical errors on my screen and the CPU was frozen. On reboot, I noticed the DELL splash screen and "XP loading screen" also were grainy and had weird errors on them - dots in weird patterns. After the XP loading screen I got a blank black screen. I don't think the OS ever fully loads behind the black screen, but it might. I get system bells if I click the Mouse repeatedly and such. Since it appeared to be a Video issue, I went into safe mode and reinstalled updated Nvidia Geforce 6800 graphics card drivers. The machine will boot after that, but with Safe Mode video settings. Any attempt to change the settings to comething reasonable causes a black screen. If I boot in VGA mode it flips out instead of loading and gives me Blue Screen. Trying other stuff I got some Blue Screens and weird crashes all seemingly surrounding video display issues or one was a memory error. I also tried re-seating the graphics card. The Montior itself seems to pass its self test and looks fine.

Soooo....I think it is my video card, Nvidia Geforce 6800. Now I've always been happy with my XPS 400 and my graphics performance. So I don't need a big upgrade, but I might as well get one step up while I buying one. So I will probably get the 3850 or 7900GS.

Any advice, or confirmation that this is really the probelm before I go order it?



December 19, 2007 8:26:47 PM

siblack8 said:

Any advice, or confirmation that this is really the probelm before I go order it?


The operating system not loading all background apps ect. sounds as if your system needs a clean slate and fresh installs. Either that or your hard drive is malfunctioning. Try the first... first.
As for the graphical errors (let alone at start-up), I'd be almost absolute it's your videocard.
December 26, 2007 1:49:46 AM

Well Siblack, I still havent jumped on buying a card yet....so I can't comment.

I'll probably end up buying one in the next few days (got a couple gift certificates over the holidays which'll ease the pain).

So with the 3850, is the 256mb or the 512 recommended for the ~$180 price range? And will the 256 be more efficient as far as wattage goes? One other thing....I heard some people talking about needing a 6pin psu adapter to hook up their 3850s. I'm guessing my 375watt dell psu doesn't have this. Is there an adapter i'll need to purchase?

Finally, will this thing definitely fit in my case?


thanks


December 26, 2007 3:11:54 AM

I have justed put an HD3850 in my Dell Dim9100 which is very similar to your machine and everything (including Crysis) works great. There is no compatibility issue whatsoever. You already have a 6-pin power connector in your dell. Check this out and look for P12:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xps400/sm...

(You should be able to find it in the bottom of your case near the hard disk bays.

Best,
Mazy
November 10, 2008 12:40:47 PM

I dont know much about computer gaming but ever since I watched the trailers for Left 4 Dead and The Witcher I'm determined to play (without having to buy an XBOX 360) but my XPS 400 has that lame Radeon x300 SE card and I've been looking at buying the GeForce 7900GS to replace it. But will it work for L4D? since I want that game more. You can find the system requirements on the GameStop website here:

http://www.gamestop.com/Catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?sku...

Thank You!
!