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3850 upgrade...new PSU needed!

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December 28, 2007 3:47:25 AM

Greetings

I had posted earlier, but I need a verification of a PSU for my friend's computer, who just purchased a 3850.

He has a Dell, mini-tower GX280. It has a 250W PSU in it now with an ATI X300, and I'm pretty sure it will not take the abuse of a new card. So I'll need another PSU that will both fit and give his system enough power.

He has three sticks of DDR2 4200, 2.5GB, a Pentium 4 Prescott 3.2GHZ, one hard drive and optical.

I'm guessing a 450-500 PSU would work nicely for him. A single rail seems to be easiest to manage. He'll be getting another hard drive before long, and maybe a second optical drive max. This will be the last GPU he will be purchasing. I have no idea what motherboard he is using, Fox I'll assume. No idea if he has a 6-pin connector either, so the new PSU will need a connector. I'm not very updated on PCI-E's.

Thanks for any help :) 
December 28, 2007 4:25:38 AM

dashbarron said:



He has a Dell, mini-tower GX280.

He has three sticks of DDR2 4200, 2.5GB, a Pentium 4 Prescott 3.2GHZ, one hard drive and optical.

I'm guessing a 450-500 PSU would work nicely for him. He'll be getting another hard drive before long, and maybe a second optical drive max.

Thanks for any help :) 


Umm, he'll definitely need a new mid-tower case as the 3850 isn't going to fit in a mini-tower. Even if it would, it would most likely overheat....especially with another HDD and DVD drive (there probably isn't room for them either). Dell's are not meant to be upgraded like this, especially the mini / slim models.

So, buy a new case, something with 120mm intake and exhaust fans:
(great deal with free shipping nad rebate):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(good cooling for cheap, but with shipping it's almost as much as ^^):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This PSU will be plenty: 450watts, 33 amps, 80+ effeciency, $61:
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-vx-450w-power-supply/q/...
December 28, 2007 4:28:02 AM

Ah, he'll also need another motherboard.
Related resources
December 28, 2007 4:29:16 AM

An Antec Eartwatts would be a good PSU. 3850s are listed as a 450w minimum PSU requirment with 75w to a 6 pin GPU connector. You would problay be just fine with the 430w earthwatts because they are 80 plus certified and high quality with enough amps. They are going to recomend an overkill PSU because alot of off the shelf systems have very low quality PSUs. From reviews I've read the 3850s are not very power hungry, esspecially for the performance they can dish out.

I just built my first rig with a low budget and I'm gona try and power a 3850 with my 380w Earthwatts. I should be ok cause I only have one HD, one DVD burner, and a low power brisbane CPU. On powersupply calculators I dont even break 300 with a mid range GPU.

BTW the 430 is on sale right now at newegg.
December 28, 2007 4:43:26 AM

That Corsair looks like a great little PSU.
December 29, 2007 12:44:38 PM

Egads, you think he would need a new case? That is definitely not good news. When briefly looking in it before, it seemed that there would be enough room long wise and width wise without a problem. I surely hope it doesnt come to that or he might have to return it all together.

Great, I'll keep the earthwatt and corsair in mind, thank you very much.

Card should be here in a few days, so we'll hope it fits, and worry about the PSU later. He's aware that he'll most likely need to purchase a cheap sub $90 one.
December 29, 2007 2:23:09 PM

The EA380 is on sale right now at newegg with free shipping and on top of that has a $30 mail in rebate so you can pick one up for $19.99 soon as the rebate comes thru. They had the same deal going on about a month ago and I picked one up. If you can afford the $50 purchase and wait for the rebate this PSU is a steal and the best your going to find at $20.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's a good article on the EA380 claiming it can power a pretty beefy system.

http://www.overclockers.com/articles1452/

It would have no problem powering your friends system with the new 3850 but if he wants to add more HDs and disk drives it could possibly be a stretch. But hey at 20 bucks it's worth a shot.


a b ) Power supply
December 29, 2007 3:07:08 PM

Get a Corsair 550VX. The graphics are going to be bottle necked by the Pentium 4.
December 29, 2007 4:06:21 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Get a Corsair 550VX. The graphics are going to be bottle necked by the Pentium 4.


He will only be bottle necked if he is running at low resolution. Under 12X10, the higher resolution he runs the less dependent he will be on the CPU, because the graphics card will be doing most of the work.
December 31, 2007 10:54:46 PM

Here's the list of AMD certified power supplies.

http://ati.amd.com/products/certified/powersupplies.htm...

Since I'm getting 3850's when income tax returns arrive, I upgraded the power supplies first to make sure I could handle them. I ended up getting an Antec Trio 550 and an Antec Neo 550 at Fry's on different weeks when they were on sale.

The 3850's not as power hungry as the X2900's but it still needs a good power supply with a decent amount of amps on the 12 volt rails.

I found this at CNET on the system your friend has:

http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/dell-optiplex-gx280/45...

It has an PCIe x16, but it might be too small a case for a full sized card. All I can say is give it a try. What resolution is he gaming at? It will be CPU bound at around 1280 x 1024 and below. The case might also need a SFF power supply as well.

One thing I used to encounter, helping people with Dell's, is that Dell required you to use their drivers for Radeon cards, instead of the current ATI driver. That might not be true today. Can he upgrade the CPU to a Pentium D cheaply enough? That might solve any bottleneck issues, but you'd have to check Dell for upgrade paths.

January 3, 2008 11:01:06 PM

He just got the card. He hasn't installed it yet. His PSU must be pretty old, it has what seems to be a 6-pin PCI-E connector, but one of the connector holes doesn't contain any pins, while the card clearly has a full 6-slot connector. Guess we'll plug her in and see what happens, aye?
a c 243 ) Power supply
January 3, 2008 11:42:14 PM

Dell calls it a peripheral connector, it won't match up to a PCIE connector, and it's not straight +12v power. There are one each of 3,5 and 12v wires and 2 grounds.
January 4, 2008 3:24:13 AM

I see. Thanks Delluser, you're always on top of these things.

I was hoping we could at least get the board to post. Are those 6-pin connectors required, or only for high/intense operation? Will they run on just the PCI-E Board
January 4, 2008 3:38:13 AM

yipsl said:
Here's the list of AMD certified power supplies.

http://ati.amd.com/products/certified/powersupplies.htm...

Since I'm getting 3850's when income tax returns arrive, I upgraded the power supplies first to make sure I could handle them. I ended up getting an Antec Trio 550 and an Antec Neo 550 at Fry's on different weeks when they were on sale.

The 3850's not as power hungry as the X2900's but it still needs a good power supply with a decent amount of amps on the 12 volt rails.

I found this at CNET on the system your friend has:

http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/dell-optiplex-gx280/45...

It has an PCIe x16, but it might be too small a case for a full sized card. All I can say is give it a try. What resolution is he gaming at? It will be CPU bound at around 1280 x 1024 and below. The case might also need a SFF power supply as well.

One thing I used to encounter, helping people with Dell's, is that Dell required you to use their drivers for Radeon cards, instead of the current ATI driver. That might not be true today. Can he upgrade the CPU to a Pentium D cheaply enough? That might solve any bottleneck issues, but you'd have to check Dell for upgrade paths.


Thanks for your help and suggestions. He runs at 1152 or 1280, depending on the preference; he's limited to the monitor. I never thought it would bottleneck below 1280 on the CPU. That's interesting to know.

Regardless, he needs a new card and he has his 3850 here now, to give him more than ample GPU. He is trying not to spend much money, yet get the best bang for the buck (frugal). I've told him repeatedly that his PSU most likely won't take the requirements of a 3850. Now that our friend DellUser1 tells us that the connector I seem to have found which resembles a 6-pin is not in fact one, and I was going to try plugging it in anywho, his need for a new PSU seems serious. In continuance, he will not buy a new Pentium D or Core 2. I don't see him willing to shell out another $50, but perhaps if he got a new PSU he might consider it for a future option, but most likely not. If it was my system, I would more then merrily spring $50 for a new, more powerful CPU.
January 4, 2008 7:55:18 PM

Good news. The card wouldn't run without a 6-pin. We are in a bind for time, so we drove 2 hours round trip to buy a new power supply. We picked up an Antec 430W PSU with 384W to the 12 Volt with 17A. The system powered up like a champ.

His average was 22-24 on Crysis on low settings. We cranked everything up and at 1280 x1152, he's getting 38-44FPS, and 70-84 in non-combat situations.

His WoW FPS has doubled from 24-46, Company of Heroes has trippled to 60s.

It looks really well :D  All we had to do was grind out a hole (enhancing the case) for the PSU plug-in...not everything is smooth sailing.

Thanks for all the advice and help to this months-long problem.
January 4, 2008 8:57:11 PM

I bought an Antec EarthWatts 380 for my 3850, I also have an energy efficient all around quite computer. the EA380 is perfect for my build

X2 5200+ (65nm)
2GB DDR2 800
HD 3850 256MB
500GB S11 HD with 32MB cache

I have plenty of room to overclock, but my motherboard isn't overclock friendly :( 
January 4, 2008 11:48:28 PM

Can Not said:
I bought an Antec EarthWatts 380 for my 3850, I also have an energy efficient all around quite computer. the EA380 is perfect for my build

X2 5200+ (65nm)
2GB DDR2 800
HD 3850 256MB
500GB S11 HD with 32MB cache

I have plenty of room to overclock, but my motherboard isn't overclock friendly :( 


I also have an EA380 in a low power system system I just built and I have a 3850 on the way from newegg. Similar to your build too. 65nm CPU, single HD, 2GB of ram. I am hoping once I get my GPU in, another set of 1GBx2 and a final OC I have plenty of juice left over for a Cathode lighting effect. Thats problay pushing it thou so I might pick up an EA430 if they pop on sale with a rebate sometime which I am sure it will again. Got the EA380 for 20 bucks using sales and rebates and have seen the 430 as low as 30 bucks thru sales and rebates but that was a week after buying the 380.
January 4, 2008 11:53:34 PM

Good to hear you are having good luck with you 380. I wasn't quite sure if 384 watts would be enough, but I guess so!
January 5, 2008 10:03:25 PM

Since this is related to a HD3850 and psu I'd like to quickly ask a question.

How many amps does the HD3850 actually require?

I have been looking for it but couldn't find it anywhere. thnx
January 6, 2008 12:38:44 PM

I couldn't find that either... I just used the 8800GT requirements.
January 6, 2008 1:27:44 PM

Ok so we'll take that as 22A needed for the HD3850 since these two cards require a similar amount of power.
January 8, 2008 2:41:30 AM

My friends cheap 430 PSU only has.. 17 or 18A's. I dont know the actual power consumption, but that's what it's running off from. I'd expect high-teens would be safe.
a c 243 ) Power supply
January 8, 2008 3:16:04 AM

new_builder said:
Ok so we'll take that as 22A needed for the HD3850 since these two cards require a similar amount of power.


Not to similar as far as power needs, a system with a 3850 uses about 4 amps less than the same system with an 8800 GT, so you could call it 18 amps.
http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/13603/9

January 8, 2008 10:08:58 AM

Oh thanks for clarifying that guys, I see it uses less power than a 8600GTS I'd say thats really good for card like a HD 3850, peforms really well and doesn't require too much power.
January 8, 2008 10:46:55 AM

Just out of interest is that a 256mb 3850 youve got? Thats the one ive got and i was getting some issues which amd support said might be the PSU but im still trying other options, dont rly feel like forkin out another 150 :p 
January 8, 2008 10:51:21 AM

delluser1 said:
Not to similar as far as power needs, a system with a 3850 uses about 4 amps less than the same system with an 8800 GT, so you could call it 18 amps.
http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/13603/9


You do realize that those are system power draws? The total system draw is about 15 amps with a 3850. The card probably takes up about 10.

a c 243 ) Power supply
January 8, 2008 11:20:29 AM

lafontma said:
You do realize that those are system power draws? The total system draw is about 15 amps with a 3850. The card probably takes up about 10.


Yes, I do realize those are system power draws, reread my post ( the part where I say that a system using the 3850 uses 4 amps less power ). There's not a chance in Hades of the 3850 using 10 amps of power by itself. You do realize that 10 amps is 120 watts?, and that the 3870( more powerful than the 3850) has a 105 watt max draw ?
January 10, 2008 3:30:33 AM

Zylatis said:
Just out of interest is that a 256mb 3850 youve got? Thats the one ive got and i was getting some issues which amd support said might be the PSU but im still trying other options, dont rly feel like forkin out another 150 :p 



If you're asking me, my friend got a 3850 512MB version, with 17amps.
January 10, 2008 1:00:25 PM

An HD3850 will run on a DECENT 300 watt PSU, so i'd recommend a a 350 watt PSU or upwards (from a decent brand, Corsair, Antec etc).

Although as he needs a new case i'd recommend the Antec Sonata III which comes with a 500 watt Truepower PSU, which is really good and really rather cheap.
!