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ATI 4870 power cable issues

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July 28, 2008 10:48:11 AM

Hello everyone,

Sorry for being a total plank. Im a real newb here so please go gently.
I bought an ATI 4870 for my compaq presario SR5440AN desktop. Its in the PCI express slot but I can't find a cable to attach to the power on the graphics card. If anyone can help a real plank, id be very appreciative.

Can anyone shed some light on what I need to do next. Many thanks in advance
July 28, 2008 11:08:34 AM

My 4870 requires 2x6pin pcie power leads. My power supply has these as standard however my graphics card also came with adapters that could take the normal molex plugs and use those to power the card. Did you not get these adapters with your card? If not you need to find some.

Also I dont know the compaq range at all but is your power supply powerful enough to run the 4870?
July 28, 2008 11:15:59 AM

Thanks for the reply. There was nothing in the packaging to plug into the power. What a nightmare, I might have to go and have a look for some of those adaptors? Or look at replacing the power supply.

Whats the minimum power supply I'd need.

Sigh why cant upgrading be simple
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July 28, 2008 11:26:08 AM

You want AT LEAST 500 watts, from a good brand for a 4870. Again I dont know compaq's specifically but some of the big name pre built systems use some nasty custom components, like odd mother board power connectors that stop you from using off the shelf upgrades etc. Compaq might well use standard parts, but I know some manufacturers dont. well worth looking into this sort of thing before you start!

The adapters you want (if your PSU has the spare juice to run the 4870) look like this :-

http://www.atxpowersupplies.com/images/Molex-to-PCI-Exp...

you will want two of them.
July 28, 2008 11:30:57 AM

Ahhh how annoying, the power supply seems to be only 300w! Will it just blow it or keep crashing if i buy those cables and plug it in?
July 28, 2008 11:39:38 AM

Looking at thebiggest cable going into the mother board it has a 24 pin thingy
July 28, 2008 11:46:16 AM

ok thats a good start, at least things arent a total bust...

What are you going to be using this pc for and what are you hoping to achieve with this upgrade? Ive googled the spec on your system and it looks as if your graphics card is going to hopelessly outclass every other aspect of your system, meaning you arent going to get the most out of your graphics card! You will see a big improvement over onboard graphics, BUT you will probably be wasting a LARGE chunk of the graphics cards potential.
July 28, 2008 11:49:45 AM

Ive also upgraded to 4 gig memory. If that helps. I just want it to play a few games to run faster without jerking. Should i send it back and get another? If they will accept it!
July 28, 2008 12:01:02 PM

4 gig of memory is a good upgrade, if youve done that already and got the 4870 already have you got the cash to drop on a new processor?

The processor you have is about £26 worth here in the uk - one step up from working it out with an abacus :D . However a socket AM2 board could take a processor that would be a decent upgrade.

AMD do offer a range of processors to fit that depending on your budget could make a heck of a difference! depending on what the motherboard will support - something of an unknown with prebuilt systems - your chipset though will support processors right up to the latests phenoms I believe. But no guarantees on what the bios will support!

Its really down to budget, but your memory and graphics card are a solid base, with a new psu, you could then look at thinking about ditching the old processor or maybe if you have the money the motherboard as well...

Do you happen to know if your operating system is 32 bit or 64 bit vista?
July 28, 2008 12:04:04 PM

I have 32 bit vista. Too be honest I think Im going to send the damn thing back and learn from my mistake, If they wont accept it I'll try it on ebay. Can you recommend a good card for my current system? Thanks
July 28, 2008 12:26:56 PM

With 32 bit vista some of your memory is wasted 32 bit operating systes can only address 4gb total - including graphics memory, caches etc etc I believe you can upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit quite cheaply with a download or something I havent had to do so so I havent looked into the details.

You processor is always going to be a bottleneck in your system and you wont escape that bottle neck, at what point a graphics card stops being bottlenecked by a slow processor is hard to say without lots of different components to test... a 4870 is certainly going to be largelly wasted on that system. But at what point you get best graphics card with little bottlenecking is hard to guestimate.

I think the limit we want to look at here is your power supply, if you dont want to throw more money at the system and want to keep the original system we are going to have to look a graphics card that works within a 300watt power supply, thats going to be hard to find, BUT just about any graphics card is going to be a big upgrade from your current onboard set up!

I reckon a ATI 3650 is about as high as you can go on your current powersupply. As to how well that would work with your processor I dont know, I havent paid much attention to the lower end of the GPU market as Ive had an 8800gtx since launch and now a 4870.

What I wouldnt want to do is lose money by selling the GPU on ebay. I dont know your situation and so its easy to say keep hold of the card find the money for a good power supply, and find the money for a amd 6000+ processor over time. Treat the processor as a temporary bottle neck to be replaced over time.

For me it would be an easy choice, because as a married father of 4 I have no social life, my life officialy ended 7 years ago :D  my wife and I both enjoy gaming and so spending spare money on the pcs is not a problem. Other people have more productive uses for their time :D 
July 28, 2008 1:01:59 PM

lol, I might try taking your advice and upgrading. Do you think there is a compatible power unit or are they all the same. Can you help me with...

If I got a 550W which one should I get, are they all the same fitting?

Which CPU do i need? Is this compatible
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Socket AM2 ?

If not would you recommend this card?
Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD 3650 512mb PCI Express Graphics Card
July 28, 2008 1:23:39 PM

What you want is a power supply by a good brand antec, seasonic, tagan, ocz, coolermaster etc etc. You will need to make sure it has a 24 pin connector and 2x6 pin pcie connectors.

I use the antec neopower range, largelly becuase I have a weird case that needs the antecs longer power cables.

MOST power supplies use a standard layout of mounting screws and a relatively standard size. Have you got any pictures of the insides of your system so the forum users can just make sure that its not some odd power supply youve got in there - I was dealing with a system the other day that had a power supply about a quarter the size of a normal one and completely incomptabile and the case didnt have space for a standard power supply! In all likely hood something like antec neo power should fit and do the job just fine!

That processor should do fit your motherboard just fine, I wouldnt EXPECT problems with the bios accepting it but you can never tell with prebuilt systems, Ive seen some ingenius evil solutions in prebuilt systems before! But I would expect it to fit and work fine and give you good value for money!

That processor occupies a nice price \ performance sweet spot, Its about as good as an E6600 core2 duo that I was using in a high end gaming rig up until a few months ago! Its a decent little processor for not alot of money, nearly 3x the power of your current cpu! and you WILL see the results in games!
July 28, 2008 1:31:04 PM

adwright72 said:

If not would you recommend this card?
Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD 3650 512mb PCI Express Graphics Card


Thats the alternative to upgrading the whole rig, the difference in performance though is night and day! in most games Id expect to see over double the frames Per Second with the 4870 power supply and processor over the 3650! That power overhead will let you turn up the settings in a way you couldnt with the 3650! I know graphics dont make up for bad game play, but they sure add to an already good title!
July 28, 2008 3:44:04 PM

You have the corsair vx550 is cheap and has 2xpci-e conectors.

Buy the HD4870 was very bad chose, because HD4850 draw less power and its cheaper, and your system is old. I think you have 2 options.

1.- Change the HD4870 for HD4850, and buy Corsair VX450 or VX550 powersupply. You save 100$ from graphics card, so even you will get some money back.

2.- Change the HD4870 for HD3650 wich is between 3/5 times slower. So you can play games at 1024x768 resolution. 30-60 fps.

If you cant get money back from the graphic card, anyway youll need a new powersupply and maybe a better procesor. What procesor you have??
July 28, 2008 4:21:07 PM

I am with Alatriste. I would stay away from the HD3850, since you would already be at a major disadvantage with games from day one. Considering how technology progresses, I would hate to be obsolete from the moment I installed the card...

You have an easy solution here: 1) do everything you can to exchange that 4870 for a 4850; 2) with the savings, buy a new processor; and 3) buy a new power supply.

Newegg has some good deals on compatible processors: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

I think the $95 3.0 GHz model is a pretty good deal, and one that should get you where you need to be for gaming--with some headroom before you need to upgrade. If you could spare an additional $20, the 6000 model gets you and additional MB of cache, which may be worth it.

Power supplies are a bit tricky because there are SOOO many, and SOOO many of them are bad. Even some of the brands you would think would be good, are....not.

I am partial to the one I have, because it got stellar reviews for performance, and its only downsides are aesthetics and lack of high-end convenience features (which aren't often needed). With free shipping and a rebate, it is ~$50 out the door, which is a steal for a rock solid unit that you will likely never need to upgrade from. I think that 600 watts is overkill for you, but you need to spend near $50 for a good PSU anyways, and there are no downsides to getting a more powerful unit.

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

Oh, the last thing is make sure you have proper ventilation for your case (i.e., at least 1 intake and 1 exhaust fan, and the PSU fan does NOT count!) because the 4850 card does NOT exhaust its hot air, and instead just pumps it throughout the case.

The good news, it that you are almost there, and should be able to enjoy games for years to come, without a lot of out of pocket cost.

Good luck!
July 29, 2008 10:59:29 AM

Bad news, they wont take the card back!! Which means i am stuck with it. Which means I have to get the Corsair HX-520 520W Power Supply Unit. Does anyone know if It is compatible with my system the compaq pressario sr5440AN? I think it has a generic ATX case but I don't want to make another mistake.

P.S Anyone want to buy a Radeon 4870? :-)
July 29, 2008 11:30:37 AM

According to your earlier investigations your boards power connector will work fine with this PSU. If it doesnt fit the case out of the box (hopefully it would) how adept are you at DIY? IVe butchered cases before to make things fit, a bit of work with a drill and a saw :D . Shouldnt be necesary with any luck, but if its a fairly standard size case it should be possible to make it fit. Its the compact cases where youa re more likely to run into issues.
July 29, 2008 11:31:19 AM

Also worth noting I dont think you will think it bad news about the card once you ahve the processor and power supply, you will most likely be glad you stuck with it :D 
July 29, 2008 11:43:16 AM

Thanks for all your help. Financially I don't think I can afford to keep throwing money at the card. I think my best hope is to try and sell it.
If I did get a compatible card, what would be the best for that system, you mentioned the ATI 3650, would that be the best available?
July 29, 2008 11:46:00 AM

VX550 is cheaper, and has 1 pci 8 and 6 pin.
July 29, 2008 11:49:51 AM

adwright72 said:
Thanks for all your help. Financially I don't think I can afford to keep throwing money at the card. I think my best hope is to try and sell it.
If I did get a compatible card, what would be the best for that system, you mentioned the ATI 3650, would that be the best available?


I will take a look into it its the best from the ATI family for the standard PSU. But will see what nvidia have to suit the 300watt limitation.

Would be helpful to know if your current power supply has a 6 pin pcie connector on it as well, you can get adapters and many cards come with them but it will be easier if theres one there already
July 29, 2008 11:54:07 AM

ok looks like the best you will get from nvidia is the 8600gt on the original power supply, theres not much in it performance wise, the 8600gt is slightly better with AA and the 3650 slightly better without it. Either one would be equally suitable. With your standard power supply you wont get any better.
July 29, 2008 11:55:24 AM

I can't see a 6 pin connector anywhere, although there is a HP pocket media drive bay that has a strange adaptor, I cant seem to get it off though! Would there be a away to find out, I've looked all over for the system spec but to no avail.
July 29, 2008 12:08:38 PM

Its very possible it doesnt have one then. But having just looked into it, I dont think these low end cards will require the extra power connectors they are pretty much bargain basement cards...

I will give you this piece of advice though The 3650 will give you somewhere between 1/4 to 1/6th of the gpu power of the card you have sat around already, thats a HECK of a difference in power and a HECK of a difference in games, but if moneys tight you've got to go with the essentials first, and pc's arent essentials!
August 3, 2008 2:06:45 AM

adwright72 said:
Hello everyone,

Sorry for being a total plank. Im a real newb here so please go gently.
I bought an ATI 4870 for my compaq presario SR5440AN desktop. Its in the PCI express slot but I can't find a cable to attach to the power on the graphics card. If anyone can help a real plank, id be very appreciative.

Can anyone shed some light on what I need to do next. Many thanks in advance

start learning at all the forums and on you tube how to buid your own computer and save your $ and buil a rig because your computer is not worth upgrading ! I started with an acer aspire desk top and started upgrading everything ! the problem is you cant do anything in the bios with store bought rigs like acer ! we all go through this stage and it sounds that you are at this point ! I learned on forums and tiger direct videos and on you tube how to build my own and it is very easy to learn ! that's my advice from 1st hand experience ! good luck
October 27, 2008 2:19:31 AM

dtq said:
You want AT LEAST 500 watts, from a good brand for a 4870.


Not true if you buy a good power supply. They say that to cover their rears. If you spec it out, each PCI-E connector provides a cap of 75W (in theory anyways). so 2 = 150W max for the video card.

I'm running a Q6600 processor (95W TDP because it's the G0), and an ATI 4870 (150W), which are the two highest drains in a system. So for mine, that's 245W. Throw in 20W per HDD/DVD, (I have 2 HDD, 1 DVD, so 60W for me), Plus the mobo spec (EP45-DS3L probably no more than 50W). That's about 355W. Round up to 400W for safety margins, etc. (120mm fans, etc).

I'm running this setup right now on a Seasonic M12II-430W just fine. My UPS software shows that WITH the 22" Samsung 2220WM LCD, and the DSL modem and a router on the UPS, the total system load at idle is about 185W, and under high stress gaming/benchmarking conditions approaches about 330W. Plenty of room leftover there with a 430W PS. I could have even gone with the 380W, but the 430W wasn't much more with a discount, and the efficiency is great across the board (80plus certified; see http://www.silentpcreview.com/article802-page1.html for a full review). Cheap power supplies are a different beast, because you often get less than 70% efficiency (that's a huge 30% plus loss to heat), which means you have to suck more power in to get the same amount of power converted to the right ratios on the inside.

A 500W is nice if it makes you feel better, but not really necessary. I suggest doing some reading on http://www.silentpcreview.com/section10.html about power supplies, or http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i... is also good.
June 15, 2009 9:50:58 PM

I have a different computer but the same problem. Your power supply needs to have 2 6 pin PCI-E power connectors. You could completely replace the power supply, but that would be expensive so what i am doing is getting a second power supply, the cheapest i can just for the graphics card. (If it doesn't fit in your case then you can run the two wires in from the outside.)
September 12, 2009 2:22:19 PM

Plzzz help...im planning to buy HD 4870...but im a bit confused dat will it work with my pc
im a newbi...my pc config is
Intel Core 2 duo 1.8ghz
2GB Ram
660GB HDD
23" Samsung Syncmaster monitor
SMPS 450w

i came to knw dat 4870 needs extra power to run....and it needs 6 pin power cable...while my SMPS has 4 pin power cord....wat to do...plzzz help...!!!!

Thanx in Advance...!!!!! ur help nd suggestions r highly appreciated... :) 
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