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GPU upgrade with my system?

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August 20, 2008 9:50:17 PM

I have an Athlon x2 4800+ (s939), 4gb DDR RAM, a 550w Antec PSU, and a 7800gt.

I want to upgrade to either a 4870 or gtx 260 gpu next month for all the new games coming out. A few questions:

- how big of a deal will my older proc be in playing these games? I do want to upgrade to a Nehalem chip soon, probably in January... but until then, will my current dual core socket 939 hold me back much?

- will my CPU bottleneck my new GPU much?

- Will my 550w PSU handle the new graphics card underload, along with my CPU/RAM/2x optical drives and 6x HDDs? It's a good Antec PSU, and last year I borrowed a friends 8800gt SLI cards when he was gone and plugged them into my sytsem. I unplugged extra HDDs/drives to be safe, but I played CoD4 w/2x8800gts in SLI on the system ok... BBUUTT.... I want to know thoughts on how it will hold up with a new gtx 260 or ATI 4870 with everything plugged in... will it be ok? Risky? Should I plan to purchase a new PSU, such as an Antec Quattro 1000w PSU for $150 on newegg?

More about : gpu upgrade system

August 20, 2008 10:12:13 PM

I wouldn't worry about the CPU bottleneck too much.

Check out this site to see if your current power supply is good enough: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

A GTX260 requires at least a 500 watt PS with at least 40A on the +12v rail. A 4870 I think requires a 500 watt PS, but I don't know the +12v rail requirement.

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br3nd064
August 20, 2008 11:21:49 PM

Right, but I also have all the extra HDDs and stuff... I'll check that site, but I feel sometimes those aren't the most accurate? I was also wondering just ppl's opinions if a 550w with my setup + gtx 260 seems a little close for comfort...
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a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 11:25:54 PM

Well if you are thinking of a new rig later, maybe now is the time to look at grabbing a PSU that will serve you in the new rig as well. Grab the card you want, and then overclock your chip and hold on a little while.
August 20, 2008 11:27:02 PM

It says with EVERYTHING at 100% load, accounting for some USB devices/firewire drawing power, 6 7200rpm HDDs, 4 ram sticks, etc.... all maxed out... 523w, with the gtx260.

I have a 550w 3 rail Antec high quality PSU. Also, I wouldn't have everything at 100% load, of course, and I prob wouldn't have as many extra usb/firewire devices drawing power... soo... to be safe though I maxed it all out, that says 523w... leaving an extra 27w...

so it would prob be safe to use the 550w antec I have, for now?
a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 11:28:32 PM

You could try it, I think what's gonna make it close for you is the 6 hard drives...
August 20, 2008 11:35:16 PM

No power supply calculator is going to be 100% accurate, but that's the best one I've come across. I'm personally a fan of powerful, single +12v rail power supplies, so here are 2 power supplies that I think are worth looking into.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006 - Corsair 750watt w/ 60A on the +12v

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703013 - PC Power & Cooling 860watt w/ 64A on the +12v

Hope that helps.

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br3nd064
August 21, 2008 1:11:12 AM

Umm, the cpu wont really bottleneck you unless you are playing a "power munchy game" which in this case mostly is the game Crysis, most other games wont really bottleneck you, but i am not certain since I not very knolegdeable about amd processors, I would be able to help you more if you had an intel cpu.
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2008 2:04:14 AM

550w should be enough for that card.
the cpu will bottleneck the gtx260 a lil bit. oc it!
=]
August 21, 2008 5:17:38 PM

Why are you a fan of single rail PSUs? What is the difference between 4 rails and one, single powerful rail?

Any other thoughts on the Antec Quattro 1000w? If my 550w will handle my card fine, even with my 6 HDDs (obviously 5 out of 6 would be idling while playing a game) then I'll stick with that for a while until I upgrade to a Nehelam chip in Q1 '09...
August 21, 2008 5:37:43 PM

IMO, 1 powerful rail is better because the multiple rail power supplies waste power in a way. If a multiple rail power supply has 20A on each rail, and your graphics card only requires 18A, then the extra 2 is being wasted and can't go to other components. In a single rail power supply, the graphics card will get the 18amps that it wants, and the 2 amps will not be left over and useless. It will go to the other components.

Also, if you are thinking of buying a GTX 260, a multiple rail power supply with only ~20 amps on each +12v rail will not be able to power it. The multiple rails do not add up. According to Nvidia, the GTX260 requires at least 40A on the +12v rail. Unless you can find an extremely powerful multiple rail power supply, you will not be able to power this card.

The last reason I like single rail power supplies is because you don't have to do any calculating about which rail you use for different components.

If you're also looking to upgrade to a Nehelam chip later on, then yes, the Antec Quattro 1000W would be an excellent choice.

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br3nd064
a b U Graphics card
August 21, 2008 7:47:03 PM

br3nd064 said:
IMO, 1 powerful rail is better because the multiple rail power supplies waste power in a way. If a multiple rail power supply has 20A on each rail, and your graphics card only requires 18A, then the extra 2 is being wasted and can't go to other components. In a single rail power supply, the graphics card will get the 18amps that it wants, and the 2 amps will not be left over and useless. It will go to the other components.

Also, if you are thinking of buying a GTX 260, a multiple rail power supply with only ~20 amps on each +12v rail will not be able to power it. The multiple rails do not add up. According to Nvidia, the GTX260 requires at least 40A on the +12v rail. Unless you can find an extremely powerful multiple rail power supply, you will not be able to power this card.

The last reason I like single rail power supplies is because you don't have to do any calculating about which rail you use for different components.

If you're also looking to upgrade to a Nehelam chip later on, then yes, the Antec Quattro 1000W would be an excellent choice.

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br3nd064


2 rails with 20a will power the gtx260! it doesnt require 1 rail with 40a.
single rail is better ill agree with that.
look at my specs im running it with a 500w with 17a on the 2 rails.
August 21, 2008 8:29:39 PM

You're running a gtx260 with 17A on 2 rails? If that's the case, Nvidia is wrong about the power requirements for the card. Sorry for the incorrect information on needing a single rail power supply. I was going off what Nvidia said the card needed.

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br3nd064
!