Graphics Card Sizes


I have been slowly learning about graphics cards and am looking to replace the existing card in an HP Media Center Tower (m8307c). It has the Q6600 Quad core @ 2.4 and I have (swapped) a 500 watt PS with 36a combined on two rails with one available pci 6 pin (and a pair of available molex connectors to convert to a second 6 pin if necessary) for the stock power supply.

Now, I would consider it a "midsized" tower. Not a mini but not really large like a custom case. Inside there seems to be a fair amount of room.

Currently I believe there is an 8400GS or something in there (not really something workable).

I think there is plenty of room back into the case from the back (it looks like about 10 or 11 inches); but, in one of the bottom expansion slots there is a TV tuner card (that I actually use to DVR things like football games I can't watch, kids movies, the g/fs "Army Wives", etc.). So, that needs to stay.

So, I have the slot the 8400GS currently is in and an open slot below (with a tuner card in the bottom). There also is a wire running from the from connection port on the front of the tower to the motherboard which connects right above the TV tuner (I think it is the firewire hookup but I can't quite tell) which limits space a bit more (if it is the firewire I sort of need that too for burning from a camcorder).

I am looking into getting a card like a 9800GTX, 9800GT, 8800GT, or perhaps an HD4850 and I am wondering if it will fit?

I have noticed many of these new cards are very long; but, think I have room back. However, most of them also seem very "thick" and I am concerned with the bottom slot occupied, even with an open slot below, there might not be enough room.

This is sort of a silly question; but, I don't want to spend a bunch of time hunting down a deal, order and pay, wait for shipping, then only to find I ordered something that won't work; or, will be such a tight fit it might damage or overheat either card.

If somebody has an idea:

* will a card like a 9800GT fit (essential a "double slot" card as I understand)?

* if not, are there "single slot" card options that might make a difference in fitting (I know ZOTAC makes a 9800GT it advertises as "single slot" which I am assuming means it is thinner?)

* if it will fit, is there any practical size difference between the nvidia's and the ati's? The ATI's appear thinner but I've never actually handled one to see if it my imagination or not.

* if someone wants to throw in a suggestion about which of these they might prefer for moderate gaming, that is ok too (something that will play most current games at moderate setting is what I am hoping for) at a price reference point of around $150 - $160 which I think I can probably get close to with the 9800GTs or HD4850s with a bit of hunting. It would be nice if the card had a spdif connector too; but, not a total must (not sure if most cards these days have one or not).

To anyone who can help, thank you very much. This forum has never failed to be an excellent source for very good suggestions!
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  1. Usually I find a HP fine for upgrading your card. Measure from the very back along the pci slot towards the front, if you have over 9 inches of room youre fine, and it should give you that and then some. Of the 4 cards youve listed, the 9800GTX and the 4850 are the fastest, the 4850 being the fastest. Its a single slot design unless its a non stock design, then itll come with a dual slot heat sink fan and shroud. The dual slots are nicer, as they blow the hot air outside of your case, tho nVidias blow out some into your case even using a dual slot, its the way theyre designed, but most of the hot air goes out the back. Id consider the latter 2 cards, as theyll obviously give you the best gaming experience, and the 4850 most the time bang for buck as well
  2. Thank you for the input. That is kind of what I am figuring. I guess what I am most worried about is the thickness of the card. I noticed the 9800gtx+ is very thick. I looks like it would fill up two slots completely which would leave it about maybe 1 cm from the tv tuner card. Does that project to be a problem?

    The ATI cards appear to be less thick, though similar in length. That might be just my imagination though.

    The nvida's are almost cheaper now (with the deals I have my eye on), which would allow me to get a 9800gtx or 9800gtx+ as long as it works to use a molex to 6 pin conversion for the second 6-pin connection. Is my assumption correct that this isn't too big a problem? At 500 watts and 36a on the two rails, I think I should be ok on the power situation. Not great; but, I usually don't play for extended periods of time, or work many multitasks when playing, so I think I can slide by (as long as I watch it).

    My biggest concern with the ATIs appear to be some issues with them running hot. I have the fan on the power supply of course (exhaust I believe), the fan on the processor/motherboard, and a fan mounted to the back of the case; but, no other special cooling measures. At this point, I don't have any plans to add anything additional, so if I choose the ATI should I be concerned about heat?

    Thanks again for the help. The info really aids in my decision making!
  3. I think it is Palit that has a 4850 with a short pcb. go over to newegg and have a look. It's also being sold for a good price at this moment.
  4. The 4850 would leave more room between the gpu and your tuner card, however itll be dumping heat onto it, not sure how hot itll get by doing this as I prefer dual slot cards. You could leave the slot cover out, the one between the tuner and your gfx card, thatll help . Your psu appears to be fine for any of the cards mentioned. I guess it comes down to heat/pricing and performance. Like Ive said, nVidias cards still dump some of the heat into your case, but not nearly as much as the 4850 will, as it will dump all of its heat into your case. Ultimately, the 4850 uses less power as seen here,660043/Power_consumption_of_graphics_cards_compared/?page=2 Going by that, the more power used, the more heat needs to be dissapated. So, you could make an argument that the 4850 actually produces less heat than the 9800GTX, + or not. Now, you have to decide heheh
  5. Excellent I have been leaning towards a dual slot too - as long as it is going to fit - which I think it should. Thank you!
  6. YW
  7. In reply to nobody1627, could you please link your power supply and video card? Could you also let me know any difficulties you had in installing them in your hp m8307c desktop pc? My sister is using the same system, and wants me to help her upgrade the video card, and that'll mean she'll need a new power supply. I'm looking for some help, thank you.
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