I am buying my friends "extra" Dell XPS 400 off her since Dell replaced it but didn't ask for the old one back. It just needs a new video card. It's got a Pentium 4 dual core, 1 gig Memory - upgrading to at least 2 or 3 gig, SB Audigy 2 and a tv tuner card in it. I don't upgrade very often. My current fastest system is an Athlon 3200+ with a HIS x1950 pro.
I am looking to stay under $200 bucks. Not sure on which one to go for. I like the dual slot onces that vent outside the case but the tuner card is right next to the graphics slot - heatsink side. I could move it to the PCIe x4 slot since its a PCIe X1 card if need be.
I'm not sure you really need that much graphics card (as the CPU and ram will hold it back). Also, the power supply could be an issue (what card was in there before/what is the PS). Might want to consider a 4830 instead. A 4830 is still quite good but a little less power and even cheaper.
Well, back to your original question the 4850 is quite cool. I prefer the dual slot venting and would recommend that, but I currently have the original single slot and at 55% fan speed it is very reasonable. I don't think 375W is enough for this card though. I believe the max draw for a 4850 is around 110W.
Reading throught the power chart that toms did their system was running 237 Watts. Even with the less efficient Pentium I think it would still be under 300 watts. Looking around to see what info there is for power requirements.
So far every place I have found has the full load power at around 200 watts or lower. I have another power supply I could put in, that is if Dell didn't use it's own proprietory design on this system.
The 4850 is a great card so long as you have a relatively small monitor. Anything 22 and over will give you some poorer performance in games like crysis and farcry 2. I run crysis on my 19" at the highest settings with no AA I ran the benchmark and got 30 FPS average and a low of 23FPS, in other words, very playable frame rates to my taste. I have the single slot cooler and it runs fine and at good temps, however I have a case that has great airflow.
It's worth a try but your power supply is definitely going to be hit or miss. If its rated at 375 that is the max but PSU's are usually only certified at a certain percentage of max 70% or so is normal for an average PSU I beleive, a higher end one will step up into the 80's (my thermaltake is rated at 85% efficiency). When I first got my two 4850's I had a 700watt PSU. It was an off brand, everything seemed fine but as soon as I pushed both cards to there limits the computer would shut down, the PSU just couldnt handle it even though it was rated at more then the necessary wattage. With the Dell PSU being only 375 max its all gonna come down to how it handles itself under load since the 4850 combined with the rest of the system is going to keep the PSU near its max operating efficiency.
Efficiency means the percent of the incoming AC power that is converted to DC (what the components use). So in an 80% efficient PSU, 80% is energy into your components and 20% is waste heat. You are right however that most PSU ratings are max and they cannot actually sustain that power. For example, PC P&C rates by sustainable (610W for mine) not max (which is 670W for mine). Also, the lower the brand, the bigger the gap.
Right now I am using a 19" crt max res is 1600x1200. I usually only run my games at a max 1280 sometimes only 1024 so I won't really be pushing it that hard. I havent ordered a card yet as I am still not sure which one I will be getting. If need be, and if I can, I'll put my other PS in that I think is 480w. I need to check on whether the Dell PS is a proprietory one or not.