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Upgrade limitations I need to cross

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 22, 2009 9:29:43 PM

To the extremely wonderful forum participants at tom's hardware: (I'm continually impressed by this community!!!)

I purchased a Cyberpower PC last year with the specs listed below. I searched around for an answer but due to overlapping questions I am creating a post and asking here.

I am interested in improving the video/graphic performance of this system. I would like to upgrade the RAM and video card, but according to the system specs the RAM is limited to 2GB. That may not need upgrading, but I have the RAM on hand. I also am interested in upgrading the video card and am willing to spend up to $200.

What are the limitations to what upgrade options I have? I have run across certain posts talking about needing a 1-slot card, but I"m not sure how to confirm that's a limitation of mine.

I also am finding that a lot of recommendations for upgrades to the 8500 are products deactivated by NewEgg. Have I left my system behind or can I still upgrade to a newer graphics card? It seems that I should be able to, but I don't want to get a card that my machine can't handle, yet am not sure what limitation that would be?

Any advice or direction to educational resources would be helpful, but the ideal answer would be a recommendation on a card to buy and a quick answer on the RAM limitation.

Thank you,

=== SPECS ===
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E8400(3.0GHz)
Processor Main Features 64 bit Dual Core Processor
Cache Per Processor 6MB L2 Cache
Memory 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800
Hard Drive 320GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD
Optical Drive 1 20X DVD±R/±RW Dual Layer Drive
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT 512MB PCI Express Video Card
Audio Sound card - Integrated
Ethernet 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Keyboard 104 PS/2 Keyboard
Mouse Optical Wheel PS/2 Mouse
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium
Special Features Apevia X-Jupiter Jr w/ 420W Power Supply
Chipset Intel G31
CPU Type Core 2 Duo
Installed Qty 1
CPU Speed E8400(3.00GHz)
L2 Cache Per CPU 6MB
CPU Socket Type LGA 775
CPU Main Features 64 bit Dual Core Processor
GPU/VPU Type NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT
Graphics Interface PCI Express x16
Memory Capacity 2GB DDR2
Memory Speed DDR2 800
Memory Spec 1GB x 2
Hard Drive
HD Capacity 320GB
HD Interface SATA
HD RPM 7200rpm
HD Spec SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache

a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 9:38:28 PM

Your board supports up to 4GB of RAM.

What is your PSU and your GPU budget?

If your PSU is 350watts or under, get a
4670 or 4650.

If it's around or under 400, get a 9600GT.

If it's above 400, get a 4830 or 8800/9800GT
or a 4850 or 9800GTX/GTX+/GTX250

If it's at least a quality 500 watt, get a 4870, 4890, GTX260, or GTX275.

April 22, 2009 9:45:54 PM

From above, I think I have a 420 (Special Features Apevia X-Jupiter Jr w/ 420W Power Supply from up above, it's kind of buried). Based on that, I'll look at the cards you listed at:
If it's above 400, get a 4830 or 8800/9800GT
or a 4850 or 9800GTX/GTX+/GTX250

Thanks for that quick info - I'm still curious as to what limits the slot usage of cards - is it a physical space limitation or a design limitation. I'll be checking it out closer tonight and can answer any questions or provide a pic if that helps answer that question.

Thanks again!!!
Related resources
April 22, 2009 9:50:13 PM

BSOD why don't you recommend a psu upgrade and gpu upgrade? it would be pointless to get a 9800gtx when he is trying to run a 24" monitor am i right?

OP what res are you planning on running this new graphics card at?

Best solution

a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 10:21:02 PM

Your G31 mb will have a pci-e x 16 slot for a gfx card

Later model mb's have a pci-e x 16 [ 2.0 ] which basically is CAPABLE of transmitting twice as much data .
Fortunately only very top end gfx cards can use all the capacity of the pci-e x 16 slot on a mb like yours , so you can upgrade quite successfully to a much more powerful gfx card .

What you should get depends in part on your monitors resolution . Higher number of pixels on the screen means you need more gfx power to get things flowing nicely
If you have a 19 inch screen then look at
4830 , 4850 , 9800GTX+

For a 22 inch screen then
4870 , 4870 1 gig , GTX 260 .

Beyond that then you probably need to upgrade the mb too

Have a look here
for the kind of performance that you can expect
30 fps is very playable , more than 60 fps does nothing because an LCD screen cant display more than that anyway

Your power supply might be an issue and might need upgrading too . The one you have isnt known as a quality brand . Personally I would buy the gfx card and see if it runs . Any signs of trouble though and I'd be off to newegg for a better PSU

April 22, 2009 10:28:19 PM

The GTS 250 is a 9800GTX :ange: 

If you have a 22"

You will want either 4870 1gb 4890 1gb or GTX 260
a b U Graphics card
April 22, 2009 10:33:14 PM

rewindlabs said:
The GTS 250 is a 9800GTX :ange: 

If you have a 22"

You will want either 4870 1gb 4890 1gb or GTX 260

I made a typo but I have edited it now
April 22, 2009 10:56:54 PM

I'll be running this on a 20" widescreen LCD at 1680x1050 most likely, though I might up the resolution if I can. My plan right now will be going for one of the lower ends of the cards you referenced, most likely the 4870 1gb.

I'm a bit nervous because they by default say a 500w is minimum PSU on many of these, but we'll see how it goes.

Thanks to everyone, I'll respond after getting and installing the video card and let you know if the PSU upgrade is required as well.

April 22, 2009 11:01:11 PM


If you plug that up and its not enough IT CAN fry everything!


Post your PSU specs

And i hope you are buying a 4gb ram kit with this gpu...there only 40$ for a good set of 2x2gb....
April 22, 2009 11:40:09 PM

Thanks for the warning, I wasn't feeling that great about that and that is the source of my first post. I just did some more checking and will be confirming what PSU my system actually came with. T here are some posts that people didn't receive what was listed on the package (420W as posted in my first post - is there more I should provide like pins, etc?).

I do have a set of 2x2GB ready to install, will be doing that at the same time.

I think I'm just going to buy a PSU now, I now I'm likely short from ideal so I might as well invest for the future up front.

To sum up, I have learned in this process that the PSU seems to be my main limitation concern in upgrading my video card - I had been concerned about the mb & chipset, but that seems to not be as critical. Thanks again to a very good forum membership - I feel like I'm in good hands...