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Looking to buy a LOW PROFILE card for my C521 NEED HELP!!!

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June 8, 2009 1:34:23 AM

I am looking for a new LOW PROFILE video card for my Dell C521 without having to make any other upgrades for my power supply, cooling, wiring, etc. My current video card is the ATI Radeon X1300 128MB and my price range is $75-150.

From searching over the internet, I found out that my Dell C521 has a 280W PSU, which some say is not upgradable due to its size and shape.

The best low profile (NVIDIA) video cards I could find include: 8600gt, 9600gt, 9800gt, gts250
From this list I was leaning towards the 9600gt.

I realize that the more powerful the card is, the more power it needs from its power supply. So I was wondering…what’s the best video card I can get away with using only a 280W PSU. If there are any ATI low-profile cards with around the same performance and price as what I listed, I have no problem with buying another ATI card.

I don’t need a video card that runs max settings on all the newest games. I’m hoping at least be able to run games like Half-Life 2, Call of Duty 4, and Fallout 3 on anywhere from medium to high settings at a decent resolution (my native res. is 1280x1024) because I’m tired of settling for 800x600 res. on low to medium-low settings.

P.S. I don’t know much of anything about video cards other than what I researched, so if there are any other compatibility issues or tips I should know please help me out…Thanks!!!


MY CURRENT COMPUTER SPECS

Manufacturer: Dell Dimension C521
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+ ~2.1GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 250 GB
Video Card: 128MB ATI Radeon X1300
Monitor: 19'' Dell LCD
Sound Card: SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC
Operating System: Windows Vista™ Home Premium

June 8, 2009 1:59:52 AM

I have the exact same system, with a different CPU tho. You'll be able to run the 9600GT or a 4650. Maybe a 4670. Your PSU won't be able to run the 9800GT.
Related resources
June 8, 2009 2:08:23 AM

Also if you overclock your CPU it'll probably give you more performance in those games.

EDIT: Sorry forgot it was a Dell :lol: 
You can still overclock (using software), ask if you interested about this.
June 8, 2009 2:21:22 AM

Thanks...I'll keep that in mind. I'm not very computer savvy when it comes to hardware, so I'm not interested in overclocking or making other upgrades to my computer at the moment, unless it's absolutely necessary.

Out of those cards though, which is the best bang for your buck?...because I'm looking to make a noticeable upgrade from my last card but I'm really not willing to go over $150 in total costs.

I also could use some help in deciding what brand/vendor to go with. I've been browsing newegg, tigernet, and ebay but since I don't know much more than the basics, all those slight difference from one brand to another is confusing.

So if anyone can point me in the right direction, that'd be great.
June 8, 2009 2:41:11 AM

Look at the benchmarks. If you go ATI I typically go with Sapphire or HIS. But the 4650 (Sorry no 4670, can't seem to find it) only comes from 3 brands and Sapphire seems the better one. For the 9600GT go with Sparkle, I have one and its great. The Galaxy one has a loud fan problem I've heard.
PS. Overclocking insn't that hard, espcially software. You'll just need to adjust some sliders and thats about it. Oh yea and run the stress test ;) 
June 8, 2009 4:09:51 AM

According to this site http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php (and a few others) the 9600gt is easily more powerful than the 4650…or am I just looking at them wrong?

I have a question though, are these results valid for the ‘low profile’ card versions or the full size equivalent?

I've narrowed my search to these cards, which do you guys think is the best?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Thanks again for the quick replies
June 8, 2009 5:08:44 AM

Like I said, if you go 9600GT then get the Sparkle. That Galaxy's fan is really loud. If your going ATI then get that Sapphire. Its up to you.
June 8, 2009 5:28:00 AM

After reading some reviews, think im gonna go with the Galaxy 9800gt.

I realize it's hotter and louder but the sparkle has a few kinks to work out when installing from what I've read. So it's really a trade-off. Plus, I don't game 24/7 or plan on pushing my card to its limits so the temperature and noise shouldn't be as bad, right?

Plus, I bought it already LOL. Sorry, I probably should have taken your word for it, but I'm sure I'll be happy to have a brand new card either way. I do remember the sparkle was cheaper too, so worst case, I can try it out and send it back if I'm not happy.

Since you seem so interested in my thread akm880, I do have one other question...Since I'm new at this, what do I need to know before installing my card in terms of drivers, physical tools, etc.

I appreciate the help. Cheers dude.
June 9, 2009 4:13:29 AM

Hey I got a Vostro 220 slim, the power supply is 250 watts and I was wondering if the 9600 gt would work with this? I also don't know much about video cards but i heard the amps are more important. I don't know if dell's psu would work, from what i researched, they underrate their psu's so a 250w would be around 300w(not sure if this is true)? The 9600 draws a max of about 95 watts and 9800 is around 105( I beleive). On another fourms, I read that someone had 250w psu with a 9600gt with no problems for some time, but then it blew, not sure if this will apply to me.
June 9, 2009 4:21:51 AM

heyron618 said:
After reading some reviews, think im gonna go with the Galaxy 9800gt.

I realize it's hotter and louder but the sparkle has a few kinks to work out when installing from what I've read. So it's really a trade-off. Plus, I don't game 24/7 or plan on pushing my card to its limits so the temperature and noise shouldn't be as bad, right?

Plus, I bought it already LOL. Sorry, I probably should have taken your word for it, but I'm sure I'll be happy to have a brand new card either way. I do remember the sparkle was cheaper too, so worst case, I can try it out and send it back if I'm not happy.

Since you seem so interested in my thread akm880, I do have one other question...Since I'm new at this, what do I need to know before installing my card in terms of drivers, physical tools, etc.

I appreciate the help. Cheers dude.


It might come in either a low profile bracket already attached, or you'll need to change it to the low profile bracket. It might need a PCIe external poer plug though IIRC. Remeber to remove ALL the drivers of the old card previous of this install, and no tools are needed ;) 

Good Luck with it! Nice pick too :D 
June 9, 2009 4:21:53 AM

Yeah I've read up on a bunch of forums now about what power supply will handle the galaxy 9600gt, answers seem mixed overall...anywhere from '250w is fine' to '280 is ok if you make a few modifications' to 'you definitely need to upgrade your PSU from 300 to xxx'.

I'll probably just keep searching for any new advice until my card arrives, maybe get help from a friend if I can get in contact with him.

P.S. I meant 9600 gt in that other post, not 9800 (though you probably knew that). I'll shut up now, haha.
June 9, 2009 4:22:30 AM

instant90 said:
Hey I got a Vostro 220 slim, the power supply is 250 watts and I was wondering if the 9600 gt would work with this? I also don't know much about video cards but i heard the amps are more important. I don't know if dell's psu would work, from what i researched, they underrate their psu's so a 250w would be around 300w(not sure if this is true)? The 9600 draws a max of about 95 watts and 9800 is around 105( I beleive). On another fourms, I read that someone had 250w psu with a 9600gt with no problems for some time, but then it blew, not sure if this will apply to me.


What are the PSU specs? Amps? It should work altho it would be cutting it close.
June 9, 2009 6:24:52 AM

ok, 12v/16a, 5v/19.5a, and 3.5v/10.5a
June 9, 2009 7:24:38 AM

ok, this is my 3rd reply in a row, but I looked it up, at most the 9600 draws 8amps on the +12v rail. This means that as long as the rest of my comp doesn't draw out 8amps while the 9600 is drawing out 8 amps I should be fine, but the problem is, I don't know if it will...
June 9, 2009 2:12:53 PM

That's just like my PSU which is Dell 280w, it still has the 16A on the 12v rail so you'll be fine. Good luck with it Instant90
June 9, 2009 2:14:01 PM

heyron618 said:
Yeah I've read up on a bunch of forums now about what power supply will handle the galaxy 9600gt, answers seem mixed overall...anywhere from '250w is fine' to '280 is ok if you make a few modifications' to 'you definitely need to upgrade your PSU from 300 to xxx'.

I'll probably just keep searching for any new advice until my card arrives, maybe get help from a friend if I can get in contact with him.

P.S. I meant 9600 gt in that other post, not 9800 (though you probably knew that). I'll shut up now, haha.


I'm sure it'll work fine I hope to get mine soon :bounce:  Good luck with it!
June 9, 2009 4:14:28 PM

I'd recommend a Radeon 4670. It's a great card for the price.
June 9, 2009 6:56:21 PM

AKM880 said:
That's just like my PSU which is Dell 280w, it still has the 16A on the 12v rail so you'll be fine. Good luck with it Instant90


Well, The Core 2 Duos are all 65-watt CPUs. That's 5.5 Amps on the +12V. Rest of the system 5 amps (1 HDD, 1 ODD, mobo, RAM, fans). Drawing 18.5 amps on max config. As long as you don't pull over your 16amps, you should be fine, same in my case I suppose...
June 9, 2009 9:29:00 PM

I got my card today! I'm so tempted to jump right in and install it now but I'm going to check with my friend about this, raid forums a bit more, then use my best judgement. I'm much more willing to consider a new power supply now if I can find a compatible one with good reviews for $50 or less.

To Instant90, akm880, or anyone else that can help:
How do I find out how much total power my rig will draw if I install my new card. My computer specs are in the initial post of this thread, I have one duel core processor, 1 hard drive, and 1 cd/dvd drive. Better yet, if you can calculate it for me, I'd trust the numbers more probably lol.

One more thing...let's say I were to install the card with my current power supply. What am I risking the damage of: the power supply, the video card, both, or another part of the computer...cause if it's just the power supply, it's no big deal since I was thinking about replacing it anyway.

Thanks guys.
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 9, 2009 9:32:03 PM

Try it, if the card needs more power than is available it will beep like mad.
June 9, 2009 9:46:27 PM

I will try it, just later...I have the next two days off from work to get this whole thing figured out so I'm not in a huge rush...very anxious, but not desperate. It'll take a good chunk of time just to read the manual and install it properly (yes it's cause I'm a hardware noob).

Any unanswered questions in my last couple posts stand because I'm curious and wanna learn about this stuff more.

I'll check back later...
June 9, 2009 9:49:54 PM

heyron618 said:
I got my card today! I'm so tempted to jump right in and install it now but I'm going to check with my friend about this, raid forums a bit more, then use my best judgement. I'm much more willing to consider a new power supply now if I can find a compatible one with good reviews for $50 or less.

To Instant90, akm880, or anyone else that can help:
How do I find out how much total power my rig will draw if I install my new card. My computer specs are in the initial post of this thread, I have one duel core processor, 1 hard drive, and 1 cd/dvd drive. Better yet, if you can calculate it for me, I'd trust the numbers more probably lol.

One more thing...let's say I were to install the card with my current power supply. What am I risking the damage of: the power supply, the video card, both, or another part of the computer...cause if it's just the power supply, it's no big deal since I was thinking about replacing it anyway.

Thanks guys.


Which card did you buy exactly?

your numbers should be the same as mine since you're processor also has 65 watts which is about 5.5 amps, same with the 1 ODD and 1 HDD which is 1.2 amps a peice, and 1amp for two 120mm fans running at full, would make it total to 8.9 amps. I found out recently that galaxy's 9600gt lp actaully draws 60watts max which is only 5amps, I'm not sure about sparkles which was cheaper, it should be 8amps total at 95watts max. But right now on newegg the galaxy's the same price as sparkles with rebate ($85).

So right now at most you're system will draw 8.9 amps on the +12 rail I beleive, and your current on the +12v rail PSU is 16 (check the psu), if so you're good if you got the galaxy one, if you got sparkes, you might want to check on that one since you're cutting it real close.
June 9, 2009 9:54:10 PM

just to let you know, the earlier statement I said about 18.5amps, was overestimated, the post above this is more accurate.
June 9, 2009 10:04:57 PM

This card is the one that came in the mail today:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I guess your saying it should be fine like you did before, other than that I don't really fully grasp the terms and numbers your spitting out (ex: +12v rail PSU) so I can't put this into perspective to how much leeway my power supply has.

As much as I'd love to stay and chat, I've got dinner to make, a friend to call, and my girlfriend to hang with. Be back later tonight.
June 9, 2009 10:10:24 PM

well, watts aren't the important thing here, the amps are. The one you want to look at is the amps on the +12v rail that's on the power supply(aka psu). Most of the power hungry items draw from this rail. Your psu should have 16amps on the +12v rail, check the sticker on it to be sure.
June 9, 2009 10:33:00 PM

heyron618 said:
This card is the one that came in the mail today:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I guess your saying it should be fine like you did before, other than that I don't really fully grasp the terms and numbers your spitting out (ex: +12v rail PSU) so I can't put this into perspective to how much leeway my power supply has.

As much as I'd love to stay and chat, I've got dinner to make, a friend to call, and my girlfriend to hang with. Be back later tonight.


Nice pick! :bounce: 

Good luck with it, I'm sure its fine.
June 10, 2009 2:09:10 AM

well here' a quote from someone from newegg's reviews on that product:

Pros: It works on DELL VOSTRO 200's 250W power.

I need a SATA->molex converter to plug in 6pin power connector of this card, but it works.

I suppose it is nice time to add SATA->6pin(8pin) converter in addition to molex->6pin(8pin).

Cons: Card's fan is close to PCI-e connector, and I can not insert the card fully (.05 inch or less floating).



now, wonder where i could get that wire for myself...hehe
June 10, 2009 2:38:34 AM

what I find interesting is that...newegg doesn't list the watt requirement, but reviews said that it says 400w on box, best buy selling the same one says it's 300, and the galaxy site itself says min. 350watts...numbers don't match at all...
June 10, 2009 2:51:20 AM

nvm, looks like galaxy has two out that are both low profile, one's less power than other...
June 10, 2009 3:43:25 AM

The low profile aglaxy card I bought says 400W on the box. In the user manual, a website was listed that had a low-power version of the card that said 350W.

I think I'm gonna to install it tomorrow (as in tomorrow night, not in a few hours). I'm having my friend come over to hang out, he's great with computers, not with video cards and power supplies but at least I'll have a second opinion and a helping hand.

Until then. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
June 10, 2009 3:46:48 AM

ok thanks
June 10, 2009 7:46:28 PM

I went to my local best buy to check out the 9600gt by galaxy...they failed...the front of the box had a sticker on it saying min requirement 350 watt low power/low profile...while the back said min. 400 watt. The website best buy had said it required a min. of 300 watts too...

The galaxy website has two diff low profile 9600gt's, one requiring 350 watt and the other 400, the only difference between them would be 500mhz in clock...
June 11, 2009 3:29:07 AM

I went ahead and installed my card today. Took apart the case and put in the card. A little longer in length than my old one but it fit just fine. First time I booted it up, my monitor didn't have any display. When I went back in to take a look, I realized I didn't plug the extra output from my power supply to my video card for the extra power needed. Seems that the instructions in the manual weren't clear with that, but I figured it out.

Got it to work on the second try, installed the drivers, and opted to not overclock (unless I get a better power supply that is). Tested out Fallout 3 on max graphics and it was a bit choppy but it looked amazing. Then I tried out max graphics on CSS and it was the same deal, looked great and only somewhat choppy (40 fps avg).

The fan really isn't that much louder than it was with my old card, so really I have nothing to complain about unless it just stops working. Graphics on all my games can be run smoothly at close to maximum settings and resolution.

Overall great buy. Thanks for the help anyone!
June 11, 2009 3:49:26 AM

Actually...

All is not well, me and my friend kinda rushed the installation and I'm not sure if I uninstalled all the old drivers and installed the new ones correctly. I noticed that because no matter how much I lower my graphic settings in-game, the framerate and smoothness stays the same as it was at max settings, choppy and laggy.

I'm going to go back and check everything now, I'm sure I can get it working with just a little more time.

Wish me luck.
June 11, 2009 4:15:04 AM

nice, well hope everything goes smoothly, I think i'll try it on my system after i order the 9800gt off newegg
June 11, 2009 4:15:30 AM

9600 haha
June 11, 2009 4:16:16 AM

Haha, good luck to you. I'm thinking more of a CPU issue than that GPU.
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 11, 2009 8:47:04 AM

AKM880 said:
Haha, good luck to you. I'm thinking more of a CPU issue than that GPU.

+1, Turn the eye candy right up to the max and if you still have the choppiness then it's time for a faster CPU.
June 11, 2009 6:19:30 PM

Yeah still no luck. I've tried lower the settings in the nvidia control panel, tried everything from low to max settings, changed direct X levels, but no matter what settings I use I get around the same mediocre fps 40-50. It even drops to around 20-30 sometimes peaks just over 100 only if I stare into a corner of the wall.

I would say it's a bottleneck issue with my CPU but that can't be possible. My windows index rating jumped from 3.5 (javascript:%20validform(this);limited by graphics card) to 4.8 (limited by CPU).

With my old Radeon X1300 128MB, my fps was around 100 constant for HL2 games, on med-low graphic settings. When I used to raise my settings with the old card, the fps would drop until it was unplayable. Since my graphics card with the limiting factor before and I upgrade, how could my CPU be making my fps lower on a better card??
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 11, 2009 6:23:38 PM

Because it cannot handle the speed and amount of data that it is being asked to process.
June 11, 2009 7:08:51 PM

Hey, did the box of the galaxy 9600gt u bought have a sticker on it saying low power 350watt requirement?
June 11, 2009 10:00:35 PM

heyron618 said:
Yeah still no luck. I've tried lower the settings in the nvidia control panel, tried everything from low to max settings, changed direct X levels, but no matter what settings I use I get around the same mediocre fps 40-50. It even drops to around 20-30 sometimes peaks just over 100 only if I stare into a corner of the wall.

I would say it's a bottleneck issue with my CPU but that can't be possible. My windows index rating jumped from 3.5 (javascript:%20validform(this);limited by graphics card) to 4.8 (limited by CPU).

With my old Radeon X1300 128MB, my fps was around 100 constant for HL2 games, on med-low graphic settings. When I used to raise my settings with the old card, the fps would drop until it was unplayable. Since my graphics card with the limiting factor before and I upgrade, how could my CPU be making my fps lower on a better card??


Something like a AMD Athlon 5400 would work fine, if you wanted to upgrade. I found that the C521 didn't support CPUs with multiplyers that have .5, so the AMD 5200+ would only give me 2.6GHz instead of 2.7GHz.
June 13, 2009 10:50:26 PM

anyways this was my reply from galaxy:

We're really sorry the frustration we have casued. We have infact two 9600GT Low Profile cards. The normal one runs at 650/900MHz, has a TDP of 96W, and requires a minium of 400W power supply PLUS a 6-pin PCI-E power connector. The one you saw at Best Buy is a Low Power version, has a lower clock which is 600/900MHz, do not require a 6-pin PCI-E connector, and has a max. TDP of 59W.



To make sure you've bought the low power one, just look for the Low Power 350W sticker on the box.

About the requirment issue, according to early NVIDIA spec, the low power part requires a minimum of 350W power supply, this is what our label on the box states. However NVIDIA later on decided to lower the requirment to 300W, however we decided to keep the 350W rating label, just in case some users got cheappy 300W power supply, which can casue problem with our card.. The 400W on the back refers to old 6-pin powered version, you could ignore that.



Back to the problem, I believe if your 250W power supply is a good one (from big manufacturer) with good +12V rail, you can give it a run, but I can not garentee you can run the card with 100% stability. Afterall, it depends on the quality of your power supply, and the power consumption of other components in your system.
June 13, 2009 11:40:55 PM

Dell PSUs are actually pretty good units at times, so it should hold up. Thanks for the info I guess I'll be getting thhat Galaxy one soon.
June 13, 2009 11:50:49 PM

well the problem is, does new egg's galaxy have the sticker saying 350watt meaning it's low power so it'll work with ours, if not, the only place that I know that sells it would be best buy, for the extra $$...
June 14, 2009 12:27:27 AM

Just look at the core/mem clocks then.
June 14, 2009 12:37:32 AM

good point, its 650, meaning it's the higher powered one...guess best buy's the only place selling the low power one?
!