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GPU question

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 16, 2009 7:04:00 AM

I'm helping a friend upgrade his GPU, he asked me to look into how he could get better gaming performance from his Dell (about 2 years old).

Dell Core Duo (dual 2.4 GHz)
2 GB RAM
32bit Vista
Monitor resolution 1280x1024 native
nVidia 7300 LE GPU (in a PCIe x16 slot) (see below)
375 W Power Supply with two 12V rails (see below)

Rail A - CPU and Floppy - Estimated Power draw - CPU 65, Floppy 10W = 75W
Rail B - Motherboard, SATA HD 7200RPM, SATA DVD RW, SATA CD - Estimated Power draw, MB=75, HD 30, DVD 15, CD 15 = 135W

Free connectors
Rail A - 6pin (not PCIe) I have no idea what this is for it has a 3.3, 5, and 12V wires in it
Rail A - Molex 4 pin
Rail B - PCIe 6 pin connector
I would like to connect a newer GPU to the A rail, however the PS does not appear to be ready for this, and the documentation indictes that the MOLEX of rail A should be used, however that plug only has 1x12V wire, and I would need 2 Molex to plug into the adapter supplied by most GPU cards today. Rail B seems set up for a GPU, however this would put the total power draw near the limit (75+135=210) where the limit is 18A on each rail. I do not know the power factor to convert the volt amps to watts or even if this is an issue or just something I'm remembering from my EE class a long time ago.


Based on the age of the system, and the fact that the specs do not list that PCIe slot to be 2.0, I am betting that it is only PCIe x16 1.0 ready. The specs do list that it only has 16 PCI Express lanes, though I'm not sure if that is helpful. I think most GPUs are backwards compatable, however will a newer GPU perform in this older MB?



So what card would you all recommend. Please consider the system. DUAL 2.4 GHZ CPU, Dell, will not be overclocked. I want a card that will make this system run as well as it can run, but I have no interest in telling him to drop $200+ for a 4870x2, which would be wasteful because his CPU could not keep up.

I was initially thinking the following
*note to self, check if RAM must be added in pairs, consider 1 more GB of RAM or possibly 2GB (if paired) and max out the 32bit OS
Advise to pick a card in the range of the 8800 or the 4670. See chart http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-grap...

COMMENTS - am I on the right track. I appreciate as much feedback as I can get on any of the ideas here. I will read them all tomorrow.

More about : gpu question

June 16, 2009 1:52:25 PM

the 4650 or 4670 will do fine
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 2:12:03 PM

4670 would be a good upgrade. 8800gt not too bad, although it will be a bit too powerful for the system it's a better card than the 4670 is.

Basically go with the price. It's well worth spending $10 more for the 8800gt, $20 more, perhaps not.

Also, be careful when buying RAM for it, it's probably 533mhz and chances are the mobo won't take 800mhz.
Related resources
June 16, 2009 2:13:46 PM

Is there any more input out there?

1. Did I consider the power supply enough to ensure it will work? Which rail should I use. These cards are asking for usually a 450W, and this is only rated 375W.

2. Would more memory help using Vista and trying to game?

3. Should he stick with nvidia since that is his current card, or would a conversion to ATI matter? (I'm slightly more familiar with ATI because that is what I'm running)

4. Will one of these new PCIe x16 2.0 cards work well in his MB that likely only has 1.0?
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 2:28:55 PM

As for vista, having 4gb memory is a big help in terms of loading times and alt-tabbing. It's probably worth upgrading to 4gb but make sure the mobo actually has enough free RAM slots.
a b U Graphics card
June 16, 2009 2:45:27 PM

mikeyp said:
Is there any more input out there?

1. Did I consider the power supply enough to ensure it will work? Which rail should I use. These cards are asking for usually a 450W, and this is only rated 375W.

Don't worry too much about the psu, it can handle much more powerful cards than those that have been reccomended.
There are several performance cards that require only a single pcie connector ( HD 4850, GTS250 ) which would fit and function fine.
June 16, 2009 4:01:44 PM

Thanks for the help. I offer him several models to choose from, and he can price shop it. I want to remove the GPU bottleneck from his system without spending a pile of money, so something like the 4670 might be a good choice, however if he can land a 4830 or a 8800 GT for the same $$, then he should go that way. Thanks for all your help!!!!!!!

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