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Need help in upgrading Graphics card.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 16, 2009 9:27:03 PM

Hello,

I've recently decided to buy a new display for my aging PC, And ordered Samsung T260 25.5" display to replace my old Samsung SyncMaster 931c. Since my old resolution was only 1280x1024 (compared to the new 1920 x 1200), And I allready had performance problems with many games, I began thinking about upgrading my PC.

My PC specs:
Motherboard: Intel DP965LTCK (775 conroe, Intel P965, DDRII 800, PCI-E, HD Audio, 1394, GBL)
CPU: Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86Ghz 2MB Cache S775 1066MHZ
GPU: PowerColor X1950 pro 256MB GDDR3 Arctic Cooling 2xDVI VIVO PCI-E Retail
RAM: 2 * TWINMOS DDR-II 667Mhz 1GB

Since I was upgrading the display I thought about buying a graphics card. After looking at the charts and comparing prices (And since I had problems with ATI drivers) the Zotac GeForce GTX 260 looked like the card I wanted to buy.

My questions are:

1) On the GTX 260 specs it says "PCI Express 2.0 x16 (Compatible with 1.1)". Im not sure, but I think my motherboard PCI-E version is 1.0. According to what I read the GPU can run on 1.0 as well. Is this true? Also, does that mean I will have reduced performance?

2) Would upgrading the GPU enhance performance enough to justify the cost? As you can see, My CPU is quite old, And it will be hard for me to find a new one because my motherboard is quite old as well, and cant support newer CPU's.

3) Is the GPU I chose fit for my comp, or should I choose some cheaper GPU because the GTX 260 is too good for my PC and not worth the price? For example use the money to buy a cheaper GPU and a PCU - If so, Can you please give me an advice about the CPU as well?

If you have other advice or suggestions to share I would be very interested in hearing them.

Thank you.

Btw, Im new on this forum, so Im sorry if I did something wrong.
a c 235 U Graphics card
July 16, 2009 9:46:27 PM

1) the card will work fine, no issues or reduced performance. 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.1 and 1.0.

2) Since you want to stick to Nvidia, the 9600GT or 9800GT will give you solid performance with your CPU. The E6300 will definitely bottle-neck the GTX 260. I would personally go with the 9800GT, assuming you are not upgrading your CPU.

3) see answer to #2

*make sure your PSU can power any of these cards.
a c 235 U Graphics card
July 16, 2009 9:51:06 PM

I believe your motherboard has a 775 socket (it should) so you can always upgrade your CPU and get better graphic cards.
Related resources
July 16, 2009 10:10:13 PM

ct1615 said:
I believe your motherboard has a 775 socket (it should) so you can always upgrade your CPU and get better graphic cards.


Thanks for the replies.

I tried to find what processors I can put into the motherboard and found this table: http://processormatch.intel.com/CompDB/SearchResult.aspx?Boardname=dp965lt.

If I did everything right, It seems like I don't have much of a choice in terms of CPU's. Those processors seem quite old, and yet they are quite expensive. It seems like buying a newer and more powerful GPU is a better investment since I will be able to use if I buy a new computer someday, while I will feel that I need to replace the CPU since it was already outdated when I bought it. What do you think?

You have suggested buying 9600GT or 9800GT instead of the GTX 260. Do you think think that in my setup they will perform on a close level, Or there will still be a big difference in performance even though I have a weak CPU (Even if you consider that the 260 wont perform at its best)?

EDIT: Also, does the newer GPU's need a stronger Power supply then my old Graphics card? If so how much power do I need to have?

EDIT 2: I checked The cards you suggested and seems like they have 512MB memory, while the 260 has 896MB. I heard that In order to run many games with high quality textures I need a lot of memory in the GPU. Is this true? If so, should I consider it, or the differences in performance are not that big (the memory is not very important)?
July 16, 2009 10:43:56 PM

Your c2d 6300 will bottleneck a gtx260 at stock speeds... however your cpu overclocks very well, you can go all the way over 2,8 GHz with no problems. At that point it can handdle the gtx260 you want... if you can't/don't want to overclock, then go for the gf 9600 gt which is about 10% slower than 9800Gt, but 25% cheaper.

Anyways, I would recommend updating your processor, if your motherboard supports c2d 6300, it will probably support c2q 6600 or c2c 6700/6800.... they might have those on newegg despite their age... hope it helps
July 16, 2009 10:49:20 PM

I forgot:
1) about the memory, yes it's true, for 1900x1200 you will need at least 768MB for most games...
2) 9600 and 9800 won't require a psu upgrade, gtx260 probably will...
July 16, 2009 11:08:02 PM

Any cpu with the core2 brand will fit in your motherboard. I used to have the core2 e6300 and it bottlenecked my 7800gs and all the cards discussed here are significantly faster than that. You will definitely need to overclock to keep up with any of these cards. I don't know anything about your mobo though so if you wouldn't trust your board to overclock, I would suggest using the $180 or so that you would spend on the gtx260 for upgrading both the cpu and gpu.

Something like Pentium E5200 and 9600gt/9800gt will give you a much more balanced system than the core2 e6300 and gtx260.
Pentium E5200 $70: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
9600gt w/COD:WAW: $70: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total comes to $140 you can use whatever extra funds you have to upgrade either of the two.

For $190 you get Pentium e6300 and 8800gts512 which would have much more value than just one gtx260.
Pentium E6300 $90: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8800gts512 $100: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Don't be fooled by the Pentium branding, these are based on the core2 architectures with crippled cache sizes.

edit: fixed one of the links
July 16, 2009 11:22:32 PM

hey everyone... can you tell me if XFX GF 9600 1.5GB DDR2 will work on my COnroe kentsfield fbs1066 motherboard? I mean the card asks for PCI express x16 my motherboard only have PCI express x4 please reply as fast as you can.
thanks
July 16, 2009 11:29:20 PM

ss_pirilampo said:
hey everyone... can you tell me if XFX GF 9600 1.5GB DDR2 will work on my COnroe kentsfield fbs1066 motherboard? I mean the card asks for PCI express x16 my motherboard only have PCI express x4 please reply as fast as you can.
thanks


The card will work, you just won't see all the performance the card is capable of. I don't think it will make that much of a difference, but I don't have any benches to prove it so don't quote me on this.

The card will work though.
July 16, 2009 11:35:28 PM

thanks a lot for the fast reply I'm planning buyint it tomorrow but I was a little bit concerned about that. I will update my motherboard in two weeks anyway xD but at the moment I only have money for the graphics card.

Thanks and greetings from Poortugal
July 17, 2009 11:47:42 AM

chowmanga said:

Something like Pentium E5200 and 9600gt/9800gt will give you a much more balanced system than the core2 e6300 and gtx260.
Pentium E5200 $70: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
9600gt w/COD:WAW: $70: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total comes to $140 you can use whatever extra funds you have to upgrade either of the two.

For $190 you get Pentium e6300 and 8800gts512 which would have much more value than just one gtx260.
Pentium E6300 $90: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8800gts512 $100: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


1) According to the table I found http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-267384_15_0.html on the Intel website using the compatibility tool (I linked it in my last post as well), I cant use any of the processors you mentioned with my motherboard. However the processors are supposed to have a 775 socket, the same as my motherboard. So I cant understand if they are compatible with the motherboard or not... Anyone knows??

2) Also as I wrote in my previous post, I'm concerned with the fact that the GPU's you mentioned only have 512MB memory, and according to what I heard this will make it impossible to run many games with high quality textures. Do you think this should be a reason for concern, or do you think that since the 260 GTX will be bottlenecked I will not be able to run games with high quality textures anyway, even though it has much more memory?

EDIT: 3) What kind of PSU do I need to have if I upgrade? for example what PSU will be enough for a more powerful processors and GPUs and the GTX 260 specifically?

Thank you.
July 17, 2009 4:59:09 PM

MikeL1 said:
1) According to the table I found http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-267384_15_0.html on the Intel website using the compatibility tool (I linked it in my last post as well), I cant use any of the processors you mentioned with my motherboard. However the processors are supposed to have a 775 socket, the same as my motherboard. So I cant understand if they are compatible with the motherboard or not... Anyone knows??

2) Also as I wrote in my previous post, I'm concerned with the fact that the GPU's you mentioned only have 512MB memory, and according to what I heard this will make it impossible to run many games with high quality textures. Do you think this should be a reason for concern, or do you think that since the 260 GTX will be bottlenecked I will not be able to run games with high quality textures anyway, even though it has much more memory?

EDIT: 3) What kind of PSU do I need to have if I upgrade? for example what PSU will be enough for a more powerful processors and GPUs and the GTX 260 specifically?

Thank you.


1) Notice that the table you posted only has cpus from the conroe/kentsfield generation and has no cpus from the die-shrunk wolfdale/yorkfield generation. I think your motherboard will be fine with the newer generation, there's no reason it shouldn't. Your motherboard probably came out before the 45nm generation and Intel didn't update that page accordingly.

2) I own a 9600gt and have no problem playing at high settings (not highest) fallout3, bioshock, mass effect at 1080i. 512mb probably isn't ideal for that resolution, but if you were to choose between 1 gtx260 and that 8800gts with pentium e6300, I would chose the latter hands down. The gtx260 is quite a bit faster than the 8800gts but when you get a new game thats stuck at 40fps and changing resolutions doesn't improve frame rates, you may get frustrated. Thats just me though.

However you could buy the 260 now and if need, upgrade the cpu later. I don't know what your budget is like though.

3) I would be comfortable running the gtx260 with a good quality 500W psu at minimum. I'd probably go with a 600W to be safe and to allow for upgrades later.

Anyway, hope this helps
a c 165 U Graphics card
July 17, 2009 5:31:46 PM

@ MikeL1: AFAIK the 965 chipset motherboards is not compatable with the later processors because of the voltage regulation on those 'boards and chipset limitations.

What sort of budget do you have? where are you? What is the spec of your current PSU?

I would suggest overclocking the CPU and using a fast card, at higher resolutions, the card is already doing a lot of the work and if you start using AA/AF and Ambient Occlusion that load will increase further, slowing it down. There is also the issue of PhysX, a faster card will have spare power to run this add-on without crippling the framerates.
July 17, 2009 6:55:23 PM

I guess I will be buying a faster card, since my mobo cant support a decent processor, so I think buying a fast card is better then buying a slow card and a slow processor for this budget. After that I might try to overclock the processor and check if I get a big performance boost.

I checked the manufacturers website and it seems like they have 4 version of the same card:

The version I saw at the shop was GeForce GTX 260: http://www.zotac.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=207&Itemid=305 And seems like it is the most basic version.

The manufacturer also sells: GeForce GTX 260 2 http://www.zotac.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=259&Itemid=305

GeForce GTX 260 AMP! http://www.zotac.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=208&Itemid=142

GeForce GTX 260 AMP2! Edition http://www.zotac.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=258&Itemid=352

Why do they have so many versions of the same card? Whats the difference? Is the shop trying to sell some kind of crappy version? Should I buy it or think about a different card??

My budget is pretty much the price of that Zotac GTX 260. Unfortunately I cant afford to pay more then the price of that card.

I checked my PSU and seems like it is 500W, so I guess it should be enough for it. Am I right?
a c 165 U Graphics card
July 17, 2009 7:05:17 PM

The first and third cards are an older design: They have 192 cores. The second and bottom cards have 216, which would be the faster, more modern design, also the 'AMP' cards are overclocked, ignore them, they are usually more expensive and, for you, that would be wasted money.
It is importaint to let us know exactly which PSU it is, they vary in quality a great deal and a cheap unit will probably not work or may be 'just enough' and cause an unstable system when it is fully loaded.
Which country are you in? Perhaps we can point you to an alternative supplier with lower prices or a larger range of cards.
July 17, 2009 8:38:00 PM

coozie7 said:
The first and third cards are an older design: They have 192 cores. The second and bottom cards have 216, which would be the faster, more modern design, also the 'AMP' cards are overclocked, ignore them, they are usually more expensive and, for you, that would be wasted money.
It is importaint to let us know exactly which PSU it is, they vary in quality a great deal and a cheap unit will probably not work or may be 'just enough' and cause an unstable system when it is fully loaded.
Which country are you in? Perhaps we can point you to an alternative supplier with lower prices or a larger range of cards.


I opened the case and my PSU is: L&C Technology model: LC-B500E MAX.

I'm from Israel, the supplier I'm talking about seems quite cheap. I also bought from them many times before and didn't have any problems. Here is the website in English if you are interested: http://www.ksp.co.il/main.php?now_snif=KSP03.
July 18, 2009 1:06:59 AM

dude, to play games at 1920x1080 u will need a 1 GB card. don't worry, both the 9600 GT and the 9800 GT come in both 512 MB and 1 GB versions, so just chill and find a 1 GB version.

and a 500 W PSU will handle even a 260, its on NVIDIA's site, look:-
http://www.nvidia.com/content/HelpMeChoose/fx2/HelpMeCh...
so ure good to go.
July 18, 2009 12:42:29 PM

seerwan said:
dude, to play games at 1920x1080 u will need a 1 GB card. don't worry, both the 9600 GT and the 9800 GT come in both 512 MB and 1 GB versions, so just chill and find a 1 GB version.

and a 500 W PSU will handle even a 260, its on NVIDIA's site, look:-
http://www.nvidia.com/content/HelpMeChoose/fx2/HelpMeCh...
so ure good to go.


Thanks for that link, it is really helpful in finding a new card :) 

I think Ill go with the 260 even though it only has 896MB and not 1GB, because it seems much more powerful then the older cards.

About the PSU, on the NVIDIA page you linked it says the minimum for the 260 is 500W, but since I have other things on the computer, not just the graphics card, Are you sure a 500W PSU will be enough? Maybe it is still better to go for an older card to be sure that my PSU is enough for it?

btw, What happens if the card wants more power then the PSU can provide? Can it damage my hardware?
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2009 12:56:25 PM

seerwan said:


and a 500 W PSU will handle even a 260, its on NVIDIA's site, look:-
http://www.nvidia.com/content/HelpMeChoose/fx2/HelpMeCh...
so ure good to go.

A good quality 500 watt psu will handle a GTX260, the OP's outdated , over-rated LC pos with it's single 18 amp 12volt rail would pop, definitely not good to go.
July 18, 2009 1:11:14 PM

Overclock your CPU and then go for a GTX 260.Thats the best possible way to max. out your performance
a c 165 U Graphics card
July 18, 2009 1:49:37 PM

@ MikeL1: Do NOT get a GTX260, not with your current PSU, 18A on the 12v output is nowhere near enough to power it.
With the current power supply I'd say the best you could install would be either a 9600GT or a HD4670, neither of which is going to drive a 1920x1200 monitor at anything over medium settings.
For the GTX260 you'll need a 500W unit with at least 2x18a 12v rails, more if you can find it.
Good names: OCZ, Antec, Corsair, Pc Power and cooling and Seasonic.
July 18, 2009 7:52:29 PM

coozie7 said:
@ MikeL1: Do NOT get a GTX260, not with your current PSU, 18A on the 12v output is nowhere near enough to power it.
With the current power supply I'd say the best you could install would be either a 9600GT or a HD4670, neither of which is going to drive a 1920x1200 monitor at anything over medium settings.
For the GTX260 you'll need a 500W unit with at least 2x18a 12v rails, more if you can find it.
Good names: OCZ, Antec, Corsair, Pc Power and cooling and Seasonic.


I took a picture of my PSU:


As far as I can tell from whats written there, it seems like I have 2x12V rails: 15A rail and a 16A rail. Are you sure I need 18A for the GTX260?

I tried to find information about what power the card needs but I couldn't find anything. Do you know of a website where I can find the electric power specs for this and other cards?
a c 165 U Graphics card
July 18, 2009 8:22:12 PM

The information I found is totally different to your label!

If it has only one 6 pin connector either:
1: Go for a lesser card; a GTS250/9800GTX or HD4850 class would be OK.

2: Upgrade to a quality PSU of at least 500W (or more if you can find a good deal) with twin 6 pin connectors and go for the GTX260 or 1Gb HD4870.

OCZ,Corsair, Pc Power and Cooling, Antec, Silverstone, FSP and Thermaltake are all either top notch or just very good.

I know it seems silly to swap one 500W for another but there are quality differences to consider: I KNOW the units from those companies can provide their rated power for as long as you ask them to, but I am not certain of the L&C unit you have. Many cheaper units can only provide a fraction of their claimed output and can destroy the whole systems when asked to perform at a higher leval.
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2009 8:53:11 PM

MikeL1 said:
I took a picture of my PSU:
http://i25.tinypic.com/htbfqq.jpg

As far as I can tell from whats written there, it seems like I have 2x12V rails: 15A rail and a 16A rail. Are you sure I need 18A for the GTX260?

I tried to find information about what power the card needs but I couldn't find anything. Do you know of a website where I can find the electric power specs for this and other cards?

I still wouldn't trust it, it's still a known low quality brand.
I wonder if the company is as confused as the label;
+3.3, +5 and +12v combined 480 watts
400 watts Real ????????
Max output 500 watts
July 18, 2009 9:29:52 PM

I think you right that I shouldn't trust it, but since I have a very tight budget I figured Ill try to put the card in and if that doesn't work then Ill have no choice other then buying a better PSU. My PSU seems to have 2 6-pin connectors btw.

Also after searching a lot I found this article: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-radeon-power,2122-6.html And seems like at full load the GTX 260 only uses 15.9A and 191.2 Watts, and since I only have one hard drive and one DVD-ROM Looks like my system needs much less then 500W. I also think the 260 will not reach full load on my system because of the CPU bottleneck.

However I still have a very important question: What will happen if I'm wrong and the PSU will not give me enough power? As far as I know it should have a fail-safe in the card which will simply crash to desktop, and at worst case just shut down my PC. It shouldn't ruin my hardware. Am I right?
a c 165 U Graphics card
July 19, 2009 1:35:12 PM

@ MikeL1: If the PSU is 'just' able to run the system expect: Random crashes, shutdowns and possibly BSODs, most likely when you're playing intense games.
If the PSU cannot handle the load expect: No boot at all, the system may beep then fail after the loading screen or it may just start to spin up the drives, then shut down.
Or it may be fine, but be aware that some lower quality units lack effective overload protection and can cause severe damage if they 'pop' under load.
Given that the unit is only at the minimum and I know little of the brand, I would suggest you hold off until you can replace both card and PSU at the same time.
a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2009 2:04:35 PM

^+1
!