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Graphics card upgrade question

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  • Video
  • Computer
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 5, 2009 2:39:40 AM

ok, my computer is no where new.

i have a pentium 4 hyperthreaded and a gforce 6800, i got that when it was still the best.

it has 3 gb of ddr2 memory

now, i watch 720p video, it use to be really compressed, so it pay smooth, but had ghosting issues. now the video is around 350-500mb for a 30 min 720p, im not 100% on but bitrate but i know that hd and higher bitrates makes the video choppy slow and aftre 1 minit the video is lagging anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 seconds behind the video. if my computer is fresh however, the video plays decent untill a heavy action area comes up, than it chuggs again.

if i restart my computer evey time i want to watch an hd video, thats a bit impractical. so im looking into a new video card.

after a month of looking and asking around, i came up with this, ATI 4770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that is the best and the cheapest card that can go in my computer without upgrading the power supply. im on a bit of a budget with this you see.

im looking into it now, double checking that my computer has every thing that it needs to power it. however, i want someone to confirm this for me. will this help with the hd video problems im having or not?

More about : graphics card upgrade question

a b U Graphics card
August 5, 2009 2:51:03 AM

Your system specs will help, such as CPU speed (ghz), PSU brand and power (most importantly amps on the 12v line) your Motherboard, videocard slot (AGP or PCI-E), and the display you are watching it on (I assume an HD tv with 720p or 1080p correct me if I am wrong)

If your goal is HD video, and not gaming, then you should consider a lower end card, such as an ATI 4350, which is powered by the PCI slot and would not be a concern as far as your PSU is concerned. If you have some gaming in mind, the 4770 would be great (as far as your CPU can feed it, anyhow) or a 4830, but without PSU details, it is hard to recommend anything outside of the 4350.

I am more familiar with ATI's offerings, as you can see by my suggestions, though I am sure there are similar options from the Nvidia camp.
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August 5, 2009 3:11:50 AM

my power supply is 450watt, i believe so. thats what i remember having put into it.
im using cpu-z to get the internal data, i dont know what thing you want to know for motherboard, the model is intel i935x rev. B1
my cpu is pentium 4 530, im also looking into upgrading that too, have that topic in the cpu forum.
i have a pci express slot, i believe its the first version but i believe that 2.0 are backwards compatible so that isn't an issue.
and my display is a 17inch crt that can go over 720p but under 1080p. i usually have it set to 1024x768 (or something close to that) i also run games at that size, rarely going over, and if possable ill run them at 800x600, mainly because text can get to small for me to read it fast.

iv looked into both ati and nvidia, the closet one to this card is gforce 250, and it wins by i believe a cumulative 10-20fps, but that isnt worth another 30-40$

like i said i dont usually run games in hd quality, the only ones i would consider it for is fps one, but currently i dip into the 10-20fps range if i go to much higher than 1024-768. but i do have one question where gaming is concerned.

in star wars knights of the old republic 2, at 800-600 i can get 60fps with everything turned on, to its max, than a loading screen, than everything dips in to the 3-10 range, but if i minimize the game than full screen it again, the frame rate will go back up to the 50-60 range. do you think that will stop with the new card or is that just a bad game engine? same problem happens with kotor 1, but from what i read, that game was hell with compatibility, not expecting that one to ever play good.
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a b U Graphics card
August 6, 2009 4:25:42 AM

So you have a single core CPU @3.0ghz, with a PCI-E slot, and a 450watt PSU of unknown quality (since you didn't supply a brand name, or the amps on the 12v line). You are gaming at 1024x768, though you may want to play at a higher resolution at certain times.

I am not going to bother looking into your Mobo, tbh. Your options are not huge, as pricier cards would be a waste of money at that resolution and on that platform. Even with a dual core on that system, limiting yourself to that resolution (or even a little bit more) will mean that a 512mb card would be about all you should need, and since your PSU is of an unknown quality, I wouldn't trust it for more than 300watts of actual power.

Considering these variables, an 4550/4650 might be your safest, cheapest, best performing choice from ATI, though if gaming is important the 4650 is preferable. Again, I am mostly ignorant of Nvidia's options at this range, perhaps someone who is could make a suggestion. :D 
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August 6, 2009 5:43:11 AM

my computer when i got it was a top of the line alienware. and it was built for gameing.

i limited the options a bit, like the cpu, it was 3.0 or a 3.6 for 500$ more, nut other than that top of the line.

when i open the computer there is a label on the powersupply telling me everything, so ill get you that info in a day.

and you lower end ati is the beter cards, nvidias are more expencive. however currently i believe nvidia in the high end is beter than ati, at least currently.
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August 6, 2009 6:44:24 AM



--- i wrote what is in the - after i wrote everything else, sorry if i ramble a bit below, but basically i want to put the best in my computer that it can handle, and when i upgrade im going to put it in the new computer, as a money saver, till i can get my hands on a better card ---

it was bugging me so i took a picture of it.

i don't know how long it will be accessible for though.

and i believe in affordable overkill, mainly because in my experience, and i have learned over and over again, that one day it wont be over kill.

see i wont buy the pinnacle of technology mainly because... well, ram when i bought this computer was still pricey, and i wasn't going to be using more than 1gb. but over time, 2-4gb became the norm and things took that into account when they were being made. than i picked up a 2gb kit, because 4gb isn't totally seen on a 32bit os for less than 30$, but if i got it new it would have been over 200 more.

i still believe that given the time that i got the computer i got the best of the best without over kill.

and within the next year or so, when im not so tight for cash, im planning to build a new computer from scratch. so ill be using what ever graphics card i get in the new computer too, it will tide me over until i can afford to wire 2 cards together.

here ill go a bit more into detail with my plan.

my eyes work best with the monitor at 75dpi.
im planing to get a big 30inch, possibly bigger monitor within the next 6 months. and it will be at minimum 1920x1200, probably up to 2560x1600. that is going to be the first expense i make.

the second will be a completely new computer, hand built, something i have always wanted to do, but im waiting on the new new generation of processors.

with a 30 inch monitor i can run games at 720p without any problem with reading text, and i can run a fps at 1920x1200, because they are less text based more game play.

when i upgraded from my pentium 2 333mhrz to this new computer, i found brand new uses for the technology that i never knew existed before. with a leap i believe of at lest 3 generations of graphics cards, im sure i will play games more modernly than i am now.
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a b U Graphics card
August 7, 2009 8:55:15 AM

The 4770 should be a good balance of the "now" and the "plan for the future". I would definitely go that route as it should easily meet your needs
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August 7, 2009 10:19:26 AM

now i know it would be great to have, but before i get it i want to make sure my powersupply can handle it. it would suck to get a "Oh, if only my computer could handle that it would be AWSOME" kind of thing.

when i opened up my computer i took a closer look at the graphics card, something i never really had to do before. and i noticed that there was a cable form the card that appeared to be a power cable.

now this is a quote from the ati cards requirements
"450 Watt or greater power supply with one 75W 6-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended"

i looked up what a 6-pin power was. which lead me here.
http://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/connectors....

now i am almost 100% certain that that it is a 6 pin and that the ati will work in my computer. but i want that extra push.

can someone confirm that it will work in my computer, and that the power cable is a 6pin, and its not some gforce one that will only work with that type of card. if i can get that confirmed than i will buy that card. in the mean time i will be looking for gforce 6800 related things, as its not easy as i thought to find anything on the older cards, power or picture wise like it is the newer cards.
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a b U Graphics card
August 7, 2009 2:07:57 PM

Wattage requirements are often inflated to compensate for really cheap PSUs. A quality 350 should be able to power a 450 req rated card and system.
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August 7, 2009 3:18:40 PM

12 V ampreage is more imporant than total watts when deciding if a graphics card will work.

You have 18 amps on your single +12V rail. 4770's require 26 I beleive. correct me if I am wrong guys.
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August 7, 2009 9:34:04 PM

http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd4700/requirements.h...

im looking right at the page where it tells me the system requirements. and it says nothing about the required amps.

however i did a little math. i believe that 26 amps would be necessary for dual gpu, i could be and probably am wrong.

but looking at it from my perspective, i have the pcie slot, and i have what i believe is the 6 pin connecter. i believe my computer is capable of powering it, but im not willing to lay 100+ down till i am more than "i believe" sure it can.
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August 11, 2009 9:00:47 PM

well i was wrong before too.

i decided that it would be best to ask ati directly if my powersupply would be good enough. and turns out it isn't even half good enough.

turns out that card needs 38 amps in the 12 volt line to work, and its recommended to use 52 amps on the 12 volt.

now because im thinking of replacing the mother board in the nearish future, i thought, what the hell, lets see what a 38amp psu costs, and if i can a 52 amp.

thinking that my old psu would be easy to replace, given its old im sure newer ones would be better, but hell no.

the first 600watt 38amp psu i found was one of those glowing pieces of crap that cost almost more than the graphics card itself. i couldn't even find a 52 amp psu (it was recommended to me to get a 550watt or a 600watt psu with 38amp on the 12 volt, 52 recommended) .

im still looking into it upgradeing, but far less enthusiastically as i was before.
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August 13, 2009 1:02:29 PM

add each of the 12V rails together. so if you see 2 rails with 26amps each then it is fine..... here, look at this for your build....
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a 650W antec at $80
12V1 = 22A
12V2 = 22A
12V3 = 25A
Total 12V = 69amps

Not saying to go with this one (though I like it personally) just pointing out that most PSU's of 500+ W nowadays will give you the 38A you need. not sure about the best PSU for the money but I hope this helps.

BTW.... 38A? for single? wow! my 4870 doesn't draw that much!
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August 14, 2009 3:01:06 AM

they said a minimum of 38amps, and a recomended of 52.

i asked them, because i was looking at powersupplys after they told me that, what powersupplys give out 52amps, and they showed me 3 all that cost over 150.

up till than, i only seen 36amp psu's, and the first 36 was in the 80$ range.

up till now i just thought a powersupply was a write off kind of thing, where so long as the watts were there nothing else mattered. but damn was i wrong with that assumption.

now im currious, because 2 cards, or 3 cards would require 2 and 3 times the power, what dose a 104amp and 156amp cost?

sorry is my spelling is wose. a few days ago windows decided to crap out and im in the process of reinstalling everything. and spell checking software is not high on my priority list
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August 14, 2009 11:06:33 AM

o yea, i should also add, when i asked what card would best work with my computer, they told me was anything Radeon HD2XXX requires 38amps.

and the way i see it, any card that i can get that would work in my computer isnt much IF an upgrade at all.

now here is the way i see it, on an older game, the fps may go up 10-20, depending, but anything newer, it would only be around 1-2 fps. effectively what they told me was i cant have a good graphics card, and anything i could "upgrade" to if you can even call it an upgrade, wouldn't be a worth while upgrade at all.

im going to switch over to gforce and see if its the same over there, ill report back my findings.
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August 14, 2009 1:42:19 PM

the PSU I mentioned has ample amps. and it is only $80. Nvidia is the same. as cards get better the power needs increase. but dont be fooled...... the 750W version will handle 2 of that card easy.
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August 14, 2009 9:28:12 PM

i do understand the beter things get the more power they require.

however, im looking into nvidia for 2 reasons. 1, that 52amps recomended sounds wrong, and also what you said about your card. i think nvidia may tell me a a smaller number than ati did.

and while this is here, can someone answer a psu and graphics card question for me?

will a 750watt powersupply scale back to use less watts if its full potential inst needed? and will a graphics card cut back on power it uses if it isnt all needed.

i mean you can see my current power supply, i keep my computer on almost all day every day. i want to know if i get a powerfully psu (which i probably will, and run as many hard drives internally as i possibly can), 450watts per month isn't really that much, but what i would need to run those cards almost double what i currently have. and 2 times the power bill is something i would rather not have to deal with.
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