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Upgrade advice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 9, 2009 6:18:02 PM

Hello again.

I am currently looking to upgrade my graphics card on my rig.

The mobo is an "MSI 0A90", apparently, with a PCI-E slot and some other slots (of course, I'm going to go for a PCI-E card)
My PSU is good and should be able to cope (I'd check before hand to be sure anyway)

However, from previous experience I know that is not all there is to it - once, many years ago, I upgraded from a Riva TNT M64 (or TNT2) to a GeForce 4. I had the correct slot on my mobo (which was also upgraded at the time) but the card would never work.
After literally months of sending the card back and forth to the vendor complaining that "it (still) doesn't work" and contacting the tech support for my motherboard I was informed that the card was simply not compatible. Not for slot reasons, not for power reasons. Just plain "incompatible".

So my question is pretty much "what advice can you give me to influence my choice in card?" Is there a list or table of compatiblities, or should I just buy a card and assume that my previous experience was an isolated incident?

More about : upgrade advice

August 9, 2009 6:31:47 PM

before we can help you, knowing which cpu you have, power supply, and your current card would def help us point you in the right direction
a b U Graphics card
August 9, 2009 6:34:36 PM

Yeah, nowadays if the card is Pci-E and your mobo has Pci-E then your good to go! (make sure its a pcie 16x slot, not 1x (: ) As long as your PSU can handle the new card you should be fine.
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August 9, 2009 6:41:24 PM

Hard Line said:
before we can help you, knowing which cpu you have, power supply, and your current card would def help us point you in the right direction

Current card: NVIDIA GeForce 6610 XL
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E4400 @ 2.00GHz (2 CPUs), ~2.0GHz
PSU: Corsair HX520W
a c 177 U Graphics card
August 9, 2009 6:46:09 PM

Full specs, please including : PSU (amps on the +12v rail or rails, if not known make and model), monitor resolution, not size in inches, pixels also CPU.
We need to know these things: It would be a waste of money to put a powerful card in a system with a slow processor or if the monitor is 1280x1024 resolution. It would also be bad advice to put a weak card in a very powerful system or if your monitor is a 42" 1080 TV.
August 9, 2009 6:49:41 PM

that PSU has 3 12v rails at 18Amps each coozie


Do you have a budget you are looking at? i am thinking that Phenom II X2 may still be a little weak.. ( someone correct me if I am wrong) I would go with an x4..and which resolution you are playing at will help alot too
August 9, 2009 7:01:06 PM

coozie7 said:
Full specs, please including : PSU (amps on the +12v rail or rails, if not known make and model), monitor resolution, not size in inches, pixels also CPU.
We need to know these things: It would be a waste of money to put a powerful card in a system with a slow processor or if the monitor is 1280x1024 resolution. It would also be bad advice to put a weak card in a very powerful system or if your monitor is a 42" 1080 TV.

PSU: +12V1,+12V2,+12V3 = 18A; -12V = 0.8A

Monitors: 1440x900 on the main monitor, 1280x1024 on the secondary monitor

CPU: Intel Core2 Duo CPU E4400

I could also be tempted to upgrade the CPU, but unless there are any bizzare problems that could occur I know what I need to for that.


Looking for the motherboard, I cannot find it anywhere, including in MSI's archives, which is annoying. According to some Google links it is fairly old, an LGA775 socket board (since that's the CPU's socket)
Maybe I'll upgrade that at some point, too, but the priority is the GFX card, as I can run most games at the lower end of this generation easily.
a c 177 U Graphics card
August 9, 2009 7:33:17 PM

If you really intend to upgrade the CPU/MB then look to the HD4870/GTX260, both will give great performance at that monitor resolution, but will be held back by the current CPU.
For the system as it stands now aim a little lower: HD4850/4770 from ATI or 9800GTX/9800GTX+ or GTS250 from Nvidia.
Your current PSU is a nice, high quality unit and will have no troubles with any of those cards.
As always, shop around for the best deals: I suggest you leave it until next weekend when the 'specials' come out to play again.
EVGA, XFX and BFG have the best warranties and support so try to buy from them.

Edit: That CPU should overclock nicely, take a look at the Overclocking Forum for advice. No point in getting a new MB/CPU if a little overclocking can keep the rig running sweetly, is there;)
a c 259 U Graphics card
August 9, 2009 7:54:06 PM

I would suggest that you keep the upgrade in the Nvidia line. That way, you will have a compatible driver already installed. Sometimes there are problems removing Nvidia drivers completely in order to install a ati driver(vice versa also).

A simple way to gauge your psu's capability to handle a new vga card: Count the number of PCI-E 6/8 pin connectors your psu has.
Do not buy a card that needs more connectors than your PSU can attach without the need for adapters.

Any modern graphics card you get will be a massive jump in performance.
August 9, 2009 8:06:43 PM

Once again I am reminded why I come here - normally I would expect to get my answers within a couple of weeks, and here I get them in only a few hours.

Thank you very much for your help, guys.
a c 177 U Graphics card
August 10, 2009 7:28:50 PM

^ You also get good advice!
Good points by Geofelt, take heed.
!