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Need suggestions on GPU upgrade.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 25, 2009 7:19:50 AM

Hello everyone,

I'm looking to upgrade my integrated GPU to a dedicated GPU. Here are my specs:

HP a1210n
-Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2 GHz
-1GB DDR SDRAM PC-3200
-PSU 300W
-Windows XP
-200GB 7200 RPM SATA
-ATI Radeon Xpress 200

These are additional info if needed about the system.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

The only thing that was updated since I purchased in back in 2005 was the RAM (originally 512MB). The only game I will be using this for is Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne. I'm trying to budget it under $50 if possible. Your suggestion is much appreciated since I'm new to this. Thanks!
November 25, 2009 7:46:21 AM

Since you have only 300W PSU with 1 PCIe slot and a very old system with slower CPU and you are willing to spend under $50 then you had to get the cheapest, lower-end video cards which requires 300W PSU. The newest and cheapest lower-end video cards for your system are Radeon HD 4350 ($30 - $40) and Radeon HD 4550 ($40 - $50).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

XFX would give you a double lifetime warranty only if you live in North America and XFX Radeon HD 4350 has the highest rating on Newegg.com and costing only $40.

If you wanna stick with HP brand then you can go with HP Radeon HD 4550 DH video card (but it would cost $78):

http://www.buy.com/prod/hp-radeon-hd-4550-dh-graphics-c...

Important: Since your HP a1210n system already has built-in Integrated Graphics Accelerator, you might wanna disable it before installing the new video card because otherwise it might not work or could cause conflict.
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November 25, 2009 8:03:44 AM

Since the HD 4350 and 4550 require 300w, it would still work without my system crashing since I'm already running on 300w?? I would also look for something that is not low profile since my tower isnt?
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Related resources
November 25, 2009 8:09:58 AM

Theoretically it should work. AMD website says that you need 300W PSU and a PCIe slot and 1GB of system memory in order to run Radeon HD 4300 series and Radeon HD 4500 series but certainly not Radeon HD 4600 series.

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

ATI Radeon™ HD 4300 Series System Requirements

* PCI Express® based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard
* 300 Watt or greater power supply (350 Watt for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode) is recommended
* Certified power supplies are recommended. Refer to http://ati.amd.com/certifiedPSU for a list of Certified products
* 1GB of system memory recommended
* Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
* DVD playback requires DVD drive
* Blu-ray™ playback requires Blu-ray drive and full 1080p display requires a 1080p-capable monitor
* For Microsoft DirectX® 10.1 support, Windows Vista® Service Pack 1 is required
* To enable dual mode ATI CrossFireX™ technology, a second ATI Radeon™ HD 4350 Series graphics card, and an ATI CrossFireX Ready motherboard are required



http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

ATI Radeon™ HD 4550 Graphics System Requirements

* PCI Express® based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard
* 300 Watt or greater power supply (350 Watt for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode) is recommended
* Certified power supplies are recommended. Refer to http://ati.amd.com/certifiedPSU for a list of Certified products
* 1GB of system memory recommended
* Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
* Blu-ray™ playback requires Blu-ray drive and full 1080p display requires a 1080p-capable monitor
* For Microsoft DirectX® 10.1 support, Windows Vista® Service Pack 1 is required
* To enable dual mode ATI CrossFireX™ technology, a second ATI Radeon™ HD 4550 Series graphics card, and an ATI CrossFireX Ready motherboard are required



But I like said earlier, you might have to disable your Integrated Graphics Accelerator before installing your new video card because maybe that is the thing that can crash your system or not allowing you to install your new video card due to conflict.
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November 25, 2009 8:15:08 AM

If you wanted to game or have a better gaming experience then you would need higher end video cards or at least performance range video cards but your system is too old for that.

I hate to say this but I'm afraid that I had to, if I'm were you then I would had sell that HP a1210n computer and build a new gaming rig.

Even if you buy a new PSU but your CPU and system would still bottleneck the new GPU/new video card because they both would be at a very different speed since one part is older and slower than the other part.

You serioulsy need a new system, my friend. I am actually selling my 2005 Sony Vaio Desktop PC and building a new Gaming Rig by 2010 and we are also moving to DirectX 11 gaming with DX 11 video cards.
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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2009 8:17:43 AM

Since you wanna game then get an HD4670 for your PC.
I wouldn't suggest any card that is weaker than HD4670 cuz it is considered bare minimum for gaming .
It'll run on a 300W PSU provided that it is a quality PSU.

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November 25, 2009 8:20:49 AM

AMD does recommends a 400W PSU if you wanted to run Radeon HD 4600 series so I don't guarantee that it would work well with your 300W PSU:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/ati-rad...

ATI Radeon™ HD 4600 Series System Requirements

* PCI Express® based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard
* 400 Watt or greater power supply (550 Watt for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode) is recommended
* Certified power supplies are recommended. Refer to http://ati.amd.com/certifiedPSU for a list of Certified products
* 1GB of system memory recommended
* Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
* DVD playback requires DVD drive
* Blu-ray™ playback requires Blu-ray drive and full 1080p display requires a 1080p-capable monitor
* To enable dual mode ATI CrossFireX™ technology, a second ATI Radeon™ HD 4600 Series graphics card, an ATI CrossFireX Ready motherboard and one ATI CrossFireX Bridge Interconnect cable (included) is required.

These are the minimum system requirements for Radeon HD 4600 series (both Radeon HD 4650 and Radeon HD 4670).

Thus, Radeon HD 4670 would certainly be better for gaming but it would also require at least a 400W good PSU and it would cost more than $50 which is out of your budget range...
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November 25, 2009 8:31:51 AM

Thank you for your suggestions. I guess I will have to retire this system since I don't want to go through the trouble of a hit and miss situation.
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November 25, 2009 8:36:08 AM

js5224 said:
Thank you for your suggestions. I guess I will have to retire this system since I don't want to go through the trouble of a hit and miss situation.


Sorry if I made you throw your old system away and spend more money but I also hate to recommend low profile cards under $50 as you had requested for gaming since they are too slow for gaming but they are the only ones that could best fit with your old system with 300W PSU under $50. :D 

Build a new system and get at a Radeon HD 5770 or a Radeon HD 5850 or a Radeon HD 5870 and let's celebrate! :bounce: 
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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2009 8:44:05 AM

^No card below 4670 provides acceptable performance.
And see the power consumption charts of 4670.
They can easily run on a 300w PSU provided its a quality unit.
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November 25, 2009 8:48:32 AM

shubham1401 said:
^No card below 4670 provides acceptable performance.
And see the power consumption charts of 4670.
They can easily run on a 300w PSU provided its a quality unit.


Yes but the OP wants to spend under $50 because he is on a budget. :ouch: 

Infact, you are also right that the OP cannot even get a good gaming card for under $50! :o 

However, with Radeon HD 4300 series and Radeon HD 4550, you can still do a nice Full HD movie playback and other stuffs on a budget machine like the OP's HP a1210n regardless to PC Gaming which also fulfilled AMD's system requirements for Radeon HD 4300/4500 series but other than that I cannot guarantee that it's safe like going above 300W or getting Radeon HD 4670 which requires 400W PSU (AMD's minimum system requirement for Radeon HD 4600 series) because I don't even know how much total power does HP a1210n system uses. :o 

Because what if the OP's HP a1210n system runs at 270W-290W of Power on 300W PSU while the Radeon HD 4670 requires about 60W of power? How is he going to even run Radeon HD 4670? You see what I meant? :o 
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November 25, 2009 9:28:13 AM

shubham1401 said:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3405&p=9

system takes 139 watt at full load.A good 300W has 18-20 A on 12vrail.So its well within the range.


Actually, Anandtech was using a newer system with PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W PSU. The Test Setup for that Power Consumption benchmark was made by using a 1200W PSU which is a lot of power and not really a 300W PSU. :) 

Page 4: Test description and settings:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3405&p=4

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Test Setup
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 @ 3.20GHz
Motherboard EVGA nForce 790i SLI
Intel DX48BT2
Video Cards

ATI Radeon HD 4870
ATI Radeon HD 4850
ATI Radeon HD 4670 (512MB GDDR3)
ATI Radeon HD 3870
ATI Radeon HD 3850
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GSO
NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT
Video Drivers Catalyst Press Driver 8.9 Beta (Radeon HD 4670)
Catalyst 8.7 (Radeon HD 4850, 3850)
Catalyst 8.8 (Radeon HD 4870, 3870)
ForceWare 175.19 (9600 GSO)
ForceWare 175.16 (9500 GT)
Hard Drive Seagate 7200.9 120GB 8MB 7200RPM
RAM 4 x 1GB Corsair DDR3-1333 7-7-7-20
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
PSU PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, I agree that it would uses around 60W - 139W of Power but another key question is also how much total power does his system uses. For example my 2005 Sony Vaio Desktop PC uses almost all of 300W of Power on a 298W/300W PSU so I don't think that a mainstream video card like Radeon HD 4670 which consumes 139W of Power would be able to run on my 2005 old system. (based on my past bad experience)...

PS: Before I go, I also would like to add that since I knew that my 298W/300W PSU is not enough even to run the new DX 10 mainstream level cards so this is why I was trying to get a newer PSU because I wanted to upgrade my video card too but other manufacturers' PSUs do not fit in my Sony Vaio OEM case and Sony does not make more than 300W for my old system so this is also why I had to build a new Gaming Rig and I would never buy a Pre-built PC again after this bad lesson. My upgrade path was essentially screwed. And that's my little sad story I had with my old 2005 Sony Vaio rig. :( 

Anyway, Good Luck! At the end, the OP is the one to decide... :) 
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November 25, 2009 3:14:01 PM

/facepalm

Guys, its WCIII, not Crysis hes trying to play. 4550 will be gods plenty of GPU muscle. You can probably get by with just the 4350, but personaly Id rather have the extra headroom.
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November 25, 2009 3:27:41 PM

One thing I think a lot of people are missing here is he wants to play Warcraft 3. He should be fine with a lower end card. I use to play Warcraft 3 on an Athlon 64 3200+ with a Geforce 6800Gt.

I would suggest a Geforce 8600GT or Radeon 4650.
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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2009 3:44:15 PM

Yeah...
4650 DDR3 is a good card and uses even less power than 4670.
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November 26, 2009 9:12:37 AM

PS: (About Warcraft 3 and other strategic games)

Infact, that is what I was wondering too but I did not check the benchmark for Warcraft 3. I wasn't sure because I never play Warcraft game before but what I know was that strategic games like Civilization 3, etc normally uses lesser GPU power in comparison to Real Action games like Crysis, Max Payne 3, Hitman 4 or etc.

Indeed, even a lower-end Radeon HD 4550 would do the job well for strategic games but that also means that the OP would not be able to play other real-action games at higher FPS like Crysis/Bioshock/Hitman 4/Max Payne 3 which requires a lot of GPU Power.
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November 26, 2009 9:57:29 AM

Upgrade your CPU, PSU and add more RAM memory, then you can think about buying a decent videocard. Don't waste money on a card now--unless you upgrade the rest of your Jurassic computer first.
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November 30, 2009 12:09:43 AM

pwndeta said:
One thing I think a lot of people are missing here is he wants to play Warcraft 3. He should be fine with a lower end card. I use to play Warcraft 3 on an Athlon 64 3200+ with a Geforce 6800Gt.

I would suggest a Geforce 8600GT or Radeon 4650.


I may consider getting either or, but from the Newegg reviews the 8600GT runs hot and fan is too loud?? And yes, I will not be playing any first person shooters like Crysis, god no! I wouldnt even have bothered :)  Future proofing wasn't something I plan on doing. Just needed something a little bit better than the integrated GPU. Thanks for your input pwndeta.
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