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Newbie Question. 256 Mb ATI vs Intel On-Board

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 5, 2009 5:47:18 PM

Hey All,
Newbie here, be gentle. Here's the deal. I just purchased a used Dell Inspiron 545 with a Core 2 Quad Q9400, 8GB DDR2 RAM, 300W PSU, blah, blah, blah. It does have a PCIe x16 slot, but no 6 pin power connector from the cheapie PSU. The bottom line is that it uses on-board Intel graphics (up to 256Mb shared RAM) (Foxconn motherboard, Intel® G33 Express Chipset, GMA 3100), and I would like to upgrade the video without having to upgrade the PSU (the nice PSU's seem to be $70+). I do basic video editing of movies of the kids, Photoshop, but I'm not a gamer at all. So my question is this....will I get a noticeable performance increase by using an ATI 256MB RADEON, vs the on-board Intel (rendering video and such)? Please explain why. I'd love a 512MB card, but it seems that all 512MB cards require a 6 pin power connector, which I don't have. Your thoughts? Thanks in advance for your replies.

December 5, 2009 6:35:05 PM

OF COURSE... Ati video cards support Stream Processing which basically picks up some load off the cpu.

however, I don't think I can help you regarding the 6-pin power connector.
I can help you by suggesting to buy a new PSU that has a 6-pin power connector.
How about getting a PSU that has 8-pin connector and then u can get one of the high-end Ati video cards that will do you a big favor in terms of the usability that you specified.

read about PSUs before getting one... get one with at least 80% efficiency... better 85% although these will be much pricier
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a b U Graphics card
December 5, 2009 11:55:51 PM

I second the 4650.
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December 6, 2009 5:08:33 AM

Alot of video card comes with an adapter. The adapter plugs into the molex power and has the 2 six pins on the other end
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 5:12:07 AM

He said his PSU was 300 watts(also not a gamer) so pretty much everything that needs a power connector should be avoided anyway, adapter or not.
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December 6, 2009 5:25:03 AM

Futhermore, i recommends nvidia card in your situation. The 300watts psu limits your choices. ATI card are always more power hungry. You can get upto the gt240 or the 9800gt. When you want the ati, got to go with the stripe down version on the hd4000 or hd3000.
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December 6, 2009 5:31:56 AM

Dont need to be a gamer to get a decent vga card. The HD line of card from ati helps with video play back. Take some work loads off the CPU. I think nvidia has something that similar to what ati has-think it's call purevideo. I dealt with the ati favor myself. I not a hardcore(fps) gamer myself. I do video editing and transcoding.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 5:32:04 AM

jivdis1x said:
ATI card are always more power hungry.
This is not only not true, the opposite is... don't know where you are getting that from. ATI now has 6 very power efficient 40nm cards, and there's also the HD4650 and HD4670 which are currently the low end gaming cards of choice for people with weak PSUs.
Nvidia has one 40nm card and it is overpriced.
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December 6, 2009 5:46:05 AM

oh, in regards to video editing and transcoding. To get things done quicker, raw horse power=cpu clock and multiple cores. Example: amdx2 4200+ 2.2GHz 4GB ram 2x250GB RAID(500GB) takes approximate 2hr 45min for 4 hr video. intel q9550 oc 3.7Ghz 4GB ram 2x640GB RAID(1.2TB) takes about 45min for 4hr video. Using roughly same video card-AMD setup using 7600gt, Intel setup using HD 2600gt.

The better than onboard video card will improve the video quality output and lesser the load off the cpu during playback but will not help in the video editing/transcoding part. One more thing, the dedicated card will also free up your RAM.
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December 6, 2009 6:04:49 AM

jyjjy said:
This is not only not true, the opposite is... don't know where you are getting that from. ATI now has 6 very power efficient 40nm cards, and there's also the HD4650 and HD4670 which are currently the low end gaming cards of choice for people with weak PSUs.
Nvidia has one 40nm card and it is overpriced.



You are right. With the newer lines of ati video card they are moving toward better efficiency. Ati has a long history of clocking their card high to compensate for the lagging driver.

I didn't totally exclude ATI when I recommend a card(stripe down version of the HD4000 series)

If it ever needs a 6pin connector then there is an option.
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a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 7:40:37 AM

Rushfan2112 said:
I do basic video editing of movies of the kids, Photoshop, but I'm not a gamer at all. So my question is this....will I get a noticeable performance increase by using an ATI 256MB RADEON, vs the on-board Intel (rendering video and such)? Please explain why. I'd love a 512MB card, but it seems that all 512MB cards require a 6 pin power connector, which I don't have.


As mentioned before the HD46xx series is a good idea, but likely even something less would be fine for the task, but no point in going for cheaper for the potential benefits in the future. Look for a card with 128bit memory and yes actually 512MB would be a good idea, but not necessary, simply for complex filters and once again giving the card room to breath should you start using GPGPU/OpenCL/ComputeShader features in the future.

Near term Photoshop and most editing tools are primarily OpenGL, and don't make much use of raw horsepower, but more transcoders and other tools are beginning to use more, so definitely you want to move beyond the integrated intel graphics, but you won't get much out of much more powerful cards than the HD4650, and you'll waste energy, with while the HD4650 sips power while idle (which is good for when it's not using the GPU for a render-out).
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a c 199 U Graphics card
a b å Intel
December 6, 2009 10:49:23 AM

+1 @jyjjy and TGGA; the latter's badge is probably a gold one in disguise.
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December 6, 2009 1:17:22 PM

Thanks all for your replies. I think that I'm just going to roll with an HD4650. From what I've read, this will suit my needs just fine.
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a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 4:20:18 PM

Well avoid the first on the list it's one of the ones I was warning about (not 128bit) which makes it as slow as an HD4550 and very limiting.

After that focus on the quality of the cooling solution, since you don't need quiet (which would speak to a passive cooler more) it has the benefit of not failing, but it does run a little hotter, so a good HSF asembly that fits your rig is a good idea.

Good Add in Board Partners are ASUS, Gigabyte, HIS and MSI, and Sapphire; XFX is a little new but they do have some good warranties (which some people have needed and it's still a hasle to need, but can be better to have than just good quality if they just age poorly [which no one can tell yet]). Also mail in rebate or no?

So depending on size, first inexpensive low-profile (the other ASUS is 64 bit so avoid it too) this one is 128bit;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Full Size;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Passive Cooling;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
although the HIS passive is better (especially gong for the HD4670 model) but are also more expensive.


Another thing to consider is that the HD4670s are often in the same price range giving you a bit more power (ie speed for both memory and SPUs) for no more money and little to no impact on power consumption (still no extra power connector).
Theses are cheaper than some of those other options above just due to rebates and the fact that most people focus on the more gaming HD4770 and higher models so these get rebated to move.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2009 4:45:56 PM

Onus said:
+1 @jyjjy and TGGA; the latter's badge is probably a gold one in disguise.


I'm older than the Badge system, so that's really Platinum in disguise. :sol: 

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December 7, 2009 12:26:17 AM

Thanks Grape. I love the last two links for the price and functionality. Do you really think that either of those would not need the 6 pin power connector, and be able to run with my stock Hipro 300W PSU? I dont see anything in the product details of either card that references the need for a 6 pin. I also look for it in the pictures, but can't really tell from the top views that they provide. Thanks!

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a c 376 U Graphics card
December 7, 2009 12:45:42 AM

An HD4670 is really a low end gaming card. It's overkill if you aren't gaming imo but no, it doesn't need a power connector and will probably be ok with your PSU.
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