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250W PSU - New Graphics Card Needed!

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February 17, 2010 7:40:30 PM

Replacing an nVidia 6100 with a new Graphics Card for Napoleon Total War!

Issue is- I still have a 250W PSU

CPU: AMD Athlon 64X2 Dual Processor 4400+ 2.30 GHz
RAM: 3GB DDR2

I'm looking to buy a card for under £100...

HD 4650
HD 4670
HD 5450

Is the HD5570 worth considering? Is it much more expensive? I heard it actually consumes less power than the other 2?

Or are there any other cards you recommend that are around the specification of those mentioned?

Thanks in advance!

Sabre_X
a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 7:44:51 PM

you will not be able to run any of those video cards with a 250w power supply, upgrade that power supply first, or get a 4550 and hope your power supply can handle it.
February 17, 2010 7:50:01 PM

Hmmm... How easy are PSU's to fit? And are there any you would recommend?
I would imagine if I'm going to upgrade I should get at least 500W? What brands are best as I hear they make a big difference on PSU's?
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a c 130 U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 7:52:30 PM

Jonpaul are you crazy? :p 
I run an OC'd C2DE1400 (65nm processor) with an OC'd HD4650 just fine on a 200Watt power supply (15 A on the 12v). I think he's quite fine.

Sabre, grab the HD5670. It requires very little power compared to higher-end cards, and is a great card for small-time gaming.

Processor: Intel Core i5 750 @ 2.67Ghz (Turbo Mode Enabled)
Memory: 2x2GB OCZ Platinum PC-15000 @ 6-7-6-17 1066Mhz DDR
Motherboard: Gigabyte H57M-USB3
Cooling: Thermalright TRUE
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
Power Supply: Corsair HX520
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64


a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 7:53:42 PM

if you buy a PSU, i would suggest getting either a Corsair, Seasonic or OCZ or Antec Earthwatts-series (make sure if you get Antec, get the earthwatts series) if you buy any of these brands, you will be ok with a 400w or higher power supply.

Power supplies are kinda hard to replace depending on the case it is in. Have to be careful and wear rubber gloves while doing it so you don't electric-shock anything.
February 17, 2010 7:57:20 PM

Shadow, whats your opinion between the 4650, 4670, 5570 and 5670?
a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 7:58:10 PM

Just trying to be cautious here, too many times have i seen my little brother, best friend, other family members and clients call me asking what is wrong with the burning-electric smell radiating from their PC after they just tried to upgrade their video card to an 8800 GTS 512 with a 350-watt power supply...

The power supply is the most important piece of hardwar in the PC and can directly kill any given component, save for the heatsink.
February 17, 2010 7:59:38 PM

Yeh i see what your saying jonpaul, but i really want to avoid having to change PSU. I'd happily slightly downgrade my card to reduce the risk but I really don't want to have to change PSU. =)
February 17, 2010 8:05:27 PM

512MB or 1GB? wouldnt eh 1GB 4670 be better than the 512MB 5670? the price between the 5670 and the 4670 is quite significant >.<
February 17, 2010 8:11:00 PM

What res do you play at? Go with the 1GB if you play at i would say eh, 1440 x 1050 and above.If I am right, the 5670 is 80 bucks which is pretty good, just under 100
a c 130 U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 8:26:15 PM

Go with the 512MB version. The HD5670 isn't powerful enough to run at 19x12 with 2xAA, or barely anything at 19x12 at all, except for source games.
a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 8:44:12 PM

Shadow- Its just irresponsible to insist he can run a 5670 card on his 200w PSU without first asking the make, model, specs, etc. Yes, it's possible he can run the card, but its also quite possible that he cant and that he will burn up his computer.

Its not like you are suggesting a small deviation from the recommendation-- ATI suggests a 400w psu to run the card for a reason and you think he can do it with ANY generic 250w?

Sabre-- for $39.99 you can get a new Corsair 400CX (assuming you don't have a slim case)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I own this unit -- its almost completely silent, runs more than 80% energy efficient, has a 3 year warranty, and blows cool air out of my case. It also has 30 amps on a single +12v rail -- meaning it could run any graphic card up to about a 5770. (It took 5 minutes to install--unplug all the cables and plug the new ones in their places)

EVERY other expert on Tom's will tell you that it is always a good idea to invest in a quality power supply because
Quote:
The power supply is the most important piece of hardwar in the PC and can directly kill any given component, save for the heatsink.
February 17, 2010 8:49:30 PM

As for the resolution for my gaming. The computer, well, screen, still uses a VGA cable so I'm pretty sure its not 1920x1200 that i'm running on! Whatever the max for VGA is as i still haven't bought a screen with DVI on it!

As for the powersupply, would you be able to find somewhere I can purchase it in the UK? Such as Dabs, Scan or eBuyer?

I've fitted RAM and Graphics Cards before but never a PowerSupplyUnit.
Are they really that simple to fit?

Thanks for the response,

Sabre_X
February 17, 2010 8:56:36 PM

1280x1024 is the resolution I'm using :) 
February 17, 2010 8:57:39 PM

What card would 400w be able to support up to them, as far as the future goes :D 
February 17, 2010 9:01:24 PM

Also, that power supply unit looks very good but out of interest- why that one? There are cheaper ones that provide higher wattage?
February 17, 2010 9:02:07 PM

Sabre_X said:
Also, that power supply unit looks very good but out of interest- why that one? There are cheaper ones that provide higher wattage?

Its because that one is quality
February 17, 2010 9:06:43 PM

Fair enough :) 

What card would 400w be able to support up to them, as far as the future goes?

Would it be able to support any of HD 4650, 4670, 5570 and 5670?

Thanks again!
a c 130 U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 9:11:17 PM

The HD5670 is FINE for your PSU. If you need to buy a new PSU, justify it with a purchase of a card, say, an HD5770 to an HD5870.
a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 9:29:02 PM

Sabre_X said:
Fair enough :) 

What card would 400w be able to support up to them, as far as the future goes?

Would it be able to support any of HD 4650, 4670, 5570 and 5670?

Thanks again!


Hey Sabre,

Corsair is recognized as one of the highest quality power supply brands and has gained the trust of many of tom's experts due to their high quality. The wattage isnt the most important number on a power supply-- the amperage on the +12v rail is. To simplify--the 30 amps on this PSU would be good for any card up to about the $160 range or so. A 5770 would be the most powerful card I would run on it. (although others may argue bigger cards would work)

If you want to shop around, however Antec, Seasonic, and OCZ are also reliable brands. (the OCZ 500w is pretty cheap too) There are some other decent euro brands, but I dont have high familiarity with them.

I promise that power supply installation is simple. You de-static yourself, unplug all cables to the PSU, unscrew the old power supply, screw the new one into the case, then plug all its cables in where the old ones were.

To put everything in perspective though-- spending more on a high quality power supply is a good investment if you plan to reuse it in your next computer. (PSUs are one of the few parts that wont go obsolete) If you don't plan to reuse you might want to go with a cheaper option on your aging computer....
February 17, 2010 9:40:43 PM

I know the brand of this one really isn't that good, but it seems very popular from a reliable website and its customer reviews are very good too-

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/120674

It's also far, far cheaper- always a plus!
February 17, 2010 9:52:56 PM

Don't cheap out on the PSU. For just £5 more then the Antec and the Coolermaster you get the very best 400w unit there is. The Sumvision isn't even worth looking at, brand is key with PSUs.
a c 130 U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 9:59:31 PM

Sabre, this is my last attempt at trying to explain stuffs.

A: Your CPU isn't that great. Anything above an HD5750 will be bottlenecked (most likely).

B: Your PSU IS FINE with an HD5670 (An i5 rig with twice what you have only uses 120Watts whilst under extreme stress graphically).

C: Your best bet is a small card (See: HD5670) to tide you over for the next year or less, while you save for a better mobo/cpu/GPU. 100 Euro is $136. An upgraded PSU should take $50, or 37 Euro. Left with $86, or 63 Euro, you are left with a small selection, namely the HD5570/5670. You'd have to reacquire about 30 Euro ($40 USD) to buy an HD5750, which is somewhat overbudget.
February 17, 2010 10:03:10 PM

I have a desktop PC with a Q6600, 8GB RAM and GeForce 260 card. I use a 650W PSU for that rig and it uses well into half that.
February 17, 2010 10:05:39 PM

Shadow, you are being irrisponsible. You should not recommend running a PSU which is more then likely not even a very good 250w unit at such high capacity, there needs to be a margin of safety so that you arn't putting other componants at risk.
a c 130 U Graphics card
February 17, 2010 10:39:42 PM

I'm putting nothing at risk. That chart up there (shall I get it again for you?) here.

This machine, as quoted, uses an i5. Here's another benchmark.

This machine here uses a GTX280. It's max power load is 198Watts. The GTX285 uses 85 more watts than the HD5670 will ever use (75Watt Max for PCI-E slot) This falls in line with how the same i5 system (or close to same (same proc)) uses 118Watts.


OP has a 250Watt PSU. Assuming 605% efficiency, he has 167.5Watts, which is more than he needs.


The graphics (7900GTX) consumes 84Watts of power. Take off 14 (75Watt TDP of HD5670), and you have a total power consumption of 134 watts with a processor that is higher-clocked than his.


Conclusion: He has over 30 watts to spare.
February 17, 2010 10:53:14 PM

And with capacitor aging he has none to spare. Plus you are assuming that it is solid 250W and that the majority is to the V12 rail. Older designs are much more V5 orientated and wont be enough for modern V12 rail orientated hardware.
a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 12:19:10 PM

Sabre_X said:
What card would 400w be able to support up to them, as far as the future goes :D 



I am glad you made the decision to get the 400w Corsair PSU, they are a more-than-reputable brand and that Power supply will be able to handle up to a 5770, so basically it will handle the following or below...

5770
4890
4870
4850
GTX 260 (core 216)
GTS 250
9800 GTS/GT
8800 GTS/GT
9800 GTX+

I have the 400w corsair in my girlfriend's PC running a 4850 right now...
February 18, 2010 2:19:02 PM

You will be pushing it with any of those cards that use 2 6pin power plugs, also the Corsair 400W only has one.

5770


February 18, 2010 3:08:51 PM

Interesting. I was leaning more towards:

HD 4650 £50- http://www.ebuyer.com/product/172950

HD 4670 £60- http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173708

HD 5570 £70- http://www.ebuyer.com/product/194744

HD 5670 £80- http://www.ebuyer.com/product/190977

And just trying to decide which I can afford. The GTS 250 i know is a great card, but in physical size, its quite large in comparison with the ATI's isn't it? I have a GTS260 in my main desktop PC and it's like a house brick :) 

Also, would all of the mentioned cards be compatible with the PSU? Not on wattage, but on required connections and the likes? What kind of connections do they require? I just fitted a 5770 in another of my desktop's and aside from fitting it into the PCI-E x16 the only other connection it needed was some little (I think 6pin) connection which came from the powersupply. Would the mentioned PSU have this available- and what exactly is it, so that I can check it on the specifications should i choose a different PSU locally sourced.

Thanks in advance for all the help!

Sabre_X
February 18, 2010 3:17:07 PM

Yes, the PSU has a 6pin PCI-E power cable.
February 18, 2010 3:18:48 PM

Is there anything else that such cables are used for other than the graphics card?
February 18, 2010 3:23:13 PM

Is it possible to convert
* 4Pin Power Connector
* Molex
* SATA
* ATX12V P4 Connector

to a 6pin PCI-Express Connector

with some sort of adapter or anything?
February 18, 2010 3:25:58 PM

Yes with molex, but it is not recommended.
February 18, 2010 3:30:02 PM

Oh i see. Is it not possible to convert 4pin's to 6pin's then? Can you convert 6pins to 4pins out of interest?
February 18, 2010 3:47:58 PM

With the six molex connectors on the Corsair 400CX there isn't a need.

Molex connections require a 5V wire but the PCIE power cables are purely 12V.
a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 3:48:50 PM

Wait... what kind of graphics performance are you actually looking for?

The 4650 or 5570 would probably be ok on your current PSU.. lol. I was only arguing that the better cards wouldn't be ok on it.

The GTS 250 is an older model-- if you are getting a "real" graphics card I would go all the way the 5750. Its a little bit better and a lot smaller/cooler/more power efficient. (unless its an awesome deal)
February 18, 2010 3:56:23 PM

Is reducing it to 512MB going to reduce its performacne I thought? Will the PSU also take it?

If i went for one of the cheaper cards, well, not cheaper, but lesser, like the 4 I mentioned, would I sitll need to replace my 250W PSU?
a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 3:59:47 PM

You could probably get away with the 5570.

Comparative power use in a test system:





Edit: but I always recommend replacing your PSU with a quality unit. They are typically the first parts of computers to fail and can destroy other components.
a c 130 U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 4:07:06 PM

You're going to want to get a cheap card now to tide you over until you can save for a PSU and a good card. Or you can wait with nothing, purchasing a good psu now, so later, you can get an HD5770/HD5830.

Like I've proven with numerous charts, your PSU (as long as it's over 65% efficiency (which 70% if the standard, I believe (any $15 dollar PSU has 70% efficiency))) will have over 30 Watts to spare with 65% efficiency, and 42.5Watts with 70% efficiency. An HD5670 with a Core i5 setup uses 118 Watts max on load.

Sure, you're stretching it. But like I said, it'd be better to get a cheaper card + Good PSU, than a pushing-the-edge card and no PSU.
February 18, 2010 4:09:07 PM

Hmm... The PSU is going to have to be updated soon enough anyway really. So if i don't update the PSU- I can probably get away with the HD 5570 http://www.ebuyer.com/product/194744

However, if I decide to upgrade to that 400W Corsair PSU then would you recommend the HD 5670? http://www.ebuyer.com/product/190977

£80 is really my limit on graphics cards, and that has 1GB and GDDR5 which looks good! Or would you have any other cards to suggest? Also bearing in mind my CPU and RAM earlier, because obviously there's no point in having a very powerful card if its actually the RAM/CPU that's limiting it.
a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2010 4:24:00 PM

How big is your monitor? If its not huge I don't think you have a reason to buy the more expensive 5670 with 1 gb ram.

Either get the cheaper 512mb 5670 I linked at £68 or the XFX 5750 at £91. That GTS 250 at £86 isnt quite as good a deal but still ok.

Compared to your GTX 260: (the 5670 is below all of these cards)
!