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ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe - Need video card upgrade advice!!!!!

Last response: in Motherboards
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May 4, 2011 2:18:16 AM

I built my rig in 2007 and I'm not in the position to replace with a completely upgraded new one. However, my EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS failed on me so I need to get a new card. I figure I can at least get the best card that will help me with my current specs till I can afford to do a complete rebuild.

So....I need to know how I can get the best bang for my buck. Here's my full rig:

Windows XP (not ready to spend the $ on 7 yet)

Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard

EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card (This is now dead)

AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 Windsor 2.8GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor ADAFX62CSBOX

ZALMAN CNPS 9700 NT 110mm 2 Ball Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler (Ultra-Quiet my a$$ - sounds like a rocket ship)

X2 - Corsair XMS2 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 675 (PC2 5400) Desktop Memory Model CM2X1024-5400C4

SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD400LJ 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 4 SB0610 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

KINGWIN ABT-600CW 600W ATX 12V Ver.2.2 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Modular Power Supply

Sunbeam Transformer IC-TR-SV Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case


So with my graphics card now toast and my budget on the thin side for the time being. I'm looking at the Geforce GTS 250 1Gb (please note if you suggest something else though) but I have a number of questions:

Do I have a PSU (600w) to handle it? Is my MB and CPU appropriate to fit anything that is suggested for a replacement? Is the above card compatible with the PCIE 2.0 on the MB? IF there's another graphics card that will give me some better bang for mid-level buck expenditure, what might that be? Should I get 2 more gig of Ram of what I've got or scrap that RAM and get 4G of something new? Does XP even see the extra RAM? Can my case handle any of the suggestions or am I also looking at that as a replacement?

SO.....any help or suggestions would be MOST appreciated. I'm hoping to just get a new Graphics card upgrade, and see what other stuff for less $ I might need to also update along the way to get this rig working again but if it's more cost effective to just do it all now, I'd love to hear those arguments and whatever component suggestions you all have to give me.

Thanks in advance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mc1

May 4, 2011 5:11:00 PM

Anyone? Bueller?
June 28, 2011 3:37:44 PM

Hey,

I just saw your post, sorry if it took a while to get a response. I have the same Mobo as you which is why I found your post doing a Google search... Anyway I think your best bet would be to stick to a PCI-E x16 GFX Card as that is what this motherboard supports. The newest x16 card you can find would be an 8800 series card as everything after that was PCI-E 2.0. If you buy the GT 250 Card it is designed to run on a PCI-E 2.0 slot and may suffer some performance loss due to the limited bandwidth of the PCI-E 16x slot.

Quoting Wiki on the subject of PCI-E Bandwidth "PCI-SIG announced the availability of the PCI Express Base 2.0 specification on 15 January 2007.[10] The PCIe 2.0 standard doubles the per-lane throughput from the PCIe 1.0 standard's 250 MB/s to 500 MB/s. This means a 32-lane PCI connector (x32) can support throughput up to 16 GB/s aggregate. The PCIe 2.0 standard uses a base clock speed of 5 GHz, while the first version operates at 2.5 GHz."

Article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

Anyways, I recommend you try eBay for an 8800GTS or GTX Replacement. My dad just bought an 8800GTX used for $80 which is probably a bit less than the GT 250 which will not operate at full speed on the M2N SLI Deluxe anyway.

Well that's my 2 cents : )

Oh and a 600W PSU should be plenty for any single GFX card in that system. Your PSU says it's "SLI-Certified" and I believe most 600-750W PSUs can handle a midrange SLI setup so you could possibly even run two 8800GTS in there. If you have any concerns about power usage lookup the kill-a-watt meter, you just plug your PC tower into it and it will tell you how many watts you are actually using (Make sure to test under heavy load though). I suggest you run it while playing Crisis or running a stress testing program like 3DMark/Furmark/etc.

As for RAM... I put 4GB in my rig (very similar to yours, running XP Home) and I cannot really say that I notice much improvement, and mine reads 3GB when the OS is loaded... it used to read 3.5GB before I added the 2nd 8800GTS in SLI.

Also... Just noticed you said you had an EVGA GFX Card... Those carry a lifetime warranty - provided you registered the card as the original owner within 30 days of purchase. If not... eBay it is for a used card then.
June 29, 2011 2:24:52 AM

IMO why buy older hardware when you can buy something newer that will last longer, the 8800's are 4 years old now, considering the rapid increase in technology you'd be much better off with a new card that runs faster and probably not that much more expensive. It'd set you back like $100-150 to buy a mid range gtx 400 series card that would be alot faster. As for the PCI-E limitation, yes bandwidth would be halved but it would be less of an impact then you think, PCI-E 2.0 was to give newer cards more headroom to play with, but you'd still get solid performance out of your old motherboard with a new card. Also if you buy something newer it means if you get round to upgrading the whole rig there's 1 less part to buy.

As for RAM, 32bit OS's are limited to 3.5gb so anything over that wont help you, tho it will when you get round to installing win7.

For the size issue on your case, check the specs on the GFX card should say dimensions then take a tape measure to your case, i recently had to 'modify' my thermaltake soprano buy removing the hdd bays to fit my new card in.

A 600w power supply should handle any mid range card on it's own, as long as it's made by a decent manufacturer.

Quote:
As for RAM... I put 4GB in my rig (very similar to yours, running XP Home) and I cannot really say that I notice much improvement, and mine reads 3GB when the OS is loaded... it used to read 3.5GB before I added the 2nd 8800GTS in SLI.

Your Graphics cards are taking up that 500mb RAM, it was reading 3.5gb before because that's the max xp 32bit can handle and when you added a second card the cards started using more of you RAM, leaving less for you.
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