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Looking for an upgrade, but confused about power supply...

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 4, 2010 7:44:41 AM

Hello all,

I want to upgrade my computer in order to run FFXIV well, but I really want to hold off on building a rig since I am still learning all the basics on building a computer. So I have a few questions that would be awesome if i could get a little bit of help with...

I'm looking to upgrade from a ATI Radeon 4650 to a 5770, but I'm a little confused on switching over power supplies. Currently I'm running a stock 300w power supply that came with the HP pre built, but from what it sounds like i would have to upgrade the power supply with the graphics card in order for all to go well.

Here are the specs for the game i want to run: http://www.ffxivcore.com/wiki/System_Requirements

Now, it says I should be able to run it just fine as long as I keep the graphics up a notch, at least to a 5770.

I have a Pentium (R) Dual Core E5200 @ 2.50ghz , running 4gb of ram, my motherboard chipset is a NVidia GeForce 7100 w/ the southbridge being a nForce 630i. I would post the screenie of my CPU-Z but currently my photobucket is kind of screwed up. Now for the million dollar question: What kind of power supply would i have to change to in order to get this 5770 to work, and would i need anything else to make it compatible with my current machine setup? Sorry if this is a newbie question or if its lurking the FAQ somewhere, I thought it would best just to ask directly and see what i come up with. Many thanks for yalls time!
a b ) Power supply
September 4, 2010 8:07:12 AM

What is your budget? What resolution do you play at?
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a c 144 ) Power supply
September 4, 2010 8:08:11 AM

Here's the problem. A 5770 needs about 5 amps more than your old card. Depending on the capacity of the 12 volt, your present PSU might work. A good 350 - 400 watt PSU would certainly work.

But you say you eventually want to build a computer. In that case, if you want to use your new PSU, you should size it for the new computer. My favorite mid-range PSU is the Corsair 550VX:
Corsair 550VX (41 amp 12 volt rail)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It will power any CPU and almost any single chip GPU.

Sometimes the 650TX:

Corsair 650TX (52 amp 12 volt rail)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
is only a few dollars more.

There are other good power supplies. Those are just my favorites.

My recommendation is to just go ahead and build the new computer.

Here's a good guide:
Build it yourself:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/274745-13-step-step...

Although this is primarily oriented to troubleshooting, the first part contains a checklist that should prevent most of the common noob mistakes:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...

Go to the homebuild forums. Some of the regulars are excellent at configuring systems. Just give them the purpose of your computer and budget.

Also check the build it yourself articles on the home page for what you can reasonably expect at different budget points.
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Related resources
September 4, 2010 9:54:03 AM

Thanks for the quick and extremely informative replies!

I am wanting to play at the 1280 x 1024 resolution i think. The other one won't fit the monitor I'm currently playing on.

Was looking to pay around 100$ for a power supply, but i would love to have it cheaper and still provide enough power for my next rig and enough power and compatibility for my next rig so i won't have to rebuy another (built rig would use the same graphics card as well).

For the XFX it mentions its used for crossfiring, now is it solely used crossfiring or its just easily used to cross fire? Like i said i'm kind of a power supply noob and i really dont want to go frying anything when i put it in lol.

The Corsairs are really nice and i may go with one of the two, still undecided as i have about a month till the actual release date of the game so i'm just bidding my time. Thanks again!

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a b ) Power supply
September 4, 2010 10:01:30 AM

Why would you go with the Corsair instead of the XFX they litterally use the same parts and the XFX is modular and cheaper. They both use parts from SeaSonic.

Anyway, thats a good psu for around 100 dollars. Being CF ready just means it can be used for a CF setup.
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a b ) Power supply
September 4, 2010 11:41:40 AM

One key issue that's been overlooked is whether or not the stock HP PSU is standard ATX size or not. If it's not and you want to do all this upgrading, then you may actually have to buy a new case to accommodate an ATX PSU.

There are plenty of very solid PSU's in the $50-100 range that can handle that setup and more.
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September 4, 2010 9:06:40 PM

RazberyBandit said:
One key issue that's been overlooked is whether or not the stock HP PSU is standard ATX size or not. If it's not and you want to do all this upgrading, then you may actually have to buy a new case to accommodate an ATX PSU.

There are plenty of very solid PSU's in the $50-100 range that can handle that setup and more.


Are the dimensions on the power supply? I checked and there are numbers all over the power supply and i guess i would just have to check the power supply i have and compare it to the one i need/want.
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a b ) Power supply
September 5, 2010 10:50:08 AM

No, a PSU's dimensions are not typically displayed on the unit itself. You'll have to get a measuring tape or ruler, open the side of the case, and measure all three dimensions yourself. Typically, ATX power supplies measure approximately 3.5" x 6" x 6" (H x W x D), but the depth can and does often vary.
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September 21, 2010 3:46:28 AM

Right on, thanks for the info. My final question before i go buying a card, I'm having a hard time understanding the difference between these two cards. One is a 5770 and one is a 5830. They have about the same price tag but my initial instinct is to go for the higher numbered card, but i know that is not the case when dealing with computer related material (all though it often is).

5770: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5830: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is it the GDDR and DDR difference? Clock speeds? Manufacturer's difference in price scaling? I've always been a skeptic when I look at GFX card numbers and all though i have done a fair amount of research, there seems to be always another factor affecting the price and performance.

Again, sorry for the noobiness, but i really just want to get this right the first time through and not have to worry about buying the wrong card for the purposes i have in my OP. Many thanks!
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a b ) Power supply
September 21, 2010 4:51:26 AM

First, those two cards are in separate classes. They use different core GPUs, so comparing MHz isn't a fair comparison at all. When worried about how well two different cards scale against each other, it's best to consult reviews where they're compared, like this article:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-gf1...
In that article, you can see the recently released GTX 460 compared to both the 5770 and the 5830. You can also consult the comparison chart on the last page of Tom's monthly Best Graphics Cards For The Money article.

Second, let's get into pricing a little... There are less expensive 5770's than that particular one, which can be had for about $140, and even less with a Mail-in Rebate. Now if you've read the GTX 460 article I linked, you'll see that in the $180-$200 price range, the best-bang-for-the-buck video card is actually the nVIDIA GTX 460. The 768MB versions can be had for $170, while the better-performing 1GB cards run about $220. That's not to say that buying 5770 or 5830 would be a bad choice, though. There are other factors one must consider, and I'll try to explain 'em a little.

Resolution. You haven't mentioned yours, yet. Resolution plays a major role in a video card's performance. Generally, the higher the resolution, the higher the demand for GPU performance in order to maintain playable framerates. A general rule of thumb is to simply get the most powerful card you can afford, but in some cases, that can have adverse affects. (Usually on older systems or systems with weak/weaker CPUs as gaming at lower resolutions is usually more greatly affected by the CPU's performance than the GPU's performance.)

CPU. As I mentioned, a CPU can affect a GPU's performance. Your E5200 @ 2.5GHz is a bit on the weak side of today's scale. (See the comparison chart in Best Gaming CPUs For The Money.) Most modern games are designed to fully utilize two cores, while a few will fully utilize four cores. So, the games want as much CPU as they can get, but it's also gotta take care of all those background processes and services running, so weaker CPU's end up fully taxed, causing performance to suffer. I'm not sure how well an E5200 will stand up to FFXIV, especially in a crowded area.

Game choice and detail level preferences. Some games simply require more GPU horsepower than others, and some games perform better on either an nVIDIA or ATI card. Your preferred or desired level of detail within a game can be a factor. If you like maximizing detail levels, then you'll need a card that can still deliver framerate performance (maintain 30-40+ fps) with such eye-candy enabled. Otherwise, you have to live without details or put up with crawling framerates.

With these factors in mind, you may want to take another moment to see what you want out of this card purchase. Unless you intend to replace the CPU either now or soon, this may very well be the last major component upgrade this particular system ever gets. Considering the current CPU, performance in many newer and upcoming titles may not be so good, even if you bought a top-tier $400+ card.
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