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Help with GPU Choice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 27, 2010 5:28:44 PM

Hi All,

Long time avid reader of tomshardware, first time poster. I'm looking for a new GPU for my system and would appreciate your feedback. I'm going to follow the suggested format in the forum sticky.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this month or sooner




OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Shuttle SG31G2, Started this as a barebone system that was supposed to be my media PC, but it became my main system for gaming. Using a Quad Core Intel CPU Not sure which one ( on my laptop atm) but it was the quad core with best price/power ratio one year ago. Newegg link to barebones system

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any Online, ideally not California based COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US




ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Basically I intend to play WoW on a 1920-1200 with a second 1920-1200 for surfing, or some other applications. With my current set up I can choose either good fps or good quality. When I raid quality goes out the door due to the large amount of video effects during some encounters. I know my limiting factor is the XPC PSU and limited room. The chassis can fit most double slot cards, but I'm very concerned with the power capabilities. If possible I'd like to invest some money, get a more power GPU and avoid building a new system.

Please let me know if you need any more info =).


More about : gpu choice

a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2010 6:48:23 PM

Edit: THANK GOD SOMEONE USED THE FORMAT WE ESTABLISHED. Makes things about 1,000,000 times easier

Kinda funny how you specified "non california based online web sites".

Well there goes Newegg, the primary site where most of us get our stuff.

Anywho, yeah, you're going to need a better PSU no matter what. I'd advise dropping like $50 on a decent 450 or 500 watt and then upgrading to a better GPU with what you have left.

I know you can't use Newegg, but this will give you an idea of what you should get:



That should be a very nice, stable PSU/GPU combo and will definitely run what you want it to do. The GPU is a low profile card and it isn't PCI-E 2.1 which might cause problems with your PCI-E 1.1 interface (I had to look up your chipset).

Unless someone can confirm for sure that 2.1 cards work fine in 1.1 slots, I'd stay away from that. IE: Don't get a 5770 for that reason. If they DO work, then get one, and make sure it's a single slot.
October 27, 2010 10:33:28 PM

5770 is 14% faster than 450, and inexpensive. It can be get for $130@newegg. $150 @amazon
Related resources
October 28, 2010 6:30:39 PM

Being a small form factor Shuttle it only accepts single slots cards and PSU is not a std ATX. This might be helpful
HD5670 might be the best card you can run on the current PSU [...] 6814150467

So I was looking at the link you provided that lists the compatible cards. This list doesn't look like its been updated in at least a year, but it does have some cards that I remember being big power hogs. Didn't the Nvidia 7800GTX require a lot of power?

My current 9600GT has 1 of the VGA power connectors, but most of the cards I was looking at use 2 power connectors. I do have **1** 4 pin HD connector left on my PSU, and I was thinking I could use that with an adapter and theoretically power a 2 VGA power connector card.

From what I've read the Shuttle PSU's have a slightly higher capability then their rating. So though the PC only has a 250W PSU, it can prob be viewed as more like a 350W or 400W PSU. My real only upgrade option for the PSU is to a 300W PSU, which is only a small increase, and at least $100 cost...or just building a new system...

Would I see a considerable performance increase if I upgraded from a 9600GT to a HD5670?

If I bought a card that was too power hungry and tested it, would there be any significant risk of damaging my system?

Thank you so far for the answers, I appreciate your feedback!

a c 1316 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
October 28, 2010 6:52:01 PM

If you do not have enough power you will know by instability first. High power cards with 2 plugs will definitely not work on your current PSU. The biggest problem though is the space looking at the list I linked to they specifically mention single slot cards on the more powerful ones. There is not a huge performance gap between the 9600GT and the HD5670. This is the most powerful single slot card I know of and it might work in your system (presuming your PSU is underrated) but is PCIe 2.1