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Is my graphics card upgrade plan a good one?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 13, 2010 2:21:37 AM

Hello,

I have a Dell XPS 420, X38 Chipset, Quad Core Q6600 (2.4 MHz, 8800 GT GPU, and unfortunately, a 425W power supply. This falls short of the 450W power supply I need for an nVidia 460 GTX.

Many know better than I the challenges that come with a Dell case when upgrading, so here's my idea.

Get a VisionTek 450W Dedicated Graphics Power Supply http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... to run a 460 GTX.

Also, probably get a PCI slot fan to help handle additional heat from the secondary power source (my case has all the case fans it can handle (2).

Among any other advice anyone would like to offer, the questions I have are:

Any issues with this chipset/GPU combination?

Any concerns around the supplimental power supply idea for powering the GPU?

Overall, is it worth doing in the sense of an anticipated performance jump when gaming?

Thanks!!
a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2010 3:14:24 AM

The Dedicated Graphics Power Supply can be smaller, because the GTX 460 uses a maximum of 160W. It would be good, however, if you would SLI the 460s, then it will need 320W max. It is just as a side note. The upgrade from a 8800 GT to a GTX 460 is not a smart one, IMO. You can still play games, can't you? Anyway, it's up to you.
GTX 460 is compatible with X38 chipset. There should be no issues.
You should be able to use a GTX 460 on your current power supply:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-460-review/13
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/07/12/nv...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-gf1...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3809/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...
http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=987&type=expert&pi...

I think you should stay with the 8800 GT. Good luck!
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December 13, 2010 6:01:26 AM

Tigrc.

Thank you for the information and your perspective. My reasoning is that although, yes, I can play games, I've had to turn down graphics detail to moderate settings to run games like COD Modern Warfare smoothly.

With a game like COD Black Ops, I have to turn everything all the way down or off to run the game sort of smoothly at a resolution of 1920 x 1200.

According to the Tom's Graphics Card Hierarchy chart

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-rad...

an upgrade of at least 3 tiers higher on the chart would probably result in a noticable difference in performance. It is 4 tiers from the 8800 GT (512mb) to the 460 GTX (1 gb).

Not sure I can SLI on the x38 - I've seen conflicting postings in different places. But I'm be okay with just 1 460.

The 450W dedicated power supply was the smallest I'd found since I realized Dell doesn't provide a bigger power supply for this case and there's little chance one off the shelf will fit either. Then I ran across dedicated power supplies for the first time. But you've shown me if I can find one in the 320 - 350W range, that would work and would probably be cheaper.

Thanks!
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2010 6:17:31 AM

You are welcome :) 
To answer your question - yes, you will see the difference.
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