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Noob graphics card question prior to new card purchase

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
February 3, 2011 2:40:29 PM

I should easily answer this myself, but I haven't upgraded or played with a new video card since Geforce 4 and the AGP days. With this current PC HP p6267c and PCI express, I am finding myself unsure of what I can get. Especially with PCI express 2.1 etc etc.

Currently running the included card Radeon HD 4350. It works but, I don't want it to just "work". Before I purchase one, I want to be sure I know what I am doing here as far as what I can get. Obviously the card I have in there now is a PCI Express 2.0. However my maximum bus setting says 2.0x16, then while I am shopping I see 2.1 x16 etc. x 16 is the number of pin slots I assume.

So can I run a 2.1 x16 without any issues? Obviously I could just purchase a 2.0, pull out the old and throw in the new, but I would prefer to put more into it if I can. Lastly, my assumption is that the slot my current card is in is a simple PCI express slot, the empty slot down below would be the 2.0 x 16? Or is it the same slot.

Sorry I have never explored or played with PCI express or these slots, I just want to be sure.

According to catalyst control center, system information:

Graphics Bus Capability PCI Express 2.0
Maximum Bus Setting PCI Express 2.0 x16

course that could just be info based on the card, not the PC. Its an X-64 based system running Q 8300. For the life of me I can't find any info on the mother board lol. Exploring DXdiag as well as the catalyst control center with system information, no specific mother board mentioned.

I just want to know what it can run before I shop, don't need help finding what I want, just don't want to spend $300 bucks on a PCI E 2.1 x16 when my PC can only handle PCI E 2.0 ...stupid noob question I know and I assumed it would just tell me somewhere, but it doesn't. Thankyou for the help, I do appreciate it.

a b U Graphics card
February 3, 2011 3:14:28 PM

It can be confusing, but 2.1 is fully backwards compatible with 2.0, the same way 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.0 etc.

So if you want to get say, a 6870 or whatever (a very new generation card), you'll have absolutely no problem installing it from the PCI-E perspective.
a b U Graphics card
February 3, 2011 6:22:53 PM

All PCI-E are backwards compatible, except there was some issues between PCI-E 2.1 cards not doing well in PCI-E 1.0 and 1.1. Because you are using PCI-E 2.0 on your MOBO it will take ANY card you want. :D 
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a c 539 U Graphics card
February 3, 2011 6:33:47 PM

You only have a 300 watt power supply, so you will need to upgrade that to at least 500 watts for most of the latest video cards. You have a micro-ATX motherboard in a mid-size case, so length of the graphics card will need to fit.
February 3, 2011 7:38:59 PM

He has an HP; I doubt he can just throw in any standard PSU. Generally you're stuck with the maximum card the power supply it came with can run.

You're most likely screwed; hopefully it can run a 5770.
a c 376 U Graphics card
February 3, 2011 8:04:38 PM

HP usually uses standard form factor PSUs actually. It's Dells that are often a bitch about that kind of thing though they have gotten better about it(outside the slim cases naturally.)
a c 539 U Graphics card
February 3, 2011 8:06:22 PM

I'm seeing a standard 24-pin ATX power supply connection on the motherboard. It will support any standard PSU.
a b U Graphics card
February 3, 2011 8:20:32 PM

^+1 That's what i see also under specs from HP site.
Mid -tower ATX.
February 3, 2011 8:43:43 PM

I stand corrected.

Might I suggest the Ultra brand from tigerdirect; lifetime warranties with great prices.
February 10, 2011 3:42:32 PM

Ah yes the power supply issue lol. I seem to have had that follow me around forever. I needed something quick when I got this PC, it was the best I could do at the time. I don't really game that much on it, but that doesn't mean I don't want too. Not looking at going balls out, but I don't want to worry either. If I go to the store to buy any game, I just want it to be satisfactory. My days of keeping up with my PC needs are pretty much done.

I am probably going to have to do a bit of research here and make that decision. I wasn't going after the best, just something that can easily install and run anything I choose decently. But thanks for all the reply's, I will head over to Tiger Direct and Newegg to see what I can find. Thankyou everyone.
February 10, 2011 3:49:03 PM

Actually the 5670 looks perfect. For FPS I typically play on the 360. The kids run the Sims 3 on the PC. However for games like WoW, Starcraft II etc (Huge Blizzard fan), it seems to be able to handle my needs. I will make sure it doesn't have a separate power pin and it isn't super "bulky".
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2011 3:53:40 PM

The hd5670 doesn't have any 6-pins, and I think it is even single slot.
a b U Graphics card
February 10, 2011 4:35:56 PM

my wife had a 5670 before we upgraded her to 2xgts450's in sli and it did wow on her machine great. she played with mid-high settings at 1440x900 (just don't expect to play smoothly in ultra)