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Upgrading Older PC - Help Pls

Tags:
  • Graphics Cards
  • PCI Express
  • Graphics
  • Product
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 7, 2011 12:44:00 PM

Hello all,

I am desperate for a little general guidance on understanding what Graphics card will work in which system etc. This after buying two unsuitable cards which don't work in the PC I'm trying to upgrade.

In short, I have been wanting to do fit a graphics cards to an older office PC system just give my boys a little gaming graphics power.

I had previosuly topped up the RAM to 3GB and have now purchased two newish graphics cards, neither of which worked in the system. I'm loathe to admit I selected the graphics cards based solely on the fact that both cards were PCI-E and I had a PCI-E slot avaialble. Neither card worked in the PC system although they work fine in other systems.

So I've come to the conclusion that I was trying to fit cards which were simply to modern (high spec) for the older system I was tryign to upgrade. I simply don't understand waht I criteria I need to meet in order to correctly choose/buy a graphics card that is compatible with the PC. I assume it is something to do with freqs or speeds but I am hoping someone can clarify (readonably simply) what needs to match what?

Anyway the specs of the older PC (did I say it was an older machine) I am trying to fit a stand-alone graphics card to (for best possible gaming performance) is as below'

CPu Pentium 4 3.20Ghz
RAM 3Gb
32 Bit Vista Home Premium.

It has a PCI-E slot but clearly not just any old (or new!) PCI-E card is suitable! The cards I bought were a) Nvidia Palit GTS250 and then b) Nvidia Zotac GeForce 8800GT.

Any guidance as to what I need to match spec wise to find a suitable graphics card a) in general for PC's and b) for this machine if possible, would so very much appreciated!

Thanks in advance

Jimmy T

More about : upgrading older pls

a c 162 U Graphics card
March 7, 2011 12:52:25 PM

Probably should consider what power supply that old system has? What brand is it and what is it's maximum power output?

-Wolf sends
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March 7, 2011 1:04:04 PM

Hi Wolf/all,

PSU is an ISO 450PP which states a max power output as 350W.

As mentioned I woudl really appreciate any general guidance on basic compatibility as much as any specific recommendations for this PC.

Many Thanks Jimmy
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a b U Graphics card
March 7, 2011 2:03:30 PM

Are you sure you have a PCI-e slot available ?? --- what MOBO is in the system ? PCI-e slots should work with the 2 vards you mention unles you mean a PCI-e x1 slot (but it would be rare to have a pci-e x1 without a pci-e x16 slot also on the MOBO) -- even newer PCIe x16 v2.1 cards should work in any PCI-e x16 v1.0 slot since the spec calls for backward compatibility just the card will slow it's speed down to the 1.0 spec so if you do indeed have a PCI-e x16 slot on the MOBO the cards you have should work unless there is a problem with the Slot.

But to be sure would need more info on the system like the MOBO make\model to confirm what it has.
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a c 178 U Graphics card
March 7, 2011 2:28:08 PM

Both those cards eat up a ton of power, and are WAY over what the P4 can work with anyway. Try a Radeon 5550 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your main issue with the cards was probaly the power supply. I have run a 8800 card with a P4 system so the system itself should not be an issue for you, rather the weak power supply. My system had a 420watt PSU.

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March 8, 2011 3:15:04 AM

Hi JDfan and hang-the-9,

Here is the mobo that is in the system - not sure but I think it has the right PCI-E slot?

http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite_2007/Products/Products...

Maybe as hang-the-9 suggests it's a PSU issue then?

@ hang-the-9 - Can I just query - you suggested the Radeon 5550 etc. It seems a more expensive (newer) card than one of cards (the 8800GT) I previously tried. Did you recommend the 5550 specifically on the basis of a lower power consumption? i.e. the PSU I have would be able to handle it?

Thanks again both of you for your interest in helping me sort this.

Jimmy
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a c 162 U Graphics card
March 8, 2011 3:19:38 AM

Yes, that motherboard does have a PCI-Ex16 graphics card slot (orange in the image). I'm almost positive that Hang-the-9 suggested the HD5550 specifically for it's low power consumption.

-Wolf sends
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a b U Graphics card
March 8, 2011 11:46:48 AM

Hmm - the Zotac 8800 is a PCI-e 2.0 card so you shouldn't have had any problem using it with the system -- It is probably one of a few possibilities :

--- You did not fully seat the card into the slot or forgot to connect the 6 pin aux power plug.

--- The PSU does not supply enough power to run the cards

--- The PCI-e slot on the MOBO is broken\defective

Do you have access to another system that you could use for testing ?
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Best solution

a c 178 U Graphics card
March 8, 2011 12:50:12 PM

jimmyt2011 said:
Hi JDfan and hang-the-9,

Here is the mobo that is in the system - not sure but I think it has the right PCI-E slot?

http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite_2007/Products/Products...

Maybe as hang-the-9 suggests it's a PSU issue then?

@ hang-the-9 - Can I just query - you suggested the Radeon 5550 etc. It seems a more expensive (newer) card than one of cards (the 8800GT) I previously tried. Did you recommend the 5550 specifically on the basis of a lower power consumption? i.e. the PSU I have would be able to handle it?

Thanks again both of you for your interest in helping me sort this.

Jimmy


The 5550 would work will in your system for 2 reasons, 1. it will match your old CPU 2. it has much much lower power requirements. The 2 cards you bought have about a 100 watt power draw when they are in use, just for the cards.

The 5550 would not be more expensive unless you bought the other cards used. If you already purchased and still have the old card(s), you may be better off getting a decent power supply, 400watt +, for about $50. A P4 system won't keep them fed though, so you will see almost any card be limited by the rest of the system. Don't look for the benchmarks you see with the cards in your system.
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March 8, 2011 11:49:58 PM

Hi guys,

Thank you all for your input and advice. So it seems at this stage the likely culprit with these cards not working is Power (or lack thereof). So I will investigate options to either pick up another 450W+ PSU or resell the cards I bought and try and get a hold of a Radeon 5550 etc.

I really do appreciate the guidance. I will post down the line just a follow up to advise outcome - one way the other ;-)

Many thanks

Jimmy
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March 9, 2011 2:14:43 AM

Hoping one of you guys is still online and can answer this quick question...

Looking to buy a Radeon 5550 as recommended on eBay and I see a few varieties. Branding aside, some cards have DDR2 in the description and others DDR3 in the item description. Do I need to grab one or the other with my older PC system in mind? Or is either or good?

Thanks

Jimmy
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a c 162 U Graphics card
March 9, 2011 4:17:43 AM

Video memory is different from system memory, so you could use either in your system. Graphic DDR3 memory is generally considered better than graphic DDR2 memory, but since we're not talking about a high-end card or system, it's likely not going to make a difference.

If you can pick up a DDR3 HD5550 for the same price as a DDR2 HD5550, go with the DDR3 version.

-Wolf sends
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March 9, 2011 4:21:44 AM

Wolfshadw said:
Video memory is different from system memory, so you could use either in your system. Graphic DDR3 memory is generally considered better than graphic DDR2 memory, but since we're not talking about a high-end card or system, it's likely not going to make a difference.

If you can pick up a DDR3 HD5550 for the same price as a DDR2 HD5550, go with the DDR3 version.

-Wolf sends


Thanks Wolf. Just wanted to make sure I got the right one!

Cheers

Jimmy
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a c 178 U Graphics card
March 9, 2011 12:44:42 PM

Check prices on www.newegg.com, ebay sellers like to add in a ton of shipping charges to an otherwise decent price.
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March 9, 2011 12:48:20 PM

Unfortunately newegg don't ship to Australia :-)

Bought one already on eBay. :-)

Cheers Jimmy
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March 9, 2011 1:00:38 PM

Best answer selected by jimmyt2011.
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